Mobile Learning – Small Devices, Big Issue

The authors in this article attempts to address the central issues of what is mobile learning and how can it be designed and evaluated. This article aimed at educational and instructional designers and hopes to explore issues which emerge from mobile learning. Examples of European mobile learning projects are investigated to contextualize these issues.

Quinn (2000) states that it’s e-learning through mobile computational devices: Pals, Window CE machines, even your cell phone. We are in the age of personal and technical mobility, where mobile devices, including phones, MP3 players and PDAs, are carried everywhere to link people in real and virtual worlds. Moreover, it encourages people to have lifetime learning.

The authors define mobile learning from four aspects: mobility in physical space; mobility of technology; mobility in conceptual space and mobility in social space. From mobile learning, a variety of learning experiences can be accumulated. After that, the authors evaluate mobile learning from unpredictability of the context of use; unpredictability of the learning process which means that mobile learning blurs the distinction between formal and informal learning. Now students can systematically capture their experience of learning outside the classroom, through images, notes and audio recordings; unpredictability of the mode of use to illustrate how new tools and services are appropriated by people in their everyday learning practice. Finally, the excellent effect which is on the users’ enjoyment and increased motivation that mobile learning brings, however, is mobile technology effective in engaging learners over the longer term. To evaluate mobile learning, the authors used a three-level framework, usability, educational effectiveness and overall impact. At the end, three examples are shown to illustrate the application of mobile learning.

I think Smartphone are quite popular and it is useful for learning. I have downloaded different apps to learn languages such as Japanese, Korean, etc. Also, dictionary app can be used immediately. We can look up the words immediately anywhere, anytime which facilitates users to learn effectively. But sometimes annoying and unpredictable things happen like no wi-fi, no battery, etc. Mobile learning is great to encourage youngsters to have Lifelong learning through creating their life blogs by sharing images and articles.


From Parrots to Puppet Masters: Fostering Creative and Authentic Language Use with Online Tools

In this article, at the beginning, Milton points out that the problems in teaching foreign language that students are spoon-fed by teachers, they spend a lot of time on memorizing formulae in examinations, but they don’t gain any learning experience outside the classroom because of low motivation. As a result, the author suggests many ways to assist teachers to create engaging and meaningful learning activities.

 1.      Targeting Oral Fluency: Asynchronous Voice Messaging

It’s an opportunity for students to use L2 in their daily lives. This system motivates students and increased their confidence to use L2 by holding conversations via Web, meanwhile, it’s easier for teachers to promote and monitor their conversations. Teachers can leave recorded messages to encourage discussions and they can elicit responses that focus on specific skills such as pronunciation and intonation.

 2.      Online Data-driven Language Learning: Word Neighbors + Mark My Words

Word Neighbors is a discovery-based lexical lookup tool for students to look up words in certain contexts in order to enhance their proofreading skills and vocabulary acquisition. Mark My Word is a tool for teachers to provide feedback on students’ writing.

 3.      Online Role Plays

The author designed a scripting tool which allows students to create and publish their scripts online. This role-play activity enables students to work collaboratively at a distance. Moreover, it’s a great opportunity for students who are shy to speak to practice the language in this context.

I found the Word Neighbors is quite user-friendly and enables students to learn vocabulary autonomously. I would like to recommend this useful tool to my students. On one hand, students can understand the meaning of the word because this system has access to online dictionaries, encyclopedias, etc. On the other hand, students can memorize the words more effectively from the context since they realize the usage of the words. 


You’re not studying, you’re just…

As the dullness of homework exercises designed primarily to be educational has difficulty competing with popular media designed solely to be entertaining. Recently, numerous attempts have been made to develop “edutainment” titles that seek to merge educational goals with entertainment content; oftentimes, however, they fail to achieve either goal and fall instead into niche markets. In this article, Purushotma is going to find out the entertainment-focused media forms as adversarial to educational content. This commentary examines how content originally designed for entertainment purposes can be modified to provide natural and context rich language learning environments, without sacrificing its entertainment value. Purushotma examines how technology can facilitate language learning through a variety forms of medias, such as online games, music videos, typing tutors, and voice-navigated games, ect.


This video game captures the interests of adolescent students.Players control the daily routines of a virtual family, guiding them through tasks such as managing personal hygiene, cooking food, finding jobs, entertaining guests, and so forth. After assigning professions to their characters, players then manage the family finances, deciding how to best purchase furniture and appliances to develop their house based on analysis of the emotional states of their characters. In playing the English version of the game, students can learn more vocabulary items which may be familiar to them at school and they could recall the relevant associated contexts and animations used in the game.


In the past, students approached vocabulary by studying flashcards during television commercials. Lacking either a television or index cards, the writer set about to instead make an equivalent system for browsing the Internet. When students surf the Net, they expose to different vocabulary items.


Another possibility for getting students to engage in more rote forms of practice without needing to compete for their free time is to piggyback foreign language practice on time spent working with a typing tutor.  Williams and Thorne (2000) report on how students learning foreign language subtitling acquired impressive language skills simply as a byproduct of their subtitling practice. By using the customize sentences feature available in most typing tutors to include key L2 sentences, students could likely gain similar language learning side effects from their keyboarding classes. For typing tutor programs that offer further customization, high school language teachers could work together with keyboarding teachers to supply sentences synchronized with the current course material, bi-lingual games, or pop-music lyrics.


Music is a popular medium used by teachers of engaging students. From music, students can know more foreign culture and students can learn more vocabulary from the lyrics. Sometimes, they can even analyse the grammar items used. 


Language, Culture, and Identity in Online Fanfiction

This article draws on constructions in second-language acquisition, literacy, cultural, and media studies as theoretical bases for examining how networked technologies and fan culture provide a young English language learner (ELL) with a site for developing her English language and writing skills.

Black studied an 11-year-old girl, Tanaka Nanako, a native Mandarin Chinese speaker who moved to a large Canadian city from China didn’t speak any English. It’s difficult for her to make friends and adapt the courses at school in Canada. After she joined Fanfiction.net and created a personal page, her writing and reading skills have been improved and she also achieved the identity of a successful and wildly popular author in this space.

Fanfiction is writing in which fans use media narratives and pop cultural icons as inspiration for creating their own texts. All the texts in fanfiction are written in English which force the authors to writing in English, gradually their writing skill has been improved. On the other hand, they expose more and gain more vocabulary. Fanfiction involves collaborative learning, learners can share and comment on each other in common interest such as music, comics, dramas, etc. so that the authors can make their work better. This website encourages those learners who are shy and have a negative experience in the context of formal schooling. As a result, they turn out to be very positive in using English online. I would agree that this tool helps learners in reading and writing, but how about their speaking and listening skills?


Blogging for professional development

Writing blogs has become a popular tool for everyone to express their opinions nowadays. As a teacher, I would like to communicate and socialize with my students through the Internet. There are few benefits for students to write online. This digital tool allow students to engage in authentic interactions with other students or teachers across distance easily. It’s one of the motivations for students to learn English. Most of them are willing to express their ideas online because they prefer not to talk to teachers face to face. Moreover, they found that it is easier for them to write online because they can do research before they start their writings. On the other hand, computer applications can cater to a variety of learning styles. Students can use different ways to learn independently and learn on their own. Digital tools allow them to explore authentic texts and provide opportunities for them to contribute their ideas to the forum and website.