Bring your own vocabulary: Engaging students in vocabulary learning with mobile & collaborative technologies


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Slides presented at the Innovative Language Teaching and Learning at University: Enhancing the Learning Experience through Student Engagement conference.
Friday, 28th June 2013 School of Arts, Languages and Cultures University of Manchester Manchester Conference Centre.


Higher Education practitioners are facing great challenges in the current economic climate. One is ensuring that students remain deeply engaged in their learning experience. Another is equipping them with a set of skills that will enable them to thrive in a context where “the connections that enable us to learn more are more important than our current state of knowing” (Siemens, 2005).
Over the last decade, connectivist learning theories (Siemens, 2005; Kop & Hill, 2008) have demonstrated that digital literacy (Martin & Madigan, 2006) and participatory literacy (Jenkins, 2006) are essential to the development of students as lifelong learners and engaged citizens.
This presentation reports on the deployment of a learning system which is designed to foster vocabulary building through collaborative processes. It utilises tasks which contribute to Open Educational Resources (OER) (Casserly & Smith, 2008).
This system combines the collaborative productivity application Google Drive© and the cross-platform, web 2.0-enabled vocabulary-building application Quizlet©. The speaker will outline how this student-led, tutor-curated learning system was used to complement and expand on an existing vocabulary-building application.
Areas such as the impact on students’ learning experiences and their views on mobile and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) learning (Craig, 2011), will be explored. Attitudes towards Open Educational Resources and likelihood of further contributing to them will also receive particular attention in this presentation.

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Bring your own vocabulary: Engaging students in vocabulary learning with mobile & collaborative technologies

  1. 1. Bring Your Own Vocabulary Engaging students in vocabulary learning with mobile & collaborative technologies Manchester, 28th June 2013. #iltlu13 CCBY-NC3.0 Benoît Guilbaud Twitter: @benguilbaud
  2. 2. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- NonCommercial 3.0 Unported licence (CC BY-NC 3.0). More details at @benguilbaud, 2013 #iltlu13
  3. 3. BenoîtGuilbaud,2013 #iltlu13
  4. 4. Sydney Uni CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 Context Oh la la !
  5. 5. Context • Specialised language teaching: medical, business - prevalence of lexicon • Three undergraduate classes / 36 students / one semester • Fortnightly formative vocabulary tests + final summative test • 31 existing lists (2,917 entries) (+ 9 new lists (484 entries) created in 2013) #iltlu13 BenoîtGuilbaud,2013
  6. 6. Motives for change • Time required to produce new lists • Opportunity to increase student engagement • Expanding on existing software solution (Interlex) #iltlu13 BenoîtGuilbaud,2013
  7. 7. #iltlu13 BenoîtGuilbaud,2013 Platform
  8. 8. #iltlu13 ©
  9. 9. Platform #iltlu13 BenoîtGuilbaud,2013 Feature Interlex Compatibility PC only, installation required Cross-platform / web-based Mobile access No Yes Connectivity Offline Web 2.0 Content Student-generated, tutor-curated Collaborative Interface Good Better
  10. 10. #iltlu13 ©
  11. 11. #iltlu13 ©
  12. 12. #iltlu13 ©
  13. 13. #iltlu13 ©
  14. 14. #iltlu13 BenoîtGuilbaud,2013 Compiling lists
  15. 15. #iltlu13 © Google Drive
  16. 16. #iltlu13 BenoîtGuilbaud,2013 Rationale
  17. 17. Micro • Learning new words • Researching vocabulary • Creating revision lists • Encouraging independent learning • Fostering participation (Craig, 2011, Jenkins, 2006) • Producing OERs (Casserly & Smith, 2008) • Promoting networked learning (Couros, 2011, Siemens, 2005) • Developing digital literacy (Martin & Madigan, 2006) Macro #iltlu13 BenoîtGuilbaud,2013
  18. 18. #iltlu13 BenoîtGuilbaud,2013 Evaluation
  19. 19. Evaluation • End-of-semester questionnaire • 53 open and closed questions • 42% respondents #iltlu13 BenoîtGuilbaud,2013 18/06/2013 11:19Survey Results Page 1 of 14 1. Please enter your full name (Optional) (NB: all survey results will be anonymised entirely) Total Respondents 14 (skipped this question) 15 2. Which of the following units were you enrolled on in 2012-13? Response Total Response Percent Points Avg Medical French level 1 7 35% n/a n/a Medical French level 2 9 45% n/a n/a Business French "further" level 4 20% n/a n/a Total Respondents 20 100% (skipped this question) 9 3. "I understand that my answers may be used and quoted anonymouly for the purpose of the present research study." Click here to read more. Response Total Response Percent Points Avg Yes 20 100% n/a n/a Total Respondents 20 (skipped this question) 9 4. From which devices did you usually access Quizlet? Tick all answers that apply. Response Total Response Percent Points Avg University PC 9 53% n/a n/a Personal computer (including laptop) 17 100% n/a n/a Smartphone 5 29% n/a n/a Tablet 0 0% n/a n/a Printed lists 1 6% n/a n/a Other, please specify 0 0% n/a n/a Total Respondents 17 (skipped this question) 12 5. From which device did you access Quizlet the most? Response Total Response Percent Points Avg University PC 1 6% n/a n/a Personal computer (including laptop) 14 82% n/a n/a Smartphone 2 12% n/a n/a Tablet 0 0% n/a n/a Printed lists 0 0% n/a n/a Other (as specified above) 0 0% n/a n/a Total Respondents 17 100% (skipped this question) 12 Quizlet survey 2013 Respondents: 29 displayed, 29 total Status: Closed Launched Date: 05/06/2013 Closed Date: 16/06/2013
  20. 20. #iltlu13 BenoîtGuilbaud,2013 Findings
  21. 21. #iltlu13 BenoîtGuilbaud,2013 Vocabulary learning
  22. 22. #iltlu13 BenoîtGuilbaud,2013 “Quizlet was useful to my learning” 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Very useful Useful Neutral Useless Very useless
  23. 23. #iltlu13 BenoîtGuilbaud,2013 “I found that quizlet motivated me to revise vocabulary” 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Strongly agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly disagree
  24. 24. #iltlu13 BenoîtGuilbaud,2013 Increase in time spent revising vocabulary 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Much more time A little more time About the same Less time Much less time
  25. 25. #iltlu13 BenoîtGuilbaud,2013 Place of use Very often Often Sometimes Rarely Never Public transports Home University & library Outdoors Work Around campus
  26. 26. #iltlu13 BenoîtGuilbaud,2013 Length of revision session AVERAGE MAX 40 mins 100 mins
  27. 27. #iltlu13 BenoîtGuilbaud,2013 Class-generated vocabulary lists
  28. 28. #iltlu13 BenoîtGuilbaud,2013 “collaboratively creating vocabulary lists is a good way to encourage student engagement” 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Strongly agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly disagree
  29. 29. #iltlu13 BenoîtGuilbaud,2013 how important is it that students are included in the design of study materials? 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Very important Important Neutral Unimportant Very unimportant
  30. 30. #iltlu13 BenoîtGuilbaud,2013 Issues with class-generated lists occurring “often” Technical problems 7% Late entries (delaying test revisions) 33% Duplicate entries 20% Inaccurate entries 20% Irrelevant entries 26% % of respondents agreeing
  31. 31. #iltlu13 BenoîtGuilbaud,2013 Issues with class-generated lists occurring “often” Technical problems 7% Late entries (delaying test revisions) 33% Duplicate entries 20% Inaccurate entries 20% Irrelevant entries 26% % of respondents agreeing
  32. 32. #iltlu13 BenoîtGuilbaud,2013 Open educational resources & sharing
  33. 33. #iltlu13 BenoîtGuilbaud,2013 Very likely Likely Neutral Unlikely Likeliness of sharing own learning resources
  34. 34. #iltlu13 BenoîtGuilbaud,2013 Very pleased Pleased Neutral Pleased to share class-made resources
  35. 35. #iltlu13 BenoîtGuilbaud,2013 Bring Your Own Device
  36. 36. Views on BYOD • Free choice of learning device is favoured. • University-sanctioned platforms should be widely compatible. • Despite empirical evidence that students enjoy using their own devices in class, survey responses show reluctance to bring devices to class. • BYOD may create discrepancies in access to learning. #iltlu13 BenoîtGuilbaud,2013
  37. 37. #iltlu13 BenoîtGuilbaud,2013 Conclusions
  38. 38. Conclusions • Experience very positive overall • High level of student engagement and satisfaction • Several positive comments in unit satisfaction survey • Summative test results show very effective learning • Importance of thorough curation of contents by tutor #iltlu13 BenoîtGuilbaud,2013
  39. 39. Comments “Provided there is appropriate oversight this is a fantastic resource.” “Overall I have found this a great tool to use to learn vocabulary and I hope to continue using it in the future.“ “I love the Quizlet tool.” “Great learning tool.” #iltlu13 BenoîtGuilbaud,2013
  40. 40. References • Casserly, C.M., Smith, MS.S, 2008. Revolutionizing education through innovation: Can openness transform teaching and learning? In: Iiyoshi, T. & Kumar V. (eds), 2008. The collective advancement of Eduction through Open Technology, Open Content and Open Knowledge. Cambridge, Mass, MIT Press. • Couros, A., 2011. Why networked learning matters. Education in a Changing Environment (ECE) 6th International Conference, Creativity and Engagement in Higher Education, 6-8 July 2011, University of Salford, Greater Manchester, UK. • Craig, D.V., 2011. Encouraging Participatory Culture and Language Learning: Assisting ELLs in Becoming Part of the Digital Youth. In: TNTESOL Journal, 4(1) pp. 84-93. • Jenkins, H., 2006. Convergence culture: where old and new media collide. New York; London: New York University Press. • Kop, R., Hill, A., 2008. Connectivism: Learning theory of the future or vestige of the past? In: International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 9(3) [Online]. Accessible at: viewArticle/523 [accessed 27th June 2013]. • Martin, A., Madigan, D. (eds), 2006. Digital Literacies for Learning. London: Facet publishing. • Siemens, G., 2005. Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age. In: International journal instructional technology and distance learning, 2(1) [Online]. Accessible at: [accessed 27th June 2013]. #iltlu13 BenoîtGuilbaud,2013