Use of Mobile Phones in Language Learning: Developing ...
1. Use of Mobile Phones in Language Learning: Developing Effective Instructional MaterialsMurat Saran Kursat Cagiltay Golge Seferoglu Cankaya University, Turkey METU, TurkeyMETU, Turkeysaran@email@example.com@metu.edu.tr AbstractGSM technology that is widely available in developing world countries. With its widespread use and its features andIn this study, we wanted to develop effective functions such as mobility, reachability, localization, instructional materials for mobile phones operated in and personalization, mobile phone technology offers a second generation GSM technology. In order to great potential in learning environments. With this achieve this aim, we have chosen English language consideration, our first and foremost aim in this study vocabulary learning as the subject matter. Since the has been to make use of this profound interest andmedium of instruction is English in a considerable potential, and contribute to the efforts to enhance number of universities in Turkey, many university existing educational practices, particularly in the students need to be proficient in the English language. developing regions of the world. Therefore, weHowever, these students state that they feel developed instructional materials to be delivered inadequate in expressing themselves in English and through mobile phones operated in second generation they report that they cannot use English after years of GSM technology in order to improve Englishinstruction. Instructors also complain that students can language learners' vocabulary acquisition. Thenot cope with instruction in English and that they multimedia messages in this study allowed students to cannot follow lectures in English. see the definitions of words, example sentences,A review of the relevant literature and studies related visual representations, and pronunciations. exploring these students' language difficulties After students finished reading multimedia messages,revealed that one important reason of this in adequacy interactive short message service (SMS) quizzes for lies in learners' low vocabulary knowledge. This testing their learning were sent. This paper suggests understanding led us choose English vocabulary as the some important points to consider while creatingcontent to be delivered to students via mobile phones. MMS content and a SMS quiz system for educational We investigated the opinions of the students purposes. toward the use of mobile phones in language learning to discover effective ways of mobile phone technology integration into developing vocabulary knowledge. In this study, we used multimedia 1. Introduction messages (MMS) via mobile phones for content delivery. The multimedia messages in this study Among all technological devices available in ourallowed students to see the definitions of words, era, mobile phones are the most popular ones, and example sentences, related visual representations, and they have an important place particularly in youngpronunciations. After students finished reading peoples lives. In all over the world mobile phones multimedia messages, we sent interactive short outnumber personal computers . With itsmessage service (SMS) quizzes for testing their widespread use and its features and functions such as learning. This paper suggests some important points mobility,reachability,localization, and to consider while creating MMS content and a SMS personalization, mobile phone technology offers a quiz system for educational purposes. great potential in learning environments. With this consideration, our first and foremost aim in this study has been to make use of this profound interest and2. Background potential, and contribute to the efforts to enhance existing educational practices, particularly in the developing regions of the world. Therefore, we A review of the literature indicates that developed instructional materials that can be usedmotivation is an essential aspect of instruction . through mobile phones operated in second generation The push aspect of mobile phone technology may 2. break the motivational barriers to learning for manyinstructional materials for mobile phones were the students, and it may free the learner from studying inmain concerns of this study. Because of space front of a computer screen. By the push aspect, welimitations, not all findings will be reported in this mean that the instructional materials will be sent to paper; we will mainly share our findings and the students via mobile phones. They will be passiveexperiences on the development of instructional in the case of initiating their study or practice since materials for mobile phones. they will not have to visit a WEB or WAP page in order to study or practice course contents. They will 3. Development of the instructional only read, listen, and reply by using their mobilematerials for mobile phones phones. On the other hand, the web pages developed for the instructional purposes use the pull aspect of web technology. This requires learners to visit web In our study, we had developed significant amount pages to study the contents. However, most of the of content for mobile phones. These contents were students are not willing to use these web sites tosent to the students as multimedia messages (MMS) enhance their foreign language skills because of theirand short message service (SMS) quizzes via mobile lack of intrinsic motivation. phones. In this section, we will illustrate the In addition to a lack of intrinsic motivation,instructional materials used in the study, and share our technology access is another barrier to study WEB orfindings and suggestions on the development of WAP page contents. Most of the students in theinstructional materials for mobile phones. developing world do not have personnel computers. However, mobile phone ownership among these 3.1. Multimedia messages used in the study students is more common. The pre-study questionnaire distributed to all students in an English The multimedia messages in this study allowed preparatory school of a university in Turkeystudents to see the definitions of words, example supported this perspective. The analysis of thissentences, related pictures, and pronunciations as questionnaire showed that one hundred percent of theshown in figure 1. The English words included in this students in English preparatory school had at least study were selected from the contents of the regular one mobile phone. On the other hand, only 45classroom instruction since the aim of this study is to percent of the students had personal computers at provide supplementary practice to regular classroom home. instruction. According to Laufer, 5.000 base words are Picture 1 Picture 2 considered a minimal requirement for understandingExample sentenceDictionary definition non-specialized English texts . This implies that learners have to know a certain size of vocabulary so that they can comprehend a text comfortably. On the other hand, the classroom activities are not enough to promote vocabulary learning for most of the students . This means that additional practice must be provided in other ways. Thornton and Houser stated, mobile phones can help extend learner opportunitiesPicture 3 Audio in meaningful ways . Therefore, the present study Visual representation Pronunciation tried to find ways for supporting foreign language learning, particularly vocabulary acquisition by using mobile phones. According to Attewell, the amount of research explicitly exploring the use of mobile phones in education is still small, although there is an increasing amount of work-in-progress . Since the use of mobile phones in education is a very recent Figure 1. An example MMS development, the use of mobile phones in learning The size of the sample MMS is 30KB including environments poses new questions for instructors andthe SMIL and sound file. The 3 pictures shown above instructional designers. For example, the issue of howin order from left to right are saved as an animated learners respond to the idea of using mobile phones picture file which pauses 8 seconds between the 3 for educational purposes is one of these questions. pictures. The duration of pauses can be adjusted Finding an answer to this question in order to exploredepending on content of each message. the potential benefits of using mobile phones in education, and exploring how to develop effective 3. 3.2. Specific issues to consider while creating16 bps, stereo MMS content for mobile phonesThe following suggestions are offered for the We suggest that the ideal size of a message should video format: be kept at 100K maximum including smil, audio, Duration should be maximum 30 seconds animated gif, etc. In cases where the message size Average bitrate should be 128kbps exceeds 100K and the message is received by a low- Resolution: 176x144 capacity mobile phone, there may be a decrease in Should support 15 frames per second quality and you may run the risk of the phone not Preferred input format: being able to download the message.o 3gp file format We suggest the following data types as listed in Table 1 should be used in making up the content of o Video codec: mpeg4 the MMS: o Audio codec: aacA slide which only includes text should not Table 1. Recommended data types for contentexceed 6 lines. More lines will influence the otherslides. Text on each slide should be limited to 18-30ContentRecommended data type(s) words so that the user can scroll easily.video3gpp It is suggested that an MMS include a SMILimage(animated) gif / jpegpresentation in addition to the other content.audioamr / midi Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language(SMIL) is a markup language for building time-based,text plainstreaming multimedia presentations that combineaudio, video, images, and text. We suggest the Images should have the following resolution: following for SMIL presentations: Landscape- 320x240 SMIL standards should be followed (OMA1.1, Square- 240x240 OMA 1.2) We suggest that the image resolution and image SMIL should have a reference to the content size should be kept at 160x120 and 10KB in casestitle/name where there are more than one object images in the Region descriptions within the frame should content. Table 2 displays the maximum number of not overlap slides (frames) for each animated gif content. Every object in SMIL should be The suggested message size is 100K. With higher attached/related to an existing region resolutions, the number of frames will need to be Every MMS/SMIL definition on each slide adjusted. should be in accordance with OMA Table 2. Animated gif content Every slide should include a layout and 2 region definitions. Regions may includeSource MMS size Maximum number image and text depending on the needresolutionof frames Every slide, if it includes more than one Up to 128x128100 K15 frames object, is limited with the following:128x128 to 176x208100 K10 frameso Image and texto Image and audioTable 3 shows the recommended audio types witho Image, audio, and text parameters. The suggested message size is 100K for o Audio and text audio content. o Video and textWe suggest that a SMIL should be composed of 7slides maximum. Table 3. Audio content parameters3.3. SMS quizzes used in the studyAudio format MMS size Audio parametersAMR100 K12.2 Kbps, 8 KHz, The SMS quiz questions (see figure 2) were the 16 bps multiple-choice questions requiring students to choose MP3 100 K64 Kbps, 32 KHz,the correct answer and send their answers to the 16 bps, stereo system via their mobile phones. Participants needed to MP3100 K 300 K 128 Kbps, 48 KHz, answer a series of questions selected at random from a16 bps, stereopool of questions. Immediate feedback on each AAC100 K 300 K 128 Kbps, 48 KHz, 4. answer was provided, thereby encouraging them to All users should receive different test questions keep on answering in the shortest possible time.randomly selected from the test item bank. The item bank should have all items classified according to their difficulty level as "easy", "moderate," or "difficult" The system should automatically select and send the test items based on the criteria set by the administrator.4. ImplementationFigure 2. An example SMS quiz question. The study was conducted during the Fall 2006 3.4. Suggestions for the SMS testing system semester. The subjects of this study were 32 students attending the English Preparatory School of a In this section, we share our suggestions regarding university before they start their studies in their the development of SMS testing system for mobiledepartments. A purposeful sample of students was phones. The followings are the main points to beselected based on the data collected through a pre- considered while developing a SMS testing system: study questionnaire. This survey instrument included the items related to the demographic information Users might not be available to respond to theabout the students, their mobile phone ownership, andSMS quiz questions all the time. Therefore, atheir use of mobile phones in their daily life, etc. Thisstart SMS should be sent to ask whether a user isinstrument was distributed to all students during theready to start receiving test items. The user canEnglish proficiency exam conducted at the beginningeither send a YES or NO response to this initial of the academic year. The subjects were selectedmessage. If the user is not ready, then s/he willamong the students who had MMS supported mobilenot respond to this initial message. When thephones. 16 students in the elementary level and 16YES response is received from a user, the system students in the pre-intermediate level formed the twostarts to send the test items in the determinedexperimental groups.order. If no response is received within the timeThe English words included in this study werelimit specified, then the system does not send any selected from the contents of the regular classroomtest items to that user. instruction since the aim of this study was providing Tests should be composed of any number of testsupplementary practice to regular classroomitems. instruction. There were three levels as beginner, Tests should be started at any time of the day as elementary, and pre-intermediate at the Englishidentified by the administrator. preparatory school. The elementary and pre- There may be more than one test sent in a day.intermediate levels were included in this study. There Test items should be of multiple choice type with were 120 English words for each level.4 response options (A, B, C, D) A sample item is It was one of the aims of this study to find theas follows:most suitable scheduling for word delivery. Therefore, It seems that a successful scientists is full three multimedia messages were sent on different of .................... times in a day. Students responses to interviewA. curiosity questions indicated that the most suitable times forB. methodology MMS delivery were lecture breaks on school days.C. objectivity There were 10 weeks for the implementation phase.D. carefully We sent 120 English words to each student. Test items should be answered through 2 possibleAn interview survey was developed to learnmeans: students opinions and recommendations about the use o Responding to the received SMSof mobile phones in foreign language education. 6 o Sending an SMS to the service number (e.g.students in each experimental group were interviewed. Data from the interviews were compared5530) provided. with the computer logs keeping the information about In order to respond to a test item, a message the students responses to quiz questions. This logincluding the response (A, a, B, b, C, c, or D, d) system is a service provided by mobile phone serviceshould be sent to the system through one of the 2provider.means mentioned above. All information regarding the recipients of the 5. Resultstest items should be kept in a database. 5. Initial analyses of the collected data have In this study, we wanted to develop effective indicated that students liked the use of mobile phonesinstructional materials for mobile phones operated in for their vocabulary learning. Students reportedsecond generation GSM technology. We have chosen several positive aspects of this treatment during the English language vocabulary learning as the content interviews. to be delivered via mobile phones. As mentioned All of the students provided positive feedbackearlier, The driving reason why we have chosen about the mobile learning application used in thisEnglish vocabulary as the content in this study has study. The students stated that they enjoyed thebeen many learners' feeling inadequate in using instructional materials sent to their mobile phones English after years of instruction and their low during the experiment. All of the students stated thatvocabulary knowledge. The findings of this study it would be better if their English language educationdemonstrated that using MMS and SMS in enhancing were supported with instructional materials by mobile vocabulary knowledge is very effective. Therefore, phones like the ones they used during the experiment. the method used in this study can be of great help in For example, one of the students who advocated theimproving the quality of teaching-learning processes advantages of using this mobile learning applicationin preparatory English language schools of English- stated the following: Visual presentations of themedium universities. words in multimedia messages helped us to The method followed in this Project can be used understand the words meanings easily. When I cameon its own or integrated with traditional teaching across the same words in further reading, the visualmethods in any subject area. The processes and results representations helped me to remember the words'of this study may lead to other studies which may meanings.incorporate second generation GSM technology with The students mostly stated that the content itselfteaching/learning processes in various subject matters and the organization of the content, especially visualin different parts of the world. representations of each word, were nice and interesting. One student said, I found the text and7. References audio-visuals in the multimedia messages supporting each other. Audio-visual materials were very valuable  M. Prensky, What can you learn from a cell phone? in drawing my interest and giving me a clearAlmost anything!, Innovate 1, 2005. understanding about the English word that I was learning. As another advantage of this treatment, one S. M. Alessi, and S. R. Trollip, Multimedia for Learning of the students stated, I had the chance of repeating(3rd Ed), Allyn & Bacon, Boston, 2001, p.27. the content as many times as I wanted and this was an advantage of using mobile phones when compared B. Laufer, The Lexical Plight in Second Language with the other methods. However, three of theReading: Words You Don't Know, Words You Think You students stated, the multimedia messages should Know and Words You Can't Guess, in J. Coady & T. Huckin (Eds.), Second Language Vocabulary Acquisition, include more example sentences showing the uses of Cambridge University Press, New York, 1997, pp. 2-34. the words in daily life. All of the participants indicated that they did not face any difficulties while  S. Koren, Vocabulary Instruction Through Hypertext: using the mobile learning application and that it was are There Advantages over Conventional Methods of easy-to-use since they were used to use SMS and Teaching?, Teaching English as a Second or Foreign MMS in their daily lives. Language, 4(1), UC Berkeley, 1999. P. Thornton, and C. Houser, Using Mobile Phones in Education, Proceedings of the 2nd IEEE International 6. Conclusion Workshop on Wireless and Mobile Technologies in Education (WMTE04), 2004. This study extends the use of use mobile phones, which are already used for communication and J. Attewell, Mobile Technologies and Learning: A Technology Update and mlearning Project Summary, entertainment all over the world, to education. Using Learning and Skills Development Agency, London, 2005 mobile phones in educational settings will help learners be more motivated and will make it possible to overcome the difficulties teachers or parents experience in order to make learners start studying. Furthermore, learners will be able to use any previously wasted time (on the bus, on their way back and to school) on learning languages.