Date of Award:

6-23-2015

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences

Advisor/Chair:

Mimi Recker

Abstract

This research study investigated how a Dominican English language teacher and her students appropriated cell phone features for educational purposes inside and outside the classroom. The dissertation used a qualitative approach that focused on the teacher, and four students selected from a class of 23. Data collection took place for 8 weeks in an English language center located at a public university in the Dominican Republic in the summer of 2014. I collected data through interviews, conversations, classroom observations, and questionnaires. Data were analyzed to identify emerging themes that described how the teacher and students used their cell phones for different educational activities related to English language learning. Findings identified four major themes on how the teacher used different cell phone features for educational purposes: cell phone as connectivity tool, content delivery tool, research and reference tool, and assessment facilitation tool. Findings from the four student subcases indicated that they appropriated features in their cell phones in different ways, including: iPod as a cell phone (student 1), assessment and feedback facilitation tool (student 2), peer- and self-assessment facilitation tool and e-reader (student 3), and multimedia delivery and social interactivity tool (student 4). Themes across subcases and from the classroom in general indicated that participants used features that allowed them to use their cell phones as tools for data gathering and note taking, reference and research, collaboration, and repository. Findings from this dissertation shed light on how a teacher and students can make use of their own mobile technologies to support English language learning in a Dominican classroom with uneven access to technology.

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