Mobile-assisted language learning (MALL), a relatively new area of CALL inquiry, is gaining more and more attention from language educators with the development of new mobile devices. Tablet computers—featuring high mobility, convenient network connectivity, and smart application extendibility—are part of a wave of the latest mobile inventions; how these new mobile devices enhance MALL and how students perceive them as a language learning tool have yet to be broadly explored. This action research project sought to investigate how students used tablet computers to learn English in informal settings outside of class and how to foster more effective usage of the tablet for independent language learning. The study shows that tablet computers are ideal tools for creating an interactive, collaborative, and ubiquitous environment for language learning, provided that the technological affordances of the device have been fully explored with the students. This investigation also reveals that students have a generally favorable attitude towards the usability, effectiveness, and satisfaction of tablet computers for MALL.
Liudmila Klimanova; Svetlana Dembovskaya
As the integration of Internet-based social networking tools becomes increasingly popular in foreign language classrooms, the use of modern communication technologies is particularly critical in the context of less commonly taught languages (LCTLs), where student exposure to the target language and its speakers is usually minimal. This paper describes communicative exchanges between native speakers and non-native speakers (NS-NNS) in a telecollaborative project that spanned two semesters and brought a rich and authentic social networking community, VKontakte, into college-level Russian classes in the United States. The analysis of the students' online activities, phenomenological interviews, and interactions with Russian keypals grounded in the principles of identity construction through interaction (Bucholtz & Hall, 2005) and Discourse Analysis Framework (Gee, 2005) shed light on the students' emerging online second language (L2) identities along the continuum from L2 learners to L2 users. Along with global and local categories of L2 identity enactment in virtual social spaces, we bring into focus the notions of digital wisdom (Prensky, 2009) and investment (Norton, 2000), while exploring the ways in which learners of LCTLs, such as Russian, draw on Internet mediation in order to compensate for the lack of contact with the L2 and to extend social connections beyond the confines of a language classroom.
Hsueh-Chih Chen; Chih-Chun Hsu; Li-Yun Chang; Yu-Chi Lin; Kuo-En Chang; Yao-Ting Sung
The present study is aimed at investigating the effect of a radical-derived Chinese character teaching strategy on enhancing Chinese as a Foreign Language (CFL) learners’ Chinese orthographic awareness. An e-learning teaching platform, based on statistical data from the Chinese Orthography Database Explorer (Chen, Chang, L.Y., Chou, Sung, & Chang, K.E., 2011), was established and used as an auxiliary teaching tool. A nonequivalent pretest-posttest quasi-experiment was conducted, with 129 Chinese-American CFL learners as participants (69 people in the experimental group and 60 people in the comparison group), to examine the effectiveness of the e-learning platform. After a three-week course—involving instruction on Chinese orthographic knowledge and at least seven phonetic/semantic radicals and their derivative characters per week—the experimental group performed significantly better than the comparison group on a phonetic radical awareness test, a semantic radical awareness test, as well as an orthography knowledge test.
Juha Jalkanen; Heidi Vaarala
Recent studies in the field of new literacies have indicated that a remarkable change in the way we access, consume, and produce information has taken place. The boundaries between concepts such as authorship and ownership have become blurred. This paper will deal with using digital texts in teaching reading comprehension on a university-level course with a special focus on Finnish as a second language. Furthermore, the benefits and challenges of teaching L2 reading comprehension in a multimodal learning environment will be discussed. The three main perspectives utilized are meaningfulness, sharing, and adaptivity. The students attending the course described in the paper were advanced university students from various European countries, who studied Finnish as a second language. The study examines the literacy practices that take place when learners of Finnish as a second language engage in reading and writing blogs in a reading comprehension course. The results of this study indicate that sharing, meaningfulness and adaptivity promote learners’ engagement with reading as a social practice and thus support the claim that using blogs represents opportunities to enhance L2 reading comprehension skills.
Mary Hermes; Kendall A. King
Although Indigenous language loss and revitalization are not new topics of academic work nor new areas of community activism (e.g., King, 2001; Grenoble & Whaley, 2006), increased attention has been paid in recent years to the ways that new technology can support efforts to teach and renew endangered languages such as Ojibwe. However, much of the work with Indigenous languages and technology thus far has been aimed at adults rather than children or families (e.g., Coronel-Molina, 2005). Addressing this gap, the current project examined how urban Ojibwe participants utilized computer-based language learning technology with their families at home. Specifically, we investigated how a particular multimedia tool might jumpstart communication in the Ojibwe language at home. During the two-month study, families were regularly video-taped using the software and participated in weekly audio-video recorded interviews regarding their language use and learning. Presented here is a fine-grained, qualitative analysis of two families’ language and technology use. Findings suggest that technology-based language learning was incorporated into existing family dynamics and was helpful in providing a starting point for learning and language use within established extended networks.