Mobile 2.0 and Mobile Language Learning

Mobile 2.0 and Mobile Language Learning

Shudong Wang (Hiroshima Shudo University, Japan) and Neil Heffernan (Ehime University, Japan)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-190-2.ch025


This chapter introduces the concept of Mobile 2.0, a mobile version of Web 2.0, and its application to language learning. The chapter addresses the following questions: What is Mobile 2.0? How is it relevant to the concept of Web 2.0? Is Mobile 2.0 ready for language learning analogous to that of Web 2.0? How is the efficacy of m-learning using Mobile 2.0 technology compared to PC Web 2.0? If Mobile 2.0 is appropriate for language learning, then how does one go about setting up a Mobile 2.0 site? Is Mobile 2.0 leading to a transformation of mLearning? Are there any limitations in using Mobile 2.0 for language learning? Finally, is Mobile 3.0 already emerging for learning? These issues will be discussed, and the relevant data will be presented to support the claims made in this chapter. Furthermore, specific examples of Mobile 2.0 and the empirical data of specific uses of mobile phones for educational purposes, especially for language learning in Japan, will be delineated. This chapter suggests that knowledge of Mobile 2.0 will strengthen and reinforce language teaching and allow students to learn more ubiquitously, more effectively, and in a way that is more at ease with their learning styles.
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This chapter will describe the notion of Mobile 2.0, which essentially, is Web 2.0 on mobile handsets, and the implications for language learning. It will provide definitions, current developments in Mobile 2.0, and how Mobile 2.0 applies to language learning. The final section of the chapter will focus on the future and implications of Mobile 3.0.

The structure of the chapter is as follows: following an introduction to the field, the background of the existing research on Mobile 2.0 is outlined, and a definition of Mobile 2.0, and its relationship to Web 2.0 is provided. The next section discusses several Mobile 2.0 phenomena that have recently been seen in the realm of business, and their possible applications to the field of language learning. Some examples of existing Mobile 2.0 sites will then be outlined, and ideas for using these mobile phone oriented sites for language learning purposes are given. Next, the chapter discusses some of the technical details for constructing one’s own Mobile 2.0 sites for teaching, while considering the economics of creating them. This leads to a discussion of exactly how Mobile 2.0 brings about a new trend in mLearning and provides an explanation of how a transformation in mLearning will occur. Finally, some drawbacks of Mobile 2.0 technologies for learning purposes will be delineated.

In this chapter, we are primarily concerned with mobile phones, the most commonly carried and used handheld device. There are many other handheld devices which have the potential to supply language learners with the opportunity to learn ubiquitously, such as Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs), smartphones (a combination of mobile phones and PDAs), MP3/MP4 players, iPods, IC-recorders/players, portable radios, tablet PCs, portable DVD players, and digital dictionaries. However, with the ever-improving development of mobile phone technologies, the dividing line between mobile phones, smartphones and PDAs is becoming blurred, and it will soon be difficult to differentiate between them, as mobile phones will be able to build on most of the functions of these other devices in the near future (Trinder, 2005).

Key Terms in this Chapter

PDA: A Personal Digital Assistant is a handheld mobile device sometimes known as a Palm, can be used a phone or minicomputer. Using either a touchscreen or stylus, users enter data on office software such as address books, email, or schedule planners.

Mobile 2.0 Limitations on Learning: Mobile 2.0 has great potential in assisting learning activities, however, it also has some drawbacks in both its hardware and software aspects. The main drawbacks for learning purposes include: small memory, small screen, slow Internet connection and the high cost of acquiring Internet content through these devices.

MALL: Short for Mobile Assisted Language Learning, refers to using mobile devices, such as mobile phones, PDAs, tablet PCs and iPods to assist language acquisition. As learners can use mobile handsets to learn anytime, anywhere, MALL is considered an effective language learning style and has received a lot of attention by educators in recent years.

Mobile 2.0: Mobile 2.0 is also known as Mobile Web 2.0, but there is no universally agreed upon definition. In this chapter, Mobile 2.0 refers to the extension, but not a simple replication, of Web 2.0 to mobile devices. Taking advantage of the unique features of mobile telecommunication networks and mobile devices such as mobility and handiness, Mobile 2.0 enables users to not only communicate by voice, but also to actively participate in the mobile Internet world by creating, consuming and sharing personalized content.

Mobile 3.0: Mobile 3.0 refers to the advent of Generation 3.5 or Generation 4, and mobile Internet activities will feature a Semantic Web element possessing artificial intelligence. This will result in a virtual classroom that can be viewed on mobile devices.

Learning Transformation: Learning transformation refers to dramatic transitions in the way in which people learn. Individual learning from families to school group learning was the first kind of learning transformation. The introduction of TV to classrooms led to a learning transformation in the 1950s, and in the 1990s the Internet brought a revolution to traditional classroom teaching. In recent years, Web 2.0 has been changing peoples learning styles, which is considered to be yet another type of learning transformation.

Mobile 2.0 Applications: This term refers to those applications which use Mobile 2.0 technology and run on mobile devices through mobile networks. Typical applications include mobile instant messenger, mobile media sharing, mobile web and mobile search, mobile GPS, and mobile RSS.

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