Survey: Mobile Learning in ELT 2011

Friday 8 April 2011

by Nik Peachey

It’s around a year since the launch of the first iPad in the UK and almost a year since I launched my first research questionnaire on mobile learning in ELT.

The original questionnaire produced some interesting and surprising results regarding teachers’ attitudes and their openness to mobile learning, the results of which were published online in the Guardian Education section at: English language teachers connect to mobile learning

Mobile Learning

Mobile Learning

Now, almost a year on from that first survey I’d like to repeat the same questions to try to get a picture of how things have changed over the last year and what the impact of an increased understanding and availability of mobile devices and mobile connectivity has been in the ELT classroom.

Anyone who adds their response to the questionnaire should also be able to see the results from other respondents and when the survey ends I’ll also publish it here for everyone to see.

  • If you would like to see a report on the original survey results from last year, you can also download that from here as PDF: Mobile Learning in ELT 2010

I hope that you’ll assist me and share your ideas and impressions with the greater ELT community.
Also, of course, you are free to leave any comments, questions and observations about your experiences with mobile learning here too.

22 responses to Survey: Mobile Learning in ELT 2011

  1. Arif says:

    Hi.. Great stuff
    BTW, can I have the survey questionnaire? I would like to conduct this small scale survey for my instituition.

    Hoping to get positive feedback :)

  2. Really nice work Nik, I was a participant last year and was impressed with the article you wrote for the guardian about it. Just goes to show that teachers (even language teachers) are embracing mobile technologies.

  3. Maureen says:

    Hi Nik,
    Being Monday before the conference, am pushed to get marking out of the way, but look forward to hearing more about this at IATEFL. At a glance, I couldn’t see any data regarding where in the world respondents came from??

    Hope to attend some of your sessions at Brighton.

    Many thanks and all the best, Maureen

    • Nik Peachey says:

      Hi Maureen

      I do have the data about location and will be collecting it again. It is pretty much inernational / global in scope, though what tends to happen is that the more digitally literate teachers are more likely to respond becuase it is an online survey and because it is shared through internet, so that has to be taken into account when interpreting the results.



  4. Just got a google alert that drew me here. Glad to see that people in my PLN are setting the tone in “mLearning”.

    Like Richard, I’m really looking forward to seeing the results.



  5. Isabel says:

    I find this information very useful. I’m doing a survey with my colleagues too. The only missing information is the people we teach. I have adults and even retired people in class. I’m sure it’s quite different in a class with teenagers.

    • Nik Peachey says:

      Hi Isabel
      Thanks for the comment. I’ll see if I can add a questions to capture that information.



    • Beshay says:

      Burcu, That definitely ctnous and the blogs would be a great addition to the wall especially for teachers who are considering adding blogs to the curriculum! Great idea!I added a unit on mine as well so lesson or lessons, the more the merrier!Shelly

  6. Prof G S Rathore says:

    Your academic exercise is commendable. Although we cannot stop the use of such modern gadgets, I feel that they can be used for disseminating information rather than developing the analytical ability of our students.

    • Nik Peachey says:

      Thanks for your comment. You are right , we can’t stop the use of these devices and I don’t think it would be right to try. I think though that we should mix the dissemination of information with the development of analytical thinking, especially when it comes to the ability to evaluate the information students are receiving.



  7. Suhail Ahmed says:

    Hi… Where can i get updated info on m-learning?

  8. Phil says:

    Hi Nik

    Nicky Hockley recently mentioned some good M-learning projects at IATEFL. One was an serialised story sent via sms(dissemination) but students were also able to discuss them online (analytical). The next steps seem to be interaction and then control, a bit like voting people out of Big Brother.

    Mobiles also change the dynamic of the class from a teacher as controller and supplier of knowledge to the students as contributers and also providers.

    I’ve noticed that many of us (me included) still seem to think of mobiles as internet access and use them for this. But we should be using them for their USP which is mobility and the growing range of APPS. I think you’ve mentioned ‘Gap Fillers’ which is a good example.

    Happy Easter.

    • Nik Peachey says:

      Hi Phil

      Yes, Nicky is a good person to follow and has some useful insights into mobile learning. The actual responses from my questionnaire are quite interesting too with teachers telling about the different ways they are using mobile learning. The comments people leave on the questionnaire are always so much more interesting than the raw statistical data collected.

      Hopefully I’ll have enough responses soon to write it up and share the information.



  9. Phil says:

    The last one had some interesting feedback but it will be good to see how things have changed this year. I think there were more talks this year at IATEFL which says a lot.

    There seems to be a lot of debate online about whether tablets will kill laptops but where do you think mobiles fit in?

    Another one is about a definition of mobile learning which Nicky talked about. This site has a good photo about it:

    What do you think classrooms will be using in 5 years Nik?

  10. Nik Peachey says:

    Hi Phil

    Well Phil, I’d like to think that 5 years from now we won’t be talking about mobile learning or elearning of technology enhanced learning, but we will just be talking about learning!

    I’d like to think that the devices won’t make much difference and we’ll just take them fore granted just like pencil and paper. They are just tools which help us to learn, but they aren’t the tools that create the learning.

    As for the devices themselves, I’m not really sure what the next 5 years will bring, but I think there will be a convergence between, tablet, laptops and phones and what we will have will be some form of easily portable device that does all of the things that these things do now. In many ways that’s already pretty much happening.

    I think size will become less of an issue as these devices may even be screen independent within 5 years as by then they could each have their own built in data projector which could make any surface a touch sensitive screen.

    But going back to that point about ‘defining mobile learning’ well I don’t think we can define learning by types of device and how portable they are. In the end the learning is something that happens (or not) in the mind of the learner rather than in the device they are using. We can however think about types of content or interaction that is more suitable for delivery to someone who is working with a particular type of device and what works within the limitations of that device and we can think about the circumstances in which they may be using that device for learning and designing content and learning interactions that are more suitable for that context. I think in both cases the move will be towards shorter and smaller bursts of learning, but this style of learning is anyway becoming more appropriate and may always have been more appropriate to what we know about concentration spans, so perhaps what technology is leading us towards is more a modal of learning that suits us better, rather than one that is convenient for designing school timetables and schedules around.



  11. Phil says:

    What do you think of this nik?

    Is this the type of mobilesite we will be seeing more of in Web 3.0??



    • Nik Peachey says:

      Hi Phil

      To be honest, the answer is no. That’s not to say the site isn’t useful, but it is really an example of the kind of pre / early-web CALL (Computer Assisted Language Learning) programs I used to see a lot of in the 90s. It’s great that it shifted to mobile and it’s free, but mobile doesn’t equal Web 3.0.

      To take it as an example though, if users of the service were able to upload their own content (lists of words, texts, audio recordings, tasks etc) and share these with other users, help other users and make questions / answers for each others’ content, then it would be along the lines of Web 2.0.

      If you took it a step further so that the exercises, texts etc that were delivered to the mobile device were specific to the location of the user at any time ( e.g. User walks into a supermarket in Kent, activates their app) and the activities and texts the user recieved were specific to that location and context, then (in my opinion at least) we would have ourselves a Web 3.0 application.

      Again, this isn’t a judgement call about the quality or usefulness of the site you are suggesting, (Web 2.0 doesn’t = Good and Web 3.0 = better) and it’s likely that many Web 3.0 apps, just like many Web 2.0 apps will turn out to be useless, but these are just terms that define developments in the nature and capability of the web.

      Hope that makes sense.



  12. phil says:

    Great points. So it sounds like web site developers have a long way to go.

    Personalised content sounds like a much more enjoyable web experience and it will make better use of the web’s USP. The Mobile Site doesn’t do this as you said. It just transplants a web activity onto a phone platform. Many of us teachers seem to be doing the same in class and using mobiles just for web access and not MOBILE things.

    Some colleagues have raised their aversion to being filmed by student mobiles. My students also don’t like it. How can we get past this ???



    • Nik Peachey says:

      Hi Phil

      Well as for “So it sounds like web site developers have a long way to go” I think, initially, the shift is going to make it more difficult for your average person to produce a Web3.0 type, location specific augmented reality site, but in the same way that Web2.0 apps made user generated content easier for the average person to produce I think the same will happen with Web 3.0.

      Already there are websites which enable users to produce their own mobile apps and systems to help people distribute content to mobile.

      There are also some sites which help you to produce location specific content such as which enables users to create audio that is linked to a specific location. So once the audio is created and tagged to that location, a students (though it could be anyone) who has the Woices app on their mobile device can log in and if they come close to that location (while they are walking round town for example) they will be able to pick up and audio message about the place where they are standing.

      In terms of education and language learning, this means that you could create a listening activity for your students by setting up a series of audio instructions and clues linked to locations within a town and get them exploring and finding information that leads them from location to location.

      Or you could perhaps tag audio instructions for students visiting the UK (or other target language country) to local shops or cinemas etc and include useful phrases in those audios that they can use to help them get the things they need, thus making language learning ‘just in time’ and context specific.

      The second question about aversion to being filmed is an interesting one. I think one of the ways you can tackle it is to make sure that if people are filmed, they are asked first and they know that there is a clear purpose for it. Also it needs to be made explicit how and where the film will be used and that if it is shared beyond the classroom it has the agreement of the people in it.

      If students are being filmed they should have primary control of the film and be aware of the pedagogical purpose. If students are filming teachers, it should be done again for a pedagogical purpose and with their permission. There are times when it makes absolute sense (teacher providing some kind of language model), but other times when it doesn’t, so it needs to be clear and done with their consent.

      Make sense?



  13. […] Nik Peachey As promised in my posting of April 8th 2011 I would like to share here some first insights into the results from my survey into Mobile Learning […]

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