Post-Secondary Students Using the iPad to Learn English: An Impact Study

Post-Secondary Students Using the iPad to Learn English: An Impact Study

Christina Gitsaki (University of Queensland, Australia) and Matthew A. Robby (Higher Colleges of Technology, UAE)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8789-9.ch079
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Abstract

The use of mobile technology in language learning has increased considerably, with an unprecedented adoption of mobile tablets in K-12 and higher education settings. Despite the number of recent small-scale studies that have found increased student motivation and engagement in learning as a result of using mobile tablets, there is a need to further examine the impact of these devices on student learning. This paper describes a study of 370 high-school graduate students learning English as a second language using the iPad in an intensive academic preparation program. The study utilised an online survey and student exam scores at the end of the 16-week treatment. Results of the self-reported data showed increased student motivation and engagement in English learning activities. Results were correlated with self-reported data and regression analysis models demonstrated that use of the iPad for specific English learning tasks correlated with better exam performance.
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2. Mobile-Assisted Language Learning

Mobile-Assisted Language Learning (MALL) is a relatively young field of study that emerged in the mid-1990s and focused on the use of mobile devices for teaching and learning languages. The field has often been criticised for its lack of consensus in defining what constitutes a ‘mobile device’ making the field appear “volatile, inconsistent and haphazard” (Traxler, 2009, p.6). Regardless of its shortcomings, MALL remains a popular field of research and study given that learning with mobile technologies is seen as “central to the educational landscape of the twenty-first century” (Pachler, Bachmair & Cook, 2010, p.72) and mobile devices are heralded as enablers of “just-in-time, just-enough, on-demand personalized learning experiences, seamlessly integrated within our everyday activities” (Vavoula & Karagiannidis, 2005, p.534) and having the potential to redefine knowledge, learning and education (Traxler, 2007).

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