1 Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto (PORTUGAL)
2 Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade do Porto (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2020 Proceedings
Publication year: 2020
Pages: 2489-2495
ISBN: 978-84-09-17939-8
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2020.0759
Conference name: 14th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 2-4 March, 2020
Location: Valencia, Spain
Mobile devices seem to be more present in language education and classrooms, but the role of such technologies on educator’s identity and practice is still at its early stages. This investigation aimed to gather a better understanding around the use of mobile-assisted language learning (MALL) through the lenses of educators that base their practices on the second language acquisition (SLA) theory, what are their perceptions on the relevancy of mobile devices for language acquisition and its potential role on their professional identities (as well as their views on using mobile technologies to promote opportunities for second language acquisition to occur).

Since second language acquisition education and professional identity are not covered alongside in MALL literature, the goal of this research was to gather data on three main topics:
a) MALL and SLA: the perceptions around mobile devices used for language acquisition from the educators’ perspective.
b) Identity: mobile devices reshaping educators’ practices and professional identity
c) Readiness: educators’ views towards the relevancy and readiness in using mobile devices for SLA.

A semi-structured interview script with open questions was developed to cover all three main topics as well as to promote participants’ insights around the current use of mobile technologies in their language education scenarios. The research included 12 second language acquisition educators from Brazil, acting in different educational scenarios were selected to be interviewed via Skype. The data gathered was analyzed using NVivo and interpreted by using the guidelines provided by grounded theory.

Results showed that:
a) participants consider mobile devices as ad-value for language acquisition when they recognize relevancy in using such devices in what they describe as “acquisition opportunities”. The use is not standardized varying according to educators’. The lack of support from schools is accounted as a factor for non-use.
b) Second language educators view themselves as facilitators between students and language. They understand that their professional identities are in constant change by social, cultural, and economic factors, and adding new tools and methodologies to their practices are expected; therefore, mobile devices are not viewed as threats to educators’ professional identity. However, participants showed concerns that the mandatory use of mobile devices and technologies in classes without previous training and debate around its proper use might contribute to an unwanted professional identity change.
c) Participants do not consider themselves proficient in what they understand to be an ideal use of mobile devices for language acquisition.

However, this lack of understanding does not impede them from using mobile devices as a pedagogical instrument as they seem fit. The discussion focuses on the paradox between the relevancy recognized by educators in mobile devices for language acquisition and their lack of repertoire for the use of such devices.
Mall, second language acquisition, educator identity, grounded theory.