Mobile-Assisted Language Learning From Language Instructors' Perspectives

Mobile-Assisted Language Learning From Language Instructors' Perspectives

Brenda I. Lopez Ortiz (Florida International University, USA) and Mara J. Luna (University of Puerto Rico in Río Piedras, USA)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 28
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9351-5.ch003

Abstract

This chapter explores instructor use of MALL in EFL/ESL classrooms. It begins with a discussion of instructor ownership as well as personal use of mobile technology. The chapter includes a discussion of overall perceptions and/or reported educational use and benefits and barriers (not tied to specific language skills.) The chapter goes on to describe how instructors use mobile devices while teaching reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. This is followed by a brief discussion of mobile devices in situations that integrate all four skills. For each language skill, the authors also discuss perceived and/or reported benefits and barriers. Thereafter follows a discussion of trends in the focus of research questions, research methodologies, geographic location of studies, and a brief comparison in trends between earlier and later studies. The review ends with a conclusion that provides directions for future research and reminds the reader of the utility of this literature review.
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Introduction

This review of literature examines the past and current state of research on English as a second/foreign language (ESL/EFL) instructor use of mobile-assisted language learning (MALL) along with associated experiences, perceptions, and attitudes. The search for research on this topic yielded limited results. On the other hand, student learning using mobile devices monopolized search findings (Jung, 2015). Characterizing instructor use of MALL does not appear to attract the attention of researchers in the field. Yet since their role in adopting mobile technologies is so instrumental, this chapter will shine light on this subject. Researchers may use the knowledge from this review as a foundation for fostering mobile device use in the EFL/ESL classroom.

The authors queried several databases in the process of identifying articles for this literature review. The researchers conducted searches using ERIC and all databases that the Ebscohost vendor provides (approximately 114). They queried the ProQuest database for dissertations on the topic. Google Scholar was also included in the search. The authors examined the reference lists of several articles to identify additional articles that would be useful. Finally, they explored the table of contents of several mLearning Conference proceedings from 2015 – 2018 (Mobile Learning International Conference, 2019).

There are several issues that complicate the search for literature on this matter. The phrase “mobile-assisted language learning” is not yet a key word in most popular research databases (ERIC, 2019). In order to search for articles that explore the instructor perspective on using MALL for teaching and learning, the authors used several combinations of search terms. Table 1 lists the various search terms used and their purposes.

Table 1.
Search terms used in databases
Search Terms UsedTo Search for Articles Related to
“mobile-assisted language learning”the use of mobile devices in language learning
Handheld devices, iPad, iPhone, tabletmobile devices even if the complete MALL phrase did not appear in the text
Faculty, Adjunct Faculty, College Faculty, Teacher, Instructor; instructor’s perspectives, instructor’s perceptions, instructor’s opinions, and instructor’s attitudes (in singular and plural forms)the instructor perspective
language arts, language learning, linguisticsEnglish as a foreign language (EFL) or English as a second language (ESL)

Key Terms in this Chapter

Language Skills: Skills that enable a person to communicate orally or in writing in English. These include reading, writing, listening, and speaking.

Reading Skills: Skills that enable a person to derive meaning out of written communication.

Writing Skills: Skills that enable a person to express ideas accurately and coherently in writing.

Mobile-Assisted Language Learning (MALL): A branch of mobile learning, referring to educational experiences in which mobile devices facilitate language learning.

Mobile Devices: Portable electronic equipment that allows the user to communicate, access, and/or share data at any time and/or any place. Examples of these include any kind of handheld device, such as cell phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), smartphones, iPads, iPods, tablets, or laptops.

Listening Skills: Skills that enable a person to derive meaning out of oral communication.

Mobile Learning (mLearning): Educational experiences in which mobile devices are used to facilitate learning across multiple contexts, through social interactions and by accessing and/or sharing different types of content.

Higher Education Professors of English: College professors who have taught at least one English language course in a college or university.

Speaking Skills: Skills that enable a person to orally express ideas accurately and coherently.

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