Attitude and Self-Efficacy Change: English Language Learning in Virtual Environments

nebraskaslowΛογισμικό & κατασκευή λογ/κού

31 Οκτ 2013 (πριν από 3 χρόνια και 8 μήνες)

159 εμφανίσεις




1






Attitude and Self
-
Efficacy Change: English Language Learning in Virtual Environments


Dongping Zheng


Robert Brewer

Michael

Young

Manuela Wagner

University of Connecticut

Jeong Hee Seo

Korean
Education

and
Research

Information

Service



Paper prepared fo
r the 2006 annual meeting of the American Educational
Research Association, San Francisco, CA.



Please direct the
correspondence

to the

first author:

Dongping Zheng,
Dongping
.zheng@uconn.edu

Neag School of
Education
, Department of
Educational

Psychology

University of Connecticut

249 Glenbrook Road U
-
2064

Storrs, CT 06269





2




Abstract

This paper explores affective factors in learning English as a foreign/second
language in a 3D game
-
like multi
-
user virtual envir
onment on the
Internet
, Quest
Atlantis (QA)
. Through communication tools (e.g., chat, bulletin board, telegrams
and
email)
, 3D avatar,

and 2D web page navigation tools in virtual space,
Non
-
Native English

Speakers

(
NNES
) co
-
solved with native English speak
ers (NES)
content
-
related problems.
The

QA

group rated themselves higher than the control
group in self
-
efficacy toward advanced use of English
,

attitude toward English
,
and
s
elf
-
efficacy toward E
-
c
ommunication
. These

finding
s

suggest that virtual
worlds
may
provide a space for English Language Learners (ELLs) in the
States
and other countries to increase confidence and comfort, and overcome cultural
barriers for learning English.


Introduction

This paper,
based on

data collected during a large
-
scale

study

using mixed
methodology explores
affective factors in
learning English as a foreign
/second

language
in a
3D game
-
like multi
-
user virtual
environment on the
Internet
, Quest Atlantic
(
http://atlantis.crlt.in
diana.edu/
)
.

Q
uantitative research methods were
deployed

to
measure differences between
the QA

and
control

group
s

in
1) Attitude and
self
-
efficacy
toward English language learning
, 2) English achievement test scores, and 3) English
writing prompts.

The re
cent release of

Research Points by AERA on English Language Learners:
B
oosting Academic Achievement


reported that in the United States 3.4 million children
aged 5
-
17 do not speak English or do not speak it well

(Snow, 2004)
. The majority
,

2.7



3




million,

are

in “linguistically isolated households
.


Snow

pointed out that most English
language learners (ELLs) lag behind classmates in academic English including the ability
to read, write, and engage in substantial conversation about math, science, history, a
nd
other school subjects. With rapid globalization and a shift toward an increasingly
information
-
driven economy, China also sees the need to cultivate a labor force with a
creative intelligence that can com
municate
in
English for
global business. The coun
try
now is redesigning its traditionally “drill
-
and
-
kill” schooling systems to foster innovation
and creativity. English is a required subject from elementary school on for most Mainland
Chinese students
.


Chinese students in Mainland China do not have
man
y opportunities

to use
English
in

authentic

settings;

they have a tendency for low self
-
efficacy and attitude

toward English language learning in general
.
However
, Multi
-
User Virtual Environments

(
MUVEs
)
,

in which
learners

travel through
virtual

space
s

to
engage

in collaborative
learning

with native
English

speakers and pick up language usage

in naturalistic contexts,

provide a
possibility

for

a less stressful and more fun environment to use English
language

(Roed, 2003).
We

anticipate that students’ attit
ude and self
-
efficacy toward
language learning may change
after

their experience in
Quest Atlantis (QA).

Background of the Study

Gardner (1985) reviewed studies

conducted by Desrochers

and Gardner

(as cited
in Gardner,
198
5) and
Cziko and Lambert (
as cite
d in Gardner,
198
5
) on
short
-
term

interaction with members of the
target

language community
. Desrochers

and Gardner

found that
the
high contact group expressed significantly more
favorable

attitudes
towards
learning

French and significantly less use
-
anxiet
y than the control group
.



4




However
,
Cziko and Lambert
’s study
showed no significant changes for either the high
contact

or the control group. Gardner (1985)
concluded

that this phenomenon probably
reflects
dissatisfaction

with

completing a lengthy attitude
battery for a second time in
the

pre
-
post research design. Gardner further pointed out that under these conditions those
experiencing the frequent and presumably pleasant contact express
ed

the relatively more
favorable attitudes indicating the positive eff
ects of inner
-
ethnic contact in the context of
language training.

The relationship between self
-
efficacy and task performance relates to confidence
in accomplishing specific tasks. Soc
ial learning theorists see self
-
efficacy as influencing
future effort,
persistence, learning and achievement. (Bandura, 1977, 1982, 1989; Schunk,
1989a & b; Zimmerman, Bandura, & Martinez
-
Pons, 1992).
Bandura (1986) defined
p
erceived self
-
efficacy as people’s judgments of their capabilities to organize and execute
courses of
action required to attain designated types of performances. It is not concerned
with the skills one has but with judgments of what one can do with whatever skills one
possesses.


Bandura (1977; 1982; 1989
a & b
)
also
posited that experience results in a
gen
eral “anticipation” by learners in the area of cause and effect. An individual’s
specific beliefs about his/her capabilities
are

specific to situation
-
specific constructs.
Strong positive self
-
efficacy beliefs are pro
-
active, in that they “make things ha
ppen.”
High student self efficacy (academic efficacy) should lead to greater success. This is

supported by research (Chapman, et. al., 1989; Pintrich and DeGroot, 1990, Pintrich, et.
al, 1994; Schunck, 1989a; Skinner, 1985)
.
Schunk (1984, 1989) applied sel
f
-
efficacy as
an academic construct in efforts to connect self
-
efficacy with academic performance. He
used instructional interventions designed to raise learners’ perceptions of efficacy and



5




corresponding performance on tasks. The research presented in th
e present paper used
game
-
like MUVEs to engage NNES’ in language use, communicating with native
speakers, and writing quest responses in English.

Roed
(2003)

suggest
ed

that v
irtual

environment
s
may constitute a more relaxed
and stress
-
free atmosphere than a classroom. The low level of inhibition and social
anxiety, in particular, could be advantageous

in foreign language learning, as it might
result in increased language production. In
studies
across the context of socialization in
the virtual environment of
a
bilingual chat

room, Mainland Chinese immigrants who
speak English as a second language exhib
ited an increased sense of comfort, confidence
a
nd fluency in spoken English as a result of socialization (Lam, 2004
, 2006
).
Exolingual
(an interaction between a native speaker and non
-
native speaker) environments

may have
advantages for
language

learning
and attitude change
about

language
learning
. MUVEs
can
create

an exolingual learning community for the children who live in

linguistically

isolated households
in the

United States

as well as children

who study English
in
foreign
countries, such as
China

an
d Korea
.

MUVEs afford users
with
a unique opportunity to interact with others through
sight
and sound
(Dede, 2004; Maher & Corbit, 2002)
, while still maintaining the
capabilities of older technologies
such as
text
-
based chats and Webpages
.
3D virtual
gaming environments estab
lish complex situations
in which
English communication tools,
manipulating tools, and
created
artifacts

are
embedded. Kulikowich and Young (2001)
suggested that such complex learning environments can be educative by affording



6




multiple opportunities to form

intentions and pick up information in service to those
intentions through collaboration.

Methods

Research Design


A p
ost
-
test only quasi
-
experimental design
was

employed
.
Sixty
-
one participants
were

randomly selected from a
pool of 100 volunteers
, who
wer
e

from
two
classes at the
7
th

grade level
in a typical middle school

in Mainland China
. The two classes were taught
by the same teachers. Volunteers
were
randomly assigned to either the QA group or a
control group. Each condition contained students from bo
th classes.
Both groups
attended their regular classroom English instruction during the study
.

Material


Quest Atlantis, an educational 3D MUVE for children aged 9
-
13,
was the
learning

environment for this study.
QA, an ActiveWorlds™ avatar
-
based metavers
e, allows users
to travel to virtual lands where they select educational activities (quests), talk with other
users and mentors through chat, telegrams and emails, and build virtual personae
(Barab,
Thomas, Dodge, Carteaux, & Tuzun, 2005)
. QA is different from other 3D v
irtual worlds
in that it is designed with game
-
like activities for children, such as a mythological
backstory, a point rewarding system and rich graphic object
-
oriented worlds, themes of
social responsibility (shard flower)
,

as well as embedded educational

quests and
instructional affordances for teachers to give just
-
in
-
time instructions

(see Figure 1)
.

Educational quests are usually composed of
three

parts: a scenario based on QA
backstory

(see Appendix A)
, quest

goals and resources (see Appendix B for a
quest)
.




7





Figure 1.
Avatars/ Questers in Quest Atlantis 3D World

Participants


The Monkey King Middle School (MKMS), a pseudonym, was typical of
about

50 public middle level schools in Changchun, China. The school held about 2000

students from one of the four districts, Chaoyang District, which is considered the
“educational district” by Changchun citizens. A few landmarks in the Chaoyang District
,

such as two highly
-
ranked universities in China, Northeast Normal University and Ji
lin
University, two of the largest computer technology development and shopping areas, and
Jilin Provincial Hospital, are indicative of the cultural, educational and technological
development of this area of China. Of these 2000 middle school students from

7
th

to 9
th

grades, sixty
-
one
7
th

grade students, half female and half male were randomly selected
from a pool
of 100

volunteers, from
two

classrooms, each of which had more than 50
students. Volunteers were randomly assigned to QA
(n=31
)

or control group

(
n=30).




8




Treatment
C
onditions


The classrooms in MKMS were all the same size and rectangular shaped. During
the training period of implementation, the first author observed English classes. The first
thing
that jumped
out
visually was

students behind des
ks, row after row. In front of the
rows of chairs and desks were the teacher’s podium, platform and a blackboard. A
computer and a TV monitor were in the front corner across from the doorway. Cleaning
tools, buckets, brooms, etc. were stocked at the back
of the classroom right behind the
last row of students.


Figure 2.

S
tudents watching QA Legend Movie on Their First Day of QA

Ms.
Lin

was the English teacher for both classes. She was one of the two English
teachers at the scho
ol who has a bachelor
’s

degree in English. Most of the teachers have
junior college diplomas. Ms.

Lin

taught 45 minutes for each of the two classes every
morning. On the first day of my observation, she came into the classroom with her orange
jacket and pu
t her textbook on the podium and her audiotape in the tape recorder. Then
class began with reviews, questioning student’s knowledge learned in the previous day,



9




having them read a vocabulary list, checking their recitation of the text. She turned on the
ca
ssette player and had students listening to text with books closed. She then asked
questions regarding the text. Three to five students had their hands up and
were

ready for
the answer. Most of students sat there with their eyes staring at the text. She th
en played
the cassette again and ask
ed

more questions. Students then read together in a group of
four

with the goal of picking up the new and important phrases to learn and memorize.
Ms.
Lin

rarely used the chalkboard to aid instruction. Most communication

was mediated
through speech.

There were 60 desktop PC’s in the lab where QA took place in MKMS. Lab
settings were the same as classrooms, row after row of computer
s

as shown in Figure 2
.
The control center allowed teachers to take over students’ screen
s

for demonstration and
modeling. Once students were settled in the lab, it was hard to move except for those who
sat on the
a
isle. There was only one
a
isle in the lab.

The Intervention

and Data Collection


T
he
QA

group
(n=3
1
)
participated in QA once a week
, 60 minutes on average
each week

during the 2004
-
2005 academic year.
Half of them were male and half of them
were female.
Participants

explored QA worlds

and

completed

quests that
were

content
driven
.

Table 1 shows the status of quest completion in which
most students completed
single questing, Quest Atlantis Mission, Who Am I, and All about Friends (1a).
Becoming an E
-
pal was the quest in which Monkey Middle School students in China and
All S
tar
’s

Middle School in Australia collaborated. There

were

nine

pairs of questers
engaged in the
co
-
questing as a result of mundane logistics to arrange collaboration. The
school schedules in China and Australia w
ere

dramatically different, which created



10




extreme difficulties
in

bring
ing

participants into QA space to co
llaborate synchronously.
However,
t
hrough
asynchronous tools, such as email, telegrams, and
bulletin

board
,
Chinese participants communicated with Australians
about themselves and g
eneral life in
their countries. The product of this asynchronous collaborat
ion was PowerPoint (PPT)
slides that described their counterparts’ hobbies, interests and why the
y

like
d

their
buddies. The PPT
slides templates

were provided to
co
-
questers and the content about
their buddies was completed by using the information they co
mmunicated through
asynchronous tools

The Council members
1

acknowledged the logistics problems and tried their best
to come to QA themselves
,

encourag
ing

their Australia
n

and Singaporean students to
come to QA from home to

at the time when Chinese students

were having QA class,

to
communicat
e

through

chat

and 3D

avatars

in virtual space
. As a result
,

Chinese
participants
chatted
with native English speakers across nations
(
Australia, Singapore,
and the United States)
and council members (teachers in the ro
le
of
mythical characters).
May
,

2005, after a year

s intervention, all participants filled out an online
Survey of
Attitude and Self
-
Efficacy toward English Language Learning

which consisted of
demographic information
, a Likert
-
type scale of 1 to 5

from
strongly disagree to strongly
agree
, and qualitative feedback
(See Appendix D

or
http://www.education2.uconn.edu/epsy240/dzheng/ELL/survey/qaell.cfm
)
.

Table 1

Quests and C
o
-
quests that QA group completed


Quest

Saved

Pending

Revise

Complete

Total

All about Friends (1a)

0

3

11

12

26

Becoming an E
-
Pal

(co
-
quest)

0

7

1

1

9

Bedroom

0

1

0

0

1

Bummer Breakers

0

1

2

0

3




11




Fish Kill (Q1): What's the Cause?

0

2

0

0

2

Mega Mapping Fun!

0

1

0

1

2

OTAK Hub

0

0

0

1

1

Quest Atlantis Mission

0

3

19

10

32

Sharing The Taiga (Q1)

0

0

0

1

1

What A Novel Idea!

0

0

0

1

1

What is a Proverb?

0

0

1

1

2

Who Am I

0

3

5

20

28


Participants’ standardized English achievement test scores were also collected:
final exam Spring 2004 semester (before QA intervention), final exam Spring 2005
semester (
after

QA intervention), and English essays from final
exam Spring 2005.
The
English essay is one of the test items within a standard achievement test administered to
all students in the school twice each semester, the writing prompt of which for the final
exam of Spring 2005 was “My Favorite Pet”.


Analysis
and Results

Data analyses were conducted in three parts. In part 1,
e
xploratory
f
actor
a
nalysis
and reliability test were conducted to establish the constructs and construct reliability. In
part 2,
reliability test was conducted on a
chievement
t
est
items
and

the
Flesch
-
Kincaid
Grade Level scores

were
calculated on English essay scores.
In

part 3,
a

two
-
tailed
independent sample
t
-
test
was

conducted on the
three

factors, pre and post English
Achievement Test total scores
,

and Flesch
-
Kincaid Grade Level scor
es
.

E
xploratory
F
actor
A
nalysis and Reliability Test on the Survey Scale


A
fter checking missing values and normality

in the survey data
,
a
n
e
xploratory
f
actor
a
nalysis (
P
rincipal

Axis Factoring
) was
performed
on the 1
6

interval
-
scaled items
using Statisti
cal Software for the Social Sciences (SPSS version 12)
.
The analysis

produced a
three
-
factor

solution, evaluated with eigenvalues

greater than 1.0,
variance,



12




and scree plot. Items with loadings of more than .
4
0 were considered representative of
that factor
.

The results of the
oblique

solution were interpreted and items were selected based
on the strength of their unique contribution to extracted factors. The sets of items
representing each extracted factor were treated as subscales and tested for their int
ernal
consistency.

T
he three factors
were
:

S
elf
-

efficacy

toward
A
dvanced
U
se of
English

(
Alpha Reliability

=.86)

19. I feel comfortable speaking English to Native
-
English speakers e.g.

Americans, Australians, etc.

22. I feel comfortable reading an Englis
h newspaper, e.g. China Daily.

31. I feel I am able to chat fluently in an English online chat room.

32. I feel I can speak English fluently.

36. I feel I can creatively express opinions in English.


A
ttitude toward English (fun)

(
Alpha Reliability

=.82)

24. I feel comfortable in expressing opinions in English.

25. I feel learning English is easy.

26. I am willing to communicate in English.

27. I feel learning English is fun.

28. I feel chatting in English is fun.


S
elf
-
efficacy toward E
-
C
ommunication

(
Alpha Reliability

=.81)

18. I feel comfortable chatting online in English

20. I feel comfortable writing an email in English

21. I feel comfortable reading an email in English.


Standardized English Achievement Test


Achievement tests, which are issued b
y the Changchun Bureau of Education,
make up

the

data source for

this study
.

A sample of 58 students’ standardized tests (Final
E
xam of Fall 2003 issued by the Changchun Bureau of Education, China) was randomly
selected. A subset of eighty
-
five dichotomous

items from the test
was

used to calculate
the reliability. The results revealed .93 using Kuder
-
Richardson 20 technique.




13




English essays
on My Favorite Pet
were transcribed in Word (by the first author)
and readability statistics including
Flesch
-
Kincaid G
rade Level scores were calculated in
Word.
Each readability score bases its rating on the average number of syllables per word
and words per sentence.
The
Flesch
-
Kincaid Grade Level score

rates text on a U.S.
school grade level. For example, a score of 8.0

means that an eighth grader can
understand the document.

M
ost popular magazines and
newspaper
s

aim for a score of
approximately 7.0 to 8.0.

T
wo
-
tailed
I
ndependent
S
ample
T
-
test


A two
-
tailed
independent sample
t
-
test

was conducted on the Spring 2004 pre
-
achievement test
and the results show that there was no statistical difference between QA
and control groups before the treatment began,
t

(
1, 5
8
)=
1.53
, p= 1.32.

A two
-
tailed
independent sample
t
-
test

with Modified Bonferroni Adjustments for
five
compari
sons

was

carried out
(e.g., Jaccard & Wan, 1996)
.
Means and standard
deviations for the
five variables are shown in Table
2
.The highest mean score among the
statistically significant variables is E
-
communication
,
M
=
4.00 (
SD
=.67)
.

As shown in
Table

3
, t
he
t
-
test

was
statistically
significant

on

the


A
dvanced
U
se of
English

,
t

(
1, 50
)
=

-
2.64
, p= .0
11,

A
ttitude toward English (fun)
”,

t

(
1, 47
) =

-
2.61
, p= .
0
12
,

E
-
Communication,
t

(
1, 51
) =

-
2.45
, p= .0
18, and Post
-
achievement

test scores
,

t

(
1, 58
) =

2.09
,

p= .0
41
.

The statistical significance on the 3 affective variables
is

in favor of QA
-
group

after
Modified Bonferroni Adjustments as shown in Table 2
.
H
owever, the Non
-
QA group
achieved

higher scores in
their

post
-
achievement

test.

Table
2

Means (SD) of
Experimental and Control Groups




14





Variables

QA group


Non
-
QA
group



M (SD)

n

M (SD)

n

A
dvanced
U
se of
English

3.76(.61)

29

3.19(.94)

23

A
ttitude toward English (fun)

3.83(.43)

27

3.34(.86)

22

E
-

communication

4.00(.67)

29

3.46(.94)

24

Post
-
achieveme
nt test

106.31
(6.04)

29

109.11
(4.27)

30

Flesch
-
Kincaid Grade Level

2.8
6(1.31)

29

2..60
(1.04)

29


Table

3

Significance after
Modified Bonferroni Adjustments


Tests

Obtained
Significance

Original
Alpha

Divisor

New
Alpha

Significance

A
dvanced
U
se of
Englis
h

.011

.05

4

.013

yes

A
ttitude toward English
(fun)

.012

.05

3

.017

yes

E
-

communication

.018

.05

2

.025

yes

Post
-
achievement Test

.041

.05

1

.050

yes


Discussion

QA
activities

among
the
3
1

QA
participants
, by the end of one year’s intervention,

consi
st
ed

of 8082 chats, 2862 logins, 137 emails sent and 211 emails
received
, 183
lumins/points gained (from completing quests and engaging in QA games and chats) and
46 quests completed.
These activities distinguished them from the comparison group in
that t
he QA
-
group expressed high confidence in daily language use activities and in chat
room communications. QA participants also developed

a

positive attitude toward English
language and learning. They perceived English language in QA as fun and interesting in

comparison to learning English in their classroom activities; as many
students

expressed
“In my

classroom, learning English is really boring But in QA we can get lots of



15




interesting English information.

The
results conform

to
Lam

s
(2004)
study
that show
ed
that Mainland Chinese immigrants
exhibited an increased sense of comfort, confidence
a
nd fluency in spoken English as a result of socialization
in an online
chat room.

T
he QA
group rated
themselves

higher than non
-
QA group in perceptions that learning
E
nglish

is
easy and fun, chatting in English is
fun,

in their
willing
ness

to communicate in English,
and
their
comfort in expressing opinions in English. These attitude differences support
the
assumption

that

game
-
like
MUVES
with designed educational quests

afford middle
school students in China
a chance
to use
English
language to communicate through chat
,
telegrams and emails, as well as completing content
-
related quests
.

The result that the

significance of the post
-
English test favors the non
-
QA group

is
not what
w
e

hoped to find
. Ideally no difference would have supported our hope the
QA would enhance students’ attitudes without affecting their achievement on
standardized tests. The disappointing result can be explained by removal of students
from test p
reparation exercises, which were didactic in nature and used the typical “drill
and kill” exercises for memorizing facts. This method is recognized as appropriate for
enhancing performance on achievement assessments up to a point. However, at some
point
students’ attitudes can cap their willingness to continue their study of English. In
short, measurement of achievement is a reflection of past behavior, while the assessment
of
self
-
efficacy and attitude toward
learning of English indicate QA students migh
t
achieve more in the long term.
Another possibility
we

offer is that the QA group might
have become falsely more confident in the test
-
taking ability, more relaxed and confident
in English, as a result of which they did not spend as much time as their cou
nterparts in
preparing for the test. What the test measured
was

different from what they learned in QA.



16




Tracking student study time would clarify this in future studies. It may also be necessary
in future research to administer a more communicative assess
ment as a dependent
measure.
It is possible that a blended environment of QA and didactic classroom
instruction can best suit the needs of Chinese children learning English, but the issue of
study time for test preparation remains an issue. Our results pr
ovide a
caution as

to
trad
ing
off

short
-
term achievement goals for improved self
-
efficacy to help long
-
term
engagement.

Conclusions

By providing a detailed description

of school and classroom context
s where the
study took place, our

aim
was

to convey the o
verall picture of
how English

is taught in
Mainland Chinese classroom
s
. QA represented a substantially different experience added
to such classrooms for this study. QA established a backstory asking participating
students to help the citizens of Atlantis
by providing wisdom to rebuild the arch of
Atlantis, and allowed each child to engage in
a
vatar
-
based virtual space explorations and
searches for information. This environment was rich with English language usage,
including signs and webpages, bulletin bo
ards, chat channels with other avatars, and
private telegrams.

By responding
to
goal directed quest scenarios, QA participants
practiced reading and writing in English in authentic ways
, in

that their advice and
personal stories were read and given feedbac
k by the Council.
The informal chatting with
Council member
s

and the Native English Speakers they met in the QA space also play
ed

an important role to differentiate
the
QA group from the none
-
QA group in E
-
communications.




17




Even though the logistics

that

we

and the research team had to handle for
coordinating collaboration at student, teacher and technology coordinator levels
,

mainly

in the MKMS and All
S
tar
’s

School
, were difficult
,
it
was

worth the effort

in
that
English language learning students from M
ainland China increased their attitude

toward

and self
-
efficacy in English.
QA participants realized the meaning of learning English
and set themselves realistic goals to become better at communication in English.

Speaking English very
well, like

a nativ
e speaker of English and can use it very well.
” “
I
want to study better. I hope I can communicate with native speakers
fluently
(
流利地
)
and I can use it like the native speakers in my life.


More importantly,

The QA experience brought Chinese students opportunities to
make friends, express their opinions,
and
share their life interests with real
English
-
speaking
people they met.

In

students

own words:


'In class we only talk

(sic)
to our classmates and English teacher,

but in QA we
can talk to the real foreigners from
Australia, America

and so on.


'It's more
interesting. And

it can help me make more friends and even I can know

more

about the world. It has games, I like QA better.


It is
my

hope that the students’ attitude change is transparent in their regular
English classroom, where they can speak English all the time. However, as students said
themselves, “
Our English teacher alw
ays speak Chinese, because some of the students
can't really understand it. But i
n QA, we always chat in English.” Computer
-
mediated
communications ha
d

significant value in this situation,
as

d
id

the intervention and this
research study.




18




Implications


This

research has
significance

in helping us understand

the potential roles of

MUVEs

in changing self
-
efficacy and attitude in language learning. Such attitudes are
associated with future behaviors and students with better attitudes today are more likely
to pe
rsist and engage in English language learning in the future. By looking at the effect
of these affective

factors
,

we

can gain insight into developing computer mediated
communication environments for ELLs
.

Equally important,
study
of

the affective factors

resulting from partaking in the virtual
environment

is timely
,

considering the current need
to meet national and local testing requirements. The potential of MUVEs on the World
Wide Web to make ELLs more confident should be explored
since
virtual

environm
ents

tend to reduce
anxiety

for language learners

and bridge them in the target language
community, thus affecting their self
-
efficacy and attitude toward English learning
.

T
his
research

findings

may be able to help

t
hose 2.7 million American children who
live in
“linguistically

isolated

households


(Snow, 2004)

to interact in exolingual virtual
environment
s

that increase their confidence and comfort and overcome cultural barriers
to learning English.




19




References

Bandura, A. (1982).
Self
-
efficacy mechanism in human agency.
American Psychologist,

37,

122
-
147.

Bandura, A., 1986.
Social foundations of thought and action: A social cognitive theory.


Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Bandura, A. (1989a). Regulation of cognitive proces
ses through perceived self
-
efficacy.

Developmental Psychology, 25,

729
-
735.

Bandura, A. (1989b). Human agency in social cognitive theory.
American Psychologist,

44,

1175
-
1184.

Barab, S., Thomas, M., Dodge, T., Carteaux, B., & Tuzun, H. (
2005
). Making l
earning

fun: Quest Atlantis, a game without guns.
Educational Technology Research &
Development

53(1): 86
-
107.

Dede, C. (2004). The future of learning technologies. Retrieved May 4, 2005 from

http://course1.winona.edu/lgray/el675/Articles/Dede04.html

Ga
rdner, R. C. (1985).
Social psychology and second language learning.

Baltimore, MD:

Edward Arnold.

Jaccard, J. & Wan, C. K. (1996).
LISREL approaches to interaction effects in multiple

regression.

Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Lam, W. S. E. (200
4).
Second language socialization in a bilingual chatroom: Global

and local considerations.
Language Learning and Technology, 8
(3): 44
-
65.

Maher, C., & Corbit, M. (2002). Creating genetic applications for informal and science

learning in multi
-
user virt
ual environments.
Journal of Network and Computer
Applications, 25, 295
-
308.Reeder, K., Macfadyen, L. P., Roche, J., & Chase, M. (2004).

Negotiating cultures in cyberspace: Participation patterns and problematics.
Language Learning and Technology, 8
(2), 8
8
-
105.

Pintrich, P. R. And E. V. DeGroot. (1990). Motivational and self
-
regulated learning

components of classroom academic performance.

Journal of Educational
Psychology, 82

(1), 33
-
40.

Pintrich, P. R., R. W. Roeser, and E. A. M. DeGroot. (1994). Classr
oom and individual

differences in early adolescents' motivation and self
-
regulated learning.
Journal of
Early Adolescence, 14

(2), 139
-
161.

Roed, J. (2003). Language learner behavior in a virtual environment.
Computer Assisted

Language Learning, 16
, 155
-
172.

Schunk, D. H. (1984). Self
-
efficacy perspective on achievement behavior.
Educational

Psychologist
, 19,

48
-
58.

Schunk, D. H. (1989a). Self
-
efficacy and achievement behaviors.
Educational

Psychology Review, 1,

173
-
208.

Schunk, D. H. (1989b). Social

cognitive theory and self
-

regulated learning. In B. J.

Zimmerman & D. H. Schunk (Eds.),
Self
-

regulated learning and academic
achievement: Theory, research, and practice.

New York: Springer
-
Verlag.

Schunk, D. H. (1989
c
). Self
-
efficacy and cognitive ach
ievement: Implications for

students with learning problems.
Journal of Learning Disabilities
, 22,

14
-
22.

Snow, C. E. (2004). English language learners: boosting academic achievement.

Research Points, 2(1), 1
-
4.

Zimmerman, B. J., Bandura, A., & Martinine
z
-
Pons, M. (1992). Self
-
motivation for




20




academic attainment: The role of self
-
efficacy beliefs and personal goal setting.
American Educational Research Journal, 29,

663
-
676.







21




Appendix A: QA Back Story
-

Legend and Mission


1. QA Legend


You may have he
ard of the mythical Atlantis a paradise, a perfect city, sunk beneath the
ocean, now but a legend. Yet, this Atlantis is not a legend to me
-
it is very real; it is my
home. I am Alim, an Atlantian, a citizen of the planet Atlantis, in a solar system much
li
ke your own, yet millions of light years away.


Thousands of years ago, we came to your planet and created an outpost of sorts, a colony
-
the city of Atlantis, as you call it. For reasons long forgotten in our history, we
abandoned this outpost and laws wer
e passed forbidding us to visit the Earth again. Yet
the memory of your planet lives on, and we have wondered about your fate. Just as what
you know of Atlantis is based on myth, rather than fact
-
our knowledge of your planet has
also been lost.


The recent

death of our Emperor Buta has opened many Atlantian's eyes to the idea that
perhaps Atlantis is not the perfect society we thought it was. We felt that Atlantis made
wondrous advances and progress under Buta's rule. We enjoyed the comfort and profits
of w
hat we could produce, yet now we see that all of it has come with a cost. We have
created problems in our environment and gaps between the rich and poor of Atlantis. We
have citizens who seek to help themselves, not others. We suffer from ignorance and
int
olerance.


Buta's children, Mara and Nakal, have taken his place as leaders of Atlantis yet they are
just as blind, if not more so than Buta was to the problems caused by greed and
ignorance. In their effort to push progress at any cost, they destroyed the

Ancient Arch of
Wisdom for fear that "old ideas" would impede their technological progress.


This great arch, which held the six keystones of wisdom, served as the gateway to the
Sacred Gardens, the hallowed ground where the Elders of Atlantis would anoin
t those
who had demonstrated their wisdom. Together, the six keystones contained the essence of
Atlantis and the people's reverence for identity, community, and wisdom.


All that is now left of the Arch are its inscribed pieces. The knowledge of what each
means and how they fit together is lost. Without this knowledge, Atlantis is doomed and
our future is bleak. Clearly, something must be done.


I am part of a group of Atlantians who secretly met at the ancient temple in the Gunung
mountains to form the Co
uncil. The mission of this newly formed Council is to seek out
new solutions to our planet's problems, to gain greater understanding of other cultures
-
including your own, in the hopes that we might better ourselves in the process.


Although Mara and Nakal

have forbidden it, our crisis has again inspired a renewed
interest in Earth. We want to know how has your planet changed in the past three
thousand years? How similar are we to each other? How different? How have you



22




survived? How can you help us deal wi
th our problems? Mara and Nakal still enforce the
old laws forbidding us from visiting Earth so we have established the OTAK, a virtual
environment, a matrix, that serves as a technological portal through which we can
communicate with you, the people of Ea
rth.


The OTAK holds a series of challenges called quests, designed to help restore the
wisdom of Atlantis. By completing these quests, you can help us rebuild the Arch of
Wisdom. Each member of the Council has been put in charge of a virtual world in the

OTAK. Each world is devoted to different elements of Atlantian wisdom. If Mara and
Nakal knew of our plans, they would surely destroy OTAK.


We challenge you to access the OTAK and join us in our quest. Hurry Questers, the
wisdom you share with Atlantis h
elps us help ourselves. We cannot do this alone. Please
work with the Council to save Atlantis and avoid what may be our common fate!


2. QA Mission: The Social Commitments and Shardflower



The mission of Quest Atlantis is to support children in develop
ing their own sense of
purpose as individuals, as members of their communities, and as knowledgeable citizens
of the world. We care about supporting the development of healthy people, healthy
communities, and a healthy world with the goal of making the wor
ld a better place. The
QA project will foster an awareness of seven critical dimensions in order to actualize
them in the lives of children:



Creative Expression
-

"I Create"

Diversity Affirmation
-

"Everyone Matters"

Personal Agency
-

"I Have Voice"

Soci
al Responsibility
-

"We Can Make a
Difference"

Environmental Awareness
-

"Think Globally,
Act Locally"

Healthy Communities
-

"Live, Love, Grow"

Compassionate Wisdom
-

"Be Kind"







The Shardflower gives Questers the chance to see their progress relative t
o the
seven
social commitments
. Made from broken shards of the Arch, the Council discovered that
this Shardflower will illuminate differently based on the work and commitments of its
holder. Therefore, the Council has linked the Shardflower to the OTAK in
order to share
its powers with those whose work is helping them on Atlantis. Unlike the earning of
currency or simple points, the accumulation of lumins represents a Quester’s
advancement on a social commitment.




23




At threshold points in a Quester’s developm
ent and gaining of lumins, they will be asked
to counsel the Council through polls inspired by specific, urgent dilemmas on Atlantis.
This process of directly contributing to the work of the Council punctuates the process of
“lumination” and is represented

by the illumination of a shard on the Shardflower. The
interior petalshards represent the first degree of lumination on a social commitment. The
exterior leafshards represent a second degree, as Questers explore and work even further
on a commitment. As p
ictured here, the Shardflower is representing a Quester who has
luminated twice on Diversity Affirmation and once on Healthy Communities,
Compassionate Wisdom, and Creative Expression. The circular, red “seeds” in the
petalshards hold iconic representation
s of the social commitments. Clicking on these will
link Questers to the social commitment pages compiled by the Council and the QA Team.




24




Appendix B:
A
Sample
QA Quest

Who Am I

Village:

All About Us Village

Lumins:

2

Cols:

2

Reviewed By:

Council

Social Commitment:

Personal Agency




While we are all Atlantians, we are each special in our own way. Some of us like chess,
others like

sports or music, and some like all of these.

We want to know more about what makes people on Earth Special. We want you to tell
us who you are by writing a poem. Lots of people on Atlantis like to write poems. In this
poem you have one rule: each line mu
st start with "I am ..." You can include lines about
your hobbies, movies, favorite food, etc...

See the sample poem below.

Your Goal(s):







Brainstorm about your favorite things.



Write a poem about youself in which you start each line with "I am ..."




Be certain to include those favorite things that, in your poem, become part of
who you are (see Sample).



Submit your poem to the Council through the OTAK.

Resources

Sample
-

My Personal "I Am From" Poem

I am basketball on a snowy driveway. I am fish

sticks, crinkle
-
cut frozen french fries and
frozen mixed vegetables. I am primarily white, upper
-
middle class neighborhoods and
racially diverse schools. I am Donkey Kong, Ms. Pac Man, Atari 2600 and sports video
games. I am football on Thanksgiving and N
ew Year's Day. I am "unity in diversity" and
"speaking from your own experience." I am diversity, multicultural education, identity,
introspection, self
-
reflection, and social action. I am Daffy Duck, Mr. Magoo, Hong
Kong Phooey, Foghorn Leghorn, and other

cartoons. I am Tae Kwon Do, basketball, the
batting cages, a soccer family, and the gym. I am a wonderful family, close and loving
and incredibly supportive. I am films based on true stories and documentaries I am the
History Channel, CNN, ESPN, BRAVO, an
d Home Team Sports. I am a passion for
educating and facilitating, personal development and making connections.





25




Appendix C: PowerPoint Slides Template Sample for the Becoming E
-
Pal Co
-
Quest


Slide 1



Slide 2



Slide 3



Slide 4






26




Slide 5



Slide 6







27





Appendix
D
: Survey of Attitude and Self
-
Efficacy toward English Langu
age Learning

Top of Form




28




Survey of Attitude and Self
-
Efficacy toward English Language Learning

Instructions:

Directions: All responses to the following items will be kept confidential. Please answer freely and
honestly.

I.
Please read each of the foll
owing statements carefully. Then choose an appropriate answer.

Note this is
not a test

and there is
no right or wrong answer
. Please choose the one that best
describes you.


1. I am a

girl

boy

2. I am in grade

3. My first name is


My last name is






4. My nationality is:
Chinese /
American /
Australian /
other, please
specify






5. My favorite subjects are (Check all that apply.):



Math

Geography






English

Philosophy (politics)







Ch
inese

Music






Biology

Art (Painting, drawing)






Physics

P.E. (Physical Education)






History

Other (please specify)






6. I use computers at school:







7. I use computers at home :











8. When I am working on the computer, I usually (Check all that apply.):



Surf on the Internet.

Send and receive email.





Search for information for my projects.

Play games, Please specify the name of the games:

.






29






Do my homework using word processing software.

Watch DVD (movies/TV shows).





Chat with my friends using instant messenger.

Other, Please specify:
.





9. I use Engish outside of school (Check all that apply.)





at English corners.

after s
chool English classes.





in online chat rooms.

sending and receiving email.





in Instant Messenger.

other places, (please specify)





10. Besides homework, I speak English
outside of school, e.g. at English corners,

after school English classes, or somewhere else.





11. Besides homework, I read in English outside of school





12. Besides homework, I write in English outside of school





13. I chat in online English chat rooms





17. I attend English classes outside of my school







II. Please read each of the following statements carefully. Then choose whether you:

1 = strongly disagree with the statement

2 = disagree with the statement

3 = are not certain or undecided about the statement

4 = agree with the statement

5 = strongly agree with the statement





Strongly

Disagree

Disagree

Uncertain

Agree

Strongly

Agree



1

2

3

4

5



18. I feel comforta
ble chatting online in English.

我感觉用英语在线聊天很舒坦自然。









ㄹ⸠1⁦eel c
潭f潲table s灥a歩ng English t漠Native
-
English s灥a步rs e⹧⸠AmericansⰠAustraliansⰠetc.

我感觉用英语与说英语的外国朋友交流很舒坦自然
,
例如美
国人,

澳大利亚人等。










30






20. I feel comfortable writing an email in English.

我感觉用英语写电子邮件很舒坦自然。









㈱⸠2⁦eel c潭f潲table rea摩ng an email in English⸠

我感觉读英语电子邮件很舒坦自然。









㈲⸠2⁦eel c潭f潲table rea摩ng an English news灡灥rⰠ
e⹧⸠China Daily⸠

我感觉阅读英语报纸很舒坦自然,例如中国日报。











Strongly

Disagree

Disagree

Uncertain

Agree

Strongly

Agree



1

2

3

4

5



23. I feel comfortable writing an essay in English.

我感觉写英文短文很
舒坦。









㈴⸠2⁦eel c潭f潲table in ex灲essi湧 潰oni潮s in
English⸠

我觉得我能很舒坦地用英语表达见解。








㈵⸠2⁦eel learni湧 English is easy⸠

我觉得学习英
语很容易。








㈶⸠2⁡m willi湧 t漠c潭mu湩cate in English.

我愿意用学习英语与人交流。








㈷⸠2⁦eel learni湧 English is fun⸠

我觉得学习英语很有趣。









28. I feel chatting in English is fun.

我觉得用英语聊天很有趣。











Strongly

Disagree

Disagree

Uncertain

Agree

Strongly

Agree



1

2

3

4

5



29. I
find it easy to write an English essay.

我觉得写短文英语很容易。









㌰⸠3⁦eel I can write a⁧rammatically c潲rect es
say in








31




English.

我觉得我能用正确的语法写短文。



㌱⸠3⁦eel I am a扬e t漠ohat f
luently in an English
潮line chat r潯o⸠

我觉得我能在英语在线聊天室流利地用英语聊天。









32. I feel I can speak English fluently.

我觉得我能流利地说英语








㌳⸠3⁦
eel that I am a扬e t漠ose English in sch潯o.

我觉得我在学校能使用英语。








㌴⸠
I⁦eel I can use English 潵tsi摥 潦 sch潯o⸠


觉得我在校外能使用英语。










St
rongly

Disagree

Disagree

Uncertain

Agree

Strongly

Agree



1

2

3

4

5



35. I feel I can express myself in English freely


我觉得我能自由地用英语表达我自己。








㌶⸠3⁦eel I can creatively ex灲ess 潰oni潮s in
English⸠

我觉得我能创造性地用英语表达见解。






III.
In this section, please share with us, as much as you can, your ideas about the following questions. if you
do not feel you can fully express yourself in Engli
sh, please feel free to use Chinese.




39. Do you think QA will help you learn
English? If so, how?

你觉得
QA
帮助你学习英语吗?如果是的话,

是怎样
帮助的?









40. How could you help your classmates
become more comfortable using English?

你怎样才能帮助你的同学更舒坦的使用英语?










32






41. What goals have you set fo
r yourself in
learning English?

你在英语学习方面为自己树立了什么样的目标?









42. How is QA different from your classroom
for learning English?

QA
与你的课堂英语学习有什么不同?











33