APPLICATIONS FOR MOBILE ASSISTED LANGUAGE LEARNING: A CURRENT FIELD RESEARCH
During the last few years, Mobile Learning (m-Learning) has increasingly attracted the attention of scholars. m-Learning is defined as the use of mobile devices in learning such as mobile phones (smartphones), tablet PCs, pocket PCs and personal digital assistants PDAs. Several studies have pointed out that m-Learning is an interactive type of technology-based learning that can enhance students’ motivation. The emergence of new technological equipment and software has facilitated the creation and development of effective methods and materials for mobile assisted language learning (MALL) which is a specialization of mobile learning (m-Learning).
This paper focuses on the use and effectiveness of MALL in second and foreign language (L2) education and on the potential of mobile devices as effective tools for delivering language learning materials to the students in terms of gained linguistic knowledge and skills. To this end, we have carried out a field research on a sample of 50 applications for L2 learning, created for mobile devices, focusing on the most popular ones: smartphones and tablets. In particular, using the descriptors proposed by the Common European Framework (CEFR), we made an effort towards determining whether these applications contain activities that might successfully support collaborative reading, writing, listening and speaking skills and language acquisition in more general terms. Based on the findings we will suggest areas for further research.