Mobile Learning and High-Profiling Language Education

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Language: English

© 2012


The number of students learning a second or foreign language and participating in instruction in languages other than English has been in decline for some time. This seems to be a general tendency across nations albeit for a variety of reasons idiosyncratic to the particular national conditions. This paper gives an account of a diversified national project designed to infuse foreign language learning classes in upper secondary schools in Denmark with renewed enthusiasm through systematically experimenting with the new media by taking advantage of the social aspect in their application. The aim has been to make language classes attractive and relevant and to highlight the attractiveness and fun in learning through web 2.0 and mobile units. The umbrella project was supported by the Danish ministry of education as well as the individual participating upper secondary schools. The individual projects were selected through an application process and assessed before being allocated funds. The overall project as well as individual minor projects were monitored and assisted by a select group of researchers, who helped guide and support the participating secondary school teachers through seminars and individual consultations. The collaborative efforts and reciprocal benefits enhanced the outcome of the project, and this paper will discuss some of the advantages and disadvantages of such action research collaboration. The focus of the paper will be on results concerning motivation and the reported perception of the status of foreign language learning ensuing from the participation in the experimental classes. The participating students have been surveyed on-line and individually to assess the effect of the projects on student motivation and autonomy. The investigation throws light on personal experiences as well as the generally perceived image and status of foreign language learning in upper secondary schools. The overall results show an encouraging student belief in the power of the new media to improve interest in language learning. They perceive the new methods and approaches as a way to lift the image of language learning in general. It is clear that the potential imbued in mobile learning and social media has given rise to a strengthening of student participation and engagement. The projects have had the side effect of invoking an interest in new ways of teaching and learning also among the teaching staff not directly involved in the project.

Keywords: mobile learning, digital media, social media, motivation, action research.


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Vinther, Jane. (2012). Mobile Learning and High-Profiling Language Education. In Linda Bradley, Sylvie Thouësny (Eds), CALL: Using, Learning, Knowing, EUROCALL Conference, Gothenburg, Sweden, 22-25 August 2012, Proceedings (pp. 302-306).

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