Sakon Nakhon Rajabhat University, Thailand
This study aims to evaluate the effectiveness of utilizing the Internet based “Pitcherific” program as a medium to facilitate English teaching. The study focuses on students undertaking an English Majors Program at a regional university in Thailand where most students have very little exposure to English language usage. This research was undertaken in February 2016 through until July 2016. A mixed methodology was utilized. A cohort of seventy 3rd and 4th year students enrolled in the English Major Program at the Faculty of Education, Sakon Nakhon Rajabhat University (SNRU) in Northeast Thailand participated in the study. Data were collected through in-class review sessions, complimented by a survey questionnaire successfully completed by sixty-nine students of the seventy students, and from information retrieved from the “Pitcherific” program (www.pitcherific.com). The data were collated and evaluated using a structured grounded theory approach and a narrative was then developed to assess the efficacy of this approach. The narrative indicated that 86.95% of the survey participants, (using a five point Likert Scale) “strongly agreed” to the statement “If Pitcherific was used continuously from 1st to 4th year, my mastery of English would highly developed”. In addition 57.97% “agreed” that after using Pitcherific they felt more comfortable communicating in English and 82.61% “strongly agreed” with the statement “Pitcherific helped me improve my writing skills.” The analysis of the quantitative data indicated that although “Pitcherific” has some limitations, for example, lacking a Thai language interface and feedback options, the overall perceptions were that it was a useful learning tool. These conclusions indicated that utilizing Pitcherific as an educational tool may be very useful as a means of increasing exposure to English language usage and thereby promote learning outcomes. However, more research may be needed and it is suggested that “Pitcherific” could be modified for ease of use by Thai students through specific functional changes.
Education, English Exposure and Competence, Pitcherific, Technology, Thailand.