Chinese Students' Perceptions of Using Mobile Devices for English Learning

Chinese Students' Perceptions of Using Mobile Devices for English Learning

Bin Zou (Xi'an Jiaotong - Liverpool University, China) and Xinxin Yan (Xi'an Jiaotong - Liverpool University, China)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8789-9.ch082
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Abstract

The advance of mobile technology has turned portable, handheld devices into an integral part of students' daily life, and also paved the way for the rise of mobile assisted language learning. This study focused on how Chinese students perceive the use of using mobile devices for English practice in and out of class, in order to see whether they are interested in mobile-assisted language learning (MALL) and how they construct the technology with regard to English learning. One hundred and one students from eighteen universities in mainland China participated in this study. All of them completed an anonymous questionnaire and 20 randomly selected students were interviewed. The results illuminate a strong motivation among students for learning English via mobiles, and diverse types of m-learning activities were discovered. The results also revealed that students' attitudes toward mobile learning can be impacted by their regions or more specifically their surroundings.
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Literature Review

The rapid development of mobile technologies and various mobile products have enabled people to access information anytime and anywhere without limitations. Just as pencil and paper changed the means of learning, researchers saw signs of how mobile devices could enhance the existing learning approaches, both within the classroom (Viswanathan, 2012; Wagner, 2005) and outside school (Squire & Dikker, 2011; Kukulska-Hulme, 2006; Wang, Zou & Xing, 2014). As an extension of e-learning (Conole, 2004), mobile learning can be regarded as “the intersection of mobile computing and e-learning” (Quinn, 2008, p.1), which shares the principal aim in bridging the long distance between students and teachers. Mobile devices offer users “accessible recourses wherever you are, strong search capabilities, rich interaction and powerful support of learning” (Robson, 2003, p.1). On the one hand, it renders learning to be more learner-centered rather than teacher-led, which could challenge some traditional modes of teaching. While, on the other hand it is also reported that students will become more enthused and motivated in engaging classroom learning (Bibby, 2011).

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