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Volume 16 Number 4, Winter 2019, Pages 1069-1460 PDF Download

Collaborating Online with Four Different Google Apps: Benefits to Learning and Usefulness for Future Work

    Matthew Andrew

This project is in response to the need to integrate new forms of technology in language-learning classrooms, to not only enhance learning, but equip students with the technological and collaborative tools to prepare them for future academic and professional contexts. The purpose of this study was to 1) investigate student attitudes towards doing various language-learning tasks on Google apps, 2) explore some of the advantages and limitations of using Google apps as a cloud-based collaborative tool, and 3) investigate student behaviors while collaborating on Google apps. Surveys and interviews were used with 31 participants in a pre-university EAP course in the UAE to explore student perceptions of using four Google apps (Sheets, Slides, Docs, and Forms) to do various language-learning tasks. Field notes based on observations of one in-class task were also analyzed to investigate student behaviors while collaborating. Participants reported advantages of collaborating on Google apps such as ease of use, working together from different places, and being able to give feedback online. In regards to behaviors, participants showed a tendency to divide their work while collaborating. Some possible limitations to doing language-learning activities on Google apps will be discussed, as well as implications of the study.

Keywords: computer-supported collaborative learning, collaborative writing, EAP, computer-assisted language learning, Google apps, Google Docs