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.

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Experimenting with Google Assistant in ESOL Classrooms

A brief post from the Illinois Digital Learning Lab outlining how instructors and ESOL students are experimenting with the use of voice recognition technology, specifically, Google Home Mini. The instructor describes how she and her students are using the device and the potential for such devices to build engagement, and help students in developing language skills such as pronunciation.  The instructor also shares a list of questions that students draw on in working with the device and some issues to consider when planning to introduce voice recognition technology (either voice assistants like Google Home or  smartphone voice assistants  in the language classroom.

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Mobile-based chatting for meaning negotiation in foreign language learning

María Dolores Castrillo, Elena Martín-Monje & Elena Bárcena Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED), Spain. 10th International Conference Mobile Learning 2014.

This report on a six-week study with 85 volunteers explores the use of WhatsApp, an instant messaging application for smart phones in a second language writing class. The application allows mobile-based chatting and collaboration in the negotiation of meaning in the student volunteers’ exchanges. WhatsApp is a tool the students already used on their phones and allowed the researchers to explore its potential for collaborative language learning for “distance learners on the move”.

The report describes the initial lack of activity on the application and the dramatic change in the quantity of messages within a short time. The researchers provide information on average numbers of messages and patterns of use by day and time. As far as the aim to look at WhatsApp’s usefulness in negotiating meaning, there are numerous extracts that show how students provided feedback to each other and collaborated to clarify and correct each other’s writing. They did this both in relation to the tasks they were working on and to ask each other about syntax, all the while building group solidarity. The study showed that the students, who all spoke the same first language, used the target language almost exclusively in their written exchanges. Some of the other observations include use of paralinguistic features that are available on the application.

The report details the changes in the teacher’s role from being the main corrector of written errors to one of guide to the various topics to be discussed and types of discourse. She did more eliciting of awareness of language than correction of student mistakes.

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Students’ Perceptions and Experiences of Mobile Learning.

Kim, D., Rueckert, D., Kim, D.-J., & Seo, D. (2013). Students’ Perceptions and Experiences of Mobile Learning. Language Learning & Technology, 17(1), 52–73.

This study looked at how a group of graduate TESOL students perceived the use of mobile devices to create a personalized learning experience outside the classroom. The study found that mobile technologies provide opportunities for new learning experiences and encourage students to engage in learning activities outside the classroom and that this group of students perceived the usefulness of mobile technologies in teaching and learning and based on their positive experiences are more likely to use these technologies in their own teaching practice. This study has implications for the settlement language field, particularly in relation to teacher training and ongoing professional development to support instructors to explore the feasibility and potential of mobile technologies in their language instruction.

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The Design of Effective Mobile-Enabled Tasks for ESP Students: A Longitudinal Study.

Hoven, D, & Palalas, A. (2013). The Design of Effective Mobile-Enabled Tasks for ESP Students: A Longitudinal Study. In Learner-Computer Interaction in Language Education A Festschrift in Honor of Robert Fischer. CALICO Journal.

Note: Calico Journal articles are open access 36 months after the date of publication

This paper describes the Enactment phase of a longitudinal Design-Based Research Study, conducted at a Canadian Community College. The aim of the study was to develop design principles for learning materials for English for special purpose (ESP) students. Ultimately a prototype for a mobile-enabled language learning eco-system (MELLES) was developed along with a collection of design guidelines to be used in refining future developments

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Innovative practices: using Cell-ED to support English language learning

Innovative Practices: Using Cell-Ed to Support English Language Learning by G. Martinez Cabrera

This newsletter article from the Texas Adult Education & Literacy Quarterly Newsletter describes an ESL curriculum that can be accessed through any basic cell phone. The program includes pre-recorded lessons and texted responses. The program emphasizes mobile-ready technology that does not require Internet access so learners do not need to have cell phone data plans.

The Bewildering Language of Online Learning

The Bewildering Language of Online Learning? (2016, March 10).

This short article provides a timely and clear attempt at an explanation and definition of a range of terms and concepts in common use in the area of online and flexible teaching and learning. It offers a very handy and accessible guide to the key terms or jargon in this field and also offers links to real-world examples of terms such as “flipped classroom” and “gamification”.

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Creating virtual classrooms (using Google Hangouts) for improving language competency.

Lewandowski, M. (2015). Creating virtual classrooms (using Google Hangouts) for improving language competency. Language Issues: The ESOL Journal, 26(1), 37–42.

This small scale research project was conducted in a community based learning centre in London, U.K. The study explored the usefulness of creating an online conversation class using Google Hangouts to support ESOL students to develop their vocabulary. Students were divided into three groups. In the first group students read or listened to a text prior to the online session and were given vocabulary lists which they were required to memorize as well as conversation questions for review., In the second group students read or listened to a text prior to the online session were given conversations questions for review but were not given the vocabulary list. Students in these groups also attended their regular face-to-face classes. In the third or “control group” students attended their class twice each week but no additional online activities were provided. Although the author cautions that the results of the study are not generalizable, given the relatively limited size of the project and its particular he concludes that the results clearly demonstrate the potential of video-conferencing tools such as Google Hangouts as a useful means to support students in developing and enhancing vocabulary. Furthermore, he states that, with careful planning and preparation, the combination of asynchronous and synchronous e-learning is critical for the “successful delivery” of online conversation classes.

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