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Title: Using mobile technology to foster autonomy among language learners
Author: Albadry, Haifa Fareed Abdulmajeed
ISNI:       0000 0004 7659 9830
Awarding Body: Newcastle University
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2018
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Much has been written about the value of Learner autonomy in language teaching and learning as it is believed to enhance students' opportunities of success, enable life-long learning, and increase motivation. Extensive research has been dedicated to the investigation of different ways of fostering learner autonomy in language learning and teaching. However, it is not easy to encourage learners to be more independent, motivated, and committed, especially in a teacher-centred educational context. Therefore, this study seeks to explore how learner autonomy can be encouraged in support of language learning at a University in Saudi Arabia by incorporating the use of tablet devices into a language course. It is necessary to establish whether the iPad and iPad-like devices can contribute to developing student autonomy in language learning. More specifically, the study attempts to explore whether the multi-modal functionality and affordances of the iPad, when used in a Mobile Assisted Language Learning environment as part of a teacher-guided EFL (English for Foreign Learners) course, can encourage and motivate students to become more independent and take control over their learning. The study was carried out in the context of a 12-week deployment of the iPad device in the Community College at Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University (Previously Dammam University) with a group of 21 Saudi university students. Data was gathered from questionnaires, focus group interview, student diaries, think aloud protocol, and online tracker. The findings indicate that students used a wide range of cognitive, metacognitive, and social strategies when working with the iPad, and there was a statistically significant increase in students' reported use of language learning strategies by the end of the project. The study also provides evidence that the use of the iPad when integrated carefully into a language course, and with the teacher's instruction, can have positive effects on students' attitude and learning. There is evidence that these effects extended beyond the end of the course, as post -course interviews suggest that students continued to develop certain types of autonomous behaviour. They displayed a desire to continue to learn English despite the difficulties they encountered in the course. In addition, most students planned to do more practice outside classroom, collaborate with other students, and reflect on their personal beliefs about language learning. Based on these findings, there seem to be clear benefits to integrating the iPad into language courses.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available