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Exploring the use of mobile phones for supporting english language learners’ vocabulary acquisition

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2009
Saran, Murat
With their widespread use and their features such as mobility, localization, and personalization, mobile phones offer a great potential for out-of-class learning. Yet, there is scarce research on the use of mobile phones in language learning contexts nor any on using multimedia messages via mobile phones to improve learners' vocabulary acquisition. The major aim of this study was to investigate the potentials and effectiveness of using mobile phones in foreign language education. In particular, the effects of using multimedia messages via mobile phones for improving language learners’ acquisition of words were explored. A mixed method approach involving both quantitative and qualitative components was employed in this study. The quantitative part of the study followed a pre-test/post-test quasi-experimental design. The qualitative part of the study included post-study semi-structured interviews with the students, and a questionnaire involving open ended items. The participants of this study were a group of students attending the English Preparatory School of an English-medium university in Turkey. Three different groups were formed in order to investigate the comparative effectiveness of supplementary materials delivered through 3 different means: mobile phones, web pages, and printed. Analyses of the quantitative data showed that using mobile phones had positive effects on students’ vocabulary learning. The qualitative data collected through the questionnaire and the interviews supported this finding. All participants provided positive feedback about the mobile learning application used in this study.