Abstract: This paper aimed to investigate the effects of using ‘Soundcloud’ social sound platform on the speaking performance of Ecuadorian students of an English Teacher Training Program. It is well known that technology enhances the learning of a second/foreign language, and speaking skills have been improved by the use of technological tools that motivate students to perform meaningful conversations. This research was guided by a quasi-experimental research method where the experimental group produced student-made podcasts on ‘Soundcloud’, while the controlled group carried out traditional in-class discussions. A pre and post Versant (Cambridge) test was applied to measure improvement in speaking skills. A total of six topics were assigned to students to be discussed in groups of three. The findings reveal no significant differences in the results of the post-test compared with those of the pre-test for both the control and experimental groups in their speaking performance, thus findings contribute as an alternative for traditional in-class discussions. A few considerations for further research are addressed.
Authors: Ximena Calero, Lorena Parra and Carlos A. Morales F.
Abstract: Using the Mobile App Rating Scale (MARS) base model, this research identifies the underlying quality factors of Apps for People with Disabilities, applying Principal Components Analysis. A group of 257 apps running on various platforms was selected, analyzed and evaluated. The apps are directed to people with intellectual disability, autism, Down syndrome and cerebral palsy. The evaluators were software test specialists. The application of the Principal Components Analysis identified the most relevant quality categories of MARS model, which was grouped into new categories. The overall results show Aesthetics and Functionally as the more critical original quality categories of the analyzed Apps group. Engagement and Information categories have some contradictory characteristics that require commitments.
Authors: Andrés Larco, Carlos Montenegro, Esteban Diaz and Sergio Luján-Mora
Abstract: This paper presents a semantic query system which permits obtaining information from a virtual course by means of an ontology. It also introduces ontologies of a domain for a virtual course that is composed of concepts and properties represented in a Moodle virtual learning environment. The Noy & McGuinness methodology was used to carry out the process of designing the ontologies. Likewise, the agile methodology SCRUM was used for the development of the semantic query application and a consultation system was implemented by utilizing the J2EE platform in combination with the JENA framework. Ultimately, to validate the implemented system, a usability test was conducted to potential users. The results of the investigation show a relatively reliable internal data consistency. Based on the observed evidence, it was determined that the application for semantic consultation was easy to use and navigation was adequate. The results regarding the information resulting from the participants were perceived as acceptable.
Authors: Danilo Pastor, Gloria Arcos, Alejandra Oñate, Mayra Loaiza and José Torres