Innovation in Language Learning

Edition 11

Accepted Abstracts

Mobile Language Learning and Teaching: A Longitudinal Study of Middle-School Children

Sonia Rocca, Lycée Français de New York (United States)


This poster is divided into three sections: background, study and results. The ‘background’ section highlights the intersection of mobile technology with language learning and teaching. There are fundamental properties of mobile devices - such as portability, individuality, interactivity and connectivity - that are essential to language learning and teaching, in that they enhance exposure and noticing, promote interaction, develop self-monitoring, and calibrate corrective feedback.

The ‘study’ section presents participants and methodology. The participants were bilingual French-English children who started learning Italian as a foreign language in sixth grade. They were divided in two groups and observed for two years, in sixth and seventh grade. The experimental group was equipped with iPads, whereas the control group followed a more traditional approach. The introduction of the iPad transformed the learning environment making classes paperless but also more focused and interactive.

The ‘results’ section displays four charts comparing the two groups in sixth and seventh grade as well as each group over the two years in question. At the end of each year, a comprehensive standardized test was administered to both groups. Results show that the experimental group performed at a higher level for two consecutive years across the four language skills, especially in aural-oral skills where a ceiling effect was also observed. While the control group improved their score in all skills in the second year, surprisingly, in speaking, the sixth graders in the experimental group outperformed the seventh graders in the control group.

Bearing in mind that the experimental group was almost double the size of the control group, these results are particularly significant because both groups shared the same teacher, the same curriculum and the same material. What seemed to have made the difference was the introduction of the Ipad, which empowered learners with tools to optimize their learning experience.

Keywords: mobile language learning, iPad, Notability, middle school, bilingual, CEFR

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