Date of Award

5-1-2017

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

McIntyre, John

Abstract

AN ABSTRACT OF THE DISSERTATION OF Jarrah Mohammad Al-Jarrah, for the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Curriculum and Instruction, presented on 03/22/2017, at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. TITLE: ESL TEACHER, STUDENT, AND PARENT PERCEPTIONS OF USING EDUCATIONAL MOBILE APPLICATIONS TO DEVELOP THE LANGUAGE SKILLS OF ESL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL STUDENTS MAJOR PROFESSOR: Dr. John McIntyre The purpose of this mixed-methods sequential explanatory study is to explore the perceptions of ESL teachers, students, and parents regarding the use of educational mobile applications to help ESL elementary school students develop their language skills. It also aims to explore the criteria used by teachers, students, and parents to choose suitable and effective applications for ESL instruction, as well as the barriers that teachers, students, and parents perceive might influence the successful use of such applications to improve ESL elementary school students’ language skills. Quantitative data were collected via surveys taken by a sample of 43 ESL students from 4th to 8th grade and 72 ESL parents from Unity Point Elementary School, Carbondale, Illinois. Later, qualitative data were collected through in-depth interviews from eight ESL students and eight ESL parents from Unity Point and from eight ESL teachers from different schools in Carbondale. Participants reported positive perceptions of using educational mobile applications to develop the language skills of students. However, they identified some obstacles to their effective use, including a general lack of mobile devices and effective applications, a lack of technical support, inadequate professional development, and negative attitudes. In addition, participants identified some criteria for choosing applications. These criteria were organized under four main themes: user feedback and reputation, content and focus, theoretical and pedagogical features, and technological features. This study provides some recommendations for the successful integration of technology in English learning and teaching for overcoming the obstacles that ESL teachers, students, and parents might encounter. Furthermore, identifying the criteria for choosing educational mobile applications could provide a framework for evaluating them, especially those used for learning English. These criteria could be used to help teachers choose appropriate applications to improve their teaching practices and performance and help decision makers assess applications and reflect upon their educational value. They may also be used to inform the design of these applications in a way that supports the effective integration of mobile technology in ESL learning and teaching.

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