Does mobile learning
need to move?
Işıl Boy Gary Motteram
How has mobile learning
personalized, and inclusive.”
Kukulska-Hulme and Traxler
Although mobile learning is regarded by some as an
extension of e-learning, it is also said to provide:
● more flexibility to learners in terms of time and
place of access to learning material and in
It is also said to:
● alter the relationship between the learner and
learning that is undertaken.
Context of the study
Initial findings from a small-scale exploratory study
of seven EFL classrooms that aims to gain insights
into teachers’ use of mobile technologies.
3 private primary schools and 2 state schools in
Turkey, and a college in the UAE.
Why this focus?
A teacher perspective because they are so often
ignored when it comes to the introduction of new
A learner focus is being undertaken in another
Initial research questions:
1- How do teachers see and use mobile devices in
2- What are the factors affecting teachers’ use of
mobile technologies in teaching?
3- What are the roles teachers believe mobile
technologies should have in teaching and learning?
We interviewed 7 teachers working in private primary
schools, two state schools in Turkey and a college in
the UAE and adopted an unstructured approach "as we
have a clear idea of the purpose of the observation, but
not so clear about the detail." (Bell 2010: 185)
● Because of difficulties accessing teachers for
face-to-face interviews we have used semi-
structured email interviews.
● E-mail interviewing as a asynchronous
communication is advantageous since it enables
the interview think thoroughly before answering
the questions, and edit them if necessary
Five of the teachers are using iPads and two using
Android tablets as a part of the Turkish Ministry of
Education funded Fatih project
Teachers are working in Turkey or the UAE, six out
of seven are of Turkish origin.
The final teacher is originally from the UK.
The seven teachers have been involved in teaching
from 2-28 years, but have mostly only been using
tablets in the classroom for 1 year (5 teachers), 1.5
years (1 teacher) and 3 years (1 teacher).
These teachers did have prior experience of using
technology in the classroom, in some cases they
showed a lot of history in this regard.
History of technology use
“After the Fatih Project started by the Ministry of Education my
school has also taken part in it as it had already started using the
netbooks and online learning systems such as Moodle a couple
of years ago before that. We started to use the iPads with our
5th graders and tablet PC’s with the 9th graders.” P1 (14 years
“I have used technology to support learning for many years. First
it was through computers in computer labs, then laptops and
now mobile devices, such as tablets and
smart phones.” P2 (13 years experience)
In the UAE the iPads are being introduced as the
sole classroom technology with other traditional
There are inevitable issues around the technology
itself in some of the contexts, teachers describing
*poor performance of the tablets
*control of access to the internet and online sites
Individual vs group
Typical class activity
Broadening of teaching
Tablet as games platform
Tablet as a games
Tablet as a tool
Tablet as a curriculum
Finding the 'right' apps
Tablet as a creative tool
History of technology in
the language classroom
Technology on the move
Teachers views of
Some instances of mobile technologies being used as
creative tools and in one case outside of the classroom
mirroring previous research in other subject areas
(Purcell et al. 2013)
Tablets as creative tools
“I also embrace the learning by doing method and encourage
students to create content, such as eBooks, podcasts, vodcasts
and screencasts. I use screencasts for flipped teaching, as
“I only focus on creativity. I prefer audio creation and video
creation apps. By the way I should add apps are just the tools
the information comes from the web and the teacher.” P3
“Currently, we are using “Minecraft” in language learning. Since
we are working on creative writing and reading, I let them play
Minecraft in my classes. It includes gamification, blended
learning and fun! They create their own stories based on their
written stories. Therefore, they are always motivated enough for
learning and interacting with the others.” P4
Creativity from the perspective of a teacher
“When I was in university, I had a linguistics class which I had to
prepare some projects. Almost all my friends prepared worksheet
and powerpoint presentations. But I wanted to do something
different. So I decided to use Adobe Flash to create animated movies
that might be interesting for both students and teachers. It was really
hard for me to do that because it was really difficult to create
animations without appropriate skills/knowledge.
But at the end, I was able present my movies to my teacher and he
was really happy with the outcome. But it was still a problem for me
to create those animations because I had to spend a lot of time on
then. When I discovered the use of iPad for these kind of projects, I
gave it a try and it was perfect. It was easy to use, time saver and it
In most cases, in the limited data we have analysed so
far, teachers are using tablets in similar ways to other
computer technologies: as tools to teach the
curriculum, to practise language, particularly
vocabulary, and to motivate learners.
Tablet as a curriculum tool
“We are using them in Grade 5. My subject is English. We use
them for preparing flashcards for the target vocabulary SS learn.
They are also using it for creating comic strips, story time lines,
etc. We also use online websites such as “Quizlet and Jeopardy
labs” for comprehension. It enables us to use these tools both
individually and in groups in class. The use of other web tools
like Edmodo, Linoit are also much easier this way. We also use
them for reading-for-pleasure time.” P1
“My main aims as a teacher have not changed dramatically. I still
primarily aim to cover the learning objectives in my institution's
syllabus and help students improve their English language skills.
Specific apps mentioned
Futuba -- Multiplayer vocabulary game for kids -- Group work
Ebackpack -- eBackpack is an assignment, storage, and
collaboration service. -- P2
Minecraft -- various devices -- P4
Quizlet -- various devices -- P1
https://jeopardylabs.com -- P1
Edmodo -- P1
http://en.linoit.com -- P1
Poplet -- P2
Comic Life -- P2
Creative Book Builder -- P2
Socrative -- P2
iBooks Author -- P2
iWorks -- P2
iMovie -- P2
Some of the teachers talked about the difficulties of
managing the tablets in the classroom with the
learners only interesting in playing games; one
teacher talks about the harnessing of those same
games to stimulate language practice.
Management of activity
“Ts were concerned about the misuse of internet in the
“[T]hey have access to up-to-date course information anywhere
anytime and that they can stay connected with their teachers
and peers outside the classroom.” P2
“They access up-to-date course information, such as changes in
exam times or venues, receive reminders for homework,
collaborate with their friends on Edmodo by sharing written or
spoken work and commenting on peers' posts.” P2
“They need guidance in using iPads in class, such as not playing
games during class time or using particular Apps.” P2
Do mobile technologies need to move?
“They use them specifically for research and making movies.
Unfortunately, they are mostly interested with the games they play
but still some use for research and reading. (online libraries and/or e-
books) They also need to complete some online tasks where they work
on their on like creating posters etc.” P1
“We assign them online quizzes, prezi/PPT/keynote presentations.
Some HW is only available on Moodle or Edmodo.” P1
“Do you ask your students to take their iPads out into an authentic
context like a museum to access information? If yes, please provide
- No. Thinking about my subject I say no.” P1
“They also use their iPads to stay connected with their friends through
facebook, twitter and instagram and to play games.” P2
“Well, it is basically about the learning on the road. I always try to
read and learn something new about my profession and interests.
But it was really hard for me to do that 5-6 years ago. I was limited
by the books that I have with me on the road. There was no chance
for me to bring new perspectives by reading different
comments/things about the book that I was reading at that time. By
taking mobile learning into consideration, it brought a new way of
learning. It is fast enough to get you different perspectives. By the
help of this term, you can read, listen, watch, share and explore at
the same time.” P4
“They share, create their contents that are related to out topics
before class. They watch and explore the content that I shared on
iTunes U, They do tasks that I send them before the class. And of
course they PLAY GAMES” P4
Current issues in our minds
Tablet computers in our study so far appear to be being used in
schools and colleges in similar ways to the other implementations of
technology in the language classroom.
Does this matter? Is this a natural social shaping of the technology by
teachers? Is this social shaping a problem because some of the
teachers are what Prensky pejoratively called "digital immigrants"?
Is it that the curriculum was shaped in non-digital times? Is it because
teachers have a positive contribution to make in the classroom?
What is the desired state for mobile technologies in the
language classroom? Is this the debate that we need to have?
Bell, J. (2010). Doing your research project: A guide for first-time researchers in
education, health and social science (5th ed.). Maidenhead: Open University Press.
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mediated interviewing. International Journal of Market Research, 43(4), 361-375.
Kukulska-Hulme, A., & Traxler, J. (2005). Mobile learning: A handbook for educators
and trainers. London: Routledge
Purcell, K., Heaps. A., Buchanan J., Friedrich , L. (2013). How Teachers Are Using
Technology at Home and in Their Classrooms. Retrieved from: