This work is devoted to mobile learning in the practice of a foreign language in schools, as a way to enhance the visibility and increase the study of foreign words, expand the vocabulary, and improve its quality. The experiment carried out based on the introduction of mobile technologies has shown that their use in teaching a foreign language provides a high informative capacity of the material, helps to stimulate the cognitive activity of students, ensures the continuity of learning, and increases the level of knowledge of foreign words. The described techniques and methods of work based on the use of mobile devices can be used in teaching English.
Keywords : mobile technology, online translators, education, dictionaries.
The role of technology in man’s life is undeniable. Smart mobile technologies have received considerable attention in recent years by becoming more sophisticated allowing many applications and useful settings to be installed on them. Moreover, mobile devices, by the help of the Internet, now supplement laptops and personal digital assistants. Mobile technologies facilitated for the way of interaction of students from all other the world. Students also like their teachers are beginning to discover this big world of information, the benefits of using mobile technology in the classroom. Nowadays, the immense popularity of mobile phones has created new opportunities for language learners, as well. Therefore, taking this opportunity, teachers have started to use these devices as a means of instruction in many parts of the world particularly for language learning. Learning a new language now is much more diverse with the new trend rather than sitting down with a book or attending a class. The first projects implementing mobile devices in language was the Stanford University learning lab in a Spanish that developed learning and teaching program. This study examines learners' use and perception of Mobile technology through an analysis of the internship in ALKIZ school for girls in Almaty.
Aim of the Research — this study's purpose is to uncover learners' use and perceptions of mobile technologies in ESL learning in a variety of tasks and thereby contextualize the pedagogical implications of the use of these tools to either facilitate vocabulary learning or complement classroom-based learning. Moreover, the aim of the research is to understand how mobile technologies influence for learners motivation, self-esteem and health.
Research questions — Mobile devices are transforming the way in which we live, work and play but how are these devices changing the way in which we learn?
The main question for this research is: how can learning using mobile tools improve and compliment classroom-based learning? For this question to be answered, the following sub-research questions will be used:
– How can mobile technologies help to improve vocabulary learning?
– How do learners experience and engage with mobile devices for educational purposes\ learning vocabulary?
Review of Literature
Feasibility of Application Mobile Technology in ELT class
Today’s generation of students are growing up in a digital world. Utilization of digital devices is an enormous part of their daily experience out of school or university. Recent learners lost their interests to libraries or other traditional methods. This is the great opportunity to incorporate technology with education. Learning styles are changing and representatives of education need to adapt their attitudes accordingly. Mobile phones are already becoming much more than devices to call or send messages. The field of education quickly adapted mobile phones in order to learn foreign languages. Mobile Assisted Language Learning becomes more popular among digital devices, which are used in education. The field of MALL is a treatment to language education that is based upon the use of mobile devices. With Mobile Assisted Language Learning approach learners are able to access language-learning materials and to interact with their teachers or peers. Mobile phones give a chance to build comfortable and effective platform for teaching and learning languages. In addition, it gives an opportunity to design content of language learning.
Mobile technologies is available through several devices like smart phones, IPods, hand-held computers, MP3 players etc. The increasing number of possible tools of MT supplies a wide-range of mobile language learning platforms, from short to full tutorial courses. So Mobile Assisted Language Learning serves as a source of language education and convenient way in order to gain language skills. MT is a flexible approach, which is easily, adjusts with the different styles of learning languages. For example, language can be learned through collaborative learning with the use of mobile devices. MT encourages students to study «anywhere, anytime». So it helps to access and process information outside the classroom. Mobile technologies have the impact to contribute collaboration and communication. It allow a personalized learning practice. Instruction will be adaptable to learners. There lots of opportunities for supporting different kinds of learning through mobile devices.
Mobile Technologies is an efficient, popular and easy way for learning languages. The power of technology on education indicated a huge development of m-learning. A wide-range of activities can be demonstrated by mobile devices. As learning foreign languages is considered as the main key for success in many aspects and demand for being well educated in many communities, creating environment for people to learn languages by MALL is one of the crucial goals of education.
It appears to be practicable to assess m-learning in nowadays ELT classes. Due to the portability and accessibility of mobile devices, it seems to be used everywhere by everyone. Along with mentioned benefits, application of smart mobiles offers convenient usage; thus, they attract often more and more students’ attention rather than computers do. Recent Research conducted in China showed that English learners prefer using their smart phones because of easy material accessibility and the ability to practice anytime and anywhere. Another study from the University of KwaZulu-Natal investigated in this field, proving that 92 % of language learners find it more comfortable to use their mobiles in order to improve their information access. In addition, this research paper proposes the students’ confidence and their ability to find anything, whether the information is related to language learning, at the time they need it. Similarly, according to the SimilarWeb ranking (July 2015), in Kazakhstan 59, 8 % of Internet users search for information through their mobiles. The most active ones are between 12 and 24 years old, which form the average age of middle school, high school, and college/university students. Referring to the presented information and statistics, we suppose that use of smart technologies and internet may be considered to be an effective language teaching tool in Kazakhstani educational system.
Learning vocabulary by using Mobile Technology
The use of the dictionary has been a widely researched topic for more than a century with the goal of learning the first language and the second language. While Miller (1999) acknowledges that dictionaries provide a wealth of important information about a word, he cautions, «Dictionary definitions are deliberately decontextualized». He explains the role of the dictionary in teaching the basic language: to help students in expanding their knowledge of vocabulary and understanding common grammatical errors. Thus, the research results show that the use of the dictionary is beneficial for the expansion of the vocabulary of L2 and for the subsequent understanding of what has been read. Other researchers emphasize the impact of knowledge of L2 students and their strategies for using the dictionary on their successful use of dictionaries. Higher-proficiency learners tend to employ a wider variety of strategies, and they seek semantic meanings rather than merely lexical forms and meanings. Thus, in FL education, special attention should also be given to proper training in the use of dictionaries for maximum language development. There were different studies that conducted to investigate whether and how the use of online dictionaries benefits of second language development. In his review of 206 papers published from 2001 to 2005 in four major technology and language learning journals, including CALICO Journal, CALL, Language Learning and Technology, and ReCALL, Stockwell (2007) discovered that the use of online dictionaries had been primarily investigated in the context of vocabulary learning and writing. Laufer and Hill (2001) found that the use of electronic dictionaries had a positive effect on learners' incidental vocabulary learning, probably attributed to the wealth of contextual information provided by electronic dictionaries, including first language translations, second language synonyms, and audio files providing models for pronunciation. Differences between language learners of different proficiencies have been explored. Chun's (2001) study revealed that lower-level learners may be overwhelmed or confused by the multiple and nonspecific word definitions provided in online dictionaries. This finding was confirmed in Lenders' (2008) and Loucky's (2010) studies, which determined that a simplified bilingual glossary facilitated L2 readers with lower proficiency levels, whereas more advanced learners benefited from electronic dictionaries which provide more details of language use, including examples of contextualized use and grammatical explanations.
In the above literature, is shown that online dictionaries can be useful for learning. Therefore, the skillful use of online dictionaries is one of the indicators of student self-regulation and, as a consequence, the successful development of the language. Therefore, all mobile technologies as interactive boards, mobile phones, tools and electronic textbooks will be useful in the process of learning new vocabulary.
To answer for all questions in this work researcher had an internship in Almaty city in ALKIZ school for girls. Researcher had an active and passive practice with 7 th grade learners. Almost 60 students were participated on the lessons and with observation of three classes’ researcher made results. In the experimental work participated two classes 7 A and 7 B. For the Interview researcher asked 25 learners and 3 English teachers.
In the Questionnaire, 25 students and three English teachers took part. The students answered questions such as: Do you use paper version dictionaries? Do you use online dictionaries? Do you use online programs \ games that help you to learn new words? How? Does teacher use Internet to teach you new words? etc. This survey was conducted in order to find out how many students develop their vocabulary and how.
How often and what kind of?
After the students answered all the questions, the researcher counted the results and compiled the table, which is shown in the results.
For teachers, also had a survey, in which they answered questions such as: Do you use computers and / or the internet in the classes? How do you teach new words? How do you help students to teach students? etc.
This survey was conducted in order to find out how often teachers use mobile technologies, how they relate to this. Their view on how important is to use mobile technologies to improve students' vocabulary knowledge.
The idea of this study is to first identify all the different technological devices teachers nowadays use in teaching English. In addition, the positive and negative experiences related to the use of technology are discussed. Consequently, the study aims to find out the strengths and weaknesses of using technology for improving vocabulary skills. The questions this study aims to answer are:
– How can mobile technologies help for effective vocabulary learning?
– How do learners experience and engage with mobile devices for educational purposes\ learning vocabulary?
Question 1: How can mobile technologies help for effective vocabulary learning?
All of the teachers agreed that the use of technological devices is nowadays extensive in their English teaching. When asked about the devices they used in their English teaching, all of them mentioned the use of computers and PowerPoint Presentations. Today, the teachers had most of their current teaching material either on their computers, or on the publishers’ web pages. PowerPoint Presentations used to show the material in classrooms(example1).
«I definitely use the PowerPoint Presentation in every lesson. One can show a text from the book or the answers of the exercises from the internet and of course, it is connected to computer so computer is also used. All the lesson plans are on the computer. I never come to the class without my laptop» (Teacher 1).
In addition to classroom use, the teachers also had other practical information, such as study plans on their computers and communication with the students’ parents mostly happened online (for example through WhatsApp or Telegram). It was also becoming increasingly common for students to have their own computers in classrooms. Teacher 1 also said that most of the work that was previously done with paper and pencil, was nowadays done with their own computers.
Tablets were not regularly used in the teaching of these teachers, since not many of their students owned tablets and these schools did not have any tablets for them. Still, at times the teachers talked about students’ devices in general, which included all the possible devices students might own, including tablets.
All the teachers interviewed gave examples of the use of students’ smartphones in teaching. With smartphones, students used online dictionaries, played educational games and searched information. The reason why smartphones had become useful in classroom activities was the fact that most students had their smartphones with them at school. Therefore, they provided a chance, for example, to quickly look up a word from a dictionary, as in example 2.
«When for example the dictionary or something else is used, then it is really good and really convenient. And maybe the use of smartphones particularly for the search of information or something like that, since it is the most convenient way to do it, since they (the students) always have their smartphones on them» (Teacher 3).
Besides searching for information, playing educational games was also mentioned by the teachers while talking about the use of smartphones. They provided an easy access to different kinds of game applications, which could be used in teaching. Two of the secondary school teachers mentioned Kahoot, which is a game-based learning platform where one can create multiple choice questionnaires related to any subject. The game can be played by using different devices and therefore it can be played with any device students have with them.
Positive aspects of using mobile technological in English teaching
At present, technological devices are used so much that without them we begin to have trouble. In most schools, teachers have different types of devices available for use in the classroom, which can enrich their learning. The teachers with whom I spoke in my study had a lot of positive experience related to the use of various technological devices that will be discussed in this section.
The first thing many teachers thought when talking about the use of technological devices in their training is easy access to the huge number of sources and information they provided for training. Since all the teachers claimed to use at least computers, PowerPoint Presentations and interactive boards in their lessons, they had indeed become useful tools in classrooms. In the interviews, the teachers exchanged their views on the effect the development of different technological devices had had on their teaching. They shared their experiences that the changes in technology had had on their teaching, as in example 3.
«It has changed a lot, when in the first years of my career I did transparencies by hand; nowadays there is no need to do those. It makes it quicker, for example when the making of exams and material for classes is considered. There is no need to cut and glue things, work done more quickly» (Teacher 2).
Due to the comprehensive online material of the books, the teachers could easily present new topics and show students correct answers to exercises they have completed. Since there was more material ready for the teachers to use, the classroom activities were easier to carry out. In addition to the books’ online material, there was an unlimited amount of other material that could be used either in classroom activities or by the students themselves if they were interested. The teachers gave their students further sources, if they wanted to know more about a specific topic.
Negative aspects of using mobile technological in English teaching
Despite the fact that technology can strengthen teaching in several ways, it can also cause problems. There may be problems with the devices themselves, and teachers and students may not yet be comfortable with the technology to use it in training.
Although technological devices can improve teaching, they do not always work perfectly, and other problems associated with the use of technology, such as problems with Internet connection, can arise. Despite the fact that modern technologies are highly developed, and teachers highly value technology, problems arose and caused difficulties for teachers. Therefore, teachers had to have a backup plan if they suddenly could not use the material they had on computers or on the Internet.
Since technological devices provided an easy access to information, students could easily use them for their own purposes during a lesson. Even if they were advised to do specific tasks, it was difficult for the teachers to keep track on everything that happened in a classroom. Thus, rather than doing their tasks, students used social media or did other things they were not supposed to with their devices. Therefore, they lost their concentration on the subject and disturbed the lesson.
Students should understand that when their devices are used in lessons, they should focus only on real exercises. However, many students began to do other things with the help of their phones. Therefore, teachers should have carefully monitored students during exercises using their devices to make sure that they did what they had to do.
Influence of mobile technologies on learners education
The main task was to study the effectiveness of mobile technologies to improve the vocabulary skills of students. For this, we need to consider the second question.
Question 2: How do learners experience and engage mobile devices for educational purposes\ learning vocabulary?
In order to answer the second question, the researcher conducted an experimental work and Questionnaire. It is better to start by reviewing the experiment. As stated in the previous chapter, about 40 people participated in the experiment. Two classes, 7 A and 7 B. Control and experimental groups. During the whole time one class was engaged in the traditional method of teaching, and the second class most of the time used various mobile technologies .
At the end of the experiment, each class passed the same test, with the same tasks. The test showed that the results of the two classes after all the experiments were not much different. Both classes passed the test well, which disproved first hypothesis. Mobile technologies make learning more interesting, simplistic and exciting. Children who were using mobile technologies remembered many new words, but students who were engaged in the traditional method of learning also showed a good level. The reason for this can be visual memory, the perception of students, ways of memorizing words, preparing for the test.
Fig. 1. Results of the Experiment
Next part was Questionnaire. Learners answered different questions. Results showed that most of them like to use mobile technologies for learning vocabulary. Most of the students prefer to use online translators, watch movies and read books from online resources. Teachers also give students a lot of tasks from different online resources.
Let us analyze the answers of the learners on Questionnaire. In the survey participated 25 people, they answered on 10 questions, that researcher going to show on tables.
Fig. 2. Using dictionaries
Language learning disciplines are one of those mostly affected by emerging technologies. In this paper, we have suggested the engagement of learning with mobile technologies as an effective alternative for EFL educators. Due to the rapid development of modern smart technology and running situation in English language teaching sphere, it is highly recommended to apply mobile enhanced learning. Mobile phones are one of those tools that may distract students from learning process. Instead of prohibiting them from its use, educators can take an advantage from this affection to engage learners and make them interested in getting knowledge. Smart technologies are inherently applicable and motivating; they provide great opportunity for students to interact with each other and learn at the same time. Computers, laptops, tablets, interactive boars all of this tools can help learners for improving vocabulary skills.
- Chun, D. (2001). L2 reading on the Web: Strategies for accessing information in hypermedia. Computer-Assisted Language Learning, 367–403.
- Laufer, B., & Hill, M. (2000). What lexical information do L2 learners select in a CALL dictionary and how does it affect word retention? 58–76.
- Lenders, O. (2008). Computer Assisted Language Learning, 457–481.
- Loucky, J. P. (2010). Comparing electronic dictionary functions and use. [Electronic version] CALICO Journal 8, 127–131.
- Miller, G. A. (1999). On knowing a word. Annual Review of Psychology, 1–19.
- Stockwell, G. (2007). A review of technology choice in teaching language skills and areas in the CALL literature. ReCALL, 105–110.