Cell Phones as Language Learning Tools among Dominican Students: An Exploratory Case Study

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Mimi Recker


Mobile learning research has shown that mobile devices can be used effectively to support student learning. Mobile learning in English language education has been extensively investigated in East and South Asia. However, little research has been found in Latin American countries, like the Dominican Republic (DR). Learning English is very important for the professional development of young adults in Latin American countries like the DR. English language teachers have used technology to support their teaching practices and enhance learning. However, access to technology vary across educational settings due to the digital gap in this developing country. Therefore, many teachers and students are at disadvantage in accessing and using technology resources. This situation may have a negative impact on language learning and there is a need for intervention to help students obtain success. As cell phones are widely available among the Dominican young population, these mobile devices represent an affordable way to integrate technology into the English language classroom and encourage meaningful learning. The purpose of this exploratory case study was to explore how a Dominican English teacher and her students integrated cell phones to learning activities during an 8-week immersion program at Utah State University in summer of 2013. This study also examined the participants' perceptions on the educational use of cell phones. Findings indicated that participants perceived that cell phones were useful to enhance their language learning experience, providing new opportunities for learning and improvement, but also showed that some activities would be difficult to implement in a Dominican context.

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