"Ubiquitous Language Learning from Mobile Internet to iPod to iPad" for the AILA World Congress symposium "Utilizing Emerging Technologies and Social Media to Enhance EFL Learning" on 11 August 2014, 16:30-18:30, in Room P5 at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre. This Slideshare version has much text for reading convenience.
Ubiquitous Language Learning (2014 AILA World Congress presentation)
Towards ubiquitous language learning
Mobile language learning, online at any time, any place, and any pace
Using hand-held, portable, or wearable Internet-connected devices
Smart phones, media players (e.g., iPod), tablets (e.g., iPad), etc.
m-Learning in cultural, disciplinary, and temporal contexts
(next slide, adapted from McCarty, 2005a – see References, last slides)
Internet of Things: applications in Japan, ubiquitous learning
Initiatives on the way to ubiquitous language learning
Mobile Internet since the late 1990s; author’s site from the year 2000
Osaka Jogakuin University – iPod for all incoming students from 2004;
author’s podcasting and social media initiatives; iPad for students from
2012, with campus-wide wifi and faculty-created interactive e-books
Conclusion: pedagogy amplified by (mobile) technology
Motivating, authentic, relevant, suitable, ubiquitous language learning
Defined as “machines that fit the human environment instead of
forcing humans to enter theirs” (Wikipedia, 2011)
Internet of Things (Dormehl, 2014): physical world – Internet interface
Hardware: cloud computing; sensor networks
E.g., mobile phone infra-red or barcode readers, iPad QR code reader
Software: embedded systems (built-in programs for specific tasks)
E.g., controlling appliances while away, GPS location-based services
Home-made calling card with QR code
for mobile phones or tablets (iPad, etc.)
to access the author’s mobile Internet site
(this and below from McCarty, 2011b)
Hospital wristband barcode that nurses scan
to access the patient’s chart, confirming and
updating the patient’s data, avoiding mistakes
(the Kyoto Medical Center uses QR code)
Example of location-based services, utilizing GPS on mobile phones:
In case of an earthquake in a tourist area visitors are unfamiliar with,
they could point their phones at a sensor on a surface in a central area
and be directed to the nearest hospital and other relevant information
(adapted from Hirano, Nakatani, McCarty, & Masui, 2007)
Click here for the next screen
In education, an approach to ubiquitous computing is student information
systems. By analogy with hospital databases, teachers and staff can access
and input student data such as schedules, credits, assessments, and other
information as needed.
At Osaka Jogakuin University, the author was on the IT and e-Learning
Committee while attendance cards were being used at great cost and
waste of resources, contrary to the global issues being taught. So the
author advocated for an electronic attendance management system.
The school found that such systems were offered by companies, and
money has been saved each year since the original system installment.
Students swipe their ID card on a sensor in each classroom, like they do
with a train pass and so forth. The technology is ubiquitous in that the
database is accessible through the Internet by computer anywhere,
or by iPad, which is often used for teaching, via wifi. Staff and teachers
can check student attendance and try to avert any mounting problems.
Ubiquitous learning (u-Learning) would apply the affordances of
ubiquitous computing to education, autonomous or informal learning.
Initiatives on the way to Ubiquitous Learning
Mobile Internet was pioneered in the late 1990s in northern Europe and
Japan, with some geographical and proprietary limitations. In Japan, first
some big corporations made mobile sites with paid access, then users
could pay their providers for Web access, with formats for each major
provider, e.g., compact HTML by Nippon Telephone and Telegraph (NTT).
One of the first educational mobile Internet
sites accessible worldwide included bilingual
haiku and information about the World
Association for Online Education (WAOE)
Made in 2000, following NTT DoCoMo
specifications under consideration by the
W3 Consortium, the contents fit the small
screens at the time. This is the Web view.
(from McCarty, 2008)
Social Media to enhance Integrative Motivation
“Social media to motivate language learners from before admission to after
graduation” (McCarty, 2011a) details initiatives to reach students where they
are, online, first in the exclusively Japanese language Mixi social networking
service, to help students make English communication an authentic part of their
real lives. Nowadays many academics use social media professionally (Lupton,
2014), and having students as Facebook friends or Twitter followers seems
natural, but at first there was a question whether students would willingly
interact with teachers in their private social spaces, with Asian students
typecast as having solely instrumental motivation. Collaborating on podcasts
with students from 2005 showed that students would reciprocate if the teacher
would go beyond class hours. Having a global audience stimulated integrative
motivation. Computer Communication class students enjoyed working overtime
on YouTube videos and other online media from 2007. A student reported that
English was a “tool” when graded, but also a “longing” to be part of the English-
speaking world, thus showing both instrumental and integrative motivation.
Besides blended learning approaches between classes, through social media
the author was able to encourage high school students to major in English,
and to show concern for former students after graduation (McCarty, 2011a).
Initiatives at Osaka Jogakuin University
In 2004, each incoming student received an iPod stocked with English
listening files. Note that when all students use the same device, it can
become an extension of the campus infrastructure. Educational materials
such as homework assignments were synched to each iPod. It was not fully
ubiquitous but at most “spoken Internet to go” (McCarty, 2005b).
The author’s “Podcasting student-generated performances to develop EFL
skills” had many listeners, which was motivating to the students. The site
of annotated audio files was reported on by the Sloan Consortium for
Online Education in the U.S. in 2007 and designated an “Effective Practice.”
From 2012, each incoming student has received an iPad, and with a wifi
network, the campus infrastructure is closer to supporting ubiquitous
learning. Some students have wifi at home, and devices can be purchased
from providers for Internet access in much of urban Japan. However,
e-books can be used on an iPad anywhere, except for their Web links to
further investigate topics. Most e-books are made by faculty members with
iBook author for content-based EFL (Bramley, 2014), with Oxford University
Press e-books also used for academic listening (Sarosy & Sherak, 2013).
iPad screen shot: a few of the Osaka Jogakuin University
faculty-created content-based EFL e-books, and paperless
college catalogues, all of which save natural resources
Example e-book affordances – economical: using many color photos, and
interactive: notes and (on other pages) self-check quizzes, Web links, etc.
Another affordance: besides text notes (“T” above), voice notes can be
recorded, by speaking near the iPad, and saved anywhere in the e-book
– from Lecture Ready 1 (Sarosy & Sherak, 2013)
Bramley, D. (2014). Tap into the future: A study of iPads and interactive eBooks in an e-
learning project. Osaka JALT Journal, 1(1), 89-108. Retrieved from
Dormehl, L. (2014, June 8). Internet of Things: It’s all coming together for a tech revolution.
The Guardian. Retrieved from
Hirano, K., Nakatani, Y., McCarty, S., & Masui, H. (2007). Applications of mobile research in
Japan. Ubiquity, 8(38), 1-34. Retrieved from http://waoe.org/president/ubiquity.pdf
Lupton, D. (2014). ‘Feeling better connected’: Academics’ use of social media. News & Media
Research Centre report, University of Canberra, Australia. Retrieved from
McCarty, S. (2005a). Cultural, disciplinary, and temporal contexts of e-learning and English as
a foreign language. eLearn Magazine, April 2005 issue, Research Papers). Retrieved from
McCarty, S. (2005b). Spoken Internet to go: Popularization through podcasting. JALT CALL
Journal, 1(2), 67-74. Retrieved from http://journal.jaltcall.org/articles/1_2_McCarty.pdf
McCarty, S. (2008, May 31). Making mobile phone Websites. A workshop at JALTCALL 2008,
Nagoya University of Commerce and Business. Retrieved from
McCarty, S. (2011a). Social media to motivate language learners from before admission to
after graduation. In A. U. Chamot & W. M. Chan (Eds.), Studies in Second and Foreign
Language Education, Vol. 5: W. M. Chan et al. (Eds.) Media in Foreign Language Teaching
and Learning (pp. 87-105). Berlin, Germany: De Gruyter Mouton.
McCarty, S. (2011b, October 17). Ubiquitous computing and online collaboration for open
education. A keynote address at the Malaysian Educational Technology Convention,
Kuantan, Malaysia. Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/waoe/malaysia-keynote
Sarosy, P. & Sherak, K. (2013). Lecture ready 1: Strategies for academic listening and
speaking. Oxford: Oxford University Press [textbook & Website or e-book].
Wikipedia (2011). Ubiquitous computing. Retrieved from
Bookmark for further research:
Bilingualism and Japanology Intersection