Research on Mobile Learning in the English Classroom: Pedagogies, Computer developments and Teachers’ Reactions

Barrientos, M. (2019). Research on Mobile Learning in the English Classroom. Revista de Lenguas Modernas, (30) 2019, pp 251-266.

The author provides a literature review focused on the following four areas of mobile learning in English language classrooms to explore not only the feasibility and implications of integrating mobile learning in secondary EFL classrooms in Costa Rica, but advantages and disadvantages in these areas:

  1. The development of pedagogical models for mobile learning in the English language class
  2. Defining the platforms and infrastructure solutions for appropriate integration of mobile learning
  3. A description of the mobile devices apps and links
  4. Training and reactions of English teachers

The report concludes with a number of research questions for further exploration. Although this review looks at the questions for high school EFL language planning in Costa Rica, the same questions could be asked about planning for adult settlement language classes in Canada.

https://revistas.ucr.ac.cr/index.php/rlm/article/view/38986

Professional development in CALL: a selection of papers

Goria, C., Konstantinidis, A., Kilvinski, B., & Dogan. B. E. (2019). Personal learning environments and personal learning networks for language teachers’ professional development. In C. N. Giannikas, E. Kakoulli Constantinou & S. Papadima-Sophocleous (Eds), Professional development in CALL: a selection of papers(pp. 87-99). Research-publishing.net. https://doi.org/10.14705/rpnet.2019.28.872

This collection of papers looks at the rise in encouragement to use technology tools in language teaching despite a lack of teacher training and support to integrate these tools in this language classroom. This annotation focuses on Chapter 6, Personal learning environments and personal learning networks for language teachers’ professional development. The specific context for the collection is foreign-language training, but is nonetheless relevant to the settlement language context.

The chapter presents background for, and two case studies that illustrate, the Personal Learning Environment (PLE) and Personal Learning Network (PLN). The chapter describes describes the impact  of the PLE and PLN on the work of participating teachers, their practice and their students’ learning and autonomy. In the first case study, the teacher seamlessly integrates good language teaching practice with mobile phones and instant messaging in the early stages of the learners’ PLEs. This case study also describes other changes that occurred during the evolution of these activities. Both case studies demonstrate how teachers continued to expand and enhance their learning beyond the teacher training program that introduced the PLE and PLN to them.

 

Retrievable from:

https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED593926.pdf

 

Empowering English Language Learners through Digital Literacies: Research, Complexities, and Implications

 

Chang,Y., Wang, L. & Eagle, J. (2019). Empowering English Language Learners through Digital Literacies: Research, Complexities, and Implications. Media and Communication. Vol 7(2).128-136.

This article provides an accessible overview of issues related to the digital literacies of English Language Learners (ELLs) in the U.S. The article highlights issues that are of increasing importance for adult settlement language learning in Canada and includes a description of evolving definitions of digital literacies and fluency and a short review of literature focusing on language teaching practices that support the development of digital literacies.
The authors argue that digital literacies and digital fluency can support language learner autonomy and provide authentic language learning experiences that meaningfully reflect the daily lives of the learners. The inclusion of digital literacies as part of the language learning process in the language classroom not only provides opportunities for authentic learning in the classroom but also supports learners to extend their language learning beyond the classroom. Furthermore, in an increasingly digitized society, digital literacies are essential for employment and ongoing learning and communication in day-to-day life. In order to effectively incorporate digital literacies as part of language teaching practice the authors highlight the need to support language instructors to engage in ongoing professional development in relation to the use of digital tools for teaching and learning.

Retrievable from:

https://www.cogitatiopress.com/mediaandcommunication/article/view/191

 

Mobile Language Learning Innovation Inspired by Migrants

Kukulska-Hulme,  A. (2019). Mobile Language Learning Innovation Inspired by Migrants. Journal of Learning for Development, 6 (2).

This exploratory article looks at the uses and potential uses of mobile technologies in language learning in the context of migrant language learning. The author, an expert in the area of mobile technologies in language learning, describes the article as follows, “This paper seeks a productive synergy between migrants’ educational requirements with respect to learning the language of their host society; their valuable and unique human experiences and talents; and innovative learning designs that harness the ubiquity of smartphones and other mobile technologies.”

The article provides a review of the language learning needs and practices of migrant populations as they arrive and settle in their destinations and an exploration of innovative mobile learning initiatives in Europe, Australia and Canada. The article offers a thought-provoking discussion of the ways in which innovations and adaptations in the area of mobile language learning are being driven by the lived experiences and the actual learning needs and practices of migrant language learners.

While this may well present challenges to established thinking about how language teaching and learning happens, such innovative ideas and practices in relation to mobile language learning can ultimately provide valuable innovations that could be of benefit to other language learning populations. Finally, a focused recognition of the actual mobile learning practices of migrants, and an effort to work collaboratively with migrants to incorporate their experiences in learning, will contribute to and could be of benefit both to migrants and host societies in supporting the goals of equity and social inclusion.

Retrievable from:

https://jl4d.org/index.php/ejl4d/article/view/349/413

Effect of using texting on vocabulary instruction for English learners

Cummins, J. & Jia, L. (2019). Effect of using texting on vocabulary instruction for English learners. Language Learning & Technology, 23(2),43-64.

This small-scale research study conducted at a Canadian university focused on how the use of text messaging can support English language learners in developing and enhancing academic vocabulary acquisition.  Using a random control trial design, the researchers compared the student’s target vocabulary learning gains with and without the text messaging intervention. Results indicated that with the intervention students learned more target words, (direct effect) however there was no difference noted in more general academic vocabulary learning (transfer effect). Although this research was based in an academic setting it has interesting implications for vocabulary learning in all ESL settings, pointing to the potential for the use of text messaging as a useful tool to support and enhance vocabulary acquisition.

Retrievable from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/333815117_Effect_of_using_texting_on_vocabulary_instruction_for_English_learners

 

The Use of Dictionary Applications on Smartphones as a Tool to Enhance English Vocabulary Learning Skills

Charernsuk,J.,Surasin,J.,Kewara,P. The Use of Dictionary Applications on Smartphones as a Tool to Enhance English Vocabulary Learning Skills. HRD Journal, 10 (1),8-21

This study explored the use of dictionary applications on smartphones to support vocabulary acquisition. Using both quantitative (pre-and post- testing) and qualitative (researcher observation and semi-structured interviews with student participants) the researchers report that the use of dictionary applications by students did result in enhanced vocabulary acquisition and in helping students to improve their English pronunciation skills. The researchers also noted that although students were initially uncertain about how to use the applications, with experience they became quite comfortable in their use, and that their willingness to engage in more autonomous language learning increased.  Based on their observations the researchers recommend that instructors wishing to introduce dictionary applications on smartphones devote some time to thoroughly reviewing the applications for appropriateness to avoid initial confusion.  Although this study was conducted in a Gr. 9 English language class in Thailand, given the ubiquity of smartphones and the availability of a range of dictionary applications, this study demonstrates the usefulness of this tool  in vocabulary acquisition and points to the potential of using dictionary applications that will be of interest for instructors at all levels of English language teaching and learning.

Retrievable from: http://hrdjournal.buu.ac.th/public/backend/upload/onlinejournal/file/14062019_156049645556314400.pdf

Creating a Technology-Rich English Language Learning Environment

M.W. Marek and W-C.V. Wu, (2018). “Creating a Technology-Rich English Learning Environment” In Second Handbook of English Language Teaching. Edited by Xuesong Gao.  Springer International Publishing, 2019.

After presenting a theoretical framework about the potential of technology use in language classrooms, this chapter provides a step by step approach to making decisions about which technology resources to use within the language learning context. It addresses the need for teachers to have a starting point in their course development and demonstrates how to ensure that using more technology is not an end in itself, but rather that the use of technology surrounds students, enhances active learning experiences and enables students to achieve learning outcomes.

Within this chapter, the authors address a number of issues that need to be considered during the planning stage: familiarity with a tool rather than the novelty of a tool; the importance of activities using technology to be essential to the curriculum; the areas within the learning environment the teacher has control over and those s/he doesn’t; and the impact of relevant technology on learner motivation,  confidence and achievement.

Retrievable from: https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/978-3-319-58542-0_39-1.pdf

Second Handbook of English Language Teaching is retrievable from: https://link.springer.com/referencework/10.1007/978-3-319-58542-0?page=1#toc

The Evolution and Impact of Technology in Language Education

John, C.,(2018). The Evolution and Impact of Technology in Language Education. In Technology and the Curriculum: Summer 2018. Edited by Rob Power. Toronto: Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE).

This short chapter provides a very accessible review of the history and development of Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL). Included is a fairly comprehensive overview of the technologies used and the second language acquisition theoretical background and teaching approaches that have shaped CALL over the years,as well as a brief look at some of the inherent opportunities and challenges.

The chapter also discusses two very recent developments in this area, Mobile-Assisted Language Learning (MALL) and Robot-Assisted Language Learning (RALL) and provides examples of how particular technologies are currently used in language teaching and learning.

Retrievable from: Technology and the Curriculum: Summer 2018

Evaluating normalisation: An argument-based approach

Yoon, S. J., & Gruba, P., (2019) Evaluating normalisation: An argument-based approach, System, May 2019.

Normalisation, the idea that technology would “grow and disappear” in the language learning curriculum, was articulated in the seminal work of Prof. Stephen Bax in his articles: CALL—Past, Present and Future (2003) and Normalisation Revisited: The Effective Use of Technology in Language Education (2011)

This article, drawing on the work of Prof. Bax,  reports on the process and results of an evaluation of the level of normalisation achieved in blended language courses at the University of Melbourne. The researchers found that minimal normalization had been achieved in these courses, and go on to discuss several factors that may inhibit its full achievement. The research points to the importance of addressing the digital literacy needs of both instructors and students, the need to move away from an over-emphasis on technology tools to a focus on technology for pedagogical purposes. Such a re-focus would support instructors to enhance their ability to apply pedagogical principles in planning for  and in implementing technology in their teaching practice.

Available for purchase ($19.95) USD at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0346251X18305414

Nonverbal Communication in Text-Based, Asynchronous Online Education

Al Tawil, R. (2019). Nonverbal Communication in Text-Based, Asynchronous Online Education,International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 20 (1), 144-162.

This article describes the findings of a research project conducted to better understand the role of non-verbal communication in an online, asynchronous, text-based learning environment.  The article identifies four factors to be considered in relation to non-verbal communication in the online environment:

  1. Chromenics, that is the study of time in non-verbal communication.
  2. Use of 2D visuals to indicate social presence, e.g. emoticons, profile pictures, photographs, graphics.
  3. eSets, which the researcher describes as resembling paralanguage, and which include, writing style, tone, structure, layout and format.
  4. Lack of communication, i.e., if a student does not receive acknowledgment or response to a post s/he is feels ignored and this may decrease motivation and engagement.

Overall the research points to the critical importance of social presence in the online learning environment.

Retrievable from: http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/3705/4984

Building Relationships and Increasing Engagement in the Virtual Classroom

Martin. J. (2019). Building Relationships and Increasing Engagement in the Virtual Classroom. Journal of Educators Online, 16 (1), 232-238.

One of the challenges of teaching in an online environment is how to address the sense of disconnection and isolation that many online students report, and which tends to be de-motivating and to undermine engagement in learning.

How can instructors build relationships with students and foster a sense of community which supports student engagement in an online environment? This article provides quite simple and practical strategies using digital technology tools and simple videos to help to bridge the “social gap” in online learning environments.  The author describes how instructors can use screen recording, videoconferencing software and social media platforms to connect with students in a more personal and immediate way.  These tools can also be used to provide personalized feedback to encourage engagement and to enable students to connect with one another, to share photos, interests and ideas , and so reducing isolation and increasing engagement.

Retrievable from: https://www.thejeo.com/archive/2019_16_1/martin

Blended Learning in English Teaching and Learning: A Review of the Current Literature

Albiladi, W., & Alshareef, K. (2019). Blended learning in English Teaching and Learning: A Review of the Current Literature. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 10 (2), 232-238.

This paper provides a review of research related to the use of blended learning in English as a second/foreign language context. As part of the review, the authors cite two studies that identify sets of challenges to using a blended learning approach. The studies will be of interest to language professionals despite not being language-related. In Bonk and Graham’s Handbook of Blended Learning, they include cultural adaptation as an issue. They relate this to the materials that are used in the mode of delivery and also their relation to the students’ culture.

Riel, J., Lawless, K. A., & Brown, S. W. (2016)’s Listening to the teachers: Using weekly online teacher logs for ROPD to identify teachers’ persistent challenges when implementing a blended learning curriculum reports on Responsive online professional development for well-supported middle school teachers implementing a social studies curriculum. The issues identified in the teachers’ learning logs are also relevant to instructors working in settlement language programs as is the notion of providing responsive professional development. This report provides insight into the importance of teachers’ understanding of the pedagogy embedded in learning tools and the knowledge and confidence to implement and use them in their classrooms.

 

 

 

http://academypublication.com/ojs/index.php/jltr/article/viewFile/jltr1002232238/1831

 Integrating Mobile Assisted Language Learning (MALL) into a Non-formal Learning Environment to Support Migrant Women Learners’ Vocabulary Acquisition.

Ahmad, Kham Sila (2019) Integrating Mobile Assisted Language Learning (MALL) into a Non-formal Learning Environment to Support Migrant Women Learners’ Vocabulary Acquisition. PhD thesis, Murdoch University

This Ph. D Thesis describes a small-scale research project to explore the effect of Mobile -Assisted Language Learning) MALL on migrant women’s vocabulary acquisition in an Australian context. Using a case study approach, using semi-structured interviews and observation a group of migrant women attending a conversational English class were divided into 3 groups. The first group attended a regular class in which no MALL was used, the second group consisted of students who had attended the regular class and then attended a MALL -integrated or hybrid class in which they used a tablet computer and a language App. The third group attended a wholly Mall integrated class. The hybrid model was found to be the most effective, providing students with enhanced exposure and opportunities to use English and more intensive vocabulary practice and repetition using the exercises and learning activities in the language App. Based on the findings of the research a MALL-enhanced framework for vocabulary acquisition for migrant women in a non-formal learning environment was developed. This framework could be a very useful starting point for instructors and researchers to investigate the use of a MALL-integrated process for settlement language learning in a Canadian context.

Retrievable from: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/43153/

The Needs Analysis, Design, Development, and Evaluation of the ‘English Pronunciation Guide: An ESL Teachers’ Guide to Pronunciation Teaching Using Online Resources’

Cox, J.L. ; Henrichsen, L.E. ;Tanner, M.W.; McMurry, B.L.(2019) The Needs Analysis, Design, Development, and Evaluation of the English
Pronunciation Guide: An ESL Teachers’ Guide to Pronunciation Teaching
Using Online Resources. TESL-EJ,  22(4), 1–24.

Although ESL students and instructors agree that teaching pronunciation is an important part of language learning the authors of this article contend that relatively little time and attention is given to pronunciation in the ESL classroom. They further contend that instructors do not receive sufficient preparation in pronunciation instruction and consequently do not feel confident in teaching pronunciation. To address this perceived gap program coordinators and ESL instructors at Brigham Young University developed the English Pronunciation Guide: The ESL Teachers’ Guide to Pronunciation Instruction. This article describes the background to their work and the process of developing the guide from initial needs analysis to evaluation.

The online guide consists of an annotated index to selected pronunciation-instruction videos and other resources that are available online. The guide aims to provide ESL instructors who have had little or no preparation in pronunciation instruction to quickly and easily find resources that they can use to develop their competence and confidence.

Retrievable from: http://tesl-ej.org/pdf/ej88/int.pdf

 

 

Task-based language teaching online: A guide for teachers

Baralt, M., & Morcillo Gómez, J. (2017). Task-based language teaching online: A guide for teachers. Language Learning & Technology, 21(3), 28–43.

This article provides a guide for teachers who do task based teaching using real time video, recognizing that online language courses should not simply be face-to-face courses moved online. It discusses how the authors have adapted Willis’ (1996, 2012) task-based methodology framework to address modifications needed for an online context. The authors review the criteria for language-teaching activities to be considered tasks and also how to implement them successfully. They provide a teacher’s plan to illustrate the framework to implement a task along with video examples. The authors conclude by considering aspects of online teaching that are unique, e.g., potential problems with connectivity and how to foster an online community.  They also emphasize the value of online classes in providing language learning opportunities regardless of geographic location and its contribution to developing digital literacy skills.

 

Retrievable from: http://www.lltjournal.org/item/3008

Migrants and Mobile Technology Use: Gaps in the Support Provided by Current Tools

Demmans Epp, C., (2017). Migrants and Mobile Technology Use: Gaps in the Support Provided by Current Tools. Journal of Interactive Media in Education, 2017(1), 2.

This article describes the findings of  a small-scale research project to examine how recent migrants to Canada make use of mobile technologies to support their English language learning.

The study indicates that recent migrants can and do make use of mobile technologies to access information, but that there is a need for more extensive supports to enable them to make better use of these technologies to support language language learning, including comprehension, production and language acquisition.

The researcher concludes that there is a need for, and an opportunity to create, more mobile technology tools and applications to help scaffold the development of new skills.There is also a need for mobile tools that could help language learners to better understand and communicate across a variety of forms of English and tools that would allow them to practice their communication skills, receive feedback which would, in turn, enable them to plan for future learning.

Retrievable from: https://www-jime.open.ac.uk/articles/10.5334/jime.432/

 

 

 

Enhancing Beginners’ Second language learning through an informal online environment

Chakowa, J. (2018). Enhancing Beginners’ Second language learning through an informal online environment. Journal of Educators Online, 15 (1).

This research report describes the use of four online tools, VoiceThread ; Padlet ;  Voki and Quizlet  to encourage beginning language learners to communicate and collaborate in the target language.

It offers a very clear and comprehensive description of how these tools were used, including a detailed account of student experience and reaction to using the tools and how they supported motivation, participation and persistence.

Although context for this study is a French beginner’s course at Monash University in Australia it provides very useful insights into how the use of multiple online tools in combination can be used to support student motivation and participation even at early levels of language learning, no matter the target language.

Overall the results of the study reveal several key features that will be useful to language instructors as they work to incorporate online tools and to encourage participation and motivation for their students. These include:

  • the importance of face-to-face orientation to the online environment and tools that will be used
  • introducing students to each other so they feel connected before they begin to work online
  • using multiple online tools, in combination so that all students have options to participate
  • strategies to maintain motivation (including providing blended learning, i.e., a combination of face-to-face and online activities)
  • focus on pedagogy rather than technology
  • activities that are not overly focused on linguistic accuracy, but include elements of cultural awareness so that students of all language learning levels can be included and encouraged.

Retrievable from:

https://www.thejeo.com/archive/archive/2018_151/chakowapdf

Mobile-assisted language learning [Revised and updated version]

Kukulska-Hulme, A. 2018. “Mobile-assisted language learning [Revised and updated version].” In The Concise Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics, edited by Chapelle, Carol A. New York: Wiley.

This article provides an overview and up to the minute discussion of the potential of mobile-assisted language learning (MALL). In the article MALL is defined as using smartphones and other mobile technologies, including tablet computers and e-readers, to enable extended learning opportunities for language learning.

The author describes how MALL can support skill development in reading, listening, speaking and writing and shows how mobile devices can be used to increase accessibility and to open opportunities for language learning, formally in classroom-based, and informally outside classroom settings, as well as providing the means to bridge the two.

The author reports that it is estimated that the number of users of mobile technology will reach 5.9 billion or 71% of the world’s population by 2025 (GSMA 2018). The author argues that as a result many language learners who currently have limited access to language learning opportunities and materials can be enabled to use their mobile devices to engage in learning on demand and will have ready access to learning resources and materials.

While it is not yet clear what impact this may have on current models of learning, it is very likely that those models will be affected, even to an extent transformed by the ubiquity of mobile technologies. However, the author argues that this potential change provides an opportunity to refresh language learning systems and to enable more flexible models of learning which will benefit language learners.

Retrievable from: http://oro.open.ac.uk/57023/

Educational Affordances of an Asynchronous Online Discussion Forum for Language Learners

Zhong, Q.M. Norton, H. (2018). Educational Affordances of an Asynchronous Online Discussion Forum for Language Learners. TESL-EJ, 22 (3).

This study asks the question, “What affordances does an asynchronous discussion board offer to second language learners ?” It describes some of the potential of this type of discussion, including providing time to reflect and research before responding and providing a non-threatening and collaborative learning environment. Although literature on this topic exists in fields other than second language acquisition, the authors intend for this study to fill the gap  that exists on its beneficial affordances in SLA.  A literature review  is provided on Affordance Theory and the use of asynchronous online discussion.

The authors identify four themes (Co-constructive collaborative e-learning environment, Group affiliations, Critical thinking and Learner autonomy) and sub-themes that emerged from the peer-moderated discussion forum. Although the study took place in a joint business degree articulation  between a New Zealand and Chinese institution, many of the sub-themes would be familiar to settlement language programs, e.g., greet team members by name, apologize, agree and disagree, introduce new or different topics.  The study reports high levels of postings that exceeded course requirements, but suggests further research  with a larger sample size is needed to determine which factors caused the motivation behind this.

Retrievable from

http://tesl-ej.org/pdf/ej87/a1.pdf

 

 

Blended Learning Adoption in an ESL Context: Obstacles and Guidelines

Shebansky, W. (2018). Blended Learning Adoption in an ESL Context: Obstacles and Guidelines. TESL Canada Journal, 35(1), 52 – 77.

This report looks at the factors that influence adult ESL instructor opinions about implementation and use of blended learning in a federally-funded Canadian LINC program(Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada) (24 instructors), in an ESL program in a mid-sized Canadian community college (5 instructors) and in an EFL program in a large Korean university (19 instructors).

The author acknowledges that digital tools are available and accessible, but are not being widely used to implement Blended Learning.

He references several conceptual frameworks and extends two that are used in higher education to a part-time LINC context to inform and guide his investigation into the low rate of technology adoption at his LINC program.

The research study asks these questions:

  1. Do participants in the study use BL? How is use different across different ESL settings?
  2. What institutional strategy (design-related issues), structure (issues related to facilitation of the BL environment) and support (faculty implementation and maintenance of its BL design) factors most influence whether instructors will adopt BL? Is this different across ESL settings?
  3. Why do those factors affect adoption of BL in a LINC context?

He reports on these factors that influence instructors’ decision whether to adopt blended learning:

  • Ability to quickly upload and download materials
  • Availability of professional development in a face-to-face group or one-on-one
  • Availability of technical support
  • Availability of pedagogical support

He then reports on these findings to explain why this list of factors influenced instructors’ decisions.

Retrievable from

https://teslcanadajournal.ca/index.php/tesl/article/view/1295