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Dominican English language teacher perceptions on factors influencing mobile devices’educational use


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This interview-based exploratory study examined the perspectives of Dominican English language teachers on the factors that influence the use of mobile devices for learning purposes.

Published in: Education, Technology

Dominican English language teacher perceptions on factors influencing mobile devices’educational use

  1. 1. Gisela Martiz Instructional Technology & Learning Sciences Utah State University AERA Annual Convention April 29, 2013
  2. 2.   Mobile devices are very popular among young adults around the world (Ally, 2009). Mobile devices used to support learning has given origin to what is known as mobile iPod learning.  In general, mobile learning research in English language education has yielded positive results (Chinnery, 2006; Kukulska-Hulme, 2009). Mp3 player Cell phones Images Source: Google images Labeled for reuse
  3. 3.      Mobile learning research in this field is very popular in developed and developing countries across East and South Asia. Mobile learning research is limited (in language learning particularly) in developing Latin American countries like the Dominican Republic (DR) (UNESCO, 2012; SCOPEO, 2011). English language is very important for young adult professional development in the DR (Universia, 2008). Access to technology for language learning in many DR educational institutions is limited (Cultura Digital, 2012). It is necessary to explore the current (or potential) use of mobile devices for language education in the DR.
  4. 4.  Cell phones are widely used by young adults in the DR (Priestley, 2012; Sutherland, 2011)  December, 2012: Approximately 8,867,550 mobile lines were operating (Indotel, 2012).  2008: 8 out of 10 Dominicans between 18 and 25 were subscribed to a prepaid or postpaid mobile plan (ITU,2009). 20% post-paid plans 80% pre-paid plans 4
  5. 5. Purpose of the Study  Understand perspectives of Dominican English language teachers on the factors that influence the use of mobile devices for learning purposes. Research Questions   What factors promote or discourage Dominican university English language teachers’ use of mobile devices as educational tools? How do Dominican university English language teachers define successful use of mobile devices as educational tools?
  6. 6.  Socio-cultural perspective: ◦ Learning takes place as individuals interact with others and their social environment using psychological tools (language) and physical tools (pencil, paper, computers, and mobile devices) (Lantolf, 2000;Vygotsky, 1978).  Appropriation is a socio-cultural concept applied to the use the mobile devices as tools for learning (Carroll, 2002; Waycott, 2005; Mifsud, 2012; Pachler et al, 2010).  Teachers and learners adopt new uses of their own mobile technologies that go beyond their intended regular use.
  7. 7.   • Qualitative interview-based study Participants Sixteen participants selected through snowball sampling: ◦ English language teachers at a university setting in the DR ◦ teaching English to adult students as part of the academic load or as extracurricular courses University A (UA) University B (UB) 7 male teachers 5 male teachers 2 female teachers 2 female teachers
  8. 8.  Data collection method ◦ One time semi-structured interview (30 to 60 minutes) ◦ Qualitative interviews enable the researcher to look into the description of the topic, problem or situation from the participants’ standpoint (Creswell, 2008; Kvale, 2009; Merriam, 2009).  Data analysis ◦ Open coding (Merriam, 2009; Rubin & Rubin,1995) ◦ Thematic analysis (Clarke & Braun, 2006) through these steps:      Familiarizing with the data Generating initial codes Searching for themes Reviewing themes Defining and naming themes
  9. 9.  University A (UA) University B (UB) • TV & DVD player • LCD projector, laptop or desktop • Limited WiFi • Open WiFi access • Mobile devices: mostly feature phones with limited internet access • Mobile devices: mostly smartphones with internet access • Teacher’s own technologies (e.g. laptop and speakers)
  10. 10.  Research question 1: factors that promote or discourage the use of mobile devices: ◦ Factors promoting their use:  Students’ motivation and interest  Innovative instructional strategies  More access to learning opportunities ◦ Factors discouraging or preventing their use:  Students’ distraction  Economic limitations  Teachers’ lack of expertise  Resistance to adopt new technology approaches
  11. 11.  Research question 2: successful use of mobile devices  Careful planning and aligning activities with learning objectives  Students’ engagement in completion of mobile learning tasks.  Support from the institutions in different aspects “When you see they are following you, participating, integrating and contributing in the class atmosphere with the use of their technology, you say, this is working.” (Teacher at UB)
  12. 12.    Findings provided some understanding of the current status of mobile language learning in the DR adult EFL classroom from the perspectives of these teachers. There is wide cell phone use among Dominicans regardless of their socio-economic status: Most discouraging factors to implement mobile learning activities ◦ Economic limitations ◦ Lack of teacher expertise
  13. 13.  Next? ◦ To investigate cell phones used as language learning tools from Dominican learners’ perspectives:  Considering the economic factor on Dominican students’ ownership of cell phones.  Exploring the affordances of students’ own mobile devices for English language learning purposes.
  14. 14. Thank you!
  15. 15. Ally, Mohamed (Ed.) (2009). Mobile Learning: Transforming the Delivery of Education and Training. Edmonton, Canada: Athabasca University Press. Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative research in psychology, 3(2), 77-101. Chinnery, G.M. (2006). Emerging technologies, going to the MALL: Mobile assisted language learning, Language Learning & Technology, 10 (1), 9-11. Cultura digital en América Latina: Investigación Interuniversitria, educación y evangelización (2012). Eds. Centro de Comunicación Educativa Audiovisual, CEDAL. Kukulska-Hulme, A. (2009). Will mobile learning change language learning? ReCALL, 21(2), 157-165. Kukulska-Hulme, A., & Shield, L. (2008). An overview of mobile assisted language learning: From content delivery to supporte collaboration and interaction. ReCALL, 20(3), 271–289. International Telecommunication Union (2008). Use of information and communication technology by the world’s children and youth. Retrieved from: Instituto Dominicano de Telecomunicaciones, INDOTEL (2012). Estadísticas Indicadores al 30 de Noviembre 2012. Retrieved from:,cntnt01,default,0&cntnt01category=Estad%C3%A Dsticas%20Telecomunicaciones&cntnt01mode=summary&cntnt01count=2&cntnt01filter=1&cntnt01sor torder=summ_desc&cntnt01input_filter=&cntnt01pagenum=2&cntnt01returnid=44 Merriam, S. B. (2009), Qualitative Research: A Guide to Design and Implementation. San Francisco, CA: JosseyBass Noticias Universa (August, 2008) El idioma inglés es fundamental para el desarrollo profesional y personal de todo joven universitario. Retrieved from: Rubin,H & Rubin, I. (1995). Qualitative interviewing: The art of hearing data. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications