EUROCALL 2014

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Class “Home” Sites/LMSs on Mobile Devices

Learner Management Systems, Course Management Systems or other variations of Class “Home” Sites have long been a major development of CALL. Most CALL teachers are aware of or have used these in one-way or the other. With the recent development and rapid growth of mobile devices and Mobile Assisted Language Learning (MALL), as with other CALL and computer applications, mobile compatible versions of these applications are being released for both Android and iOS systems. These class “Home” sites/LMSs play an integral role in both enhancing CALL as well as learning in general and the same is sure to apply in MALL. Most of the available mobile versions are partners to computer versions, convenient for their setup, but their capabilities and display on mobile devices can vary which is significant when planning to use them in a class without computers. This presentation will first make some general comparison of different mobile Class “Home” Sites/LMSs applications and then go on to concentrate on two such applications - Language Cloud and Weebly - chosen for an action research project on using student mobile smartphones and iPhones in the language classroom in a Japanese University.

The classes in the project have a Blended-learning approach, where the mobile device use is only a part of the class along with regular face-to-face content. The mobile devices use is activated though these “Home” sites, but they also provide class information and “housekeeping” for the general content and other off phone activities. Classes of the same level, subject and content are being compared with their “Home” sites housed on the different sites. These “Home” sites, only accessed by students on their mobile devices, contain class information, tests, surveys, audio/video links, external web site links, discussion boards, homework, and more. The project provides an ideal way to compare the two applications for their accessibility and practicality in facilitating the different uses of the mobile devices in the class, as well as providing class information and general use for the Blended-learning classroom. The capabilities, advantages and disadvantages of the two class “Home” site applications are explored. Whist both have different interfaces and approaches to the tasks needed, both are up to the task.

Class “Home” sites/LMSs on mobile devices can facilitate all kinds of mobile activities in the classroom or they can be used to provide homework and self study extending class time outside of the classroom. Alternatively they can just provide class information, do class “housekeeping” tasks and promote paperless classes in otherwise regular face-to-face classes. New such applications are rapidly being released and existing ones continually updated, thus it is difficult to keep totally abreast, however this presentation will provide a step forward in discussing how Class “Home” Sites/LMSs can be used on mobile device and in comparing some different options available. This presentation will benefit any teacher interested in using MALL, and provide an introduction to using such sites on mobile devices.

Author(s):

Ian Brown    
Faculty of Economics
Matsuyama University
Japan

Ian Brown is currently an English lecturer at Matsuyama University in Matsuyama City Japan His teaching background spans over twenty years with experience teaching in Japan, Australia and Thailand. He has a long interest in CALL, and in teaching academic English, and was previously a specialist CALL teacher and coordinator of an EAP program in Sydney where he was involved in a large Blended Learning project. He uses all manner of technology in his teaching from computer to ipods and more recently is keenly interested in the use of student smartphones and iphones in a blended learning approach. He has presented papers and conducted training sessions on various aspects of ELT and CALL at conferences and workshops around the world.

 

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