Summary: What does mlearning mean for ELT? Are portable tools ‘go-anywhere learning’ or just another shiny device? We are still exploring the implications of mlearning in education, but it is clear the huge growth in iPhone and Android 'Apps' is consumer driven and makes it possible for learners to spend more time on self-study to realise their learning goals. This presentation will outline the results of an extensive survey of Smartphone and tablet language learning Apps that began in October 2010 covering, among other topics, the criteria for evaluation, using apps not designed for language learning and the difference between smartphones, tablets and everything in between.
Although there is overlap, each of these categories of device is useful for some activities rather than others. Smartphone ownership growing but varies enormously by country/demographic and over time. iPhone use growing as Blackberry loses its monopoly for being the best device for handling email. Ipad most popular Tablet, great for reading and rich media, but still much smaller user base. Most popular eReader is Kindle. This session will talk about smartphones and Tablets mainly.
Overview of language learning apps There are an awful lot of apps allegedly, to help people learn English and other languages in the iTunes App Store or available on the other main smart phone platform android (look for ‘android.Google.com’). Generally a patchy and still developing field. It’s clear when you do a search for ‘learn English’ that many of the results have nothing to do with learning English. So where to find things and being able to filter for quality is still a big issue. Once you examine many of these apps, it’s clear that there is not yet sufficient understanding about what is technologically possible or pedagogically sensible and too many apps really aren’t very good at all for one reason or anotherGive examples for each: dictionaries, grammars, coursebooks. Last two we haven’t seen in App form, but exist in CALL routines, and some teachers use non language learning games with students, e.g. SIMMS and Second Life. Computer based language learning has inhererent limitations, it has so far proved impossible to replicate real life situations, Second Life closest thing. Practising pronunciation routines in public spaces not a great idea…Reference : Dictionaries are the oldest type of app and the most evolved though they are often expensive, certainly in app Terms. There is an increasing range of publisher material for self-study: vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation are at the most useful of these. These are certainly getting better and, while still limited, apps from a recognised publisher, at least in the ELT sphere, offer more guarantees. That said, there is no excuse for not exploring.Stand alone: could be ‘serious’ revision undertaken by individual as part of a course or “I’m going to brush up my Italian” or phrasebooksAdjunct: ‘Campus’ apps which are becoming more popular. Not necessarily related to content but shows how having a mobile device (mostly iPhone)is considered usefule for studying experience mobile extension for Virtual Learning Environments such as Blackboard, Moodle etc or apps for sites like Edmodo which is very popular in the US as a homework setter siteCoursebook specific: there aren’t many in this category. None on the list here but they are coming.Games: can be any game as increasingly teachers bring all sorts of gaming devices - usually from mainstream video games - into the classroom to exploit with good pedagogy. Grandaddy is SIMs due to ‘real life’ nature of theme and MFL language switching
In many ways the most useful kind of apps for language learning at the current point in time are not those in fact, specifically designed for language learning. One of the reasons why smart phones and tablets have become as popular as they have is because there are a lot of very successful mini programs or apps which make it easy to do stuff in a way that computers traditionally find easy-to-use. Many of the more successful apps our so-called ‘productivity’ apps, meaning they’re designed in such a way to help users perform specific functions such as lookup the weather, book a restaurant. However, this ‘productivity’ angle is really central why a large number of apps are successful. In the case of e-readers, for example, it’s clear that they offer much much more than just digital content. Taking the example of Kindle, which is an e-book format as well as an e-book reader from Amazon.com, the program is continually developed in order to offer people ever greater reading functionality i.e. easy to find the last page you are reading , even if reading the e-book on a different device; easy to make notes ( though not yet enough or full featured enough to support formal learning); easy to look at the words you don’t understand (, Kindle comes with built in monolingual and bilingual dictionaries). And if people are reading a Kindle book on a Kindle device, in other words a Kindle e-reader, the device will even read themthe book out loud, albeit in a computerised voice.Therefore, from my perspective, given the limited nature to date of many ELT apps, and given the potential offered by these devices in terms of ability to read in new ways, ability to create or interact with content in different ways (audio, video, images), this is why defining a smart phone as a tool which supports lots of learning productivity apps is a much more useful way of viewing these devices than as players of publisher content.Below there is a list of some of these categories. I have also included in this list the EFL apps from the previous slide. They are in the ‘refer’ and ‘practice’ parts of this mind map, which was of course also created with an app called iThoughts HDSHARE: between teacher/students e.g. Dropbox (need WIFI)READ: iBook, Kindle, pdfs or in EPUB format (allows dictionary look up and note taking), FT, FlipBoard (can use this for the Economist)WATCH and LISTEN: e.g. FT videos, Sky NewsPRESENT: students can create and present powerpointRECORD: Pages or Notes for key-in, or tablet pen/Notes plus for writing and sketching, Voice memo for voice recording, camera/video recorderBRAINSTORM: Camera to record (after a recent brainstorm session to design an App, we used an iPhone to video our customer journey.MINDMAP: I created this on the iPadPRACTICE: mainly vocabulary and grammar. Limited range but potential for on-the-move learningREFER: dictionaries, wikipediaTeachers in the USA are beginning to use iPads in these waysYou can do a lot of these on smartphones, but I would only want to read, not create docs, mindmaps etc.Demo Kindle, Mindmap
Grammar in Use (Tests)• Cambridge• Paid for• iPhone / iPad• There are pairs of apps inthis series• Content / practice appscalled ‘Activities’• Tests apps (much better)• Elementary, intermediate,Advanced
iGE (Interactive grammar of English)• University CollegeLondon• Paid for• ‘Grammar referenceand advanced practicebook in an app’
Are grammar apps only aboutpractising grammar?
Edmodo• iPhone / iPad / Android• VLE / community sitefor Primary &Secondary students• Fits with existingwebsite
Moodle• ‘Official Moodle app’• Needs Moodle 2.1• Download resources towork offline• iPhone / iPad• Not Android but thereseem to be AndroidMoodle apps
Pebblepad - ePortfolio• ePortfolio app as part ofpebblepad.com site• iPhone only(but necessary for use?)• Very popular in the UKbut paid for• https://mahara.org/ isan open sourcealternative. Unclear ifthere is an app for this
www.chomp.comA website andapp to help youfind apps!
Thank firstname.lastname@example.orgThis presentation is available fromwww.eduworlds.co.uk/iateflpce.pdfwww.schoolbook-challenge.comEpublishing – how far do you go? (elearning vsepublishing debate), Thursday 22 March, IATEFL