It is a fact that XXI century is the century of Information technologies. Life is getting faster day-by-day and somebody who moves, goes or does slowly would miss opportunities. In fact, if you want to succeed, you have to work harder, do things faster and should not waste your time.
Information technologies facilitate the way to solve those problems and make opportunities to be first. Thus, everybody should take advantage of IT and it is the requirement of the time!
We live in a world that the mobile technology develops at so fast speed that we have difficulty following. In only a few years the mobile market has changed drastically with the advent of smartphones with android system and Apple products with iOS system such as iPad and iPhone, and the number of people that own these kinds of devices is growing at a fast rate especially among young people.
With the mobile devices, a new market of application software called Mobile App has appeared and is growing at an incredible speed. Apps are easily available online, and there are two App stores: iTunes App store and Android Market. ITunes App store offers over 700.000 apps available to consumers, while there are over 675.000 apps on Android Market. Among this incredible number of apps, there are a large number of apps relating to English learning for our students. These English learning apps can be easily and freely downloaded by students according to their own interests. Besides, these apps are developed in terms of learners’ different purposes. Also, using apps on mobile devices to learn English also breaks the restriction of time and place. It means that students can learn English at any time and in any place. Mobile devices are becoming a kind of important tools for students to learn English. [1,p.160]
On the other hand, English, as the most prominent language in the world, is playing an important role in Uzbekistan. For the current college students, it is a necessity to have a good ability of English, because of academic and job factors. For example, there are many majors need English to support such as international trade, e-commerce and information technology, and a majority of multinational companies in Uzbekistan are interested in the graduates who have excellent ability of English.
Government of Uzbekistan has been enhancing English education. Before Uzbek college students go into universities, they must accept at twelve years English education and pass a series of test that English exams are included. English shares the equally most important role with Math and Uzbek for our students.
With the accelerated development of Apps about learning English and the popularization of mobile devices among college students, students have become increasingly interested in the learning benefits that apps on mobile devices bring. According to the relevant researches, the Mobile-Assisted Language Learning (MALL) can not only enhance students’ English ability, but also increase students’ learning motivation. Seemingly, it is helpful and efficient for college students using mobile devices to learn English by themselves. [2, p.27]
The reality is that we don’t know whether it is efficient and effective for college students to use mobile apps to learn English by themselves. MALL is a new way for Uzbek students to learn English. Thus, students’ attitudes towards it are not clear. On the other hand, with the explosion of apps, college students are supplied with more choices. But every coin has two sides. Although there are a lot of apps referring to learning English and college students are easier to get these materials and resources, the reality is that the App market is like a jungle. There is too much software for college students to choice and use. Obviously, there is a lack of recommendation about relevant apps and suggestions about how effectively to use them to learn English. Thus, empirical research about these problems is much needed.
Areas of mobile-based language learning are diverse among which the most common ones are vocabulary, listening, grammar, phonetics, reading comprehension, etc.
Learning Vocabulary. The type of activities focusing on vocabulary learning via mobile phone differs from one research project to another, depending on the level of language proficiency of the learners. Sending e-mail or SMS to students is a common way of learning new vocabulary based on the lessons covered in the classroom.
Listening Comprehension. Listening dialogues and conversations may be considered the first stage in learning a second language. With the advent of modern mobile phones, it is now possible to design a mobile multimedia system for learning listening skills through listening different tasks.
Learning Grammar. Grammar rules can be learnt through a specifically designed program installed on mobile phone, in which grammatical rules are taught, followed by multiple-choice activities where learners select the correct answer from the given alternatives. So, most popular grammatical exercises are in the form of 'true-false' or 'fill-in the blanks' tasks, which are to be responded by the learners. Grammatical explanations may also be presented to learners via vocal service or short message service.
Pronunciation. In so far as modern mobile devices enable their users to access multimedia functions including listening and speaking, a good m-learning service should consist of speech facilities for transmitting voice. Having such facilities, learners may download dictionaries on the PDA with sound functions, so that they can learn the correct pronunciation of unfamiliar or new words to be able to fulfill their learning needs. Mobile devices with multimedia function give learners the opportunity to record their own voice. Further, teachers can analyze students' weaknesses in pronunciation. This way, by enhancing various functions of the system like providing a dictionary for looking up unfamiliar words and their correct phonetic form, the pronunciation as well as speaking skills of the learners can be well improved. [3, p.260]
Reading Comprehension. Reading practices help learners to enhance their vocabulary and promote reading comprehension. Reading activities can be offered to learners either via a well-designed learning course installed on the mobile devices or through SMS sent.
In conclusion, we emphasize that as application of mobile technology is increasing and penetrating all aspects of the lives so that this technology plays a vital role in learning different dimensions of knowledge. Today, there is a clear shift from teacher-led learning to student-led learning that causes students using the technology more effective and interesting way. In fact, we can provide a richer learning environment through mobile phones for our language learners. Pressures of study and assignment deadlines lead students to search for effective solutions on the move. Even if students are studying in different departments, they are in a good position to share the experience across disciplines boundaries, and teachers also may find more challenging to do.
Although going through language activities on mobile phones may take longer time compared to computers, the learners feel a greater sense of freedom of time and place, so that they can take the advantage of spare time to learn a second language when and where they are. Mobile technology gets learning away from the classroom environment with little or no access to the teacher, though the learning process can hardly be accomplished without a teacher's direction or guidance. As the demand for acquiring a foreign language increases and the people time for more formal, classroom-based, traditional language learning courses decreases, the need felt by busy users for learning a foreign language through MALL will inevitably increases. In other words, MALL can be considered an ideal solution to language learning barriers in terms of time and place.
- Chen, C. M. & S.-H. Hsu. (2008). “Personalized Intelligent Mobile Learning System for Supporting Effective English Learning”. Educational Technology & Society, 11 (3), pp. 153–180.
- Huang, C. and P. Sun. (2010) “Using mobile technologies to support mobile multimedia English listening exercises in daily life”. In: The International Conference on Computer and Network Technologies in Education (CNTE 2010), At: http://cnte2010.cs.nhcue.edu.tw/
- Koole, M. (2009). “A model for framing mobile learning”. In M. Ally (Ed.), Mobile learning: Transforming the delivery of education & training, pp. 25–47. Athabasca: AU Press.
- Oxford R. and J. Oxford. (2009). “Second Language Teaching and Learning in the Next Generation”, 2009.
- Stockwell, G. (2008). “Investigating learner preparedness for and usage patterns of mobile learning”. ReCALL, 20(3), pp. 253–270.