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Going paperless with mobiles: Pitfalls and benefits!

The huge growth in ownership of smartphones amongst university students means that access to online content, especially through mobile applications (apps), has created the potential for language instructors to exploit these high ownership numbers within the classroom. World-wide figures show that in 2013, for the first time since the introduction of the iPhone in 2007, smartphone sales have overtaken feature phone sales.

The potential of these mobile-devices in education has been toyed around with previously, but now in 2014 with new apps continually being developed for smartphones it is becoming essential for instructors and institutions to understand how to adapt and use more easily these devices within a language course structure. However, an important issue is how can the language instructor actually use and integrate these mobile-devices and their software tools successfully with a class of students?

The presentation will include details of how a synchronised learning programme which primarily focused on improving English speaking and writing skills, aimed through the use of smartphone app technology to better assimilate mobile-devices within a university course structure. The aim of this programme was to analyse the potential benefits as well as the possible pitfalls for both learners and instructors of a completely digital and paperless English language course.

The course aimed to exploit technology freely available on any mobile-device platform such as audio and video recording, imaging software tools and document creation apps which provided students with the opportunity to create, edit and share their work with other class members via only their mobile-devices. Through a mobile-device programme linked to a central and communal website students could also provide quizzes, tests and survey capabilities, including peer editing and peer appraisal of their work.

The benefits and drawbacks of this course will also be included in the presentation which will highlight that by the end of the course 82% of class participants had a favourable attitude towards a paperless, mobile-device centred course. This was a significant increase on the attitude towards the same students prior the course’s commencement. An easy to follow step-by-step take home guide will be supplied to participants of the presentation in order for them to try the project for themselves with their own students.


Jaime Selwood    
Institute for Foreign Language and Research in Education
Hiroshima University

Institute for Foreign Language Research and Education
Hiroshima University

Associate Professor, Institute of Foreign Language Research and Education, Hiroshima University, Japan.

I have been a English instructor since 1999 and have worked in the UK, Germany and Japan. I have held my current position for three years.

Specialising in course development to integrate M-Learning devices and mobile software tools, colloquial English language acquisition and synchronised learning through podcasting.

Currently PhD candidate


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