Mobile-Assisted Language Learning (MALL) has seen an explosion in terms of potential due to the introduction of smart phones. Through educational Apps, learners can find rich resources and varied activities in their language learning. I have earlier re-blogged Thiel’s (2014, Jan 24) article and review of Whitby’s (2013) Educating Gen-Wifi book, where instead of resisting smart phones in the classroom, educators are encouraged to actively utilize the potential of having, e.g., interactive encyclopaedias in your pocket. However, educators still have to question whether technology in each case can enhance learning processes in the classroom or not (cf. Leismann, 2014, Apr. 14). MALL should thus be used critically which presupposes thorough planning from the teacher.
Learning a language wherever you are
One of the most recent BBC Click episodes explores the potential of MALL. They present a language learning app called Busuu. This is an app where you can learn 12 languages, and interact with your peers. Duolingo is a similar app, allowing you to connect with your friends. Personally, I have found it motivational to compete with my friends in how much progress a day I am able to complete. And you can learn it wherever you are: on the bus, at the shopping centre, etc.
Coding can be easy and fun
The user interface in computing nowadays is much more simpler and easy to manage than some 15 years ago. Still, learning about codes and scripts in the quest of developing own software or apps is a very useful skill indeed. 2014 is the Year of Code, and Code.org enables learners to engage with problem-solving and code-cracking. Computer-science is hence taught through drag-and-drop programming, making it easy and fun. Still, learners can click and discover the real codes underneath. At Code.org, learners can be taught how to code the immensely popular game Flappy bird. I would assume this would be an enormous motivational factor for students.
In the occassion of ‘the Year of Code’, Silke tells of the ongoing Coding da Vinci project in Germany (Leismann, 2014, Apr. 14). Following the digitizing of many of Germany’s biggest libraries, this fusion of the gaming world and the cultural world seems very beneficial in bringing the high culture down to the public (Ibid.). So, jetzt anmelden, hackers of the open cultural world!
Christian, has earlier published a post on the game-based learning tool Kahoot (Stranger-Johannessen, 2014 Feb 9). This is yet another form of MALL that has the potential to broaden the scope of the classroom. In Christian’s post, he shows to practical examples from his own testing in classroom to illustrate how motivated students can become in combining games and language learning. Interestingly, a student who rarely speaks in class won the game (!). BBC Click (2014, Mar 21) argues that Kahoot could be a great way of drawing students attention away from Snapchat and Facebook to engage in interactive learning activities.
Below you can watch the instructional video from Code.org, showing you how to code your own Flappy bird game:
And here you can enjoy the BBC Click episode:
Leismann, S. (2014, Apr. 14) “Technology is the answer, but what was the question?” [Online]. Available at: http://dasmachteshatdiesommernacht.wordpress.com/2014/04/14/technology-is-the-answer-but-what-was-the-question/ [Accessed: 15.04.2014].