Arvanitis, P. (2019). VR vs AR. Are suitable for the development of linguistic skills in second language teaching? Proceedings of 13th International Technology, Education and Development Conference (INTED 2019), 11-13/3/2019, pp. ----. Valencia, Spain: International Academy of Technology, Education and Development (IATED).
In past decades the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, and Assessment (CEFR), is widely adopted and accepted as a European standard for teaching and learning foreign languages. CEFR’s implementation promotes the linguistic diversity within the European Union and additionally support the use of Information and Communication Technologies as networks and digital tools at the service of teaching or learning foreign languages. In this broader context, the use of New Technologies has become today a key factor. The expansion of Virtual Reality’s applications over the past years, meet the new advances of mobile devices (smartphones, tablets) and in mobile technologies that merge the real world with digital information leading to Augmented Reality applications. On the one hand, some of the Virtual reality (VR) applications such as Virtual Worlds can be an interesting tool for the cooperative teaching and learning of a foreign language and culture and can facilitate the acquisition of the target language, while also promoting interdisciplinarity through their multi-potential dimension. On the other hand, much of the current Augmented Reality (AR) applications, can also promote foreign language teaching and learning, although are mainly developed for marketing and commerce purposes. Especially in the educational area, this new technology is still searching for its important role.
In the above context, the present study describes two recently conducted courses to a higher education class related to the use of some VR or AR current tools and apps. The postgraduate students were asked to propose communicative language activities, based on CEFR's communicative language competences, using some of these tools and then comment and discuss their results. The results showed that some uses of VR or AR, therefore mixed reality’s implementations are suitable for foreign language education and can further promote interdisciplinary approaches on foreign language learning and culture. This work highlights the importance of both Virtual reality and Augmented Reality tools, their potential contribution to foreign language education and explores some of their perspectives. Furthermore, it discusses some empirical approaches and techniques that we have followed in these courses. The two conducted courses that were carried out has shown that there is an important dynamic in these fields but there is also a lack of communicative language learning activities that can be used with the use of these technologies. We suggest that by educating students on VR and AR technologies they will be able, as future language teachers, to think creatively about communicative language learning activities that can be used with these, to enhance the language learning and performance of their students and increasing their interest and motivation. .
Keywords: Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Mixed Reality, Communicative activities, Language learning.