Implementing a Virtual Presentation Program in ESL Classrooms
One of the skills that graduates today need to acquire is being able to present their ideas in front of an audience. However, it is becoming extremely challenging for today’s educators to monitor individual students’ presentation skills and for students to adequately practice their presentation skills in front of their classmates due to increasing class sizes, time, and logistical constraints. This problem, however, can be partially overcome by using technology such as the Virtual-i Presenter program (ViP), which enables students to record and practice oral presentations using Power point and a web cam. This technology was introduced in a presentations skills class for English as a Second Language (ESL) students. This pilot study aimed to provide an insight on how undergraduates’ presentation skills can be honed via the use of new technologies in the language learning process. Using ViP technology, students were able to recreate the reality of presentations and practice their presentations multiple times during their selflearning time, without impacting on normal class time. Lecturers were then able to evaluate individual presentations as class time was no longer a constraint and provide feedback to improve future delivery. Students were surveyed using questionnaires to help determine their views on improvements in delivery and confidence, language, content and organization, non verbal communication, and the ViP program itself. Results from the survey indicated positive outcome from students and lecturers using this program. The ability of practice presentations multiple times seemed to help improve fluency, presentation content, and confidence. However, language skills such as intonation and pronunciation could not be improved while practicing and could only be identified after feedback was obtained from lecturers.