Date of Award

5-1-2014

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

McIntyre, John

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate the utility of mobile-assisted language learning (MALL) in Swaziland, mainly the use of smartphones for learning English. Because of the need to enable communicative language practice, and access to authentic content (Chinnery, 2006; Petersen & Divitini, 2004; Sole, Calic, & Neijmann, 2010) the use of MALL is currently the main focus in language learning and technology. Therefore, this study examined the utility of MALL in Swaziland, and students' beliefs about the potential benefits of using MALL for learning English in class. To achieve this goal, the main independent variables in the study were purposes for which students use smartphones out of class for learning English vis-à-vis their beliefs about the potential benefits of using smartphones in class for the same reason. The study also investigated students' reasoning for either believing that smartphones can be beneficial or not beneficial in class. To investigate these constructs, the study used two forms of data collection methods. First, a 23-item Likert scale was used to collect quantitative data, which were analyzed using both descriptive and inferential statistics. Second, telephone interviews were conducted to collect qualitative data, which were analyzed using both inductive analysis and creative synthesis. The results revealed significant differences among the purposes for which students use smartphones out of class for learning English and the potential benefits of using smartphones in class for the same reason. The results have implications for instruction and curriculum development in Swaziland. 

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