Language Learning & Technology
Vol. 1, No. 2, January 1998, pp. 71-92


USING THE WORLD WIDE WEB TO INTEGRATE SPANISH LANGUAGE AND CULTURE: A PILOT STUDY

PDF version


Maritza M. Osuna
University at Albany

Carla Meskill
State University of New York

ABSTRACT

This pilot study investigates the potential role of Internet resources as a means to gain a deeper sense of the culture of the Spanish-speaking world for college students. Thirteen college students enrolled in the first quarter of Basic Spanish were instructed to utilize the Web to complete five activities that expanded on the aspects of culture studied in the class. Data collected demonstrate that the Web is a suitable tool to increase language and cultural knowledge, as well as a means to increase motivation. Pedagogical implications are discussed.

INTRODUCTION

The last three decades have seen growing attention directed to the issue of teaching culture as part of foreign language learning. This emphasis on the importance of culture has come hand in hand with contemporary views of the communicative nature of language. The attainment of communicative competence requires a diversity of cultural understandings and current theory recognizes the intrinsic role culture plays in second and foreign language development (Savignon, 1972; Canale & Swain, 1980). The call for increased learner understanding of the culture as part of language curricula has not, however, resulted in increased practical implementation of meaningful cultural components in foreign language instruction. As a result, many foreign language learners demonstrate very limited knowledge about the culture whose language they study (Sadow, 1987). Several explanations for this situation have been proffered. Some suggest this is due to foreign language instructors' lack of knowledge. Some attribute the lack of culture integration in the foreign language curriculum to inappropriate training (Nostrand, 1989). When culture is included as part of instruction, it is typically prompted by textbooks that are often deficient in this regard. Mainstream foreign language textbooks tend to bestow one-sided views of the target culture through piece-meal approaches (Kramsch, 1988; Lafayette 1988).

One antidote has been for teachers to incorporate authentic materials in the foreign language classroom; these are materials from the target culture that get incorporated in an effort to 1) support language in context and 2) help learners develop the needed range of communicative/sociolinguistic competencies. Authentic materials (video, audio, realia) help expose students to the foreign reality as it really is; not as a make-believe classroom version (Alvarez Evans & González, 1993; García, 1991).

As one form of access to realia, telecommunications represents a teaching tool that potentially

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connects learners with authentic culture. By using the Internet and the World Wide Web (WWW), students can have almost instantaneous access to a range of foreign experiences in their target language. The computer then serves as a gateway to the virtual foreign world where "real people" are using real language in "real context."

This pilot study set out to assess the potential role of Internet resources as a means for beginning-level students of Spanish as a foreign language to gain a sense of the cultures of the Spanish-speaking world as part of their undergraduate language learning experience.

METHODOLOGY

Materials

This study involved the piloting of five Spanish language activities using the Internet. We wished to assess learners' perceptions of their experiences in terms of both the language and cultural learning designed into each of the five tasks they were assigned.

The process of creating each of the five activities was as follows:

These activities, which integrate Spanish culture and language, were tightly coordinated with the class textbook ¿Habla español? (Méndez-Faith, McVey Gill, & Mayne Kienzle, 1993). Since each chapter of the textbook focuses on a particular Spanish-speaking country, so too does each of the Internet activities. The types of activity are diverse, with varying foci on language forms, language functions, historical information, information on the arts, etc. Each activity also varies in terms of purpose: planning a family trip to Madrid, describing photographs from Argentina, comparing the Universidad Autónoma de México to the students' own college, finding places for leisure activities in Chile, and creating an authentic Mexican meal. Each of these activities requires that students access one specified website.

The following is a synopsis of one of the five activities. It uses Softguide Madrid.

Planning a family trip to Madrid

Your family is planning a vacation to Madrid, Spain. Since you speak Spanish, you are in charge of finding as much information as possible about the city.

(1) Your family will need accommodations. Find names and fees for different kinds of hotels (e.g., luxury, moderate, hostels, etc.), then decide where you will stay. If you were traveling with friends, where would you stay?

(2) You will need to eat. However, your father wants authentic Spanish food, your mother is vegetarian, you enjoy eating light food, and your younger brothers want fast food. Find restaurants to please everyone in your family.

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(3) Your family will like to take some day trips around Madrid. Find a place to visit, find the train number you will need to take, and decide if this is a good place for your younger brothers.

(4) Your family wants to visit the Prado Museum. Find the location and hours of operation. You probably want to visit when there is free admission. When is it?

Finding appropriate Internet sites was accomplished by making extensive searches by country, key words, and by reviewing foreign language instruction resource pages. After selecting several suitable sites for a specific country, the search was narrowed to those sites that fit the above criteria.

Context

Students undertook these five tasks independently as homework. They had access to the sites through campus facilities: dormitory terminals and other campus user rooms. Each activity was worth 50 points. Points were given for completed assignments, not for right/wrong answers. If and when learners encountered difficulty, they contacted the instructor via e-mail for assistance and clarification. Once students had completed the activities, the processes and outcomes of their work were discussed in class. The cultural knowledge they had developed through the activity was also expanded upon through discussion.

Subjects

Subjects were thirteen undergraduate students enrolled in their first college trimester of Elementary Spanish. Except for one, all were computer literate with prior Internet experience. After completing each of the five language and culture activities, the students completed a post-activity questionnaire. They were able to agree or disagree with different statements intended to measure their perceptions of learning outcomes and the effectiveness of the task and the technology they used to accomplish it. Students completed an additional survey at the end of the term that queried their reactions to the activities as a whole.

Method of Assessment

A post-activity assessment questionnaire accompanied each activity. The questionnaire has two sections. The first section measured perceived learning outcomes (language, culture, integration of culture and language), reaction to the medium (site accessibility, ease of use, usefulness of information, and additional visits to site), and assessment of the task (ease of completion and length of time to complete task) in a 6 point Likert-type format. Attitudes towards the technology and the activity itself were measured by similar items on the questionnaire along with open-ended questions. A space for suggested improvements was also provided.

On the completion of all five activities, subjects completed an additional survey to provide a comprehensive view of integrating language and culture through use of the Internet.

RESULTS

Data reflecting subjects' perceived learning outcomes is presented in Figure 1. The number

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under each activity represents the percentage of subjects who agreed with the statement. The last column shows the mean of subjects in agreement for all activities. Eighty-eight percent of the subjects reported increased knowledge of Spanish language and culture. This finding is remarkable because all activities exhibited a high percentage of subjects identifying increased knowledge of language integrated with culture (i.e., from 85% to 100%) . In order to identify if either factor had a greater effect on learning, culture and language outcomes were measured separately. Results for culture learning separated from language learning were also very positive. Eighty-one percent of the subjects reported that cultural learning was occurring. When subjects were asked about learning language separated from culture, 77% reported gains.

Figure 1. Perceived Learning Outcomes
  Activity 1 Activity 2 Activity 3 Activity 4 Activity 5 Mean
Language knowledge increased 62% 69% 77% 77% 100% 77%
Cultural knowledge increased 85% 69% 77% 62% 100% 81%
Knowledge of language and

culture together increased
100% 85% 85% 85% 85% 88%
n=13            

When asked about their attitude concerning the medium, 85% of the subjects indicated enjoyment using the Internet ( Figure 2 ). In spite of some minor technical difficulties they encountered when completing the five tasks, 69% of subjects indicated that Web sites were always accessible, 71% reported that sites were easy to use, and 71% agreed on the usefulness of information to everyday life. Thirty-two percent of subjects returned to the site after completing the task.

Figure 2. Technology Outcomes
  Activity 1 Activity 2 Activity 3 Activity 4 Activity 5 Mean
Site was easy to access 100% 38%* 46% 85% 77% 69%
Site was easy to use 92% 38% 69% 77% 77% 71%
Site information was useful 77% 62% 61% 77% 77% 71%
Subject returned to site after task was completed 31% 23% 23% 38% 46% 32%
Subject enjoyed using the web for this activity 85% 77% 85% 85% 92% 85%
n=13            

*Results for accessibility and ease using the site for the second activity need to be interpreted in the light of the fact that the original site was not in service at the time required. A Web search produced another site, which resembled the original one very closely. However, instructions for the activity did not exactly match the new site and some subjects had some difficulties adjusting.

Figure 3 summarizes responses to the tasks subjects were assigned to undertake. Sixty-eight percent of subjects indicated that instructions were easy to follow. Time on task was reported

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as one hour or less by 74%.

Figure 3. Responses to task technicalities
  Activity 1 Activity 2 Activity 3 Activity 4 Activity 5 Mean
Instructions were easy 69% 38% 62% 62% 69% 68%
Activity took less than 1 hour 62% 31% 92% 92% 84% 74%
n=13            

Figure 4 presents data collected after subjects completed all five activities. One hundred percent of responses indicated that subjects enjoyed using the Internet in the course because it made for a more interesting class. When asked if they felt they had learned more Spanish by doing the Web activities, the entire group (100%) agreed with the statement. All subjects (100%) also recognized the Web as a valuable learning tool offering updated information in comparison to printed resources. Subjects' satisfaction with the medium was also assessed through other statements about the Internet. Because many subjects stated that the Web was a necessary component of instruction (83%) , it was easy to use (92%), and they felt comfortable using it (92%), a high number of the subjects (92%) reported that they would take another course that required use of the Internet. Interestingly, there was no direct correlation between getting a better grade because of the Web (67%) and learning Spanish (92%). Although the majority of the subjects (12 out of 13) had had previous Internet exposure, one half agreed that using the Web for this class had resulted in the acquisition of additional technical skills.

Figure 4. Post-activity results
  %YES
Attitude and beliefs  
  • I liked using the Web for this course
100
  • This course was more interesting because of Web use
100
  • I would take another course that included use of the Web
92
  • Web use is a necessary component of instruction
83
  • I am comfortable using the Web to find information
92
  • I will get a better grade in this course because I used the Web
67
Language learning  
  • I learned more Spanish using the Web
92
The Web as a learning tool  
  • Overall, the World Wide Web is a valuable learning tool
100
  • The web provided more current information than print resources
100
  • I learned additional technical skills as a result of using the Web
50
  • The browser program I used is an easy program to learn
92

Table 1 represents subject responses to items related to affect. All statements on this table are derived from anecdotal reports written by the subjects after completing each activity. The figure in parenthesis represents the number of remarks made about the topic.

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Table 1

What subjects liked:

Language and culture

  • Learning about another people's culture, places and customs (*20)
  • Learning Spanish language and vocabulary (2)
  • Using Spanish only (1)
  • Using a dictionary (1)

    Web sites

  • Visuals (i.e., photographs, graphics, and maps) (17)
  • Accessing information that is current, interesting, varied, and useful (6)
  • Sites that were easy to use (4)
  • Becoming familiar with the Internet (3)

    Activities

  • Opportunity to be creative (1)
  • Engaging in mentally stimulating activities (1)
  • Directions that were easy to follow (1)

    What subjects disliked:

    Language and culture

  • Language above proficiency level (i.e., use of a dictionary) (3)
  • Readings above proficiency level (3)
  • Photographs without explanatory notes (1)

    Web sites

  • Web information that was superficial (3)
  • Difficulty accessing Web sites (6)
  • Loading pictures (2)
  • Sites without visuals (1)

    Activities

  • Instructions that were unclear (7) (*Number in parenthesis represents actual number of remarks)

DISCUSSION

Integration of Culture and Language

The results of this small pilot demonstrate that the Internet is an excellent tool for teaching foreign language and culture. We tentatively see these positive results as related to a balanced interaction of the following:

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The integration of each of the textbook chapter's cultural component with the language foci of that chapter worked well in bringing contextualized meaning and practice to the online tasks. The tasks successfully served as a means of broadening the students' learning experience and connection to target cultures. Furthermore, by virtue of these connections, students mindfully engaged in the activities because they saw them as an integral part of the class, not as an add-on.
Anecdotal comments shown in Table 1 reflect student satisfaction with learning about the culture of other peoples. In these tasks, as in real life, language and culture remained together, without one overpowering the other, to foster authentic communication. Finally an emphasis on realistic language use, not language rules, allowed for communicative practice in authentic settings.

Interestingly, the most favored activity was the creation of an authentic Mexican meal, which 92% of the subjects enjoyed. This activity allowed the students to explore different Mexican regions in search of an appropriate dish for their menu. Once the decision was made, the "chef" was presented with a scrumptious dish. As a consequence, all the rich and authentic display of food made many people hungry!

The slightly lower number of subjects reporting cultural gains distinct from language learned was somewhat anticipated. In authentic settings, culture and language are complementary components of communication. One without the other will always be deficient, as the separation of language and culture demonstrate. Another reason explaining lower results for language lies in classroom culture. Students generally associate language learning with explicit morphosyntactic teaching. Thus, when subjects were asked directly if language learning was taking place, some did not recognize it. This finding, however, is not surprising because as research has demonstrated, implicit language teaching and learning is difficult to assess (DeKeyser, 1995, Green and Hecht, 1992; Scott, 1990; Shaffer, 1989;). Even though separation of language and culture still produced satisfactory results, the best outcome was obtained when language and culture were integrated. This finding strengthens the importance of teaching language and culture in context, a point that cannot be overemphasized. Data from this small pilot demonstrate that if students studying foreign language are to become successful learners, integration of language and culture is pivotal.

Technology

The high mark for satisfaction with the medium (mean of 85%) obtained on each of the five task-related surveys increased to 100% in the final retrospective questionnaire (Figure 4) . This is an exciting result, especially for foreign language teachers in search of instructional activities that will increase time on task. As Figure 4 shows, there is a direct relation between satisfaction and level of interest. If, as subjects reported, using the Web makes the class more interesting, they will be willing to spend more time performing a task or browsing over other information connected to it. As one subject admits "... the site was fantastic and again I felt compelled to explore on my own ...."

Satisfaction with the medium clearly outweighed any dissatisfaction due to technical difficulties encountered in accessing and using the sites. Figure 4 shows that all subjects saw the Web as a valuable learning tool that offered current information. This fact is also supported by the anecdotal statements in Table 1 in which five subjects commented positively about Web information being current, interesting, varied, and useful in real life.

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Another explanation may be found in the medium's intrinsic characteristics. As mentioned before, the Web offers current, interesting, varied, and useful information that engages multiple modalities through combined text, sound, and visuals. One of these, to which subjects categorically referred and which they enjoyed, was the visual element. Engagement with visuals, as seen in the seventeen references in Table 1, brought about positive attitudes about cultural learning. The following comment illustrates this point: "From the photographs I viewed on the Web, I think parts of Argentina must be absolutely beautiful. I think it is rich in culture and tradition, and, if I had the chance to go to Argentina to dance a tango, I'd go in a flash." According to Monroe (1993), education has overlooked the relevance of visual stimuli in favor of verbal and analytical skills. Hence the incorporation of graphics in instructional materials is the result of instinct, not of principles (Rakes, 1996). Nevertheless, it has been demonstrated that visuals can be employed to aid learning and foster positive attitudes (Poohkay & Szabo, 1995), and visual stimuli can also become memory-assisting devices (Stickels & Schwartz, 1987) as well as comprehension scaffolds (Meskill, 1996). Data presented here strongly suggest that inclusion of visual text for foreign language instruction is highly desirable. However, this integration needs to be thoughtfully planned to produce positive outcomes, such as accelerating learning, increasing learning efficiency, and facilitating retention (Rakes, 1996). Three of the activities presented in this paper (describing photographs from Argentina, finding places for leisure activities in Chile, and creating an authentic Mexican meal) provided a rich display of visual stimuli in the form of photographs. Monroe (1993) claims that photography is an entry device into a culture and its relationships. Through photography subjects came across colorful and authentic manifestations of foreign people, places, costumes and relationships. In both activities, subjects were free to choose what to observe and what to describe. Opportunity to select what to see was advantageous because it offered flexibility to find what was relevant to each individual's own experience. Thus, each observer constructed unique meanings and interpretations of the visual text. Referring specifically to these activities, subjects commented on the opportunity to be creative as they engaged in mentally stimulating activities (Table 1) .

Moving into another aspect of motivation, it is encouraging to report that once having completed an assigned task, one third of the subjects returned to the sites on their own. Suffice it to say that even though motivation for learning beyond expectations is not a very common or easily measured outcome in an instructional setting, this modest outcome would appear to support integrating the Web in foreign language instruction.

Activities

If subjects were ready to overlook deficiencies in the technology without this negatively influencing their attitude towards the medium, they were less willing to ignore tasks' "unclear instructions." Subjects indicated they would have liked more detailed instructions to complete the tasks (Table 1). Additionally, many of the students' suggestions for improvement overall had to do with improving the task directions.

Despite the fact that instructions for the first activity were in English, students had difficulty following them. It may well be that, because this was the first activity, many subjects were unfamiliar with retrieving specific information demanded by the task , or did not read directions carefully, as some of them reported orally throughout the term. Nevertheless, it may be that it was not the clarity of the instructions that produced uneasiness in the students, but rather the task requirements. All activities had open-ended questions with no clear right or

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wrong answers. This type of question perhaps produces too much anxiety in college students in general and beginner foreign language learners in particular.
This may be a reason for them to label the instructions as ambiguous or difficult to understand. Nevertheless, as familiarity with the technology developed, they were less apprehensive about exploring on their own, regardless of any lack of clarity in the instructions.

CONCLUSION

This pilot study integrated Spanish language and culture using the Internet. Results affirm that the medium is a valuable tool for foreign language and cultural learning. Technology seems to be especially beneficial in promoting cultural learning. According to the pilot's participants, advantages of the Internet over other media and instructional tools are numerous: It is informative, "a great way of learning a lot about a foreign place"; it is interesting, ". . .at times I felt so compelled to stray away from the assignment and get side-tracked with the other interesting information"; it is actual, ". . .more current than just reading about it in a book"; it is a good learning tool, "it sincerely helped me use and learn Spanish language and vocabulary"; it is enjoyable, ". . .it was actually pretty fun"; it is authentic and real, ". . .this country seems much like the U.S. but it has a very different culture"; and it is a multimodal medium because it can offer text, sound, and visuals, ". . .many of the pictures were beautiful. . .great. . .interesting." Data presented here also show very high satisfaction when using the Web for foreign language learning, to the point of outweighing technical challenges.

We find these results most encouraging. They should signal to foreign and second language professionals that the easily accessible and varied resources of the World Wide Web have enormous potential for supporting the integration of culture in the foreign language curriculum.

REFERENCES

Alvarez, E. G., & González, O. G. (1993). Reading "inside" the lines: An adventure in developing cultural understanding. Foreign Language Annals, 26 (1), 39-48.

Ballman, T. (1996). Integrating vocabulary, grammar and culture: A model five-day communicative lesson plan. Foreign Language Annals, 29 (6), 37-44.

Canale, M., & Swain, M. (1980). Theoretical basis of communicative approaches to second language teaching and testing. Applied Linguistics, 1, 1-47.

DeKeyser, R. (1995). Learning second language rules: An experiment with a miniature linguistic system. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 17, 379-403.

García, C. (1991). Using authentic reading texts to discover underlying sociocultural information. Foreign Language Annals, 24 (6), 515-526.

Green, P. S., & Hecht, K. (1992). Implicit and explicit grammar: An empirical study. Applied Linguistics, 13 (2), 169-184.

Kramsch, C. J. (1988). The cultural discourse of foreign language textbooks. In A. J. Singerman (Ed.), Towards a new integration of language and culture (pp. 63-88). Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Language. Middlebury, VT: Northeast Conference.

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Lafayette, R. C. (1988). Integrating the teaching of culture into the foreign language classroom. In A. J. Singerman (Ed.), Towards a new integration of language and culture (pp. 47-62). Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Language. Middlebury, VT: Northeast Conference.

Méndez-Faith, T., McVey Gill, M., & Mayne Kienzle, B. (1993). ¿Habla español? (5th ed.). Orlando, FL: Harcourt Brace.

Meskill, C. (1996). Listening skills development through multimedia. Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia, 5 (2), 179-201.

Monroe, S. (1993). Doors and windows of my mind: Thresholds of visual thinking. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 360 213)

Nostrand, H. L. (1989). The beginning teacher's cultural competence: Goal and strategy. Foreign Language Annals, 22 (2), 189-193.

Poohkay, B., & Szabo, M. (1995). Effects of animation and visuals on learning high school mathematics. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Educational Communications and Technology, Anaheim, CA. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 380 122)

Rakes, G. C. (1996). Visuals in instructional design. Performance and Instruction, 35 (3), 30-32.

Sadow, A. S. (1987). Experiential techniques that promote cross-cultural awareness. Foreign Language Annals, 20 (1), 25-30.

Savignon, S. J. (1972). Communicative competence: An experiment in foreign language teaching. Philadelphia, PA: Center for Curriculum Development.

Scott, V. M. (1990). Explicit and implicit grammar teaching strategies: New empirical data. French Review, 63 (5), 779-789.

Shaffer, C. (1989). A comparison of inductive and deductive approaches to teaching foreign languages. Modern Language Journal, 73 (5), 395-402.

Stickels, L., & Schwartz, M. (1987). Memory hooks: Clues for language retention. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 337 013)


ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Maritza Osuna is a doctoral student, Department of Educational Theory and Practice, University at Albany, State University of New York. After many years as a language teaching professional, she is now pursuing research in Language in Education, particularly in the application of technologies to foreign language instruction.

E-mail: osunam@union.edu

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Carla Meskill is Associate Professor, Department of Educational Theory and Practice, University at Albany, State University of New York. She also directs the Center for Electronic Language Learning and Research, a facility dedicated to research in technologies applications to second and foreign language learning.

E-mail: MESKILL@cnsvax.albany.edu



APPENDIX 1

PLEASE COMPLETE THIS FORM AFTER EACH WWW ACTIVITY

Activity Title: ___________________________________________________

Circle the number that best describes your reaction to each of these statements:

1. strongly disagree 4. slightly agree
2. generally disagree 5. generally agree
3. slightly disagree 6. strongly agree

1. Access to the web address was possible at all times 1 2 3 4 5 6
2. Using this address was easy 1 2 3 4 5 6
3. Information provided on this site can be used outside class. 1 2 3 4 5 6
4. The information here has increased my knowledge of Spanish grammar and vocabulary 1 2 3 4 5 6
5. The information here has increased my knowledge of the Hispanic culture 1 2 3 4 5 6
6. I liked using the WWW for this activity 1 2 3 4 5 6
7. I completed the activity in an hour or less 1 2 3 4 5 6
8. I returned to this site to explore some more, even though my assignment was completed 1 2 3 4 5 6
9. Activity instructions were easy to follow 1 2 3 4 5 6
10. Activity tasks are relevant for increasing the knowledge of Spanish language and culture 1 2 3 4 5 6
What I liked about this activity was  
What I didn't liked about this activity was  
Suggestions to improve this activity  

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APPENDIX 2

POST-WWW ACTIVITIES QUESTIONNAIRE

Circle the number that best describes your reaction to each of these statements:
1. strongly disagree 4. slightly agree
2. generally disagree 5. generally agree
3. slightly disagree 6. strongly agree

1. I liked using the WWW for this course 1 2 3 4 5 6
2. Use of the Web in this course made it a more interesting course 1 2 3 4 5 6
3. I talked to the instructor (via email, phone or in person) more because of the use of the Web in the course 1 2 3 4 5 6
4. I talked to my classmates (via email, phone or in person) more because of the use of the Web in the course 1 2 3 4 5 6
5. The Web provided more up-to-date information for the course than print resources 1 2 3 4 5 6
6. I learned more Spanish than I would have because of my Web use 1 2 3 4 5 6
7. I learned additional technical skills as a result of using the Web 1 2 3 4 5 6
8. I believe I will get a better grade in this course than I would have if the Web had not been part of the course 1 2 3 4 5 6
9. I would take another course that included use of the WWW 1 2 3 4 5 6
10. Being able to use the Web is a valuable skill 1 2 3 4 5 6
11. The browser program (e.g., Netscape) I used is an easy program to learn 1 2 3 4 5 6
12. I am comfortable using the Web to find information 1 2 3 4 5 6
13. I could easily show other people how to use the Web 1 2 3 4 5 6
14. It is easier to read Web information than it is to read textbooks 1 2 3 4 5 6
15. Other courses at the college should also use the Web 1 2 3 4 5 6
16. I feel more confident using computer technology now than I did before the course began. 1 2 3 4 5 6
17. Use of the Web is an unnecessary "add-on" for academic purposes 1 2 3 4 5 6
18. Overall, the World Wide Web is a valuable learning tool . 1 2 3 4 5 6

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APPENDIX 3

How to create a web activity for foreign languages

  1. Select a topic from your textbook.
  2. Think about what language functions can be derived from this topic. In other words, what are some of the communicative acts native speakers engage in when dealing with the topic?
  3. Think about the cultural component encompassing the communicative process.
  4. Choose tasks that integrate language and cultural in a natural way.
  5. Search the Internet for a web site to match your tasks:
    • Do a search by country and key word(s) associated with the topic selected.
    • Browse around different sites to find a good match for the tasks. If you are not satisfied, keep searching or adapt your tasks to the information provided at the site.
    • WARNING: Web sites can disappear without notice. Choose a site that is connected to a government agency, a university, a large corporation. This type of sites tends to be more reliable.
  6. When you write the activity, give clear and specific instructions.
  7. Write the activity in the target language.
    • If the activity is for novice learners, use the language in a very controlled fashion. That is, use the language learners know, yet go a bit beyond their proficiency level. If the language employed is to challenging, they will be inclined to give up on the task.
  8. When writing the activity, take advantage of the multimedia dimensions of the medium. Use picture, graphics, movies, music, etc. Think about what can be accomplished by using a computer as opposed to using a textbook. If possible, write the activity to integrate all language skills:
    • Reading. Have students read short selections. Check reading comprehension using true/false statements.
    • Writing. Have students write a about what they read, complete open-ended questions, react to visuals, etc.
    • Speaking. After the activity is completed students can discuss, compare, and contrast tasks.
    • Listening. There are wonderful musical recordings on the web. Lyrics in the target language can function as a mirror of the target culture. Use them to elicit discussion.
  9. Consider the length of the activity. One hour is a good amount of time on task.
  10. If your activity is curriculum based and integrates language with culture, your students will experience linguistic growth, enriched cultural knowledge, and increased motivation. Sounds too good to be true? Try it!

Capítulo 1 Nombre __________________

País: España

Actividad: Un viaje a Madrid Fecha ___________________

La dirección en la red: http://www.softguides.com

Your family is planning a 4 day vacation to Madrid, Spain. You are in charge of finding

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information about the city because you are the only one that speaks Spanish at home. Follow the instructions to complete the blanks. Sometimes only a check mark is required. If you need help finding a place, go to "softguide search." You can also check the Spanish version of the program, if you want.¡Buena suerte!

I.El hotel

Instrucciones: Click on accomodations. Completa la información.

  Nombre Precio en pesetas
-Hotel de lujo _______________________________________________________
-Hotel caro _______________________________________________________
-Hotel moderado _______________________________________________________
-Hostelería _______________________________________________________
-Pensión _______________________________________________________
-Qué tipo de hotel desea tu familia? _______________________________________________________
Si tú y tus amigos visitan Madrid,
¿qué tipo de hotel desean ?
_______________________________________________________

II. Atracciones: EL Retiro

Instrucciones: Click on maps & zones, click on city zone, click on Paseo del Prado, Jardín Botánico.

Completa la información.

-El Retiro, ¿qué es? ________________________________________________________

Sí____ No (Make a check mark)

_________ -El Retiro está lejos del museo del Prado.

_________ -El Retiro es el parque más famoso de Madrid.

_________ -En el Retiro hay un observatorio.

III. Viajes cortos

Instrucciones: Click on day trips. Completa la información.

-Toma un viaje corto a ...... (choose a place):

-Nombre: _____________________________________________

-¿Qué tren necesitas tomar? ________________________________

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-¿Es un buen lugar para visitar con niños? Sí _________ No __________ (Check mark)


IV.Para comprar

Instrucciones: Click on shopping. Completa la información.

-Para comprar libros en español, necesitas visitar:

-Nombre: ________________________________

Dirección: ________________________________

-Para comprar mapas necesitas visitar:-Nombre: ________________________________


V. Atracciones: La corrida de toros (bullfight)
Instrucciones: Click on entertainment, click on bullfight. Make a check mark.

Sí_____No
_________
-En una corrida hay 6 faenas de 15 minutos.
_________-Hay 5 toreros en cada corrida.
_________ -En Madrid, el lugar más famoso para mirar corridas de toros es Las Ventas.
_________-Hay corridas de toros en diciembre.
_________ -Necesitas binoculares para mirar una corrida de toros.


VI.Atracciones: Museo del Prado
Instrucciones
: Click on culture, click on museums, click on the Prado Museum. Completa la información.
-¿Qué es el Prado? _____________________________________
-Dirección ______________________________________

-¿Qué día es posible visitar el museo de 9:00am a 7:00pm? (Circle all that apply)
Lunes(M) Martes(T) Miércoles(W) Jueves(Th) Viernes(F) Sábado(Sat.) Domingo(Sun.)

-¿Qué día no es posible visitar el museo ? (Circle one)
Lunes Martes Miércoles Jueves Viernes Sábado Domingo

-¿Qué día es posible visitar el museo gratis*? (Circle one) *free
Lunes Martes Miércoles Jueves Viernes Sábado Domingo


VII. Las películas* *the movies
Instrucciones: Click on hot news, click on cinema listings, click on cinema listings in Spanish.
¿Qué películas hay en Madrid ahora?
Título en inglés    Título en español

_________________________________ _________________________________
_________________________________ _________________________________

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VIII. Para comer
Instrucciones:
Click on eating out. (Tip: Check dinning out customs & useful terms/food dictionary for more information)
-Tu madre es vegetariana y busca un restaurante vegetariano...
-Nombre: ____________________________________________
-Tu padre desea comer "cocido" y busca un restaurante español auténtico.....
-Nombre:_____________________________________________Tú deseas comer "tapas" y buscas un restaurante....
-Nombre:_____________________________________________
-¿Qué tipo de tapas hay aquí? ____________________________
¿Hay McDonals en España? Sí _________ No _________
¿Hay Taco Bell en España? Sí _________ No _________



Capítulo 2 Nombre___________________
País: Argentina
Actividad: Exposición fotográfica de Argentina Fecha ____________________

La dirección en la red: http://www.mecon.ar/argentin/postcard.htm

Aquí hay una colección de fotografías del fotógrafo argentino Aldo Sessa. Tu tarea es describir cosas o personas en diferentes fotos. (Remember: adjectives have to agree with the subject in gender and number).

Instrucciones:
1. Clic en el mapa de Argentina. Selecciona* una foto de 5 provincias diferentes. Escribe una descripción. *choose 2. Clic en Buenos Aires, la capital de Argentina. Selecciona 3 fotos. Escribe una descripción.
3. Imprime tu foto favorita.

*print

Fotografías de Argentina
Provincia:
Nombre de la fotografía:
Descripción:

Provincia: Nombre de la fotografía:
Provincia:
Nombre de la fotografía:
Descripción:

Provincia:
Nombre de la fotografía:
Descripción:

Provincia:

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Nombre de la fotografía:
Descripción:

Fotografías de Buenon Aires
Nombre de la fotografía:
Descripción:

Nombre de la fotografía:
Descripción:

Nombre de la fotografía:
Descripción:



Capítulo 3 Nombre___________________
País: México
Actividad: Las clases en la Universidad Autónoma de México Fecha ______________
La dirección en la red: http://132.248.39.200

Si tú deseas estudiar un semestre en la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) en la Ciudad de México, necesitas buscr información general de la universidad. Sigue las instrucciones para aprender más sobre la UNAM.

Instrucciones: Clic en Agenda Estadística , a la izquierda de la página. Clic en Agenda Estadística 1995, a la derecha. Clic en "Resumen Estadístico Institucional". Clic en "Personal Académico". Clic en "Personal Académico por Dependencia. Clic en "Facultades".

FACULTADES
"Facultad" has three meanings in Spanish: Mental capacity, teaching body, and schools within a university setting. What is the meaning used here? _____________________________________

1. ¿Cuántas facultades hay en la UNAM ? ___________________________________________
2. ¿En qué facultad hay más personas? ___________________________________________
3. ¿En qué facultad hay menos personas? _________________________________________
4. ¿Cuántas personas hay en la Facultad de Ingeniería? _________________________________
5. En una facultad hay mil once personas. ¿Cuál es ? ___________________________________

Instrucciones: Baja (go down) al final (end) de la página. Clic en "regresar al menú principal". Clic en "Difusión Cultural". Clic en "Actividades de Difusión Cultural". Clic en "Actividades Académicas".



Escoge (choose) 3 actividades académicas que hay en:

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UNAM Tu universidad
1 1
2 2
3 3



Instrucciones:
Baja un poco en a la página a "Actividades Artísticas"

Escoge (choose) 3 actividades artísticas que hay en:
UNAM Tu universidad
1 1
2 2
3 3



Instrucciones:
Clic en Distinciones , a la izquierda de la página. Clic en "Distinciones Universidad Nacional para Jóvenes Académicos". Clic en "1996"

1. ¿Qué estudia la doctora (Dra.) Martha Judith Sánchez Gómez? _________________________
2. ¿Qué estudia la Dra. María Isabel Cabrera Villoro? __________________________________
3. ¿Qué estudia la Dra. Blanca Elena Jiménez Cisneros ? __________________________________________



Instrucciones: Baja al final de la página. Clic en "Regresar a la página anterior". Clic en "Premios Universidad Nacional". Clic en "1996".

1. Los doctores Leogivaldo Quijano y Tirso Ríos Castillo ganaron un premio (won an award) por trabajar en el área de ..
___________________________________________________________________________

2. El Dr. Antonio Turati Villarán ganó un premio por trabajar en el área de..
___________________________________________________________________________

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Instrucciones: Clic en WWW DE LA UNAM, a la izquierda de la página. Baja la página, a la derecha : "Investigación Científica".

1. ¿Qué cursos toman los estudiantes en la UNAM que no hay en tu universidad?

a. _______________________________________
b. _______________________________________
c. _______________________________________



Instrucciones: Baja la página a "Facultades, Escuelas y Unidades Multidiciplinarias". Clic en "Facultad de Ciencias". Baja al final de la página. Clic en "Horarios del Semestre 97".

1. ¿Qué clases hay en la Facultad de Ciencias? _______________________________________________________________________



Instrucciones: Clic en "Biología". Clic en "Semestre 7".

Mira la segunda clase "Fisiología Vegetal" . ¿Qué días hay clase de fisiología? (Circula los días)

Lunes Martes Miércoles Jueves Viernes Sábado

¿Qué día hay clases en la UNAM pero no en tu universidad? (Circula el día)

Lunes Martes Miércoles Jueves Viernes Sábado



Capítulo 4 Nombre __________________
País: Chile  
Actividad: El tiempo en Chile Fecha ___________________
La dirección en la red: http://sunsite.dcc.uchile.cl/cgi-bin/pronostico



I. EL TIEMPO EN CHILE

Instrucciones: Mira el mapa de Chile, abajo en la página está la información del tiempo en Santiago, la capital de Chile.

¿Qué tiempo hace hoy en Santiago? Fecha:____________________________

Instrucciones: Clic en Dirección meteorlógica de Chile (arribe en la página), clic en pronóstico general por ciudades.

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¿Qué tiempo hace hoy? Fecha:_________________________
Ciudad En la mañana En la tarde Temperatura máxima
Africa      
La Serena      
Concepción      
Osorno      
Punta Arenas      
Antártica      

II. LUGARES PARA VISITAR EN CHILE

La dirección en la red: http://www.segeob.cl/sernatur/inicio.html

Instrucciones: Busca un buen lugar paraƒ.

-esquiar:____________________________ ¿En qué estación del año?

-nadar:_____________________________ ¿En qué estación del año?

-ir de compras:_______________________ ¿En qué estación del año?

-ir de vacaciones:_____________________ ¿En qué estación del año?

-hacer un crucero*____________________ ¿En qué estación del año?

-¿otra actividad? ______________________ ¿En qué estación del año?

*cruise

Capítulo 5 Nombre___________________
País: México
Actividad: Un menú mexicano Fecha ___________________
La dirección en la red: http://mexico.udg.mx/Cocina/

En esta actividad vas a aprender cómo los mexicanos sirven una mesa. También vas a preparar un menú mexicano. (Usa el "glosario" a la izquierda, para buscar palabras nuevas).

Instrucciones: En la página principal, clic en "etiqueta de mesa", abajo en la página. Clic en "servir una mesa". Decide si la información es correcta (sí) o incorrecta (no):

Sí_____ No

________ 1. Primero se sirve a la dueña de casa cuando la abuela está presente.
________ 2. Siempre cuando la abuela está presenta, ella come primero.
________ 3. La dueña de casa come último cuando ella sirve.
________ 4. Si la comida está fría, no se puede comer.

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________ 5. Los niños siempre comen primero.
________ 6. En el desayuno, el marido puede comer antes de terminar de servirse la comida.


Instrucciones: Clic en "menú". Clic en "antojitos" y selecciona uno.



EL MENÚ

Antojito
Nombre: ________________________________________________________
Cuatro ingredientes principales:



Instrucciones: Clic en " sopas " y selecciona una.

Sopa

Nombre: ________________________________________________________

Cuatro ingredientes principales:

Instrucciones: Selecciona una carne. Clic en " mariscos," o "aves," o " carnes." Selecciona una.

Carne

Nombre: ________________________________________________________

Cuatro ingredientes principales:

Instrucciones: Clic en " verduras" y selecciona una.

Verdura

Nombre: ________________________________________________________

Cuatro ingredientes principales:

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Instrucciones: Clic en " postres" y selecciona uno.

Postre

Nombre: ________________________________________________________

Cuatro ingredientes principales:

Instrucciones: Clic en " bebidas " y selecciona una.

Bebida

Nombre: ________________________________________________________

Cuatro ingredientes principales:

Instrucciones: Clic en " platillos típicos" (a la izquierda de la página) y selecciona uno.

Nombre del estado: ________________________________________________

Nombre del platillo: _______________________________________________

Cuatro ingredientes principales:

Instrucciones: Clic en "en este mes." ¿Qué platillo recomiendan para el mes de marzo?

Nombre: ________________________________________________________

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