- Benefits of technology in a classroom:
- Good for students with learning problems;
- Reduction of the monotony of classroom instructions;
- Assists the teacher in diverse areas;
- Mobile Assisted Language Learning (MALL):
- A popular technological approach;
- Used for ESL students;
- Helpful for mastering spelling and pronunciation.
The application of technology in educational establishments is gaining popularity around the world. The advantages of technology in a classroom are evident. It has potential to make classes more engaging and provides diverse opportunities for teachers. Moreover, technology empowers education process of students who have certain problems with learning. One of the technologies that are gaining popularity, is MALL – mobile assisted language learning. It has benefits for language learning as a whole and for training proficiency in spelling and pronunciation.
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- Mobile learning as next generation of learning;
- Effect on mastering skills of language;
- Focus of study on the use of mobile learning technologies, their effects and the student and teachers’ attitudes toward them.
- to examine the effect of MALL on the grammatical accuracy of Saudi EFL intermediate female learners in Jeddah city.
- to consider the views of Saudi EFL teachers and learners on the use of MALL;
- to identify the challenges while using MALL during grammar lessons.
Mobile learning is becoming an integral part of contemporary education. It is gaining popularity at the schools of Saudi Arabia as well. Mobile learning is expected to have a positive impact on the development of language skills, but its effectiveness can depend on the attitudes of both teachers and learners. Therefore, it is important to investigate the application of mobile learning technologies and their effects as well as attitudes of teachers and students.
- What is the effect of Mobile Assisted Language-Learning on the grammatical accuracy of Saudi EFL intermediate school female learners in Jeddah city?
- What are the views of Saudi EFL teachers and learners on the use of Mall on their grammatical accuracy?
- What are the challenges to using MALL for grammar lessons?
For this study, the research questions were formulated to investigate the problem and meet the research objectives. They are applied in the process of data collection in the research setting. They helped the researcher to understand the type of data that was needed to be collected from the field.
Significance of the Study
- Investigation of the effect of MALL on mastering the language structures.
- Study of the efficiency of MALL technology in improving the grammatical accuracy of EFL Saudi learners.
- Empowerment of stakeholders’ informed decisions and policies necessary for transforming education system in Saudi Arabia.
- Encouragement of teachers to apply MALL technology in their classrooms.
Limitations of the Study
- Limited setting (a school in Jeddah city in Saudi Arabia).
- Limited number of participants (30 students).
- Only English as a Foreign Language students included.
The current study is important since it investigates the impacts of MALL technology on mastering the language of EFL students and thus can justify the use of the technology in educational institutions. Still, due to the limited setting, time, and a number of participants, the research results cannot be generalized and are applicable mostly in the Saudi context.
History of MALL
- Audiovisuals for teaching subjects related to science.
- Successful implementation for teaching sciences and mathematics.
- Allows multiple repetition for all learners to understand a concept.
Benefits of MALL for Slow Learners
- Attention to unique needs of slow learners.
- Empowerment of individual approach.
- Gadgets for repetition of class material.
- Opportunity for slow learners to learn at their own pace.
- Useful for students who are afraid of a teacher’s presence.
While technology is popular in nearly every sphere of education, it was first used to enhance learning and teaching of sciences and mathematics. Audio-visual tools allow multiple repetition both in class and at home to save time in a classroom. Moreover, such technologies are beneficial for slow learners providing them with an opportunity to repeat the material as many times as needed using their gadgets.
Review of literature: Advantages of Mall
- Applicable for teaching languages;
- Useful for teaching pronunciation;
- Elimination of misinterpretations in pronunciation under the impact of the first language;
- Contributes to understanding syllables;
- Contributes to the improvement of grammar competency through the improvement of spelling and pronunciation skills.
Apart from teaching science or mathematics, MALL technology has some advantages for EFL students and teachers. One of the benefits is that this technology helps to learn proper foreign language pronunciation, not influenced by the first language that a teacher speaks. Also, it is good for understanding the syllables and improvement of pronunciation as a whole. Finally, due to an increase in spelling and pronunciation skills of EFL learners, their grammar competency also improves.
Review of literature. Grammatical Accuracy among EFL Students
- Impact of the first language on grammar competence;
- Use of MALL for subject-verb agreement;
- Empowerment of learning tenses;
- Particularly useful for slow learners;
- Increase of grammatical accuracy of EFL students.
EFL students frequently demonstrate unsatisfactory grammatical accuracy. Their perception of grammar structures is influenced by their first language, which usually significantly differs from English. Therefore, MALL technology can be useful to practice the most complicated aspects of foreign language as tenses or subject-verb agreement. It has already been mentioned that MALL technology is particularly beneficial for slow learners because they allow multiple repetition of any topic discussed in class as many times as necessary to achieve high grammatical accuracy. Moreover, increased grammatical accuracy provides students with opportunities to continue education abroad because they will be able to use language to learn other subjects.
Review of literature. Recent Related Research
- Increase in the use of MALL technology for mastering the language in Arab schools
- Mobile phones and social networking for enhancing English learning
- Mobile phones cameras for research to improve the learning process
- Mobile technology for EFL reading classroom
- Generally positive attitudes and perception of mobile assisted language learning
- Mobile learning as a useful learning system
- Advantages of Instagram and other social media for improving the grammatical accuracy
The majority of resent studies provide evidence of a positive impact that mobile technology has on learning. The researchers speak both about the benefits and positive outcomes of MALL for teachers and students. They can be used for students’ research, to stimulate reading, or to improve grammatical accuracy. Diverse functions of mobile devices are applied as well, such as access to the Internet and social media, reading texts, or production of multimedia (photos or videos).
Study Results: General Performance
The analysis of data obtained from the research participants revealed a significant increase in performance of the study group if compared to the control one. Thus, the control group demonstrated 19% increase in performance after the research while the performance of the study group increased by 35%. Therefore, it can be concluded that the use of iPads had a positive impact on the performance of the students.
Study Results: Effect of MALL on the Grammatical Accuracy
- 7% (2 students) had no mistakes;
- 57% of students had 3-5 mistakes;
- The rest of the students failed the test (over 8 mistakes in 20 questions).
- 4 students made no mistakes;
- 70% of students had satisfactory results;
- Some students did not show any progress;
- Students admitted a positive impact of MALL on grammatical accuracy.
The first research question was “What is the effect of Mobile Assisted Language-Learning on the grammatical accuracy of Saudi EFL intermediate school female learners in Jeddah city?” The analysis of the pre-test and post-test results allow concluding that the use of MALL is effective for improving grammatical accuracy of EFL students. Thus, the number of students who completed the test without mistakes increased from 2 to 4 people. Moreover, the percentage of students who received satisfactory results increased from 57% to 70%.
- 98% of students improved their understanding of grammar.
- 78% demonstrated creative thinking skills.
- 35% improvement in students’ performance.
The research participants agreed that MALL is a useful instrument for improving grammatical accuracy. MALL allows hearing the correct pronunciation, which is not influenced by the first language of a teacher or learners, and thus contributes to better pronunciation and spelling skills. Moreover, MALL was considered to promote student-centered learning, which is a priority of the contemporary school. Also, mobile technologies in learning stimulate communication and enhance team work and general engagement in the learning process.
Study Results: Views of Saudi EFL Learners on MALL
The second research question for this study was “What are the views of Saudi EFL learners and teachers about the use of MALL on grammatical accuracy?” It was answered to reveal the existing links between MALL and grammatical accuracy of students. The teachers who were using this new approach assessed the level of acceptance of MALL by their students. Figure 2 shows that the majority of learners strongly approves the use of MALL in their learning. On the whole, 90% of students admitted that they approve or strongly approve MALL. Therefore, it can be concluded that MALL is accepted by students. However, teachers’ attitude was not so unanimous. While the majority (55%) of teachers approve the use of MALL in the classroom, more than one third disapprove this technology. Still, there were 10% of those who were not sure if MALL should be applied.
Study Results: Challenges in Using MALL during Grammar Lessons
The third question to answer in this research was “What are the challenges to using MALL for grammar lessons?” Since MALL is a new technology for enhancing grammatical accuracy of students, both students and teachers can face some challenges in the process of its implementation. The assessment provided in this research revealed that one of the major concerns is to determine if students are engaged in learning activities. iPads or tablets used for MALL usually have access to the Internet and it can be difficult to monitor if students complete the necessary tasks or use their social media. Another concern is that students can access irrelevant materials or be involved in cyber bullying. Moreover, there is danger of overestimating the role of MALL and reduce the role of a teacher. Finally, the respondents were concerned with the cost of MALL implementation and parental support of its application.
- Technology-based learning is gaining popularity all over the world.
- Technology can be beneficial for different subjects, including science and languages.
- MALL technology can have advantages for teaching English as a foreign language.
- MALL facilitates learning and contributes to the improvement of grammatical accuracy of EFL students.
- Application of MALL has both benefits and challenges.
- MALL empowers learning without teacher’s presence and has advantages for slow learners.
- The major challenge is monitoring of the students’ engagement in the learning activity.
- Pedagogical implications include broad opportunities for language teachers.
- Importance of school administrators and parents to provide the technical component of MALL in schools and at home.