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In the field of information and communication technologies (ICT) the mobile technology (e.g. laptop, smartphone, tablet) started to take its place in the classrooms and may remain there for a longer period; the usefulness of these technology was underlined by several researches (Abonyi-Tóth – Turcsányi-Szabó, 2015; Hashim et al., 2017; Marés, 2012). The mobile devices can be applied to develop different competencies, therefore they can be an effective learning aid beside the desktop computers. The Mobile Assisted Language Learning (MALL) is an approach where mobile devices support and enhance the process of learning and teaching (AbuSa’aleek, 2014), hence they can help the development of vocabulary, listening comprehension, grammar, pronunciation and reading comprehension (Zurita and Nussbaum, 2004 cited by Hashim et al. 2017).
In our empirical research we examined the effectiveness of the MALL environment (vocabulary, pronunciation) and we also took a glance at the students’ attitude toward the mobile technology supported vocabulary learning. We organized an experimental research design (with PPC) with 4th grader (age 10-11 ISCED 2011 level 1) primary school pupils (N=38); the experimental group learnt the words with an interactive application (Quizlet) on the tablet while the control group remained with the traditional (paper-based) learning methods. The vocabulary results of the pre-test and the nine post-tests show a significant positive difference for the group with better achievement level while the group with lower achievement level had no change in their scores. In our examination we found no evidence on the development of the pronunciation within any groups. The attitudinal survey showed a positive manner of the students towards the mobile technology supported vocabulary learning, some of them learnt words with their own device at home. As the advantages of MALL pupils mentioned the “freedom of changing their task”, “the possibility of practicing the pronunciation” and the “easiness of text input” whereas disadvantages were mainly technical (freezing, slow device).
keywords: mobile technology, language learning, MALL, ICT