Abstract why teachers try to teach vocabulary through some

Abstract

As the previous
research indicates, technology plays an important role and has a great
potential in foreign language teaching. It is also obvious that mobile assisted
language learning (MALL) considerably affects learning process among foreign
language learners. However, as a still growing area, MALL research needs to
expand so that it covers different contexts and age groups. Therefore, this
current study aims to investigate the relationship between MALL and vocabulary
learning. In this study, 60 students who study at a
university in Turkey were divided into two groups and they have been observed
over a 4 week period. The experimental group used an app called “Quizziz” for 4
weeks and the control group went on learning vocabulary through traditional
paper-based activities. Results from this observation show that the experiment
group slightly outscored the control group. However, no significant difference
was observed between the scores of these two groups.

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Keywords: mobile-assisted language
learning (MALL), vocabulary learning, mobile applications, quizziz

 

1. Introduction

Learning language necessitates main skills
like listening and reading, which has been defined as receptive skills; and
other main skills like speaking and writing, which has been defined as
productive skills. To be capable of using these skills in an effective way,
learners need to have a certain amount of knowledge of grammar and vocabulary,
which are both called sub-skills. If we compare these sub-skills; vocabulary
has a more vital role in language learning process. Students cannot express
themselves or understand the language just through grammar knowledge; but they
can use the language and interpret the input at a certain level thanks to
vocabulary knowledge even if they don’t have enough grammar knowledge. In a
simple way, it enables learners to interpret the input and let them turn these
input to output through an interpreting process.

It is clear that vocabulary plays an
important role in the language learning process and that’s why teachers try to
teach vocabulary through some techniques and methods through definitions,
self-defining context, antonyms, synonyms, dramatization, pictures and drawings,
realia, illustrative sentences and some other techniques. (Mehta, 2009).  However, this century offers us some other
choices beside the current techniques and methods thanks to the technological
developments seen in last decades. Technologies have resulted in important
changes in the process of teaching and learning. (Pavlik, 2015).  Computers and mobile phones are in use of
millions of people and they are benefitted in every aspect of our daily lives.
Especially, smart phones have become an essential part of the life and Saran
and Seferoglu (2010) has stated that “Mobile devices could open new doors
with their unique qualities such as “accessibility, personalizability, and
portability”. Taking these facts into account, teachers can try to
integrate these changes into their classes and utilize these smart phones and
computers in classes. To achieve that, lots of apps have been developed and
stored in online markets by the developers and these applications are offered
to teachers and learners to let them learn and teach the language in a better
way. With the technological developments seen in last years, many benefits of
technology use has been experienced and for sure, it fostered learning and
teaching in classes. Ball (2011) has stated that it increases learner autonomy
and motivation; enables transferability of skills to the real-life; let
students get instant feedback and make it easier for students to track progress
of their goals.

Some teachers
and learners already have started benefiting from these apps and websites and
they have become very popular all over the world; some of these popular apps are
Kahoot, Quizlet, Quizizz, Busuu and Voscreen. Beside these, there are many
other apps and websites which have different techniques but somehow similar
educational aims.

Many studies
have been published on mobile apps or computers for language learning, (see
Byrne & Diem, 2014; Khaddage & Latteman, 2013; Steel, 2012; Jaradat,
2014; Wu,2008) However, this study will focus on two groups of A2 students’
vocabulary classes at a university in Turkey, one of which has been chosen as
the experimental group and they will be busy with “Quizizz” which has an app
version and online website version for learning and the other one has been
chosen as the control group and they will be busy with traditional methods.  Firstly, the study firstly will review the
previous studies and research in this field and then will report on the design,
content and objective of the study. Finally, it will present and compare the
data and discuss the results and reach a conclusion.

 

2. Literature
Review

2.1 Students Attitudes

There are some
studies which investigated the attitude of students to mobile assisted language
learning through some questionnaires and interviews and they found a positive
attitude (Saran et al. (2008) (Lu, 2008) (Kukulska-Hulme, Shield, 2008) (Kutluk &
Gülmez, 2014) (Jaradat, 2014). For instance, Jaradat (2014) investigated the
performance of students comparing the before and after using the mobile app to
learn French. 36 students participated in the study for 2 semesters and the
data collected in both formal and informal settings. A survey was applied and
10 students were randomly chosen to conduct interviews. The result of the study
showed that 76% of the students preferred to get French classes on mobile
rather than in classroom or on a computer and 90% of the students stated that
they were satisfied with the mobile app.

2.2 Previous Practices

As it is
mentioned before, there are many studies on technology use in education.
Although there are a few studies which were made years ago, learning and
teaching through mobile apps has started to become more popular and usable in
classrooms in recent years. Regarding those studies and research, it can be
seen that they generally have created significant differences but there are
some studies which couldn’t find significant differences. Firstly, this
research will analyze some of these studies and research on mobile assisted
language learning (MALL) and see their results and comparisons with
experimental groups, which found significant differences and secondly; it will
analyze the ones which couldn’t find important differences.

Suwantarathip
and Orawiwatnakul (2015) made a study to see the difference between paper-based
vocabulary exercises and SMS messages sent to learners to teach the new
vocabulary. It lasted for 6 weeks and the group getting the messages to learn
the vocabulary outperformed the other group. While Suwantarathip and
Orawiwatnakul (2015) compared the paper-based exercises with SMS messages; Wu
(2012) compared SMS messages with a mobile app. Wu (2015) has created an app
for mobile phones, which is called Word Learning-CET6 with the aim of teaching
vocabulary to 70 Chinese students in two ways. The experimental group used the
app CET6 to learn the vocabulary while the other group studied the vocabulary
through text messages. The posttest results showed an important achievement
difference between these two groups, the experimental group showed a better
performance.

Azabdaftari
(2012) had a study of vocabulary teaching through flashcards and Spaced
Repetition System, which is a mobile-based program. There were 80 students and
half of them formed the control group while the other half formed the
experimental group. This study lasted for 7 weeks. The group using mobile-app
outperformed the other group with a significant difference on a post-test of a
20 item multiple-choice. Moreover, Ba?o?lu and Akdemir (2010) also made a
similar study. They compared the differences between a mobile app of flashcards
and paper-based flashcards in learning vocabulary. There were 2 groups and each
group had 30 university students. The control group studied vocabulary on
paper-based flashcards while the experimental group studied the vocabulary on a
mobile-app of flashcards. After 6 weeks, a post-test was held and it was seen
that experimental group outscored the other group.

Boticki, Wong
et. al. (2011) made a study in which 37 Chinese students at primary school
played a game of Chinese character formation. There were 2 versions of the
game, the first one was played on smartphones while the other version was
paper-based. After a post-test was applied, it was seen that the learners who
use the mobile app performed better than the learners who play the paper-based
version.

Alemi, Sarab
et al. (2012) made a study of mobile phone based SMS vocabulary program. There
were 45 students and they studied 320 headwords for 16 weeks. The experimental
group received example sentences twice a week and the other group studied the
vocabulary by using a dictionary. After a post-test was held, no significant
difference was found. But on delayed post-test, the experimental group showed
significantly better performance.

Beside all
these studies above, Amer, (2010)
Ally, Tin et. al. (2011), Baleghizadeh and Oladrostam (2010) have applied MALL
and found positive results. However, there
are some other studies which couldn’t find significant differences. For
instance, Derakhshan and Kaivanpanah (2011) made a study which lasted 7
weeks. A control group of 22 students and an experimental group of 21 attended
the study and the experimental group used mobile-based SMS program. They were
taught 15-20 words per session and they were supposed to write down a sentence
for each word. A post-test and a delayed post-test were held later; but, they
both showed no important difference between these groups.

Hung, H-C et. al. (2009) investigated the
effectiveness of WiCFG, which is a
tablet pc-based game on learning vocabulary. 32 students attended the study;
half of them as a control group played the paper-based version of the game
while the other group as an experimental group played the game. After a while, students’
motivation, attitude and learning outcome were analyzed and it was seen that it
was effective for low proficient learners, not for high proficient learners.  

Hsieh, Chiu et. al. (2010) made a study in
which they compared 2 groups of students. One of the groups as an experimental
group used a mobile writing app to enhance their writing skills in Chinese
while the control group didn’t use the app. On the post-test, the experimental
group outperformed the other group just in terms of the mean gain scores; on the
other hand, there were no significant difference in the abilities of personification, simile, description, hyperbole and repetition.

 

3. Methodology

3.1 Research Design

This study aims
to see how effective “Quizziz” is in vocabulary learning and teaching when it
is compared to traditional activities in classrooms. “Quizizz” has been chosen
to be applied in English classes with the aim of enhancing the vocabulary
knowledge of the learners since it has a mobile application in play market of
Android and app store of IOS and can be used as a website through browsers on a
computer and; it offers live quizzes and online homework; it has been seen as
the best alternative. In this study, vocabulary exercises and assignments of A2
learners will be executed through this app and will be compared with the
results of the traditional activities.

3.2 Participants

The participants of this study were 60
students who studied at a university in Turkey. They all study at the
engineering faculty. All of the participants were male and their proficiency
level was pre-intermediate. They were first grade students and they were
divided into 2 groups whose teachers were different. The first group was the
experimental group which used the app for 4 weeks and the other group was the
control group which went on learning vocabulary through traditional paper-based
activities.

3.3 Data Analysis

The students get their English classes with the main course book of “Life 2”.
Each unit has some vocabulary sections and the students are supposed to know
the words there when they take their mid-term and final exams. At this point, 2
groups studied these words in different ways mentioned above and finally, they
took an exam of 40 multiple choice items. The scores of this exam were used as
the data and analyzed to reach some results.

 

3.4 Procedures

2 groups of 1st grade students
who got their English classes from the same course book were selected to be
investigated in this study. Because their classes were formed regarding their
proficiency level, these 2 groups had the same proficiency level; A2.

The experimental group practiced the
vocabulary on “Quizziz” on mobile phones while the control group was given vocabulary
worksheet for 4 weeks. Every week, a worksheet and an online quiz of target
vocabulary were delivered to the students. The content of the materials of these
2 groups were exactly same. After this process was completed, the students had
an exam, which included 40 multiple choice items and covered the previous
worksheets and online quizzes, on this vocabulary and the scores of this exam
were used as the data.  

 

4. Results

The control group scored 84,6667 in average and the experimental group scored 81,5833 in average. That is, the post-test showed that
students who practiced the vocabulary on mobile phones performed better than
the control group who practiced it on paper-based activities.

 

 

The scores of the 2 groups are given below.

 

 

Between-Subjects Factors

 

Value Label

N

Group

1

Experiment

30

2

Control

30

 

 

Descriptive Statistics

Dependent
Variable:   Posttest 

Group

Mean

Std. Deviation

N

Experiment

84,6667

5,03151

30

Control

81,5833

4,42774

30

Total

83,1250

4,94943

60

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Descriptive Statistics

Dependent Variable:   Pretest 

Group

Mean

Std. Deviation

N

Experiment

82,3333

6,05055

30

Control

80,9167

6,03450

30

Total

81,6250

6,03354

60

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Discussion and Conclusion

It is clear that vocabulary is vital in
language learning. It enhances the proficiency of learners and let them
understand the language or express themselves in an easier way. That’s why
learning and teaching vocabulary is seen as one of the key abilities and
teachers always should try to do their best to make their students learn the
target vocabulary. At this point, 21st century offers us some
advantages such as learning through computers, mobile phones and online tools.
Up to now, many studies have showed that mobile assisted language learning
makes learners start a positive attitude and enhance their motivation. In terms
of proficiency, the students generally show a better performance if they use
mobile apps to practice or learn the vocabulary regarding the previous studies
made in this field.

The results of the study indicate that the
control group couldn’t outscore the experimental group. In other words, the
experimental group outperformed the other group by using a mobile app to
enhance their vocabulary knowledge and learn the target vocabulary. However, as
the mean scores of the groups suggest, the difference between the scores of the
groups is not significant. This statement also gives an answer to the research
question of this study. The current study aimed to contribute to the field by
focusing on mobile-assisted language learning and vocabulary learning and teaching.
As mobile
technologies keep developing, additional studies need to be conducted on this area.

 

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