Background and Objective:With the expansion of technology infrastructure and the increasing penetration of smartphones, the use of new technologies and applications among the general public, especially the younger generation, is increasing rapidly. The use of these applications not only increases social communication in the context of cyberspace, but also can accelerate and facilitate the process of homework and student projects from the beginning (resource search) to the end (report writing). Obviously, the use of new technologies requires the use of special skills and strategies for successful and beneficial interaction with virtual environments and technology. Research on information literacy provides a long list of skills needed by technology users in the 21st century to manage the challenges of using new technology tools. Definitely one of the basic and important skills that is needed when working with word processors is typing words quickly and correctly to enter data and receive appropriate feedback from the system or other users. The ability to type quickly and insert words correctly is essential in the use of cyberspace and the effective use of many applications, and not mastering how to enter information correctly can disrupt the process of installing or running applications. This study aimed at examining the role of autocorrect software use in learning English as a foreign language.
Methods: 203 university students of General English courses participated in the study. Their use of autocorrect software was evaluated by Autocorrect Software Use Scale (ASUS). ASUS assesses autocorrect software use with respect to five components including the importance of spelling skills in learning English with autocorrect, students’ awareness of the way autocorrect works, its educational value, its error correction function, and its value in improving English spelling and writing skills. Achievement in learning English was assessed by both formative and summative evaluations in General English course. The data were analyzed by both descriptive (mean and standard deviation) and inferential statistics (correlation and regression methods).
Findings: The results of correlation showed that there was a positive and significant relationship between learning English and ASUS and its four components; while the strongest correlations were related to factor 1, the importance of spelling skills in learning English (r= .215, p < .01) and factor 3, educational value of autocorrect software (r= .214, p < .01). The result of multiple regressions revealed that these factors function as the facilitator of learning English and can significantly predict more than 10% of its variance.
The present study showed that the attitude towards using automatic word correction software has a significant relationship with learning English as a foreign language. The importance of spelling skills and awareness of the educational value of software was one of the facilitating components of language learning, while the general language course focuses on vocabulary learning, reading, and learning techniques. It is suggested that research be conducted on the role of automated software in classes that focus more on oral skills. The role of these software programs in sending text messages via SMS or micro-blogs (such as Twitter) in language learning should also be examine
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