Bonner, E., Reinders, M. Augmented and Virtual Reality in the Language Classroom: Practical Ideas. Teaching English with Technology. (2018), 18,3 :33-53
This article provides a useful and accessible overview of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) and the potential for these technologies to support and enhance language teaching and learning. Many of us, perhaps without knowing it, are already using augmented reality (AR), and virtual reality (VR), in applications such as Google Translate, filters in Snapchat and Instagram, and in virtual tours of museums and art galleries such as The British Museum and The Louvre.
The article serves as an introduction to technology that isn’t in widespread use in language learning. It includes some interesting examples from foreign language courses that have tried out some AR/VR techniques and tools. For example, the descriptions of the affordances of the tools used in one of the activities to help improve presentation skills gives insight into what is possible. In each of the examples the authors provide step by step guides on how to set up and use these learning activities with students. The article also provides guidance around specific privacy and security issues that may arise with AR/VR as well as financial ones.
Although language educators are in the early stages of the use of these technologies for language learning, and challenges particularly related to general availability in the realm of language teaching remain, they have significant and exciting potential to enhance student engagement, extend learning, and to bridge the gap between formal and informal language learning.
Retrievable from: https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1186392.pdf
Kukulska-Hulme, A. (2019). Intelligent assistants in language learning: friends or foes?. In Proceedings of World Conference on Mobile and Contextual Learning 2019 (pp. 127-131).
This brief glimpse into the future by Agnes Kukulska-Hulme, a leading thinker and research in the field of Mobile Assisted Language Learning (MALL), provides an up to the minute overview of an emerging learning landscape in which the potential of Intelligent Assistants ( for example Siri, Alexa and Cortana) have the potential to support informal language learning both inside and outside the classroom. The author reminds us that many language learners now have ready access to Intelligent Assistants on their smartphones and wearable devices. She discusses the implications, both positive and negative, and the challenges resulting from the increasing use of these tools particularly in relation to teacher roles and pedagogy. Finally she points to the need for the mobile language research community to examine the complex issues that may well arise as this technology develops and becomes widely available.
Retrievable from: https://www.learntechlib.org/p/210611/
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.
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
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/
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/
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/
Tran, P. (2018). Enhancing Online Language Learning Task Engagement through Social Interaction. Australian Journal of Applied Linguistics, Vol. 1, (2) 88-101.
This study examined the how online social interaction can support out of class language learning. A group of English language students at a private university in Tokyo participated in the study over two semesters. In the first semester students were introduced to and supported to use Quizlet for vocabulary learning. In the second semester the same group of students were introduced to and supported to use LINE a free messaging App to communicate with and receive direction and feedback from the instructor and to communicate with one another. Results indicate that providing students with the means to engage in online social interaction had a positive impact on student engagement in out of class independent language learning.
The researcher identifies three roles of social interaction in supporting out of class language learning. The first is social communication wherein students interact with one another and develop a sense of community, the second is as a teacher to student communication tool whereby the teacher communicates directly with each student to provide direction, feedback and reminders. The third is as a student to teacher communication tool enabling students to communicate directly with the teacher to report on what they are learning, to ask questions and request direction and guidance. Participants reported that the use of LINE increased their motivation to engage in out of class language learning and allowed for a more open and direct relationship with the instructor.
Although this is a relatively small study conducted in a post-secondary institution it provides a useful review of the potential of online social interaction tools to support language students, at every level of learning, to engage in out of class language learning tasks to enhance their learning.
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.
Retrievable from: https://edtech.worlded.org/experimenting-google-assistant-esl-classrooms/
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.
Retrievable from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED557212
Godwin-Jones, R. (2017). Smartphones and language learning. Language Learning & Technology, 21(2), 3–17.
According to the 2016 General Social Survey from Statistics Canada 71% of the population own a Smartphone. We carry these powerful little devices with us everywhere even in our classrooms. The ubiquity of the Smartphone begs the question of how they could be used to support and extend language learning.
This timely article offers an overview of, and provides a useful base of information about the potential of Smartphones for language learning. The author contends that smartphones have the potential to support students in more effectively integrating their language learning in the classroom and the incidental language learning that they may engage in using mobile devices. One major challenge relating to the use of smartphones and mobile devices in the language learning environment is how to support students to develop skills and knowledge to enable them to become informed and engaged online learners.
The author surveys recent research in Mobile Assisted Language Learning (MALL) and makes the case for the need for further research to examine the actual use of mobile devices by students outside of the classroom. Such research would support a better understanding of how these devices can be effectively deployed in the language classroom to support informal and ongoing learning and the development of critical digital skills.
[i] (2016). Statistics Canada. General Social Survey.
Retrievable from: https://www.lltjournal.org/item/2995
Lai, C. & Zheng, D. (2017) Self-directed use of mobile devices for language learning beyond the classroom. ReCALL p.1-20
This article is based on a study conducted with language students in a university in Hong Kong, exploring their self-directed use of mobile devices for language learning outside of the classroom. The study revealed that the students used mobile devices to personalize their learning, rather than for communication, and that their use was determined by their own understanding of the affordances of the devices. How the students used mobile devices for language learning was also determined by their habits of use of these devices in their daily lives, and by the types of learning tasks they were engaged in. The authors suggest that these factors, based on a deeper understanding how students use mobile devices, should be considered when designing mobile learning activities. The finding of this study echo those of Trinder, R. (2017). Informal and deliberate learning with new technologies. ELT Journal, 71(4),402-412 (see annotation below) and underline the importance of learning how mobile devices are being used by students in daily life to shape the development of appropriate mobile language learning activities
Available for purchase ( $25.00 USD) at:
New Media Consortium (NMC) Horizon Report: 2017 Higher Education Edition. Austin, TX.
This annual report profiles six time-based key trends, significant challenges and important developments related to technology adoption in higher education. The 78-member 2017 Expert Panel includes Canadian representatives from the University of Saskatchewan, the University of Ottawa, Conestoga College and Niagara College. One of the 10 highlights from the report states that online, mobile and blended learning are “foregone conclusions” necessary for an institution’s survival. This highlight emphasizes the importance of measuring how these approaches affect learning outcomes.
Retrievable from: https://www.nmc.org/publication/nmc-horizon-report-2017-higher-education-edition/
Kukulska-Hulme, A. and Viberg, O.(2017). Mobile collaborative language learning: State of the art. British Journal of Educational Technology, September 2017.
This review article looks at studies in mobile,collaborative language learning conducted between 2012-16. The review aims to provide a better understanding of how mobile technologies are being used to support collaborative learning for second and foreign language learners. The article provides an overview of the findings of these studies which indicate that mobile collaborative language learning allows a range of affordances such as “flexible use, continuity of use, timely feedback, personalisation, socialisation, self-evaluation, active participation, peer coaching, sources of inspiration outdoors and cultural authenticity ” (p.1). In addition, the studies reviewed found that learners engaging in mobile collaborative language learning benefit from increased motivation and engagement, and were less nervous and embarrassed in their language learning. The authors conclude that the studies provide a credible case for mobile language learning.
Available for purchase ($6.00 USD for 48 hour access – article can be printed) at:
Trinder, R. (2017). Informal and deliberate learning with new technologies. ELT Journal, 71(4),402-412.
This article is based on an empirical study exploring Austrian university students’ perceptions and practices related to the usefulness of online informal and incidental learning of English when they are using digital technologies in their daily lives. By and large the students indicated a preference for media (films and television), email, online dictionaries as being most useful for their language learning.
Although the study was conducted in a university setting the findings are applicable to a range of language learning settings. Given the ubiquity of digital technologies it is likely that students are accessing information and using technology for communication in daily life. As the author concludes, knowing more about how language students actually use digital technologies to support their learning outside the classroom can help instructors to incorporate the preferred technologies in instruction, where feasible, to validate informal language learning and to support students to evaluate digital tools to support their language learning outside the classroom.
Burston, J. (2014). MALL: The Pedagogical Challenges. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 27 (4) 344-357,
A comprehensive review of the use of Mobile-Assisted Language Learning (MALL) over the past 20 years or so, highlighting a range of innovative programs. The article argues that MALL has been constrained not only by issues of access, affordability and lack of standardization of devices but also by an approach to pedagogy which the author describes as a “behaviorist, teacher-centered, transmission model of instruction” . The author makes the case that a constructivist/learner-centred “collaborative, task-based learning both within and outside of the classroom.” is more appropriate to teaching and learning with mobile technologies and ultimately supports better learning outcomes The article concludes that the technological and financial constraints that have limited the use of mobile technologies in language teaching and learning will likely be resolved by market forces, and that the realization of the potential of mobile technologies for language teaching and learning is “a matter of pedagogy rather than technology.”
Cost: $USD 41.00
Min Jung Jee. (2011). Web 2.0 Technology Meets Mobile Assisted Language Learning. The IALLT Journal, 41(1), 161–175.
This paper presents an introduction to Web 2.0 and mobile technologies in the context of foreign and second language instruction. The paper includes a review of a number of Web 2.0 technologies, for example, blogs, wikis and social networking, and discusses their potential applications to language pedagogy and possible uses in the language classroom, within the context of theories of second language acquisition. The author discusses the benefits of Mobile-Assisted Language Learning (MALL) and Web 2.0 technologies which include enhanced motivation, learner autonomy and responsibility for learning and increased flexibility in learning preferences and styles. The author recommends further action research in the use of these technologies and encourages second language instructors to explore and to take advantage of the potential of these technologies in their instruction for the benefit of learners.
Retrievable from: http://old.iallt.org/iallt_journal/web_20_technology_meets_mobile_assisted_language_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.
Retrievable from: http://llt.msu.edu/issues/october2013/kimetal.pdf
Hoven, D., & Palalas, A. (2011). (Re)conceptualizing design approaches for mobile language learning. CALICO Journal, 28(3), 699–.
This paper reports on an exploratory study at a Canadian Community College, between 2007 and 2009, looking at the potential of mobile devices to enhance English for special purpose (ESP) learning by providing opportunities for students to continue working on listening and speaking skills outside of the classroom. The findings of this preliminary study pointed to the need for further investigation and the critical importance of developing design principles for Mobile-Assisted Language Learning (MALL) materials to support effective instruction. The authors note that the development of design based principles will be the major focus of an ongoing Design Based Research (DBR) study at the college.
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