The Effects of Mobile Collaborative Activities in a Second Language Course

The Effects of Mobile Collaborative Activities in a Second Language Course

Peter Ilic (Toyo University, Tokyo, Japan)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 22
DOI: 10.4018/IJMBL.2015100102
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Abstract

This research is designed to explore the areas of collaborative learning and the use of smartphones as a support for collaborative learning through a year-long exploratory multiple case study approach integrating both qualitative and quantitative data analysis. Qualitative exploratory interviews are combined with Multidimensional Scaling Analysis to provide a detailed image of students' mobile use during collaborative activities. The Multidimensional Scaling (MDS) reliability is supported by a second resampling that produced similar results independent of time of subjects. The results are triangulated across the qualitative and quantitative data and key issues are interpreted and discussed. The results indicate that the introduction of mobile access collaborative homework to a second language English class in Japan does have observable effects on students, including changes in use of space, time and method for mobile collaborative homework.
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Literature Review

Time and Space

Modern telecommunications is increasingly leading to a description of time as being compressed (Harvey, 1999), global (Adam, 2013), and instantaneous (Urry, 2002). Time is seen less as continuously linear and more as a multitude of individual moments (Adam, 2013) such as home, school, and work time. This view could mean very different patterns of interaction between students when collaborating through a mobile phone. The mobile phone supports this idea of time because it allows communication during previously unproductive periods of time (BenMoussa, 2003; Perry, O'hara, Sellen, Brown, & Harper, 2001) such as when traveling, so increasing the number of possible activities (Johnsen, 2001) like finishing homework (Virvou & Alepis, 2005). Likewise, space is less about localized presence as mobile technology separates space from place (Giddens, 1990). This mobility replaces the impression of being at a place for communication with a telephone, to belonging to a network of communication (Geser, 2004). This network membership means that the importance of traditional boundaries in physical space is changing.

Smartphones have created simultaneity of place (Traxler, 2009), a kind of bridging of physical spaces like home, school, and work, through the creation of a mobile social space, filling the gap between them (Bull, 2005). Mobile technologies transport communities and discussions into physical public and private spaces forcing people to adjust their behavior to manage a more fluid environment (Traxler, 2009). Private is no longer just what happens when physically alone (Cooper, 2002). A student on a crowded train may have a private moment enjoying a favorite movie or silently texting a close friend. The advance of mobile communications has brought with it a blurring of public and private boundaries; however, it is still unclear what the impact of such fundamental changes will have on collaborative learning and learning in general.

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