MALL - does it revolutionize or neglect the social component of language acquisition?
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MALL - does it revolutionize or neglect the social component of language acquisition?
In collecting these resources, I am attempting to predict the role that mobile apps for language learning will play in learner-to-learner and instructor/teacher/native speaker-to-learner interactions in language learning.
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EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES Going to the MALL: Mobile Assisted Language Learning

Bridgette Atkins's insight:

Chinnery states, 'Stipulations aside, technologies, mobile or otherwise, can be instrumental in language instruction. Ultimately, though, they are not in and of themselves instructors; rather, they are instructional tools' (2006, p. 9).   As learners become more accustomed to seeking learning opportunities through their technological devices and the availabilty and quality of the applications continue to improve, could the use of mobile learning language apps indeed replace the demand for second language instructors? Or, will mobile apps for language learning become or remain a component of blended approaches to language learning? I am inclined to believe the latter will be true, but only time can tell if that will be the case.

 

As a side note, this article (published in 2006) - like a few others posted on this site - makes reference to personal digital assistants (PDAs) for mobile language learning. It is interesting to consider how quickly PDAs have become 'passé.'  What will be the next mobile technology to be considered passé?

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Foreign Language Acquisition with Social Media

How to benefit from social networks and chat platforms for foreign language learning. Bibliography: Arnold, Nike. "Reducing foreign language communication ap...
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I really like how this video, created for an Oral Communication project, addresses how the use of social media sites can be especially beneficial for shy language learners and also serves as a way for language learners to become familiar with colloquial terms.  Social media can provide learning experiences that are more valuable in 'every day life' than content found in a textbook, as the narrator of this video explains. It is also understandable that educators and students can be leery of using social networking sites and chat rooms for reasons relating to privacy and safety.  That is not to say that measures cannot be taken to ensure safe online interactions that are authentic and contextually relevant and that these tools should not be used for language acquisition.

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Comic - Andertoons

Comic - Andertoons | MALL - does it revolutionize or neglect the social component of language acquisition? | Scoop.it
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Just for fun! This comic about m-learning is not about language learning in particular but pokes fun at the evolving learner-teacher-technology relationship. 

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MicroMandarin: Mobile Learning in Context

Bridgette Atkins's insight:

This is another resource which suggests that FourSquare (a location based social networking app) can be used as a language learning tool. The authors of this article are interested in the 'contextual microlearning' experience that mobile devices can facilitate.  I like the connections drawn between location-based social networking for language learning and three principles of Cognitive Psychology -- encoding specificity, spaced repitition, and situated cognition (Edge et al., 2011, 3170).  The authors also describe a prominent obstacle in language learning as a 'shortage of spoken interaction with native speakers in the pursuit of real-world goals' (Edge et al., 2011, 3170). I would agree that lack of relevance and the ability to connect with native speakers are two things that mobile language learning apps are generally lacking.  This perspective is similar to that of Kukalska-Hulme and Sheild (2008) - 'scooped' on November 8 below.

 

Though it does not appear to me that the interface described in the article ('MicroMandarin, which uses FourSquare as a language database) is intended to connect language learners with native speakers directly through the app, the context specific language that the app presents can help the learner to choose context appropriate words in their social interactions based on their location. As mentioned in the article, this app is limited to English and Mandarin for the time being and there is still some way for the app to go with regard to properly detecting the user's location.

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MosaLingua Spanish : learn Spanish with your own portable teacher (on iPhone & Android)

Learn Spanish in no time: http://www.mosalingua.com/en download the app on your iPhone, iPod Touch or Android phone! Due to MosaLingua's highly effective and...
Bridgette Atkins's insight:

I have read positive reviews about this app and since it claims to focus on the learner's areas of difficulty, it is likely quite adaptive; however, I am not sure that I would agree that this app could be take the place of a Spanish teacher (a good one at least).  It is good that dialogues and context-specific phrases are included in the app but I feel that it is missing the social interaction that could enhance the learner's experience. I feel this app would be helpful for beginners looking to memorize words and phrases.

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Nik's Learning Technology Blog: Evaluating authentic mobile apps for learning

Nik's Learning Technology Blog: Evaluating authentic mobile apps for learning | MALL - does it revolutionize or neglect the social component of language acquisition? | Scoop.it
Bridgette Atkins's insight:

As an educator and teacher-trainer, Nik Peachey places an emphasis on how web-based materials can be of value to students and teachers alike in his evaluations of mobile apps that could be used for English language teaching (ELT).  Interestingly,  the web-based apps that are not dedicated to English language teaching that interest him. I find Peachey's belief that 'most made for learning apps have made very little pedagogical progress beyond their roots in CALL from the last century' to be thought-worthy.  If this is indeed true, should language learners veer away from 'MALL' and more towards social media/networking apps in general to obtain a more useful, authentic learning experience?

 

If you have about 48 minutes, I recommend watching the workshop recording of Peachey from the IATEFL 2013 conference (several mobile apps are demonstrated in addition to criteria for evaluating apps): http://iatefl.britishcouncil.org/2013

 

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Bridgette Atkins's insight:

Kukulska-Hulme and Shield (2008) comment on something that has been a source of confusion for me in collecting resources on this discourse - 'Although mobile phones were developed to allow oral interaction, MALL rarely seems to make use of this affordance; at least in published research' (p. 275).  This strikes me, as oral interaction via mobile devices seems to me to be an ideal way to obtain an authentic, social learning experience to enhance language acquisition. At the same time, I do see why scheduling and technical issues are obstacles that can make this a challenge. With all of the potential that these devices have for facilitating meaningful communications for language learners I would think that there would be more interest in overcoming these hurdles than there seems to be at the current time. 

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3D Talking-Head Mobile App: A Conceptual Framework for English Pronunciation Learning among Non-Native Speakers | Zamzuri Mohamad Ali | English Language Teaching

3D Talking-Head Mobile App: A Conceptual Framework for English Pronunciation Learning among Non-Native Speakers
Bridgette Atkins's insight:

The concept of 3D talking-head mobile apps to help language learners improve pronunciation begs the question: does one need to converse with a 'real person' to improve conversational language skills anymore?  Ali and Segaran state that this approach to language learning is consistent with Mayer's cognitive theory of multimedia learning (involving visual-pictoral and auditory-verbal channels for the processing of information) in addition to constructivist learning theory.  This model could represent a way in which mobile apps can revolutionize the social experience of language learning.  Although I do not feel that human interaction can be altogether replaced by 3D talking heads, I can see the value of practicing a language with a simulated person. This technology could simulate authentic experiences while perhaps alleviating the anxiety of mis-pronouncing words before a native or advanced speaker of the language.

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Language Learning Goes Social on Mobile

Language Learning Goes Social on Mobile | MALL - does it revolutionize or neglect the social component of language acquisition? | Scoop.it
Hello-Hello English is world best mobile Mandarin English language learning course for the iPad, developed in collaboration with the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL).
Bridgette Atkins's insight:

In theory, the Hello-Hello World language app appears to be an ideal way to learn a language through mobile technology -- the site boasts the ability to connect with native speakers to practice conversing in the language you have chosen to learn.  However, upon reading a review of the app, it may not provide the experience that one might expect: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2401091,00.asp.

 

The review from PCMag.com (2012, March) suggests that the app is not organized well and refers to problems with 'community sourced language learning.' This brings forth a consideration worth thinking about with regard to the social experience of language learning.  How does one ensure that they are picking up 'proper' use of a language when connecting with individuals through apps of this nature?  At the same time,  perhaps the question should actually be 'how does one go about this when learning a language in any setting'?

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iPad app helps you learn a new language in your mobile device

KUAM's Ken San Nicolas introduces you to an app for your iPad to help you learn a new language.
Bridgette Atkins's insight:

This brief news segment reports on DuoLingo (a language learning app and website that teaches six different languages at the current time).  The ability to 'share progression and challenge friends' with the integration with social media sites introduces a social element to the app; however, San Nicolas mentions that 'DuoLingo manages teaches content in structural blocks of categorized material' and explains that the app may not be suitable for people seeking to learn 'immediate conversational skills.'  The ability to practice conversational language seems to be the greatest challenge facing mobile language learning apps.  Can mobile language learning apps provide sufficient opportunties for language learners to use the language they are learning with others in an authentic way?

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DuolingoReport_Final.pdf

Bridgette Atkins's insight:

Though this study reports positive findings for the use of DuoLingo to improve scores on the WebCAPE language test (in this case, for Spanish), it is important to note that novice users showed the most improvement and there is no mention of an oral language test.

Some of the participants in the study reported that the test did not assess all of the skills they had acquired (Vesselinov & Grego, 2012 p. 20).  This link provides more infromation about the WebCAPE test sometimes used to assess students before placing them in college language courses: http://www.perpetualworks.com/webcape/details.&nbsp

 

DuoLingo seems to be a promising app for beginners.  Having tried it myself, I have to agree that it is a good app. However,  this study does not indicate whether DuoLingo can improve conversational language skills.  There is the ability to connect with people on Facebook through the app and use your microphone to recite a line of text, though it would be even better if an audio chat feature was available within the app.  I would be interested in reading a study that shows how this software could significantly improve conversational language skills.

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Mobile Learning English

The research project 'Mobile English Learning' studies the impact of mobile learning at primary school level for learning English as a second language. The p...
Bridgette Atkins's insight:

The study discussed in this video reports that children who used a mobile app to study English performed better on an English post-test than students who studied the same content on paper.  One of the greatest benefits I can see for m-learning is that learners can use the app inside and outside of school.  The positive words of encouragement that the virtual tutor in the app provides students when they respond to tasks sound very realistic and reassuring. I would not be surprised if the 'human' element that the audio feedback brings into the app is a component of its success (it mimics an important type of 'real life' teacher-student interaction).  I do not feel that this app would replace a language teacher, but it appears to be a great complement to a face-to-face language class.

 

This web page provides more information about the Early Bird language project mentioned in the video: http://eyasinciftci.wordpress.com/early-bird-project/

 

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Using Mobile Learning Resources in Foreign Language Instruction (EDUCAUSE Review) | EDUCAUSE.edu

Using Mobile Learning Resources in Foreign Language Instruction (EDUCAUSE Review) | EDUCAUSE.edu | MALL - does it revolutionize or neglect the social component of language acquisition? | Scoop.it
EDUCAUSE Review Online
Bridgette Atkins's insight:

Simon and Fell (2012) indicate that, based on the results of a small survey of university instructors and students, both students and instructors alike are not 'fully realizing the educational potential of mobile devices.'   For example, some of the students reported that they feel mobile devices are not viable teaching tools.  It is surprising to me that only a few suggestions relating to more social usage of mobile devices for language learning were included in the article.  One suggestion, that students could text to one another in the language they are studying, was recommended by one of the students in the study.  The authors also suggested that educators could encourage students to change the language settings in their social media accounts and share their posts with their peers.

 

This sample is fairly small (80 students and 35 teachers all from the same university), but it is still interesting to see that instructors and educators alike could find it difficult to make creative use of mobile devices as educational tools. These results are quite the contrast from discussions about 3D talking heads, language learning with location based social networking apps, and real-time tutoring sessions with native speakers explored in other resources in the discourse. 

 

For anyone interested in free mobile apps for language learning, this list was referenced in the article: http://altec.colorado.edu/languagelinks/All_Language_Resources.shtml

 

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Mobile language learning now and in the future

Bridgette Atkins's insight:

Four ideas that stand out for me in this brief chapter by Kukulska-Hulme are: MALL is still in its infancy (as many of the other resources on this page might suggest), mobile communication devices change the organization of learning spaces (and, as such, I would say that they therefore alter the relationship between learners and teachers), mobile devices allow for greater opportunities for contextual learning (with advances in location based apps), and mobile devices allow for spontaneous communications between users.  That final point is an important aspect of the social experience of language learning, I believe, because spontaneous communications are inherent to authentic experiences. 

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Abdous_alii2009_MALLTechnologyPodcasting.pdf

Bridgette Atkins's insight:

Abdous et al. (2009) touch on some of the ways that MALL can alter interactions between learners and their instructors.  I like the idea of students creating podcasts and instructors providing audio feedback in the form of audio recordings in turn.  In their conclusion, the authors mention how m-learning can cause educators to rethink how time is spent in the classroom.  Though this particular study reports that podcasts are more effective in language classes when highly integrated in the course (rather than supplementary materials), this discussion serves as an example of how mobile learning influences the way educators plan -- more and more, teachers are considering how they can make their materials mobile compatible to meet the lifestyles of today's learners.

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Mobile Devices for Language Learning: Multimedia Approaches

Bridgette Atkins's insight:

Joseph and Uther (2009) very briefly touch on the potential for mobile apps for language learning to provide conversational practice in order to improve fluency. For example, they state: 'Mobile devices (particularly phones) are very much suited for this kind of interaction. They have a natural affordance for audio interaction as we primarily use phones to speak into and listen from. Therefore, there are excellent reasons for exploring this aspect for mobile language learning' (Joseph & Uther, 2009, p. 22).  I agree that mobile devices would be ideal for conversational practice for the same reasons (mobile devices are inherently conducive of conversation) though I do not see a lot of evidence for it in the literature yet.  I feel it would have been better if this section of the article included examples of how this has already been done or how this can be done in the future.

 

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PlaySay: Social Language Learning App Launches With $820k And A HarperCollins Deal In Its Pocket | TechCrunch

PlaySay: Social Language Learning App Launches With $820k And A HarperCollins Deal In Its Pocket | TechCrunch | MALL - does it revolutionize or neglect the social component of language acquisition? | Scoop.it
The education market -- as Apple and others have noticed -- represents a huge mobile opportunity, and today sees the launch of an app that plays on that..
Bridgette Atkins's insight:

It is not surprising that this app was developed by someone who was trying to learn a language.  PlaySay combines language games with opportunities to play with a partner who speaks another language (Spanish or English). According to the writer of this review, ' it incorporates real conversations and pronunciation feedback with native speakers into a narrative structure, constructed as “missions,” in the parlance of the app' (Lunden, 2012). 

 

This may be another example of a social learning app that is great in theory but is not quite there yet. Some of the reviews at the bottom of the following iTunes Preview page claim that users were not matched with native speakers as the app claimed and they did not receive responses when trying to connect with others: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/playsay-spanish/id519867727?mt=8.&nbsp. The success of any socially constructed learning excercise depends on the participation of all individuals in the learning community in any case but it appears that this particular app could be designed to better facilitate those interactions.

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Twenty Ideas for Using Mobile Phones in the Language Classroom

Bridgette Atkins's insight:

I have posted this resource, as it might be helpful for teachers looking for ideas for using mobile devices for language learning.

 

This article was mentioned on Mary Nasilyan's blog: http://marynasil.blogspot.ca/2012/02/mall.html

 

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Voxy's Paul Gollash Makes Language Learning Social, Local, And Mobile

Voxy's Paul Gollash Makes Language Learning Social, Local, And Mobile | MALL - does it revolutionize or neglect the social component of language acquisition? | Scoop.it
Voxy is more than Rosetta Stone meets The New York Times--it also provides location-based lessons about your immediate surroundings and provides...
Bridgette Atkins's insight:

This mobile language learning app, developed by an individual who has experienced first-hand the frustration of limited technology for language learning, seems very promising. Not only does it include relevant, practical, content -- as opposed to the 'Jane kicks the ball' example shared -- but it also allows learners to access content relevant to places they visit (similar to 'checking in' on Facebook or Foursquare) and to connect with language tutors in real-time. Two potential short-comings of this app (depending on one's perspective) are that it is not free and only provides English instruction for speakers of English and Portuguese at the current time. 

 

Here is a white paper from the Voxy website that claims VOXY helped improve users' TOEFL scores by 22%: http://mktg.voxy.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/ITESM-Voxy-White-Paper.pdf

 

Could the success of this app for a number of the learners in the study be due to the relevance of the content and the opportunity to connect with a 'real person' in real-time?  Are some of the other features included in the app necessary - such as tests and 'awards' for high scores?

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TEDxPhnomPenh - Christopher McCormick - Learning a Language Will Change your Life for Good

As the head of language research, training and testing for EF Education First -- the world's largest language school -- Dr. Christopher McCormick oversees th...
Bridgette Atkins's insight:

This TED Talk explores a balance between mobile and face-to-face language learning.  Of an earlier form of mobile assisted language learning, lessons on cassette tape, McCormick shares that he was 'hooked' as a child but that 'there was something that was missing; a window into the culture of these people... And understanding how different cultures behave and what is important to them is a very powerful experience in learning.'  At the same time, he argues that the traditional approach to language teaching is 'holding people back.'  He explains that mobile technology can help to provide a more social learning experience. The approach described here marries mobile learning with traditional, face-to-face, language learning. Though the idea that language learning through these combined approaches can help people to realize their potential and open doors in the careers and personal lives may be perceived as lofty and unrealistic, it speaks to the possible benefits of an appropriate balance between MALL and traditional language learning methods.

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Mobile Apps & Language Learning #1 Foursquare

This is my first attempt of making a video about an app on my mobile - I've started with Foursquare, although I don't really talk much about the relevance of...
Bridgette Atkins's insight:

I have not used Foursquare but like the idea of being able to see what native speakers (and non-native speakers) are saying about a place you have 'checked into.'  This app offers the ability to build a social network with people who are also at the places you are visiting. Though Stanley does not get into great detail in this video, it serves an example of a social networking app that was not necessarily intended for language learning can be repurposed by users wishing to converse with others using a given language, based on their shared location.  Interested in learning more about Foursquare? Visit the site: https://foursquare.com/about

 

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FULLTEXT01

Bridgette Atkins's insight:

This Interactive Design Master's thesis by Alexis Morin includes several interesting ideas for mobile assisted language learning. The following line, included in the abstract, captures (or 'sells') the importance of the social component of language learning:

 

'By knowing English, it is possible to live a comfortable life and socially interact with people while away from home.  It enables the bridging of the communication barrier in many cases. However, that which does not come with solely bridging communication is social integration: making real friends and the sense of belonging' (Morin, 2013, 2).

 

Here is a link to a video about Morin's project: http://vimeo.com/66349156

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