Mobile Games for Language Learning

Mobile Games for Language Learning

Monther M. Elaish (University of Malaya, Malaysia), Norjihan Abdul Ghani (University of Malaya, Malaysia), Liyana Shuib (University of Malaya, Malaysia) and Ahmed Mubarak Al-Haiqi (Universiti Tenaga Nasional, Malaysia)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 20
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5270-3.ch006

Abstract

Education, including the subset of language learning, has been greatly influenced by information and communication technologies. This influence manifests itself in the form of various paradigms, starting from distance or digital learning (d-learning) to electronic learning (e-learning) then mobile learning (m-learning) and eventually ubiquitous learning (u-learning). The integration of these paradigms with supportive techniques to enhance inclusion, engagement, and to overcome the classic problem of lack of motivation led to a series of innovations, culminated in the notion of educational mobile game applications. This chapter focuses on the roots of this emergent trend, including the elements of mobile technology and the aspect of gaming, and how instrumental are they in empowering and motivating learners. The relationship of mobile games with the concept of gamification is examined, and a few major challenges to building effective mobile game applications for language learners are highlighted for future attention.
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Background

Learning a second language is not easy (Spolsky, 1986). Because it is a tedious and demanding task, governments, educators and researchers spare no effort or tool to assist teaching a second language, especially English. Whenever there is a new technology or an emergent trend that could help in enhancing the performance of learners or overcoming some of the traditional difficulties in learning languages, the communities and individuals are fast to adopt it. This is also true for many other domains, such as health and lifestyle.

Information and communication technology (ICT) is one of the most influential applications of sciences on learning and education in the recent history. ICT extended the traditional modes of learning into new paradigms that did not exist before the twentieth century. For example, the revolution of telecommunications accompanied by the introduction of digital computers enabled learners to be situated remotely from teachers. This, on one side, enabled more inclusion of learners even outside the class boundaries. On the other side, it also excluded parts of the learning community who cannot afford the necessary technology.

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