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.
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/