How Mobile Learning Facilitates Student Engagement

A Case Study from the Teaching of Spanish

Authored by: Elizabeth A. Beckmann , M. Daniel Martìn

Handbook of Mobile Learning

Print publication date:  April  2013
Online publication date:  June  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415503693
eBook ISBN: 9780203118764
Adobe ISBN: 9781136311536

10.4324/9780203118764.ch46

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Abstract

M-learning is not a new phenomenon. Ever since human societies began to record their achievements, philosophies, histories, and ideas in resources that were portable—whether stone tablets, printed books, wax cylinders, or cassette tapes—people have taken advantage of that portability to learn what they want, where they want. The difference today is the increasing plethora of mobile electronic devices that have seemingly few limits on what they can access from across the whole world of human knowledge. As Chapter 1 explains, m-learning can be defined as a process whereby personal electronic devices are used to facilitate “learning across multiple contexts, through social and content interactions” (Crompton, 2013, p. 4). This chapter explores these contexts and interactions as contributors to higher-quality, and more authentic, learning outcomes when m-learning is encouraged. For example, during 6 years (2005–2011) of action research into diverse innovations in teaching Spanish to undergraduates at the Australian National University (ANU), we have found that facilitating m-learning is an effective way for teachers to maximize students’ exposure to, and engagement with, language resources as both listeners and speakers. Using evidence primarily from this case study, we explain why and how those of us who wish to emphasize student-centered teaching must support—perhaps even insist on—increasing use of mobile technologies.

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