Voluntary Use of Second Life to Expand Contact with the Target Language
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The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of Second Life as a tool to expand students' voluntary contact with the target language. Quantitative and qualitative data were gathered concerning the students' use of the platform and their perceptions of Second Life as a tool for language development. This study also attempted to provide information about how students interact with Second Language in order to provide a basis for further quantitative research into the effectiveness of Second Life for language acquisition. The literature reviewed three different aspects: Second Life as a virtual learning tool, drawbacks of Second Life, and Second Life and its relation with Second Language Acquisition. Three data collection instruments were used in this study: a) Second Life journal, b) Perception survey, and c) Follow-up interviews based on the responses of the survey. The results showed that the voluntary use of Second Life does not seem to be the most practical way to use Second Life. Although there was a positive overall perception of use of Second Life, contradictions between the reported usage and the lack of displacement of Second Life were found. In fact, data suggest that Second Life does not compete well with other activities in the students' daily routines. Additionally, Second Life might be a tool that helps language students build confidence in the target language and to assist them to improve their writing production skills. Lastly, the findings suggest that the obstacles students face in Second Life are limited and do not interfere with their use of Second Life. Recommendations for future studies included use of a larger sample and longer study period, improving the mechanism to confirm the validity of the data, identifying possible ways to implement Second Life in a regular classroom setting, and exploring the reasons why Second Life is not competing with other activities from the students' daily routines.
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