The Use of Mobile Technologies by Immigrant Adolescents in Coping With the New Language and With Their Formal Studies

The Use of Mobile Technologies by Immigrant Adolescents in Coping With the New Language and With Their Formal Studies

Gila Cohen Zilka (Bar-Ilan University, Israel & Achva Academic College, Israel)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8106-2.ch010


In light of the extensive use of mobile technologies by adolescents, the chapter examined the usability of mobile technologies for new immigrant adolescents in supporting their absorption process in the new country, acquiring the new language, and coping with their studies. The study also sought to determine what the adolescents' most meaningful experiences were that mobile technologies made possible in the course of their absorption in the new country. Participating in the study were 125 new immigrant adolescents, who have resided in Israel between 6 and 12 months. This is a qualitative study. The study included (1) interviews before completing an open questionnaire, (2) completion of an open-question questionnaire, and (3) personal interviews that took place after the questionnaire was completed. Participants reported that thanks to mobile technologies they were able to integrate into the daily life of their new environment. Translation software, databases, various applications, and social network groups have helped satisfy their needs, assisted in real time with difficulties they encountered, and helped create a sense of social connection and belonging.
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Adolescents and the Digital Era

Researchers have argued that the new media is part of our living environment (Comstock & Scharrer, 2007; Livingstone, 2008, 2007; Millwood-Hargrave, 2007; Millwood-Hargrave & Livingstone, 2006, 2009). People who grow in the digital era develop and shape their personality, attitudes, opinions, and beliefs in relation to the environment. Their daily life experience includes direct, face-to-face experiences as well as new media experiences (Coleman, 2001; Eisen & Lillard, 2016; Millwood-Hargrave & Livingstone, 2009).

Researchers have found that the most popular means for using the new media and its applications is the smartphone (Goggin & Hjorth, 2014; Ito, Baumer, Bittanti, Boyd, Cody, HerrStephenson, Tripp et al., 2010). They use the term “m-learning,” which is defined as any learning or learning-support activity that is conducted through mobile technologies (Jan, Ullah, Ali & Khan, 2016; Sung, Chang & Liu, 2016).The use of mobile technologies in learning increases the students’ motivation in social and educational engagement, stimulates curiosity, and exposes students to diverse and engaging environments. Mobile technologies help students understand the educational content through images, animation, simulations, and videos, (Choi, 2012; Foti & Mendez, 2012; Hanafi & Samsudin, 2012; Rossie, Miller, Cecil & Stamper, 2012; Schugar, Smith & Schugar, 2013; Warschauer, 2011). Mobile technologies also assist in the transfer of materials between the teacher and the students as well as between the students themselves. Mobile technologies are becoming more and more available, with increased functionality and a wide range of applications that allow students access to learning materials and assistance anytime, anywhere (Cohen, Vincent, Adhikari et al., 2015; Dahlstrom, 2015; Zilka, 2018).

Researchers who have examined the integration of mobile technologies into the learning process found that when it is available anywhere, anytime, it helps make learning a part of the students' daily activities, and fosters student involvement and collaboration(Jan, Ullah, Ali & Khan, 2016; Johnson, Smith, Willis, Levine & Haywood, 2011; Kukulska-Hulme & Shield, 2008; Traxler, 2009). It also creates equal opportunities for students with special needs, with accessibility problems, and more (Ardito, Costabile, Marsico et al., 2006; Gikas & Grant, 2013). At the same time, researchers found a variety of problems, including the fact that m-learning leads to distractions during study; small screens limit the information displayed; storage capacity is inadequate; there is application overload; the small keyboard causes typing fatigue and slower typing than is possible on other devices; short battery life leads to relatively quick battery depletion (Althunibat, 2015; Bidin & Ziden, 2013; Lowenthal, 2010; Park, 2011; Sarrab, Elbasir & Alnaeli, 2016).

In the present study we examined the use of mobile technologies by new immigrant adolescents in support of their integration in the new country, helping them in the acquisition of the new language, and in their studies.

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