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Action Research: Developing five language skills through Skype

This paper discusses the process and results of a slightly more than 4-month action research project by using Skype, the VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) technology conducted by 24 Taiwanese students to have social interactions with their American keypals outside of the classroom. The main purpose for carrying out this action research project was to look for a clear process to guide Taiwanese students to maximize the target language and culture learning to socially interact with American students via Skype. The five language skills are defined as integrating culture learning along with the four traditional language skills (i.e., reading, writing, listening, and speaking) (Damen, 1997; see Vernier et al., 2008). Data from Skype transcripts, reflective weekly diaries, questionnaires and interviews indicated the significant difference between the 1st and 2nd cycle of action research. A number of interventions were implemented in the 2nd cycle of action research so as to encourage students’ high level of participation in the project. At the same time, Skype could be a helpful and feasible tool of increasing the opportunity to engage students in language and culture learning through social interactions out of their classes.


Shih-Yin (Stella) Hsu    
Foreign Language Education Center
National Kaohsiung Marine University

Shih-Yin (Stella) Hsu received an M.A. from Western Michigan University and a Ph.D. from Institute of Education, University of London. Currently, she teaches at National Kaohsiung Marine University as a full-time associate professor. Her specific interests have been in the areas of online communication, computer-assisted language learning, ESP, learner autonomy, collaborative learning, intercultural awareness, multiple intelligences, public speaking and presentation skills. She can be contacted at or

Robert E. Beasley    
Department of Mathematics and Computing
Franklin College

Robert E. Beasley, Ph.D. is Professor of Computing and Chair of the Department of Mathematics and Computing at Franklin College. His research interests lie in the areas of online multimedia/hypermedia learning environments, computational linguistics, telecommuting, and energy and environmental engineering information systems. He can be contacted at


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