Collaborative and Individual Vocabulary Building Using ICT

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Abstract

Vocabulary knowledge affects any learner’s general language proficiency and the lack of vocabulary is often seen as an obstacle in a student’s progress. This statement becomes even truer when considering languages for specific purposes as the knowledge of technical vocabulary is closely connected to mastering professional skills. The research on vocabulary learning distinguishes two types of learning, incidental and intentional, which should complement each other. One of the most efficient intentional strategies proved to be the use of flashcards. Modern technologies have contributed to further development of this rather popular method by offering new ways of vocabulary consolidation as well as novel forms of interaction.

The main objective of the paper is to introduce a teaching methodology aimed at the intentional building of students’ vocabulary, however, at the same time making students being aware of a broader context in which a word or a collocation is used. The presented methodology involves student generated and recycled content as well as the use of electronic tools, namely Google docs and Quizlet.

In the course of three subsequent spring semesters, students first created a Google Docs collaborative learning log with lists of vocabulary, the following year’s students uploaded the lists of definitions and translations into Quizlet sets and in the final year the words in Quizlet flashcards where supplemented with example sentences. Students’ performance showed that both Google Docs and Quizlet are efficient tools not only for vocabulary learning, but also for language teaching. The proposed methodology was used in legal English classes, however, it can be implemented in any language course.

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