Left to Their Own Devices : On Using iPads Within a Flipped Classroom Approach to Support Student Autonomy and Engagement in Compulsory EFL Classes

Bovee, H. Nicholas and Warin, Jo (2021) Left to Their Own Devices : On Using iPads Within a Flipped Classroom Approach to Support Student Autonomy and Engagement in Compulsory EFL Classes. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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This study examines student engagement within the context of “flipped” English as a foreign language (EFL) classes that promoted active learning through the utilization of interactive iPad activities. These classes formed the core of a compulsory EFL program at a Japanese university. Despite increasing academic interest in both engagement and the flipped classroom, the two together have so far received little attention as a research topic in compulsory EFL contexts. The study begins with an examination of the ontological basis for the three engagement subtypes: behavioral, cognitive, and emotional. It is argued that the construct achieves greater theoretical coherence, in addition to value as a meaningful outcome in itself, by reconceptualizing emotional engagement as relational engagement. The empirical components of the study were conducted in four phases: (a) a quantitative comparison of engagement, autonomy-support, and outcome variables (n = 403), (b) an analysis of observed student behaviors (n = 54), (c) an interview-based investigation of student perceptions regarding engagement and autonomy (n = 21), and (d) an interview-based investigation of teacher perceptions regarding engagement and autonomy (n = 2). The quantitative data revealed that flipped classes resulted in higher engagement relative to conventional teacher-fronted classes, with engagement in technology enhanced flipped-iPad classes rising moderately over the course of a semester. The observational data indicated more instances of student-student interactions in the flipped-iPad classes versus the flipped-textbook classes. However, contrary to assumptions, the per-student and per-group analyses presented a diversity of behaviors and frequencies of occurrence. Student interviews revealed correspondingly diverse views, indicating engagement with and through technology in all of the relations posited by Ihde’s theory of technological mediation (embodied, hermeneutic, alterity, and background). Teacher interviews revealed how beliefs regarding both pedagogical goals and determinants of student success can influence perceptions of engagement and autonomy. The study concludes with a discussion of implications for theory and instruction.

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Thesis (PhD)
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09 Jul 2021 17:35
Last Modified:
16 Jul 2024 05:55