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Wednesday, March 30 • 11:30am - 12:00pm
Paper Presentation 1/8: 194 Collaborative Writing Using Google Docs In A Chinese Second Language Classroom LIMITED

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Students in a natural second language class typically come from different backgrounds and their language proficiency is often highly heterogeneous. While advancements in technology with networked computers have expanded opportunities for written interaction and collaborative group work, it is observed that a teacher-fronted and product-oriented approach is still more commonly adopted. Planning and implementing group work has its different set of challenges in a computer-mediated learning environment and with most students eventually facing individual timed writing assessments during examinations, the use of collaborative writing is relatively low in comparison for Chinese second language classrooms.

Computer-mediated collaborative writing that leverages on the use of technology tools such as Google Docs provides opportunities for second language students to reap benefits in language acquisition and use. From a pedagogical perspective, proficiency is of particular interest amongst learner characteristics for teachers deciding how to best pair/ group students according to similar or different language proficiency. Factors such as patterns of interaction, tasks assigned and learners’ perception of the pair or small group learning experience also influence the effectiveness of deploying this learning mode in second language classrooms. 

This presentation allows participants to gain an understanding of how students with different proficiency interact and collaborate with their peers in Chinese second language writing using Google Docs.

Google Docs support synchronous online editing and encourage participation, engagement and collaboration for knowledge building by multiple users especially in pairs and small groups. The Google Docs automatic revision history function makes students’ learning visible. The use of a coding scheme allows further analysis of students' writing process in revision behaviours in the co-constructed texts using Chinese Hanyu Pinyin input system (i.e. a system of romanisation for phonemic notation and transcription to Roman script). 

Participant attrition contributed to the small sample size. A single collaborative writing task was examined in view of the short time frame. Future research may wish to investigate the effects of collaborative writing on individual writing.  

Understanding students’ experiences of collaborative writing is helpful as well in identifying possible challenges students may face in the process of collaboration so as to shed light on issues from the students’ perspectives and to better support pedagogical design.

The data suggested that pairing learners in high-intermediate and intermediate-low proficiency compositions might be useful in addressing some of the issues and challenges surfaced by the students in heterogeneous grouping during collaborative writing. 

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Wednesday March 30, 2016 11:30am - 12:00pm GMT+08
MR 335