Using a smartphone is a very convenient way to learn languages in modern life. To understand the impact of the immersive environment created by a smartphone on essay writing in Chinese for second language learners, a study was conducted on 36 Vietnamese students in their first year at a university in Taiwan. This study adopted an experimental research design that lasted for 4 weeks. The participants were randomly divided into control and experimental groups. Two essay writing activities were conducted. All of the research elements, including the teacher, teaching process, learning duration, and writing topics (except in the prewriting stage) were identical in the two groups. Writing ideas were collected within 20 min, and the control group looked at pictures before writing, while the experimental group used the Google Cardboard device with a smartphone to watch 360° videos before writing. After the prewriting stage, both groups wrote an essay about a topic based on what they had planned during the prewriting stage. The results indicated that the experimental group had significantly higher composition scores than the control group. Interview results also suggested that most students were glad to have tried using Google Cardboard to watch 360° videos, and were also highly willing to continue using it in future writing classes.
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