Using mobile devices and applications in language learning - Студенческий научный форум

XI Международная студенческая научная конференция Студенческий научный форум - 2019

Using mobile devices and applications in language learning

Мустафа Г.С. 1, Тулегенова А.М. 1
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INTRODUCTION

Technology is transforming the way we communicate, socialize, play, shop and conduct business. Besides, the social networking revolution makes the world a small village and gives people opportunities to be independent learners rather than receiving knowledge merely from teachers in a traditional manner. These recent, profound changes place pressure on the traditional models of language learning and teaching, such as teaching in a formal classroom setting. They also present us with challenges to re-design the way we teach and learn English. One new facet of our life today is the wide spread use of mobile phones. This widespread use of mobile phones makes it necessary for educationists to find means of utilizing this new trend in teaching. TEFL can benefit from this technology in a number of ways especially that the use of mobile phones can extend far beyond the classroom where it is more convenient to the student allowing for more freedom and time. In addition, the students' easy access to the Internet through their phones enables them to make use of learning resources which had not been within reach in the past.

Learning English has always been of greater importance to the learners in Kazakhstan. Especially the secondary level students engage themselves emphatically in achieving the four skills of English which is very imperative in ensuring better career and prospects of higher study abroad for them. Lately, the trend of learning English has gained momentum because of the widespread use of technological devices adorned with language facilitating applications and software. The school learners are making the best use of the smart phones which are beautified with charismatic characteristics that allow the users to enjoy myriad advantages mostly relating to learning English. The total number of cell phone users in Kazakhstan reached 25.24 millionin 2011 [1]. Majority of this aggregating number consists of the smart phone users of which the lion’s share is the school students who are very apt in applying technology in learning no matter wherever they are.

Mobile learning, or m-learning, has recently emerged as a new type of learning model which allows learners to obtain learning materials anywhere and anytime, which can be defined as the use of mobile or wireless devices for educational purpose while on the move [2]. Using mobile technologies and the Internet [3] learners become more involved in learning process. Given that mobile learning refers to a set of technological devices, including smartphones, MP3 players and hand-held computers, learners get a huge benefit from these devices in language learning. Moreover, for some, such learning can be regarded as the facilitator of learning, and easily access to educational materials for students using mobile devices via a wireless medium [4]. That is, it is an education model that emerged with the development of mobile technologies. It is admitted that face-to-face teaching in some certain situations is quite limited for many learners and they need more time and opportunities to interact and be exposed to the target language. In order to compensate this gap and supplement the EFL face-to-face class, mobile learning or e-learning might be used. Besides, using real world resources for teaching and learning in the classroom can make education more meaningful and relevant to our students [5].

The academicians have always been putting their utmost efforts to liberate learning from the constraints of time and place. And, the liberation of learning from the constraints of time and place can be better facilitated mostly through ‘Mobile Learning’. In this regard, Prithivi Shrestha presents that mobile phones can be comprehensively applied and utilized in English Language Teaching [6]. In addition, Ramiza Darmi and Peter Albion reviewed previous studies about the use of mobile phones in language learning contexts [7]. They assert that the integration of mobile phones in second language teaching is acceptable to learners and has a significant role in improving language skills and related language areas. All abovementioned facts show the topicality of the given research.

The aim of investigation is focused on accelerating English language learning with the assistance of smart phones and apps.

The following direct and indirect phenomena are emphasized to be the objectives of investigation:

To be familiar with the existing magnitude of smart phones and apps assisted English language learning among the secondary school learners in Kazakhstan.

To encourage the exploitations of smart phones and apps in learning.

To inspire the EFL learners to utilize smart phones and apps for the purpose of speeding up their language learning process.

To come up with the ideas of how and what apps can be better manipulated for the purpose.

To aid the learners to overcome the difficulties in choosing the suitable English Learning apps.

To classify apps based on the learners level.

To identify the effectiveness of teaching basic skills through mobile technology.

The object of investigationis using new technologies in teaching foreign languages in primary and secondary schools.

The subject of this work is mobile phones and applications.

Methods of investigation. Both quantitative and qualitative methods were incorporated to conduct the study. Initially, quantitative approach was utilized with a view to determining the number of participants who exploit and who do not exploit smart phones and apps for earning proficiency in the target language. This was done with the help of a carefully designed questionnaire. As a result we got hold of the required data on the varied number and percentage of students who support or do not support the proposed devices and software in the EFL classroom

The theoretical significance of the given investigation paper lies in the fact that the results of the research can be useful in using different types of mobile applications and showing its benefits in teaching foreign languages.

The practical significance of the work is that it can be used by teachers of foreign languages.

The structure of term paperconsists of introduction, theoretical and practical parts, conclusion as well as bibliography including used literature and entitlements of research materials. There are figures and tablesin the paper on appendix part.

1. Mobile assisted language learning in education

1.1. The concept of mobile assisted language learning

When, in 1973, the mobile devices were invented for the first time, no one ever thought some day they would become an important part of routine life. As soon as the mobile phones became a crucial part of our lives, their felt a need for using them in language learning tasks.

These days mobile devices such as PDAs, phones, and other handheld devices, are used everywhere for doing everything ranging from voice calling to making short message, video chat, listening to audio (Mp3, Mp4, Mpeg), web surfing, shopping, and the like. Apart from these benefits, mobile devices have increasingly grown toward becoming tools for education and language learning, and all its users from teachers or students are getting used to this environment to make education as ubiquitous as possible. Moreover, the emerging of internet made open and distance learning a means of receiving education from all parts of the world. In a short period, the attractiveness of distance learning led to the realization that various mobile devices provide a very effective resource for education. This way, many researchers tried to make mobile devices a rich resource for teaching and learning. [8]

MALL deals with the use of mobile technology in language learning. Students do not always have to study a second language in a classroom. They may have the opportunity to learn it using mobile devices when they desire and where they are. As learning English is considered a main factor for professional success and a criterion for being educated in many communities, providing more convenient environment for people to learn English is one of the strategic educational goals towards improving the students' achievement and supporting differentiation of learning needs.

In this technological era, everyone has their own handheld mobile devices. Using these devices, with easy access to the Internet, they interact with people from anywhere in the world. Irrespective of time and place people chat or exchange information with each other. The very term “mobile” stands for the “mobility” or the ability to move freely and easily from one place to another. Mobile learning refers to the implementation of mobile devices in any branch of study. The features of mobile technology such as the portability and information accessibility play a major role in the enhancement of English language teaching and learning.

The main characteristic of M-Learning can be the discretion of the learner. It lies in the hands of the learner to decide upon the place and time for language learning. The outbreak of mobile learning makes it harder for anyone to arrive at a stable concept because of the availability of new mobile devices in the market [9].

Generally, mobile learning can be defined as mobility of the personal, portable and wireless devices such as the Smartphone, personal digital assistant (PDA), iPod, palmtop, laptops used in language learning. Mobile learning can be divided into:

“Mobility of technology”

Mobility of learner”

Mobility of learning”

The Mobility of technology refers to mobile devices with Wi-Fi capacities and Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) that deliver information and learning materials through the internet. With portable and personal mobile devices, learners could be engaged in more flexible, accessible and personalized learning practices without constraint on places. Mobile learning enhances the mobility of learning process without time constraint[10].

Mobile language learning is a field that is quickly maturing, and to this end, a growing body of research has appeared that highlights the various ways in which mobile devices may be used in the teaching and learning of languages. Research has for the most part shed a very positive light on the potential of the role that mobile devices may play. At the same time, however, there has also been indication of several areas that certainly deserve consideration in their implementation.

The main features of mobile learning are accessibility, immediacy, interactivity and situating of instructional activities [11]. Accessibility refers to the extent to which every learner owes the mobile. These days almost most of the learners are having the technology regardless of the place they are living. In addition, as the technology is available in most places, except remote areas, learners can be connected and extended their opportunity to learn immediately. It is also possible to the learners to communicate each other around or with their colleagues and professionals in distant areas through the mobile which has different applications. Classroom instructions are expected to be contextual. Thus, mobile learning creates prospects to contextual leaning which the connection provides.

Mobile based language learning has its own advantages and limitations. There is a tendency in implementing mobile solutions, both broadly and locally, to sometimes uncritically focus on technology merits. Among the merits for technology in language learning that are particularly relevant to mobile environments are access, authenticity, and situated learning. However, these affordances are accompanied by challenges and limitations. For example, while mobile learning allows anytime/anywhere access, the learning experience on mobile devices may be degraded by a number of factors such as limited screen size and the often distracting environments in which they are used.

Thus, mobile activities, tasks, and applications should distinguish both the merits and limitations of the mobile device, and the merits and limitations of the environment in which the device will be used in light of the learning target. Crucially, if the fundamental goal is language learning, then these affordances and limitations should be directly connected in a principled way to second language learning research and theory.

1.2. Comparison of Mobile-Assisted Language Learning and Computer Assisted Language Learning

Mobile -assisted language learning is the subdivision of both M-Learning and computer-assisted language learning (CALL). Beatty defines CALL as a term used for the collection of technologies aimed at enhancing creativity and collaboration, particularly through social networking. In recent years the widespread use of mobile devices led to the abbreviation MALL which differs from CALL in its use of personal, portable devices that enable new ways of learning, emphasizing continuity or spontaneity of access across different contexts of use.

Few research studies have suggested that CALL has some limitations like lack of in-depth communication, false observation, disturbed learning process, the burden of work, educators’ lack of computer knowledge proposed that these shortcomings of CALL can be overcome by MALL [12]. The important characteristics of mobile devices which cannot be offered by desktop computers in CALL are:

Portability & Mobility

Social connectivity

Context sensitivity

As Bax (2003) stresses, CALL has gone through considerable changes over time. With the transfer of computer functions to mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, a new dimension emerged in the field of language teaching and learning: MALL. It can be briefly said that MALL “differs from CALL in its use of personal, portable devices that enable new ways of learning, emphasizing continuity or spontaneity of access across different contexts of use” [13]. In the past, mobile devices included cassette players, MP3/4 players, etc. Their functions were rather limited with no internet access. However, with the advent of mobile devices with advanced functions, their broad use in language learning has become viable.

Here is the question: Are these two terms alternatives to each other or complement one another? It is true that CALL undergoes a lot of changes and MALL, as a recent posh term, increasingly gains popularity. However, that does not mean that one is necessarily being replaced by the other. They are not direct alternatives to each other; rather they both aim to help language learners master language skills to a desirable extent via different ways and complement each other. A student can make use of both together. Outside school or home mobile devices can be utilized and at school or home computers and the Internet can be benefited from for language learning purposes. If we let CALL disappear, the use of merely mobile devices will not yield effective results on every occasion because of their certain limitations. Likewise, if we disregard MALL, the potential mobility and accordingly omnipresence of language learning will be eliminated, which is not something desirable on the part of learners.

There are a number of resources and tools on the Internet that may offer invaluable contributions to the learning process of language learners. All of the language skills including main and sub-ones can be fostered through effective use of these resources and tools. These rich opportunities are mostly accessible through both computers and mobile devices. At this point, the above-listed advantages and disadvantages of these two should be looked at. If a tool or website will be utilized on the bus to school, a mobile device like a tablet or smartphone appears to be more practical. Likewise, if an unknown lexical item is the case in the classroom, dictionary apps on smartphones can be quickly looked up. MALL turns out to be cut out for such scenarios. Nevertheless, if school offers computer laboratories for students or learner wants to further study on English independently at home, CALL appears more preferable. It is apparent that CALL is more advantageous for certain purposes while MALL is more practical for other purposes. Accordingly, learners should make use of the opportunities offered by both eclectically.

Technology should not be deemed as “a magic bullet to solve educational problems, but rather as a powerful tool that can have both positive and negative impact, and that must be carefully exploited” [14]. At this point, the important role of the language teacher becomes noteworthy. Opportunities offered by technology should be carefully handled and the use of CALL or MALL should be carefully guided by language teachers so that the learning process attains the educational goals.

Among all modern communication devices, mobile phones are the most powerful communication medium even richer than email or chat as it can act as a learning device despite its technical limitations. With such a learning device the learner controls the learning process and progress in his/her own space based on his/her cognitive state.

Learning through the computer or e-learning enables the learners to learn in a non-classroom environment when they are at home in front of their personal computers online or offline. However, learning through the mobile phone or m-learning provides the learners with the opportunity to learn when they are in the bus, outside or at work doing their part-time jobs. In fact, they can learn every time and everywhere they are. Two main characteristics of mobile devices are portability and connectivity. As for connectivity, designing the mobile system must have capability of being connected and communicated with the learning website using the wireless network of the device to access learning material ubiquitously including short message service (SMS) and mobile e-mail. Portability enables learners to move mobile devices and bring learning materials [15].

Klopfer and his colleagues state the following properties of mobile devices:

Portability: such devices can be taken to different places due to small size and weight;

Social interactivity: exchanging data and collaboration with other learners is possible through mobile devices;

Context sensitivity: the data on the mobile devices can be gathered and responded uniquely to the current location and time;

Connectivity: mobile devices can be connected to other devices, data collection devices, or a common network by creating a shared network;

Individuality: activities platform can be customized for individual learner [16].

The widespread influence of the market increased the popularity of the mobile phone, and this fulfills the need of teachers to provide tools and software for the learners in teaching contexts. Moreover, comparing with other wireless devices such as laptop computers, mobile phones are rather inexpensive having functions as Internet browsers available in most devices. With such inexpensive devices accessible to even the poorest areas and having the functionalities of e-mail or SMS, it is now possible to transfer information to and from mobile phones between instructors and learners without any difficulty.

Although learning service through mobile devices has some advantages, it has its own constraints as small screen, reading difficulty on such a screen, data storage and multimedia limitations, and the like. Many of the mobile phones are not designed for educational purposes. That is, it is difficult for the learners to use them for the task given by the teachers to be carried out. This is partly due to the initial design of such devices, and partly due to non-existence of such developed mobile phones. However, those devices which are appropriate for specific learning tasks are too expensive for most of the learners to buy. Thus, teachers should be aware of what kinds of tools learners have, and then set to chose or adapt resources compatible to such tools [17].

In an experiment, Stockwell demonstrated that the learners found the activities take too long to complete on the mobile devices, and consequently, some of them preferred to use their PCs to do their assigned tasks. In that experiment many learners indicated from the outset that they did not intend to use the mobile phones for doing their tasks because of the cost of Internet access, the screen size, and the keypad [18].

On every skill and element of the target language, there are a great number of apps available in Google Play Store. One has to open the window and search whatever he wants to choose and install. Once installed, an app works in accordance with its internal arrangement to serve the purpose of the users. In the competitive world of technological accomplishments, different applications offer myriad sorts of user-friendly facilities. For instance, a vocabulary building app helps the learners learn the correct pronunciation of the words, spell them correctly, read the sentences made with them, do practice tests with them, see the score and have the techniques to remember them easily.

Like this, there prevail numerous apps with innumerable utilities that provide the learners with multitudinous options and alternatives to have a comprehensive access to the target language. With English language learning apps the EFL learners can enjoy the following advantages:

Practice any item of the language anytime anywhere.

The smartphones and the apps are portable.

The Learners don’t have to carry books, pen and paper.

They can take tests on the different skills of the target language.

They can share their proficiency with their friends through the same device.

They can practice the four skills of the target language on the same device.

On the apps, they can have lessons and tips on the different skills.

They can have knowledge and fun together.

They can be technologically advanced and linguistically benefited simultaneously.

They can get the apps for free.

Apps can accompany them 24/7 like an expert teacher on the target language.

After all, learning English Language with the help of smartphones and apps is indeed quite enjoyable, time saving and cost effective. It, in fact, can take place in a ubiquitous manner. It rewards the learners with an opportunity to practice and learn in walking, sitting and lying modes. So, this emerges to be an omnipresent learning system nowadays for the EFL learners.

1.3. Classification of Mobile Learning Apps

The statistical data of mobile apps exhibits the rapid progress in numerous apps being developed and downloaded every year by people around the world. English learning apps available in the app stores are plenty and choosing the right app is definitely a tiresome job. The difficulty lies on the part of the learner to choose the right app and the question lies here is which app is best and suited to the particular level of the learner? To aid the learner's apps can be classified as follows:

Figure 1: Classification of mobile apps

Primary Learners

As mobile devices march toward ubiquity, they are finding their way into the hands of the early learners. Early learners include children of a very young age who use mobile devices to interact and for playing games. Reviewers and instructors have experimented mobile devices with children to uplift their learning. This integration of technology into learning fetched positive outcome that resulted in effective learning.

Apps for children have the potential to educate them. There are more educational apps available in the app store, choosing the right one for children can change the way they look at the process of learning. Benefits of mobile application in Education include:

More social

Entertainment

Effective Utilization of Leisure hours

Alternate modes of learning

Fun and informal

Recent studies show a significant increase in the usage of mobile devices among young children. They get excited in using these devices because it gives them a lot of joy. Pre-school children lack the ability of discretion to judge what is good and what is bad for them especially in handling the mobile devices. The duty lies here both with parents and teachers to act as a decision-maker in guiding them in the choice of the correct or suitable content which produces no harm for children but in turns enhances their learning [19].

Primary learners include children belonging to the age group 3-10 years. Children of this age group learn the English language beginning with alphabets, later on to recognition of the letters, sounds of the alphabets, tracing the letters to write. They are interested in listening to animated rhymes songs and stories. Learning the Colors of different objects, shapes, name of animals, fruits, vegetables and more can enhance their vocabulary acquisition. Mobile apps are developed to meet the need of the children belonging to this age group.

NAME OF THE APP

SYSTEM

SKILLS

Pogg — Spelling & Verbs

iPhone and iPad

To Learn Spelling, Language and Vocabulary. [Special Education Like Autism and Speech Therapy Support]

Phonetics Focus

iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Enhance speaking skill.

MindSnacks

iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

It offers various interactive activities to develop speaking skill.

MindSnacks

iOS

It uses fun games to learn new English words.

Spell & Listen cards – the talking flashcards for spelling

iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

The talking flashcards for spelling support

Starfall ABCs

iPhone, iPod Touch.

Letter Recognition, Phonics, and Listening

Kids Learn to Read

Android

Practicing pronunciation skill

Super WHY

iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch

Practicing the alphabet, rhyming, spelling, writing and reading

123s ABCs Preschool Learn HWOTP Kids Handwriting

iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Writing, reading

Table 1: Apps for Primary Level Learners

Secondary Learners

Students of age group 12-17 belong to the secondary level of learners. The use of a mobile device affords a way to attain students in a way that they are adapted to. “It gives them active control of their learning in the palm of their hands.” [20]

Charles R. Barmanbelieved “The elementary classroom builds the basis for the content areas and the future success of students. From writing creative stories to fact mastery in mathematics, apps provide an engaging and interactive platform for learning”[21].

Vocabulary development of the high school student through an app proved effective in the experiment conducted by Jennifer Betsy Redd. She introduced a gaming app using iPod for these students to enhance the vocabulary in the time period of three weeks. It fetched her the mean score of the pre-test 13.80(SD=2.20) and of the post-test 14.16 (SD=2.81) which marked the significant difference between the test that reinforced the fact that the use of mobile device indeed proved effective on the development of vocabulary among high school students.

Equipping the learning apps can change the regular lecture classroom and students learning interest can increase. As primary learners learn the basics of the language, the secondary will move to the next level of learning the language. Language skills like Listening, speaking, reading, writing skills will be acquired by these learners. On the other hand, they will learn grammar, vocabulary and meanings, pronunciation, spellings and more on the part of language acquisition.

NAME OF THE APP

SYSTEM

SKILL

Rosetta Stone

iOS / Android

Vocabulary Acquisition

FluentU

iOS Android

Speaking,Vocabulary Acquisition.

MindSnacks

iOS

Vocabulary Acquisition.

Memrise

iOS /Android

Vocabulary

Open Language

iOS /Android

Speaking

Busuu

iOS / Android

Speaking

Duolingo

iOS /Android

Vocabulary

Magoosh English Video Lessons

iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch

Grammar

Supiki English Conversation Speaking Practice

iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch

Speaking

Table 2: Apps for Secondary Learner

2. Practical using of MALL and mobile applications in language learning

2.1. MALL in developing language skills

In the world that emerging technology-supported devices are rapidly growing, wireless communication technology is not an exception in this respect. As mobile phones with high capabilities extend into all areas of human life, it is expected that this wireless computing device soon becomes accessible for all urban and rural areas of each country. So, widespread access to such an inexpensive and sophisticated device has rather changed the landscape of e-learning in many ways. In fact, mobile learning can be considered as the next generation of e-learning. Mobile devices are not substitute for existing learning devices, but they serve as extension for learning in new environment having new capabilities, though, not all learning content and activities are appropriate for mobile devices. Mobile learning is characterized by its potential for learning to be spontaneous, informal, personalized and ubiquitous. Such learning is reinforced when people encounter shortage of free time as the result of working longer hours. In such an environment, busy people tend to use portable devices to learn new materials rather than taking time for traditional classroom-based courses.

There are some factors having key roles in the use of mobile devices in learning environments. Physical characteristics of a mobile phone such as its size and weight as well as input and output capabilities such as keypad vs. touchpad and screen size and audio functions are among the factors which should be assessed in this respect. The learner skills and his/her prior knowledge and experience with mobile devices for learning, as well as the learner's attitude towards the learning through mobile phone play a crucial role in the output quality of such a mobile-based tasks.

In this study we try to investigate the way of effective learning through mobile technologies, a shift from teacher-led learning to student-led one, via m-learning. The possibilities of learning a second language in a mobile-based environment are demonstrated accompanying by some examples of learning via mobile devices. Here, it has been tried to show the benefits of using mobile phones in learning English as a second language. Areas of mobile-based language learning discussed in this paper are vocabulary, listening, grammar, and reading comprehension.

Language laboratories are widely used. They extend the ability to master absolutely any English language skills: reading, listening, speaking, grammar, culture of speech. Also, speech reproduction tools are widely used - electronic dictionaries, audio and video courses. [22]

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. In a study Kennedy and Levy gave the learners the option to receive messages covering known words in new contexts through SMS to their mobile phones amounting nine or ten messages per week. The results indicated that the messages were very helpful for learning vocabulary [23].

Similarly, Thornton and Hiuser sent short mini-lessons for learning vocabulary through email to mobile phones of the students three times a day. They used new words in multiple contexts for the learners to infer the meaning. The results showed an improved range of scores on post-tests which were very encouraging [24].

There are other strategies for learning vocabulary via mobile phones. Learners can be provided with some tailored vocabulary practices based on activities performed in the classroom. They are, then, asked to complete them on their mobile phones and send them back to their instructors.

Learning vocabulary can also be accompanied by the pictorial annotation shown on learners' mobile devices for better understanding of new words. In a study conducted by Chen, et al., learners were provided with verbal as well as pictorial annotation for learning English vocabulary. Results of a post-test showed that the pictorial annotation assisted learners with lower verbal and higher visual ability to retain vocabulary [25].

Listening and speaking comprehensions

One of the characteristics of online interactions that has emerged with the explosive growth of mobile technology has been the merging of modalities, i.e., text, image and audio / video, often today converging in texting, blogging, and in all forms of social media [26]. This convergence will necessarily be reflected in the use of mobile devices in language learning. Tasks – in class and at home – are likely to combine text with other media. A recommended activity in Kukulska-Hulme, Norris and Donohue (2015), for example, has as its final product a draft letter to accompany a job application [27]. Before working on the letter in class, students watch an online job interview video at home, then in class discuss with other students what they found useful in the interviews. Thus, the activity involves writing, listening and speaking. As is the case here, assigned tasks involving mobile use should ultimately lead to active student language use, collaborative opportunities, and, whenever possible, a connection to the ‘real’ world outside the classroom. One of the ways in which language teachers can bring the outside world into the classroom – and in the process authentic linguistic and cultural learning materials – is through the use of online audio and video. There is now a wealth of videos of all kinds available on YouTube and through other online video services.

The great variety of topics available means that teachers are likely to find sample clips to fit any thematic focus. This provides options as well for students to find audio or video resources that align with personal or academic interests. While language course books try to appeal to young learners with, for example, texts of songs from contemporary pop artists, they are likely to be out of date as soon as published [28]. Using online sources keeps content current.

Watching video clips or listening to podcasts can serve as models for students themselves creating multimedia. This is in fact one of the most used features of modern phones, to take pictures and record audio / video. The voice recording feature can be used to record selected classroom activities for later study, reflection or transcription. Voice and video recording are ideal vehicles for practicing presentations, assigned dialogues or classroom skits.

Listening exercises may be considered the first stage in learning a second language. With the advent of the second generation of mobile phones, it is now possible to design a mobile multimedia system for learning listening skills through listening exercises.

Huang and Sun designed a system composing of two subsystems. A multimedia materials website that uploaded and maintained video materials, and a set of multimedia English listening exercise on the mobile phone for the learners to repeat exercises in English listening in a ubiquitous learning environment. They attempted to implement the mobile multimedia English listening practice system based on capabilities of the mobile technology providing learners download multimedia sound contents from mobile devices, register the learning website, order mobile learning courses and activate reception of learning courses. According to Huang and Sun, mobile multimedia English listening exercise system can enhance learner's English listening abilities to a high degree [29]. It is also possible to design a platform in which learners listen to a text by vocal service on their mobile phones, followed by a listening comprehension quiz based on the text.

Learning Grammar

Grammatical points can be learnt through a specifically designed program installed on mobile devices, in which grammatical rules are taught, followed by multiple-choice activities where learners select the correct answer from the given alternatives. Grammatical exercises can be in the form of 'true-false' or 'fill-in the blanks' which are to be responded by the learners. Grammatical explanations may also be presented to learners via vocal service or short message service.

The largest volume of published articles, teacher blogposts, and apps related to mobile language learningtarget vocabulary acquisition and grammar study [30]. For the most part, mobile activities involvingthese areas of language learning represent amplifying ormodifying activities following the SAMR model discussedearlier. They represent more efficient ways for students toadvance their skills and knowledge, with usage extendingfrom the classroom to home use. Most of the sites forgrammar and vocabulary learning and practice are mobilefriendly. Some have created entertaining game-basedactivities, such as Grammar polis for English grammaror Quiz let for vocabulary exercises. Johnny Grammar’sWordChallenge (British Council) incorporates game basedquestions on grammar, vocabulary and spellingfor a variety of learning levels. The Phrasal stein app(Cambridge University Press) reviews the use of phrasalverbs through cartoon figures resembling Frankenstein.

Rosell-Aguilar (2017) advocates that teachersdemonstratethe use of recommended apps in the classroom. Whilethe basic functionality of most apps is readily apparent,there may well be preferences or advanced features ofwhich the casual user may be unaware.Discussing the useof these features in class can provide valuable insightsinto what cognitive psychology and second languageacquisition theory have revealed about how humanmemory works and about optimal methods for vocabularystudy. Results from studies on effective language-learningstrategies point to the importance of explicit discussionwith students of optimal strategies, with research showing‘the most beneficial strategy instruction to be woven intoregular, everyday L2 teaching’ [31].

Pictures and audio / video clips can be sourced onlineor can be taken / recorded with the students’ devices,done outside of class. Using mobile devices for language learning Pollard (2015) suggests that, where possible, vocabularysets be coupled with targeted grammatical structures,such as combining a unit on people’s appearances withrelative pronouns. This provides ‘the opportunity toobjectively describe the setting, as per the appearanceaspect, and also allow the student to speculate onother aspects of the image, such as the possiblepersonality traits of the individuals’ [32].

Pronunciation

The second generation of mobile devices enable their users to access multimedia functions including listening and speaking ones. A good m-learning service should consist of speech facilities for transmitting voice. Having such facilities, the learners may download dictionaries on the PDA1 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 the learners the opportunity to record their own voice. Then, teachers are able to make a better assessment of the 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.

The Praxis learning podcast line is a platform providing a context-driven, social-based, and software-enhanced website for learning foreign languages. It has recently been working to release mobile language learning features for PDAs, smart phones, etc., enabling learners to learn phonetics of a given language in an interaction way using multimedia functions on the mobile phones (Microsoft research program).

The speech aspect of mobile learning is as significant as textual aspect of it, since it enables learners to comfortably speak with a system recording their voice and allowing them to listen back to themselves. Then, they can compare their voice with an ideal pronunciation and make an improvement in this skill [33].

Reading Comprehension

Practices help learners to enhance their vocabulary, and vocabulary knowledge, in turn, helps them to 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 to the learners. In either case upon finishing the reading activity, the learners are provided with a reading text function to evaluate their reading comprehension skill.

To offer an effective and flexible learning environment for English learning, Chen and Hsu attempted to present a personalized intelligent mobile learning system known as PIM in which the learners were provided with English news articles based on their reading abilities evaluated by fuzzy item response theory. To promote the reading abilities of English news, the PIM system would automatically discover and retrieve unknown vocabularies of individual learners from the reading English news articles. The experimental results of the study indicated that English news reading learning along with unfamiliar vocabulary learning with self-assessing feedback response are very effective in prompting reading comprehension and reading abilities of the learners [34].

Mobile learning programs in which reading function accompanied by text announcer pronunciation will be more helpful to promote at the same time both reading comprehension and listening comprehension.

2.2. Survey and analysis of using mobile apps

The data collection for this survey was performed using an online, self-administered survey called SurveyMonkey.com. As the aim of the research was defining the importance of usage of mobile apps for learning language and showing relevance of research purposes.

The data collection instrument was the 5 main questions with different variants of answer. In order to assemble the data from appropriate respondents the link of this survey was sent to the 50 students of one secondary school. The participants were students of the 7th and 8th grades of the school №38. In the total number of students there were 50, 27 girls and 23 boys aged from 12 to 14.

Depending on responses to questions, respondents would follow different paths through the survey, so it was all 5 questions would be answered. The first question was whether a person used mobile devices to learn a language. The next question was to assign the importance of a mobile application in the usage of language learning. And the third and fourth questions were designed to determine how effective these applications are and how they are assessed by school students. Survey was completed with the question about the skills that have been developed using a mobileapplication. That is, survey participants who studied English using a mobileapplication should have chosen one or more of the options offered. For those respondents who had not used, and were not intending to use, mobile apps information was sought on the reason for this situation. If the student answered “no” to the first question, then he was automatically redirected to another question. So, a person who does not use these types of applications can not evaluate the its effectiveness. Therefore, he answered the question "why he does not use mobile applications in order to learn the language?" and finished the survey.

Upon completion of the survey and for the purposes of this investigation, the results were analyzed using a variety of reports, both graphics and tables. A basic descriptive statistical analysis was applied to the data.

Question 1. Have you ever used mobile applications in the process of learning English?

There were 49 respondents who said that they used and still using mobile applications in order to learn languages. As you can see from the Figure 1that the number of people who use mobile applications is noticeably more than those, who do not use. Only one participant said that does not use mobile devices. So the in percentage it showed 98% to 2%.

As noted above, if a person has never used mobile applications in the learning process, the respondent must write the reason for not using these types of applications and complete the survey. This student answered that he sometimes uses tablets and mostly computer in order to learn languages and explained that this way is the easiest for him. From his words we can conclude that the answer “no” wasreceived due to individual circumstances.

Figure 1. Usage of mobile apps

Question . 2. Do you think the mobile devices are important in the language learning process?

We also examined the importance of mobile devices in language learning process. The given bar chart (Figure 2) shows that 12 students think that the use of mobile devices in the process of learning languages is important, and the number of those who think that it is very important is three times more.

Figure 2. The importance of mobile devices

Question 3. Were mobile apps useful and effective in language learning?

Students who answered that they had used mobile devices in learning process totally agree with statement that says mobile applications are useful and effective in learning which was an unexpected result. We predicted 2-5% percents of respondents who will answer ‘no’ due to the fact that to the question below the same amount of students have chosen answers of near meaning. All 49 respondents chose the option that mobile apps are useful and acting way of studying languages.

Question . 4. Rate performance of the mobile applications on a scale of 1-5

Respondents who had used mobile apps for academic purposes were asked to rate the efficiency of mobile apps in learning language on a scale 1-5. Respondents showed a clear preference for the highest marks, almost halfof all participants gave an appraisal 5 and slightly fewer people rated 4, 47% and 40% respectively (Table 3). No one gave a lowest score. This chart on Figure 4 illustrates that potency of mobile applications is highly rated among students.

Figure 4. Rating efficiency of mobile apps

Marks

1

2

3

4

5

Votes/ resp.

0

2

4

20

23

Percentage/%

0

4

8

41

47

Table 3.Percentage of votes

Question 5. What skills have you developed with the help of mobile applications in learning English?

Using mobile devices and applications can help learners to develop several skills. The results of last question shows it exactly. In this question, each participant could choose only one or several answer options. From Figure 5 it can be seen that the respondents chose different options. This result has several reasons: firstly, the students used different applications. Secondly, each person has his own individual approach and inclination towards certain things and studies are no exception. That is, each individual has its own peculiarities of information acceptance.

Users most often interact with language on the word or sentence level when listening, reading, and writing on a mobile device. Writing is the most underutilized skill in to listening and reading. In a small number of apps emphasizing spelling, letters were occasionally targeted for listening, reading, or writing. Apps tended to focus on receptive skills such as listening or reading combined with simple activities like fill the blank or drags and drop, rather than productive skills, like speaking or text production. Open-ended activities were rare, and written or spoken production was generally limited to very simple one word utterances, allowing for the app to easily assess input and provide corrective feedback.

Figure 5. Skills which was developed

Skills

Vocabulary

Listening

Grammar

Speaking

Reading

Writing

Votes

27

15

12

10

9

4

Table 4. Number of votes by options

As outlined in upper, the potential number of survey participants was 50 students. The survey ran for a two week period during the first half of November 2018. The reasons for the low response rate are possibly varied, for example, perhaps the survey was not regarded as being relevant, the timing was poorly-considered. With a sample response of 50 students it is not possible to draw definitive conclusions neither from the information provided nor to reliably extrapolate the findings. This has an impact upon the value of the findings and any subsequent application. The survey sample was self-selected and, given the limited number of respondents, it is possible that those who had not used mobile apps for the purposes under investigation did not engage with the survey. Some indicators were drawn from the survey as outlined above and they serve a useful purpose of guiding future work in this area.

Mobile apps were more likely to be used for research, but for both practices the ability to communicate, collaborate and share with others were primary motivators for use. The use of mobile apps is an essential component of digital literacy and has huge potential for changing teaching and learning practice.

CONCLUSION

The rising speed 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, a clear shift from teacher-led learning to student-led learning that m-learning allowed causes the students feel using the technology more effective and interesting than before. In fact, we can provide a richer learning environment through mobile phones for our language learners.

Though many researchers have been carried out towards MALL technology as a growing field of study in language learning, there are still so many works left to be done and a large amount of information to be uncovered. Moreover, the methods with the help of which mobile device technology can be used to provide a more robust learning environment have to be further improved. The ways through which the barriers of CALL have been removed can help the MALL technology to grow with less effort and cost. Some language skills such as speaking and listening skills as mobile-based activities need some further improvements due to the hardware weaknesses. Mobile-based learning or m-learning faces many challenges, but it has grown in exponentially in spite of all its problems to provide a better environment for language learning.

Mobile learning technology, however, has a rapid pace of development from a teacher-learner text-based approach to a forthcoming multimedia supporting technology. In addition, podcast lectures and digitized audio comments made the online interaction between teachers and learners possible in a more convenient way without any time and space limitations [35].

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 word, MALL can be considered an ideal solution to language learning barriers in terms of time and place.

The fact that mobile device use can address a variety of student learning styles points to the flexibility and versatility in their use in language learning. All four language skills, as well as cultural learning, can be addressed using different mobile functions, apps, and web-based resources. Mobile use in the language classroom can serve as a welcome break, start-up, or concluding activity. Mobile based activities can stimulate rich collaborative work, as students work together to communicate in the target language, based on what they have heard, watched, read or written through the mobile devices. Teachers are likely to find that students react quite positively to integration of their devices into classroom instruction. This positive experience may well lead students to continue to use their mobile devices for informal language learning beyond the classroom. A companion paper in this series offers insights into this personalization of language learning through mobile technologies. The prospect of enabling a seamless learning process in and out of school should provide a strong incentive to language teachers to consider seriously introducing mobile devices in their teaching.

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