Using Mobile Devices As Tools in French and German Courses

Using Mobile Devices As Tools in French and German Courses

In this article in Foreign Language Annals, Lara Ducate and Lara Lomicka (University of South Carolina/Columbia) report on their study of college students in intermediate French and German classes who used iPod Touches and cell phones as an integral part of their courses. Here are some of the in-class tasks that were assigned: searches about cities, people, political parties, and historical events; information-map tasks on political parties, paintings, and history; exploring newspaper headlines; searching travel apps; comparing TV commercials; navigating Google Maps viewing YouTube videos in the target language; referencing dictionary and grammar apps; researching and comparing weather; and searching and listening to French and German music. 

For homework, students were required to compose three Twitter messages for classmates, at least two in the target language. Students also did four out-of-class projects: a short video about themselves; a photo collage about their dorm or apartment; a short video in collaboration with classmates about their city; and interviewing three people about a stereotype they might have about France or Germany or French or German people.

Ducate and Lomicka found that students took full advantage of the portability and power of their devices and got much deeper exposure to the target language. “When iPod Touches were put into the hands of learners,” they conclude, “the range of activities and live-time access to authentic materials, resources, and support transformed learning, offering students unlimited access to resources, opportunities to communicate using the language in important and meaningful ways, mobility, convenience, and opportunities for learning anywhere and at any time.” 

“Going Mobile: Language Learning With an iPod Touch in Intermediate French and German Classes” by Lara Ducate and Lara Lomicka in Foreign Language Annals, Fall 2013 (Vol. 46, #3, p. 445-468), http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/flan.12043/abstract

From the Marshall Memo #594

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