Li-Tang Yu

Jayoung Song

Fu-Yuan Chiu

 

 

ABSTRACT

Second Life (SL), a three-dimensional multi-user virtual environment, has been used as a platform to administer collaborative projects for second-language teaching and learning. SL provides language learners with promising affordances. Most of the SL research in this area is conducted in regular language classes and has designed communicative tasks to be performed by pairs of target-language learners and native target-language speakers. However, few studies involved learners speaking various L1s in participating in SL communicative activities outside of their classes. Therefore, an intercultural collaborative project was developed for university students in Taiwan and South Korea. This study focuses on how this collaborative project in a virtual world could contribute to reducing learners’ foreign-language anxiety and increasing their speaking proficiency. Data was drawn from participants’ responses to an anxiety survey, a perception survey regarding the use of SL, pre- and post-speaking tests, and interviews. The findings showed that the participants maintained their anxiety levels due to the partial anonymity presented in the SL context. The participants had a neutral attitude towards the use of SL in the collaborative project. They significantly improved their speaking performance because of the ample conversation opportunities afforded by the SL tasks. Pedagogical implications for language practitioners and program developers are provided.

 

Key Words: Second Life, intercultural collaborative project, language anxiety, speaking performance