Adriano Quieti January 2012

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Abstract

The use of smart phones and internet/app enabled mobile devices by learners and the appearance of these devices in language classrooms is becoming more common. There have been a number of studies conducted into the potential of devices to support language learning. However, none have specifically focused on assessing the potential for mobile devices to be a disruptive innovation to teaching and learning. In response to this, the aim of this study is to investigate whether mobile devices have the potential to be a disruptive innovation for language teaching and learning and what form that disruption may take. The study used the theory of disruptive innovation to view teaching and learning within a language school as a market that could be disrupted through the use of mobile devices. It adopted characteristics of an ethnographic approach that used participant observation to observe the use of mobile devices to support the teaching and learning of a class of eight Italian students attending a seven day English and golfing holiday. The results of the study identified a number of areas that suggest that mobile devices could be a disruptive innovation to language teaching and learning, these included: control, motivation, user-generated content, authenticity and context. The implication of this being more focused and motivated students, an Independence from published materials and more student centred teaching and learning. The study concluded that mobile devices do have the potential to be a disruptive innovation, but also displayed elements that may deter students and teachers from adopting the use of the devices, thus restricting their ability to be disruptive. Finally, further research in the fields of user-generated content, material’s use, and control were identified.

1: Introduction
1.1 Aim

This study aims to look at the potential for mobile devices to be a disruptive innovation for language teaching. I will conduct a number of lessons using mobile devices with a class of summer school students, and be a participant observer within those lessons, to investigate whether mobile devices have the potential to be a disruptive innovation for language teaching and what form that disruption may take. This chapter will discuss my reasons for choosing this topic of study, the rationale for my choice and outline the structure of this dissertation.

1.2 Defining disruption

A detailed description of disruptive innovation is provided in Chapter 2. However, a brief definition is required at this stage to avoid confusion between the concept of disruptive innovation and what many people may describe as a disruption in lessons. In most lessons, a disruption could be defined as something or someone that interrupts the course of the lesson and that this disruption would be perceived as negative. For example, students using their mobile phones in class for non-class-related purposes might be considered a negative disruption and has resulted in mobile phones being forbidden in some lessons. However, disruptive innovation is different. The theory of disruption innovation originates from the world of business and this theory views disruption as a positive force.

It is the process by which an innovation transforms a market whose services or products are complicated and expensive into one where simplicity, convenience, accessibility, and affordability characterize the industry.

(Christensen, Johnson and Horn 2010: 11)

This study will aim to apply disruptive innovation theory to the model of the school in a similar way that it is applied to the model of a business market. Using this approach, this study will view language teaching and learning as a market that could be potentially transformed (disrupted) by the use of mobile devices to support teaching and learning. A full discussion of this will be provided in the following chapter.

1.3 Trigger

I am not a digital native (Prensky 2001), I did not grow up with the technology that is available today. In junior school, we had green screen computers and the highest form of technology in senior school was a computer lab of about ten computers, running a very early version of Windows and was only used for word processing. The extent to which technology was used to support language teaching and learning was a tape player for listening practice in my French lessons. These lessons followed a traditional model of education: a teacher standing in front of the class, in front of the board, lecturing at the students. There were many students who did very well in French. However, I was not one of them and left school with a negative view of language learning.

This view stayed with me until my mid twenties when I started teaching English language and around the same time I got my first computer. I was instantly hooked and within a number of years, I had developed a love of technology and a passion for teaching and learning. My passion for teaching and learning was driven by the dislike I had, and still have, for traditional education. As technology developed, I experimented with ways of incorporating it into my lessons, with the aim of providing a learning environment that was more appealing and beneficial to a wider range of students than my school French lessons were to me.  Due to technological advances in mobile devices that have taken place over the last few years, I believe that modern mobile devices have the potential to disrupt the traditional method of language education and provide a more engaging, relevant and student centred form of language teaching and learning.

1.4 Rationale
1.4.1 The disruptive potential of mobile devices

Technological innovation is disrupting numerous industries, and in recent years, there has been increased talk concerning disruptive innovation in education (Christensen et al 2010). One type of technology that is believed to have great potential to disrupt teaching and learning is mobile devices (Sharples et al 2002). Mobile devices now offer a huge convergence of a variety of technologies into one device, including: internet browsing, video/audio recording and playback, camera, mobile applications, global positioning, voice/video calls, text messaging, and document viewing (Prensky 2004). The extent to which mobile devices could be disruptive and the areas that may be vulnerable to disruption are uncertain. However, a number of areas have been suggested. Mobile devices could change the way we teach by providing situated learning activities that could provide authentic contexts rather than inauthentic content from published materials (Kukulska-Hulme et al 2007). The individual personal aspect of mobile devices could enable teachers to provide more student centred learning that could be targeted to specific students needs  (Christensen et al 2010 & Hedberg 2011), and mobile devices could have the ability to disrupt the way information is presented and shared by students and teachers (Hedberg, 2006). Instead of prescribed education, students may be able to have more choice regarding their studies (Beale 2006). In addition, the functionalities of the devices may promote varied forms of collaboration and sharing with the ability to synchronously work on documents and be able to record events and collect content from the outside world and share it among the class (Zurita & Nussbaum 2007 and Naismith et al 2004).  As can be seen here, there are a number of areas where mobile devices could be disruptive. Therefore it is these areas that guide the focus of this study.

1.4.2 Lack of technology disruption in education

Until very recently, technology and innovation has disrupted almost all industries, except education (Christensen et al 2010). To illustrate this, at the beginning of the last century people would go to music halls to listen to music; now they download mp3s and listen to it wherever and whenever they want. However, in education, students at the beginning of the last century sat in classrooms facing a teacher at a board. Today, in many schools, they still do the same (Sharples 2006). This is not to say that schools have not innovated. A number of technologies have been introduced over the last century, including: whiteboards, electronic whiteboards, projectors, laptops and personal computers. However, it could be suggested that these new technologies have not disrupted how we teach and learn and created a new model of learning. Instead, language schools may have done what Christensen et al (2010: 12) refer to as, ‘crammed’ the new technologies into their existing models of teaching and learning. By doing so, they have removed the disruptive potential of the technology. This has not been done intentionally. There are a number of reasons why it is natural for schools to ‘cram’ new technologies into their present models, and these will be discussed in more detail in the next chapter.

1.4.3 Potential benefits of disrupting teaching and learning with mobile devices

Mobile devices may have the potential to disrupt education in a variety of ways. This disruption could bring with it a number of potential benefits. Due to the informal, personalized potential of mobile devices, students may become more intrinsically motivated to learn (Jones et al 2006). This personalisation could give students a sense of ownership over their learning which could have the potential to motivate them to learn and provide more successful learning as they will be able to guide their own learning (Naismith et al 2004 and Jones el at 2006). The mobility of the devices combined with the convergence of the technologies could have the potential to provide more authentic materials for students. This could be in the form of a situated activity where students use their devices to learn/practice in an authentic context (Sharples et al 2002), or simply by having access to the vast amount of material on the internet via the web browser on the device, enabling content to be tailored to each student (Traxler 2009).  In addition, the ability for students to access authentic content, whether captured by themselves or accessed via the internet could enable them to participate in more student centred learning, individually or in a group. Therefore, freeing the teacher from the front of the class and enabling them to move from student to student or group to group and provide more student centred teaching.

1.4.4 Lack of research into the disruptive potential of mobile devices

There have been a number of studies conducted into the potential of mobile devices to be used in language teaching as well as other areas of education. City College Southampton (JISC 2005) provided students with mobile phones, so they could collect audio and visual material from the local area and upload it to a web-based media board for other students and teachers to access. Stanford University (Kukulska-Hulme & Shield 2008) experimented with students completing grammar exercises by voice using a device, and the teachers would listen to the recording and mark their performance. Lan et al (2007) tested peer assessment of writing using Skype. Cui and Bull (2005) experimented with an intelligent tutoring system that adapted to the student’s responses. Cavus & Ibrahim (2009) and Levy and Kennedy, C. (2008) tested sending vocabulary to students phones to improve their vocabulary development. Also, Stockwell (2007 & 2010) experimented sending vocabulary exercises to students to improve their vocabulary development. This is not a complete list of all of the studies conducted into the use of mobile devices in language teaching. However, it provides an overview of areas that have been addressed.

The studies mentioned focused on using one or two of the devices functions with the aim, in most cases, to test the use of the device to improve an area of the students’ English development, vocabulary for example, or how the device could be used for assessment. None of the studies mentioned specifically focused on assessing the potential for mobile devices to be a disruptive innovation within language teaching and learning. Therefore, there is a gap in current research for this study.

1.5 Structure

This paper is organised into four sections. First, disruptive innovations in industry and education will be discussed and the potential for mobile devices to be a disruptive innovation within language teaching and learning. The second chapter outlines the research questions addressed in this study and discusses the research method used. Following this, the research data is analysed and discussed, and finally, conclusions are drawn as a result of the research findings.

1.6 Conclusion

This chapter has outlined the aim of this study which is to look at the potential for mobile devices to be a disruptive innovation for language teaching and explained what triggered the study. Following that was a description of the rational for the study, which included: the disruptive potential of mobile devices, the lack of disruption in education, the potential benefits of disrupting teaching and learning and room in current research for a study of this type. The final section in this chapter laid out the structure that this study will take.

2:  Disruptive Innovation and Mobile Technology

This chapter will set the study within an existing body of knowledge. It will begin by defining disruptive innovation, followed by examples of disruptive innovation in industry and limitations schools have of disrupting themselves. This is followed by a brief discussion regarding innovations in language school at present, how mobile devices could internally disrupt a language school, and a brief discussion of how mobile devices are already being seen to disrupt other markets. The final section of the chapter discuses the disruptive potential of mobile devices for language teaching and learning and identifies a number of disruptive areas.

2.1 Defining disruptive Innovation

The term ‘Disruptive Innovation’ was coined by Clayton Christensen, author and professor of business at Harvard Business School. Christensen claims that disruptive innovation describes the process by which a product starts at the bottom of a market, slowly moves up within the market to eventually replace the original market leaders. To understand the theory of disruptive innovation, a discussion into the difference between sustaining innovation and disruptive innovation is required.

2.1.1 Sustaining Innovation

Sustaining innovation is the form of innovation that drives all companies to develop and improve in the market that they are established in (Christensen et al 2010). For example, sustaining innovation for a computer manufacturer could be to create more powerful computers with clearer screens. However, for a car manufacturer, sustaining innovation may take the form of creating more fuel efficient cars that can travel quicker. In both cases, the types of innovation are quite different but both have same goal of sustaining and improving the performance of their products in their respective markets. Their goal is to create better products to answer the demands of their consumers.

2.1.2 Disruptive Innovation

Disruptive innovation on the other hand does not target existing consumers within a market. It creates a product that is not as good as the existing products in the market, one that existing consumers cannot use and therefore the market leaders are not threatened by. It targets non-consumers, consumers that the current market does not cater for. Christensen et al (2010) state that while the market leaders perform sustaining innovation, so too does the disrupting technology, and slowly the disruptive technology develops enough to disrupt the market by providing a cheaper more effective solution than the existing market leaders and forcing them out of the market.

2.2 Examples of disruptive innovation in industry

An example of disruptive innovation in industry is offered by Christensen et al (2010). In the mid part of the last century, the large televisions and radios of the time used vacuum tubes as these tubes could handle the power that was required to run such large devices. Around the same time, the transistor was invented. However, it could not handle the amount of electricity needed to run the large televisions and table top radios, so vacuum tube companies such as RCA (Radio Corporation of America) spend vast amounts of money on research in an attempt to fit (cram) this new technology into its existing products, with no success. While they tried to do this, another company, Sony, used the transistor to create a portable transistor radio, which used a fraction of the power of a table top radio and was therefore ideal for the transistor. They sold this product to ‘non-consumers’ of the time, teenagers. They were non-consumers as the only option they had was to listen to the table-top radio, possibly, in the same room as their parents. Consequently, the pocket transistor radio was a hit as it enabled teenagers to listen to music anywhere anytime. Sony then used the transistor to create a portable television, which, again, used less power than tabletop televisions and was ideal for the transistor. They also sold these to ‘non-consumers’ as they could sell them at a much lower price than the existing large televisions, and therefore, suited people who could not afford a large television. During this time, RCA was performing sustaining innovation. It was creating large tabletop televisions to meet its customer’s demands and continued using vacuum tubes due to the unsuitability of transistors for such large televisions. However, while RCA were performing sustaining innovation, so too were Sony and within a number of years, they had developed transistors that could cope with the amounts of power required by large televisions. This enabled them to provide cheaper and more efficient large electrical products, and in doing so, disrupted the market and forced vacuum companies like RCA out of the market.

2.3 Disruptive innovation in education (Value networks)

As previously stated, today’s classroom is not too different from that of a classroom at the beginning of the century (Jones et al 2006). There have been a number of technological innovations introduced to education. However, these have had little effect on the teaching and learning process (Hedberg 2011). One explanation for this is the idea that schools cannot disrupt themselves, but instead ‘cram’ new innovation into their existing processes (Christensen, et al 2010). According to Christensen et al, organisations (schools and businesses) are not capable of disrupting themselves. They are caught within what they refer to as ‘value networks’. A value network is the context that the organization operates in with regards to its cost structure and operating processes, with each area of the value network affecting the next. An example offered for an educational value network could consist of: teacher training, curriculum demands and material publishers. Christensen et al, argue that the school operates within this value network and when a new innovation is introduced to the school, it is ‘crammed’ into this existing value network as it must fit in with either the curriculum demands of the school, the training the teachers have had or the materials the school is using, therefore, not allowing it to disrupt the organization. As we have seen in the examples of disruptive innovation in industry, a disruption must come from an external source, another organization, offering a product to ‘non-consumers within the current market. However, the following sections discuss how it may be possible, within language schools, for an innovation to be disruptive from within a school.

2.4 Innovation in language holiday schools at present

The theory of disruptive innovation suggests that a language school would not be able to disrupt itself as it would be operating within its own ‘value network’. An example of such a network could be: the expectations of the students, the curriculum set by the school, the published materials provided by the school and the teacher training that the teachers have received either from the school or during their career, each area of the network dependant on the other. Therefore, as we have seen in the previous examples where technology has been ‘crammed’ into existing processes, a similar situation could be seen in language schools. New technology is ‘crammed’ into the existing model to fit the existing value networks in place, resulting in no disruption to the teaching and learning. Examples of this may be seen in the use of televisions, audio and digital projectors. It could be argued that the majority of which have been used to continue the course book, teacher lead model of language school instruction that is dominant across the majority of language holiday programmes. However, the remainder of this chapter will discuss how the introduction of mobile devices into language schools may have the potential to disrupt the traditional model of teaching and learning (Kukulska-Hulme et al 2007) due to the disruptive potential of the devices.

2.5 Mobile devices as a disruptive innovation in language schools

Before we can discuss the potential mobile devices may have to disrupt language teaching and learning, we must consider how mobile devices could be a disruptive innovation within a language school. According to disruptive innovation theory, organisations cannot disrupt themselves and must be disrupted form an external source. It appears, as previously stated, not possible for a school to disrupt itself as all innovations introduced to it are ‘crammed’ into its existing value network. However, it may be possible that teaching and learning in a language school could be disrupted internally by mobile devices if disruptive innovation theory was applied to the model of the school as it is applied to the model of a business market. In this approach, we could view teaching and learning as the market, the traditional teaching and learning paradigm as the market leader, the teachers as the existing customers, the students as the non-consumers and mobile devices as the new innovation being introduced to the market. (See figure 1)

MarketFigure 1

When mobile devices are first introduced to the market (teaching and learning), they may not be very advanced. They might only have the ability to make phone calls and send text messages, so they could not be used by the teachers (existing customers) to deliver teaching and learning, and therefore, may not be a threat to the existing teaching and learning paradigm (market leader). Instead, they may be adopted by the non-consumers (students) and used out of the classroom. Until now, students have been non-consumers in the delivery of teaching and learning as this has been controlled by the school and teachers. As with industry, sustaining innovation may occur. The traditional paradigm will continue to meet teachers’ needs by providing a way for them to deliver teaching & learning, with new innovations being ‘crammed’ into its existing value network.  While at the same time, mobile devices’ functionality will slowly increase. Eventually, mobile devices may have developed to a level where they can be used by students to support their teaching and learning. As a result of this, teachers may have to adapt their teaching to cater for this, and at this point, the traditional teaching and learning paradigm could become threatened as a new teaching and learning paradigm may begin to emerge. The new teaching and learning paradigm that emerges may be more effective than the traditional paradigm and could force the traditional paradigm out of the market (see figure 2).

ProcessFigure 2

2.6 Mobile devices as a disruptive innovation.

Due to the convergence of functions in mobile devices, the disruptive potential of mobile devices can already be seen in the news industry. On the 7th July 2005 in the aftermath of the London tube and bus bombings, a “tipping point” was seen it the world of journalism as “the true birth of the ‘citizen’ reporter” (Day 2005) was seen. Within minutes of the first bombings, newsrooms started to receive photos and videos, from members of the public, of the effects of the bombings, even before news crews could arrive at the scenes. The ‘citizen reporters’ (the public) were using their mobile devices to record the news, and the photos and videos they captured featured on almost every newspaper, news programme and news website in the country (Day 2005). This public use of devices to capture the news was described as “a media turning point”, “the democratisation of the media” and “revolutionary” by Helen Boaden, the director of news at the BBC (cited in Day 2005). This public generated content broadcast by the media was evidence of the disruptive potential of mobile devices on the news industry. The devices enabled the public to capture photos, videos and eyewitness accounts of the bombings and have them broadcast quicker than the traditional method of news gathering and reporting. This convergence of technology in mobile devices also provides the potential for them to be a disruption to teaching and learning, which will be discussed in the next section of this chapter.

2.7 The disruptive potential of mobile devices for language teaching and learning

The previous example demonstrates how mobile devices are already having a disruptive impact on the news industry, and the model provided in section 2.6 of this chapter suggests how it may be possible for mobile devices to be a disruptive innovation within a language school. Although it is unclear what form this disruption may take, the convergence of technology in mobile devices does offer a number of areas of potential disruption, which will now be discussed.

2.7.1 Learning resources

The first area of disruptive potential is learning resources. With the use of mobile devices, students have the ability to access a wide variety of resources using the web browsers on the devices. Instead of the resources of the lesson being given to them, students would be able to search for ones that are specific to their personal needs and surroundings (Traxler 2009), as opposed to the, possibly, generic resources of the lesson. By empowering the students to choose their own / additional resources for a task, it may disrupt the role of the teacher from being the deliverer of content and knowledge. In addition to students accessing content, mobile devices may also provide students with the ability to capture content from a number of contexts and for it to be shared and used for reflection or consolidation at a future time (Jones et al 2006; Naismith et al 2004 and Traxler 2009). The ability to capture content could be disruptive as students could go out into various contexts and capture authentic material to be used later in class and reduce the reliance on pre-designed, inauthentic, textbooks.

2.7.2 Collaboration

The idea that students could capture content and share it with others and use it later in class suggests that another disruptive potential of mobile devices is collaboration. The fact that students are collecting or creating content that will be viewed by others could lead them to produce a higher quality of work (Kukulska-Hulme & Shield, 2008). A further aspect of collaboration could be that if work created or captured by students is shared among the class, it may enable students to peer assess each other’s work and become aware that others in the class have similar areas that they need to work on (Roschelle 2003). These opportunities may not have been present in the traditional model of the language classroom and may prove to be disruptive to that model.

2.7.3 Situated Learning

The ability for students to use the devices outside of the classroom may also provide the possibility of situated learning, which is “learning that takes place in the course of activity, in appropriate and meaningful contexts” (Lave & Wenger 1991 cited in Kukulska-Hulme et al 2007: 55). Examples of situated learning could include a museum providing handheld devices for visitors to capture content that can be shared and collaborated on later in class (Sharples

et al 2002) or students being placed in an authentic context and using the mobile devices as a tool to support them (Naismith et al 2004). Situated learning may have the ability to turn students into active creators of knowledge by providing the right contexts for them to access authentic materials and the tools (mobile devices) to work in those environments (Naismith et al 2004). The connection between situated learning and authenticity has emerged frequently in mobile learning literature. One example being Kukulska-Hulme et al (2007: 55)  who discuss how mobile devices combined with situated learning have the power to “challenge one of the underlying mechanisms of many educational systems” which they refers to as the “ mechanism that delivers abstractions, simplification and representations of the outside world”. Situated learning could challenge this by delivering authentic contexts from the outside world. This ability for students to work outside of the classroom could be disruptive for the reason mentioned in the previous section, students could capture authentic content that could challenge the teacher-provided content, and it may also give students more control over their learning. However, it is uncertain what effects this control over tasks could present. There may be more room for students to deviate from tasks and it may be difficult for teachers to monitor student’s participation (Kukulska-Hulme et al 2007)

2.7.4 Control

The element of control that was mentioned in the previous section is an important area of potential disruption with mobile devices. Control has been highlighted in the literature as having an important relationship to learning. It has been suggested that when students are in control of their learning and can test their ideas, question and experiment, it provides successful learning (Naismith et al 2004). Using mobile devices in the way mentioned previously may provide students with control over learning and with this comes an element of choice which they may not have had before as, for many students, education has not been optional (Jones et al 2006b) and this choice may be welcomed by students. However, it is uncertain what form of disruption may occur from students having control over their learning. One possible disruption that links to the previous section is that devices could be used in unpredictable ways, even though guidance has been provided regarding their use (Kukulska-Hulme & Shield, 2008). Although this ability to control their learning may provide students with the ability to go off task and be unpredictable, it may also provide the ability to deliver personalised learning.

2.7.5 Personalised learning

One key area where mobile devices could prove to be disruptive is their ability to deliver personalised learning, which is “learning that recognises diversity, difference and individuality in the ways that learning is developed, delivered and supported” (Kukulska-Hulme et al 2007: 54). A traditional classroom contains a number of students with a variety of needs. It may not be possible for a teacher to deliver learning that meets each student’s needs and goals and take into account the context that each student is in. However, the disruptive potential of mobiles devices mentioned previously may have the potential to deliver personalised learning. The ability to search the internet from the device and access information that is specific to each learner (Traxler 2009) is one way this could be achieved. There is also the ability for teachers to ‘scaffold’ challenging activities for individual students (Naismith et al 2004)  and deliver learning that is specific to certain students in certain contexts  (Kukulska-Hulme et al 2007). An additional area of personalised learning is the idea of ‘self-service’ education where students have the ability to choose what they would like to study, where and when they need it (Kukulska-Hulme et al 2007). All of the areas of potential disruption mentioned in this section suggest that students may be motivated to use the devices. Therefore, motivation is the final area of potential disruption that will be discussed.

2.7.6 Motivation

For mobile devices to be a disruptive force in language teaching, they will need to be adopted by the students and used in lessons, and for this to happen, they will need to be motivated to use them. Students’ intrinsic motivation may be high to use mobile devices as the areas mentioned previously all suggest a form of informal learning that is more personalised and targeted to students than traditional formal lessons (Jones, Issroff et al 2006). In addition to this, the ownership and freedom to control their own tasks that are happening outside of the traditional classroom may also prove to be motivating (Jones et al 2006b). A further area of motivation is how students perceive the devices. It has been suggested that as students use the devices outside of the classroom for entertainment, they will view the devices as ‘fun’ and may be motivated to use them in class (Jones, Issroff et al 2006). Also, students may view the devices as being fashionable and ‘cool’ which could be a further motivational factor (Jones et al 2006b).  Even though this chapter has identified a number of potential uses for mobile devices that may prove to be motivating for students, it has also been suggested (Naismith et al 2004) that as students see mobile devices as part of their social culture, they may stop using them if they feel that their ‘social networks’ are being threatened by the use of the devices for learning.

2.8 Conclusion

This chapter has set this study within an existing body of knowledge. It began by defining disruptive innovation and providing examples of disruptive innovation in industry. This was followed by a discussion of disruptive innovation within education with regards to the concept of value networks that innovations are crammed into, and the state of innovation in language schools at present. The next section of the chapter presented a model of how mobile devices could disrupt teaching and learning from within a language school by applying the theory of disruptive innovation to the model of a school as it is applied to a business market. Following this was an example of how mobile devices are already disrupting the news industry in the form of citizen journalism. The remainder of the chapter discussed the proposed areas of disruptive potential of mobile devices which were: learning resources, collaboration, situated learning, agency, personalized learning and motivation. The following chapter will discuss the research methods used in the study and outline how the research was conducted.

3: Research Methods

The previous chapter has grounded this study within an existing body of knowledge and has provided a firm foundation to inform the research. This chapter will discuss the research questions, the research method used and limitations to that method. It will then discuss the structure of the study, followed by details of the setting, participants and ethical considerations and will conclude by outlining the data gathering and data analysis methods used.

3.1 Research Questions

The literature discussed in the previous chapter highlighted a number of areas related to mobile devices that could provide the ability for them to be a disruptive innovation to language teaching and learning and forms that disruption may take. In response to this, the aim of this study was to investigate the disruptive potential that mobile devices may have within language teaching and learning. The study used the following research questions as a guide:

  1. Do mobile devices have the potential to be a disruptive innovation within language teaching and learning?

  2. What forms might that disruption take and which areas of teaching and learning could be disrupted?

It was suggested in the previous chapter that the following areas could be disrupted by mobile devices: motivation, control, personal learning, situated learning, and published materials. Due to this, they were used to guide but not to restrict the direction of the study as this would have contradicted with the ethnographic nature of the study, which will be discussed in the next section.

3.2 Research Method

As stated previously, the aim of this study was to investigate the potential of mobile devices to be a disruptive innovation within language teaching and learning. To accomplish this, a qualitative approach to the research was taken as it could determine the nature of what was being studying as opposed to quantitatively measuring it (Watson-Gegeo 1988).  In addition, qualitative research mainly uses pre-selected variables to conduct an investigation and would not have been appropriate in this study, which was looking to discover what those variables were (Allwright 1983). Characteristics of an ethnographic approach were chosen to observe the use of mobile devices during a summer language course as ethnography enabled observation of the natural environment (the class) and acquisition of a holistic view and detailed description of the processes within it (Watson-Gegeo 1988 and Hornberger 1994).

Due to the length of the study, which will be discussed later in this chapter, it is being described as taking characteristics of an ethnographic approach opposed to a full ethnographic study, as it has been argued that that a true ethnographic study should be conducted over a long period of time (Richards 2003). However, as will be seen later in this chapter, a longer study would not have been possible. The research questions were left open and not restricting so not to contradict with the approach to the study. This is due to the fact that, an ethnographic approach is simply guided by theory but it is not determined by it (Watson-Gegeo 1988). It is designed to be an open investigation and does not have the aim of testing a hypothesis but to generate one instead (Spradley 1980). Due to the nature of the topic being investigated and the research approach taken, participant observation was used to conduct the study.

3.3 Participant Observation (Reasons for choice – advantages/disadvantages)

Participant observation was used for a number of reasons. Firstly, the study wanted to observe what form of disruption mobile devices could have on the teaching and learning in a language class. For this to be as beneficial as possible, the study had to be conducted on a class where the teacher was already at the stage of adapting their teaching due to the students using mobile devices in the classroom, as stated in figure 2. To meet this criteria, a class was chosen that I was due to teach as part of a summer course. This was due to me having the required knowledge of the topic and the students having already started using their devices within lessons. Participant observation was an appropriate choice of observation as it enables the observer to engage in the activities within the lesson and observe students at the same time (Spradley 1980). The fact the observer was the teacher did raise other issues which will be discussed in the following section.

The second benefit of using participant observation as opposed to observing another teacher taking the class is that it enables the observer to observe the natural behaviour of the students (long 1980). This was a beneficial as it allowed the study to remove the risk of an ‘observation paradox’ which is where the participants being observed act differently because they know they are being watched (Richards 2003: 108). As well as observe the students and the physical characteristic of the setting, participant observation provides the observer with a description of what it feels like to be there (Spradley 1980), which was an advantage when describing the teacher’s feeling on the disruptive nature of the devices. Finally, as was mentioned in the previous section, an ethnographic approach does not begin with a hypothesis to test, and the aim of participant observation is to describe the situation as fully as possible in order to generate a hypothesis not to test one. However, despite all of the benefits mentioned, this approach also has areas for consideration.

3.4 Areas for consideration

There are number of areas that have been highlighted in relevant literature regarding ethnographic approaches and participant observation. One such area is the insider/outsider dilemma (Hornberger 1994) which describes the difficulty for the participant observer to strike a balance between too much participation which may result in changing what is being studied or the risk of too little participation resulting in the observer missing important detail. Familiarity of the participant observer has also been raised as an area for concern. It has been suggested (Spradley 1980, Hornberger 1994 and Richards 2003) that the closer an observer is to a study, the more difficult it is for them to maintain the perspective of an outsider and maintain an unbiased interpretation of what they are studying. These areas had particular relevance as I was familiar with both the students and the location in which the study was conducted. However, I had not taught the students since the previous year, and therefore it was possible to maintain an outsider perspective as the situation did not feel too familiar. The final area for consideration which was mentioned previously was the length of the study. The study was performed during a seven day golf and language program that consisted of a one and a half hour language lesson on each day. It has been suggested that it is not acceptable for an ethnographic study to be conducted over a short period of time (Richards 2003), and could result in what Rist (cited in Watson-Gegeo 1988 p576) has termed “blitzkrieg ethnography” where “The researcher “dive-bombs” into a setting, makes a few fixed-category or entirely impressionistic observations, then takes off again to write up the results.”. The aim of this study was to investigate whether mobile devices could be a disruption and what forms that disruption could take. It did not set out to make definitive claims about the disruptive nature of mobile devices, and due to the limited research undertaken in this area regarding language teaching, the results of a short study, such as this, may prove as an insight into this area. However, care was taken to avoid the fixed category, impressionistic results described by Rist. This will be discussed in the following section.

3.5 Structure

There are number views regarding the structure of an ethnographic study, for and against a set structure. It has been suggested that using an observation framework can enable a study to be firmly set in theory and that this theory is of importance when deciding the direction and what is to be observed (Watson-Gegeo 1988). However, as mentioned previously, using pre-selected variables would not have been appropriate as this study aimed to discover the variables, and for this reason, much classroom based research lacks such a framework (Allwright 1983). In addition, an ethnographic study has been described as an organic process by which what is observed is free to change throughout the study as the observers understanding of what is being observed grows (Long 1980). It has also been described as a cyclical model of collecting data, analysing data, asking questions of that data, and collecting more data (Spradley 1980).

A number of models of suggested stages have been proposed for observation. For this study, I chose an amalgamation of the following. Watson-Gegeo (1988: 584) presents a three stage method which begins with the ‘Comprehensive Stage’ where the observer makes broad observations of the setting to identify salient aspects. This is followed by the ‘Topic Orientated Stage’ where the observer analyses the data collected by coding it into categories with the aim of generating more focused research questions and narrowing the focus of the study. This is followed by the final stage, the ‘Hypothesis Orientated Stage’ which aims to test the hypothesis generated as a result of what has been observed and aims to answer the refined research questions though more focused observation. A three stage approach with similar steps was also suggested by Gleghorn & Genesee (1984: 604) where the first stage takes a broad scope and gathers initial impressions to formulate a tentative hypothesis. In the second stage the impressions are tested out through focused observations and in the final stage the hypotheses that has been formulated so far are continually tested, a cyclical system of data collection and feedback.

3.6 The Lessons

The study aimed to observe a series of lessons in which the students were at a stage of bringing devices to class to support their learning and the teacher was adapting their lessons to use these devices. In light of this, the lessons taught during the program were designed to utilized a number of the device features and available applications, these included: the camera, photo library, Google Maps, Dropbox (file sharing application), Evernote (note taking and sharing application), Google Docs (cloud based documents), audio recorder, video camera, and a comic strip app. A full description of each lesson can be found in Appendix B. Over the past few years of teaching these students, I had noticed the growing use of mobile devices, in particular iphones, in lessons to support learning, mostly translation applications. Due to this, I was confident that the students would bring mobile devices this year. However, to ensure that they brought devices with them, the organisers informed the students that the lessons would be utilizing internet/application enabled mobile devices and that the students should bring such a device with them if they own one. This did leave a certain level of uncertainty as it was uncertain which devices students would bring with them, if any.

3.7 Participants, Settings

As mentioned previously, the study was conducted during a weeklong English and golf programme. The location of the programme was a hotel and golf resort in the south of England.  The hotel was a 91 bedroom hotel with the following faculties: two restaurants, two tennis courts, spa and fitness facilities, two golf courses and conference and banqueting facilities. The organisers of the programme had arranged for the hotel to provide suitable rooms for conducting lessons. These consisted of two conference rooms of different sizes. The hotel guests were fairly affluent clientele of mix ages, staying at the hotel for a number of reasons including: conferences, weddings, golfing holidays and spa breaks. The hotel was situated next to the South Downs in the English countryside. The nearest village was two miles away and consisted of one small village shop, and the nearest city was five miles away. During the weeklong programme, the students were mainly confined to the hotel grounds.

The students in the study consisted of eight (two girls and six boys) Italian teenagers ranging in age from fourteen to fifteen years old. One of girls was the daughter of the organisers and had a dual role of student and unofficial teaching assistant. The remainder of the students were from affluent Italian families and all attended private Italian schools in Italy. Seven of the students had attended the programme for the past two years and one was attending for the first time. The students who attended the program in the previous years had displayed more interest in the golf part of the programme and reluctantly participated in previous years’ English lessons. Classroom management had been an area of concern that had arisen previously. I believe that this is one reason why the daughter of the owner was present in the role of student and teaching assistant. The following section discusses the ethical considerations that were addressed observing students of this age.

3.8 Ethical considerations

A number of ethical considerations had been identified for this study. The first was gaining permission to observe. This was focused on two areas: the students and the hotel. Gaining permission to observe in a private setting or setting with limited entry is an element that has been highlighted (Richards 2003 & Spradley 1980) as being an essential ethical consideration for preparing for an observation. In settings where the participants in the study are children, it is required to acquire permission from the head of the school or parents (Spradley 1980). In order to be granted access, it is suggested (Richards 2003 & Spradly 1980) that it is necessary to identify the ‘Gatekeeper’ the person who holds the power to grant access, and with a contact one knows personally, the observer would be more successful in being granted access. As the students in this study were on a language programme, the organiser of the programme was acting in loco parentis and was able to grant me permission to observe. In addition, the organiser contacted all the parents, who also gave approval for their children to take part in the study. The organiser was keen for the study to be done as they were interested to see the results.

The second area of permission that had to be arranged was in the hotel. As mentioned previously, the organiser had arranged for us to have a number of rooms to teach in. These rooms were private to us and required no extra permission to observe. However, a couple of the classes would require the students to go to areas of the hotel and interact with the hotel staff. To secure permission for this, staff in the relevant areas of the hotel were informed of the nature of the study and the element of participation that may be required of them. This might include allowing the students to take pictures, audio and/or video of them or the hotel. All of the staff were happy to take part and we were granted access to all of the areas in the hotel that were needed.

The final area of ethical consideration was regarding the safety of the students. As stated by Spradley (1980), it is the observer’s responsibility to protect the welfare of the participants, either being social, physiological, of physical. This needed to be addressed as the students would be interacting with other students, members of staff at the hotel and possibly hotel guests. As these interactions were unpredictable, the focus was on briefing the students on being respectful when conducting activities in the public areas of the hotel and when dealing with hotel staff and guests and trying to limit the possibility of students placing themselves in an unsafe situation. The next area to be discussed is how the data was gathered during the study.

3.9 Data Collection

There are a number of approaches to data collection when conducting observations. Two main approaches to data collection discussed in the literature are note taking and using a fixed observation checklist. This section discusses the chosen methods for this study and provides reasons for the choices. In section 3.5 of this chapter, a fixed structured approach was explained as being too restrictive and that working to set variable would not give the study scope to discover the nature of what was being studied. It is this reason that a fixed observation checklist was not chosen. It has been argued that a fixed checklist would not have been suitable as it would not have been able to capture the complexities in the classroom (Gleghorn & Genesee 1984). Therefore, the first method of data collection used was notes taken from observations and informal interviews. From these, links could be created between the observations and the analysis (Spradley 1980) and capture the complexities of events during the lessons. The second form of data collection used was a field journal. This was used the journal to keep a diary of experiences, mistakes, fears, breakthroughs and problems during the study (Spradley 1980: 71). A focus group had been planned at the end of the study to allow the students to share their views and discuss the lessons. However, due to reasons out of the study’s control, the focus group was not conducted.

In order to maintain a participant role during the lessons, the observation notes were written up after the lessons (Long 1980). To reduce the amount of time between observations and writing of notes, a location at the hotel was found to make brief notes which could then be written in more detail later (McDonough & McDonough 1997). Condensed and extensive field notes were used (Spradley 1980). The condensed notes were written immediately after the event as Spradley suggests it provides the most vivid account of the events. Then the expanded notes provided the ability to expand the original notes and provide detail that may have been missing from the condensed notes (Spradley 1980: 70). The final section of this chapter discusses how the data was analysed.

3.10 Data Analysis

Ethnographic analysis has been described as a detailed inspection of something to identify its features and how they relate to each other, and that the analysis of notes taken during observation is the first step in moving beyond pure description (Spradley 1980). Analysis has the aim to not simply describe what happened in a certain situation but to identify conditions where it is suitable to suggest that someone in a similar position may deliver an equivalent result (Frake 1964:112 cited in Long 1980). Section 3.5 of this chapter discussed how the study was structured around a cyclical model of model of collecting data, analysing data, asking questions of that data, and collecting more data (Spradley 1980), allowing what is being observed to change due to a growing understanding of what is being observed (long 1980). In light of this, the data was analysed using a cyclical process of analysis suggested by Richards (1980: 272). Richards’ cycle of analysis consists of the following stages. The first stage is the collection of the data, which is followed by thinking about the data and the aims of the research to inform categorisation. The third stage is coding the data to create categories and then reflecting on one’s progress. The next stage is to organise the categories in a variety of ways to discover varying perspectives and look for relationships, connections, patterns and themes. This is followed by linking what has been discovered to theory to develop understanding, and finally, as a result of the process, collect more data to test hypotheses generated. This process was conducted after each period of observation (lesson) so that it could inform the next period of observation (Spradley 1980).

3.10.1 Coding

When coding the data into categories, Richards (2003: 273) states that for a category to be adequate it should be analytically useful (contribute to understanding); it should be empirically relevant (items in the data can be mapped to it); it should have practical applications (criteria can be used to assign data to the category), and finally, it should be conceptually coherent (it links to the conceptual framework in which it is grounded). Richards also states that categories must include description that addresses questions (what is going on), analysis of the interrelated features (how things work) and interpretation which addresses meaning and context (what does it all mean?). Key factors of observation that could be categorised could include setting (territories, exclusion, distribution, ownership, and objects), informal and formal systems, people (relationships, interactions, and feelings), behaviours, routines, processes and events (Spradley 1980 cited it Richards 2003: 130).

3.10.2 Validity

An important aspect of data analysis  raised by Maxwell (1992 cited in Richards 2003) is reliability and validity. Maxwell suggests three areas of validity that require attention. The first is ‘Descriptive Validity’, which questions the accurateness of the descriptions provided. The second stage is ‘Interpretive Validity’, which questions whether the interpretations are sufficiently based on participant views, and finally, ‘Theoretical Validity’, which questions whether the theoretical claims and the relationships between such claims can be backed up. In order to monitor the analysis of the data, A series of validity checks suggested by Lincoln & Guba (1985 cited in Richards 2003) were used. The first was ‘Member Validation’. Throughout the observations, my interpretations of the data gathered were continually checked for accuracy. This was done by informally questioning participants during the observation to check the results. The next checks suggested were ‘Constant Comparison’. This involved comparing the coding and categorisation of the data in an attempt to discover new interactions and relationships. The final stage was to check for ‘Negative Evidence’. The relevance of the data was continually checked to ensure its validity to the study.

3.11 Conclusion

This chapter outlined the research questions, and discussed the use of an ethnographic approach as the research method for the study and the limitations of using such an approach. Following this was a discussion on the advantages and disadvantages of using participant observation. The cyclical structure of the study was then discussed, followed by an outline of the lessons used. Next, the participants and settings and the ethical considerations of the research were discussed. The chapter finished by detailing how the data would be collected using field notes and analysed using a cyclical model of analysis using categorization to identify patterns, connections and relationships in the data collected. In the following chapter, the results of the study will be discussed.

4: Research Findings and Discussion

This chapter examines the findings of the study and discusses the potential for mobile devices to be a disruptive innovation to language teaching and learning and the forms that disruption could take. A number forms of disruption occurred during each lesson (see Appendix C). In order to provide a detailed discussion of each area they have been grouped into corresponding sections. The first section, Control, discusses the element of control that using the devices gave the students and their ability to set their own goals, deviate from tasks and create a resistance to formal teaching. The next section discusses content and context with regards to the ability for the devices to enable the students to create their own content, access content and perform tasks in authentic contexts. The third section discusses the range of motivational factors that were evident in the lessons and discusses how these link to the disruptive potential of the devices. The final section discusses limitations and areas of concern that arose from the lessons. These include the ability to deviate from the task; the difficulty in monitoring students; limitations and issues of user-generated content; authenticity and context; and the use of the devices. The first area that will be discussed is control.

4.1 Control

One of the most salient areas of disruption to traditional language teaching and learning that was observed was the ability for students to control their tasks and how this engaged them as well as gave them the ability to deviate from tasks to follow their own personal goals and which also resulted in a rejection to traditional learning. The first area of control to be discussed is how focused and on task the students were in a number of lessons.

4.1.1 Focused and on task

Focused is included in ‘Control’ as it could be argued that the students were eager to perform activities due the level of control they had over their learning. The first time this was observed was in lesson 1 when the students entered the room joking and playing, greeted me in a happy manner and then slumped into their seats ready for another set of English lessons that they had been made to do. Not all of the students’ behaviour suggested this but the majority did. However, as soon as I explained that they would choose what they wanted to study, their posture changed and their attention became more focused. This focus and attention was repeated on numerous occasions during the lesson. Students continued to welcome the ability to take the devices and control how they performed the tasks and what content they used in the tasks. This was evident at various points in every lesson.

A number of explanations could be given for this. First, it may be due to the lack of control that students are given in language lessons. It may be that students do not usually have an option with regards to their education because they are required to do it (Beale cited in Jones et al 2007). It has been suggested (Jones cited in Walker 2007) that students do want to learn, but they would like to have choice over what they learn, which was evident in the lessons observed. As soon as the students were given the freedom to choose, they chose to study and did not display the uninterested behaviour of previous years. In addition to the students having a lack of control in the past, it confirms what was suggested previously that having control over activities promotes successful learning as it allows students to experiment and reflect on the tasks they are performing (Sharples et al 2002) and allows students the freedom to test out their ideas and experiment with how they perform activities while working with others (Naismith et al 2004). Elements of students experimenting with ideas could be seen when they had to use the devices to create directions for their partners or create the video or comic strips. Throughout the lessons, students were in control of their content and activities and were given the freedom to experiment as they wished, which resulted in a number of successful lessons. There were not always positive results which will be discussed in this chapter, but the element control did appear to have the students on task and focused for the majority of the time.

4.1.2 Adapt tasks to suit their needs

One advantage of control observed was students’ ability to adapt tasks to suit their needs. In lesson 4 (giving directions) one group decided to adapt the task set by using the device to plan a route in Italian and translate it to English because they said that was how they normally find directions and they preferred to do it this way. It has been suggested (Lantolf & Thorne 2006) that not all students in a language class have the same goals and this is because each student has different reasons for being in the class and that students interpret tasks in different ways depending on how they relate to their abilities. This was evident regarding the students and the directions task as they appeared to have their own idea of how they learn and what they want to learn with regards to the task and therefore modified it to suit their needs. The idea of students following their own goals was highlighted by Lantolf & Thorne (2006) when discussing an intermediate Spanish class in which students were asked to summarise a piece of writing and one student chose to reproduce it exactly. Even after he acknowledged he was performing the task incorrectly, he continued with his method as it suited his goals and needs.

Modifying of tasks was also evident in lesson 5 where the students were asked to create a storyboard and then leave the classroom to conduct the filming. The students divided themselves into two groups: Group A which consisted of more focused, higher ability students and Group B which consisted of less focused, lower ability students. Group B decided that they would work on the language as they filmed around the hotel as it suited them better. At the time, I thought it was an excuse to leave the classroom and play around the hotel. However, this enabled them to record some good footage with audio, which was a surprise. It could be suggested that because they were able to adapt the task to suit them, they performed better than was expected. This was also evident in lesson 7 when the same group did not plan their storyboard, but returned with two comic strips as opposed to Group A’s one comic strip (see Appendix C). Alternatively, in lesson 5, Group A, decided to plan their script before they left, but halfway through filming decided that they would not record the audio and film footage at the same time but add narration afterwards. They attempted to do this, and if not for faulty editing equipment, would have been successful. What is interesting about the three lessons mentioned is that the students who adapted activities to suit their needs all managed to achieve the aims of the lesson. In a similar way that Donato & McCormick (1994) stated that the same goals can be achieved from varying actions regarding how using bilingual dictionaries, reading newspapers or guessing meaning from context can improve reading comprehension, so too can the varied use of mobile devices accomplish the same goals of an activity.

4.1.3 Resistance to traditional teaching

One area that arose that may contribute to the use of mobile devices disrupting traditional language teaching is the level of resistance the students showed towards traditional teaching methods in a number of lessons, possibly due to the level of control they had got used to having. In lesson 1, as mentioned previously, the students were focused and on task when they chose the content for the week and throughout the lesson when they were finding photos of themselves and generating language to describe the photos. However, this focus changed at the end of the lesson when students were asked to talk about their pictures to the group, which meant the group had to sit and listen to someone talking at the front of the class. This resistance to traditional teaching methods was also evident in lesson 4 when the students were asked to look at the route being projected onto a screen at the front of the class and direct me along the route. The majority of the students did not focus at this stage. Even the students who were generally more focused appeared to be lacking in enthusiasm and focus. However, as soon as they were asked to perform the activities themselves, they jumped at the opportunity and were on task for the remainder of the lesson. This could be due to the motivational nature of using the mobile devices to perform tasks that might be considered informal, and the fact that when given control, they found this control over their tasks and goals more motivating than the formal school setting  (Jones et al 2006) that was used at the beginning of the lesson. The area of motivation arose many times during the observations and will be discussed in the next section.

4.1.4 The disruptive potential of control

In chapter 2, it was suggested that for an innovation to disruptive within a market it would have to target non-consumers in that market. It was also suggested that as the majority of students were non-consumers regarding control over their teaching and learning, using mobile devices could empower them with a disruptive element of control. The areas of control observed in the study and discussed in this section appear to support the suggestions made. The devices did provide students with choice over their learning and this choice enabled them to adapt tasks to suit their personal needs, in ways that might not have been possible in other language lessons, thus have the potential to disrupt the previous control teachers and schools had over teaching and learning. In addition, it was suggested that for mobile device to be successful in disrupting teaching and learning, teachers would have to start incorporating their use into lessons. It could be suggested that the ability for students to create personalised learning activities, combined with the improved student focus that was observed, may be considered beneficial to teaching and learning and encourage teachers to incorporate the use of the devices in their lessons. However, as can be seen here, the risk of students developing a resistance to formal teaching may deter teachers from adopting the devices as they may see them as a negative disruption.

4.2 Motivation

A major factor that could enable mobile devices to be a disruptive innovation is the motivational effect they could have on students. During this study, motivation was a key area that was affected by using the devices. The following areas were observed as being associated with student motivation: the students’ perception of the devices as being fun; how the students found the ability to share content to be motivating; and the ability to guide activities towards students’ needs also proved to have motivating results.

4.2.1 Fun

Students appeared to be motivated to use the devices because they perceived them as being fun. During the brief feedback stage at the end of the lesson 1, they all expressed how they enjoyed the task and said that they would like to do more of the same. This enthusiasm continued in lesson 2 when they realised how fun it was to all add content to a Google Doc as it appeared in real-time on the screen and the element of competition that this generated. This also resulted in them insulting each other in Italian, but this will be discussed later. Lessons 5-7 saw students motivated to conduct activities as they considered them fun. This was evident by the eagerness to create the comic strips and perform the video recording. There could be a number of reasons why the students found using the devices motivating. It could be that they wanted to get out of the class to conduct activities that were not related to the teacher’s goals (Naismith et al 2004), which was a concern during the lessons. Alternatively, it could be because they associate mobile devices with games and entertainment and therefore see them as fun or, as was suggested previously, they were attracted to the use the devices due to social perceptions of them being fashionable or cool (Jones et al). It seems as though the latter of these views was more evident in the study as students appeared to be genuinely excited to use the devices. These results match Stockwell’s (2007) investigation into an intelligent mobile phone-based vocabulary tutor. In which, students also perceived the use of mobile devices to be fun.

4.2.2 Sharing

The ability to share content during the lessons was something that appeared to motivate the students to perform each task successfully. In the first lesson, they enjoyed being able to add all of their pictures to the group Dropbox account and share them with each other. This could also be seen in lesson 7 where students could upload their comic strips and be viewed by each other. In addition, due to a slow internet connection, students were unable to upload their videos to Dropbox and share them with the class, which resulted in a visible reduction in motivation as they could not share their work with others. The ability to share could have motivated the students to perform well due to the fact they knew their content was going to be viewed by others (Kukulska-Hulme & Shield, 2008). In addition to this, the collaborative aspect of sharing has been suggested to be motivating due to the “shared meaning” and “share histories” that students build up during collaborative activities (Crook 2000 cited in Jones et al 2006b) This may be been seen in social media such Facebook where young people share a variety of things with their peers regularly and may explain why students found sharing with the devices so motivating.

4.2.3 Personal needs/goals

The link between mobile devices, motivation and students personal needs has been highlight by numerous authors (Kukulska-Hulme et al 2007, Jones et al 2006 and Jones et al 2006b) due to the power that the devices have to allow students to set their own tasks and guide them towards their personal needs. This could be seen in a number of the lessons in this study. The most striking of these was in lesson 3 where the students went to the hotel shop and recorded their interactions with the shop assistants. The pair who returned with the most language were students who may be described as the least focused in the class, so it was a surprise to see them return with the most language to work with. On questioning the students regarding this, they explained that they enjoyed the task as it enabled them to speak “real English” to “real people”. The authenticity of this situation will be discussed in the next section. However, regarding motivation, it appears that their personal needs for learning English were to converse with ‘real’ English people, and by addressing their needs, the task motivated them more than other tasks had.

4.2.4 The Disruptive potential of Motivation

For mobile device to be a disruptive innovation within language teaching and learning, it was suggested in Chapter 2 that students would have to adopt the use of them in their lessons. The motivational factors that have been discussed here suggest that students may do this.  Firstly, it could be argued that as students have the ability to use a device that they perceive to be ‘cool’ and fun to perform learning activities, they may be more inclined to take part in the activities with more excitement and motivation than their traditional language lessons that may not make use of such devices. In addition to this, as mentioned in this section, students use the devices everyday as part of their social networking to share a variety of things. Offering students the ability to use this technology to participate in peer-to-peer sharing in lessons may further reinforce mobile devices as tool that students will want to use in the classroom. However, even though there was no evidence in this study, it has been suggested (Naismith et al 2004) that students may resist the use of mobile devices if they feel that they are threatening their social networks, and the use of their personal devices for educational means could do this. Finally, as was also mentioned in the previous section, mobile devices can provide students with the power to adapt activities to suit their personal goals and needs. Having the ability to change a task to better suit them could encourage the use mobile devices in more lessons as it provides the students with a more student centred experience.

4.3 User generated content

Content generation was an area that was observed to be potentially disruptive to traditional language teaching methods. This section will discuss how using mobile devices enabled students to generate their own content for the lessons and the success of this in terms of content generated. Successful user generated content could be seen in every lesson during the study. In lesson 1, students were able to use pictures of themselves that they had on their devices. The devices enabled the students in lesson 2 to captures images of the hotel menu and use search results from the internet for content. Lesson 3 saw the students capturing pictures of products in the hotel shop to use in the first part of the task and then capturing audio of their interaction with the shop assistant to use in the second part of the lesson. In lesson 4, students used the devices to access maps to use for practicing directions and in the lessons 5-7 students used the devices’ photo and video features to create content to use in creating video stories and comic strips (see Appendix C).

4.3.1 The disruptive potential of user generated content

It could be argued that students do need to use mobile devices to generate their own content. However, the ability to generate content is more available on mobile devices (Traxler 2009), possibly due to the convergence of many different technologies in one device. It is this ease of content generation combined with the control over learning that the devices provide that could prove to be disruptive to traditional language teaching. As can be seen here, the students did not need to use pre-selected, pre-published materials at any stage during the seven lessons. If using the devices gave students this level of control over their learning and the materials used in learning, it could disrupt traditional language teaching by making pre-selected and pre-published materials redundant as students would be able to access suitable materials using their devices. The issue of pre-designed learning and user-generated content has been raised by Kukulska-Hulme et al (2007: 53) who suggest that with all of the changes that modern technology is bringing and the ability for students to generate their own content, educators may not be the best people to be responsible for the design of learning when learners themselves may be “better equipped to take the lead”. Judging whether students are more competent to choose appropriate learning materials is not within the scope of this study. However, it could be argued that as all of the students in this study had devices that were able to create/capture content, they may have been ‘better equipped’ to access/generate content than the teacher as they could have accessed more authentic, personal and contextual material than the teacher may have been able to pre-select or pre-prepare for lessons. The areas of authenticity and context will be discussed next.

4.4 Authenticity and Context

The final form of disruptive potential observed in every lesson was the ability of the devices to provide access to authentic content and allow students to perform activities in real life contexts. Instead of using pre-prepared images in lesson 1, the students were able to access images of themselves to use later in the lesson. In lesson 2, students were able to go to the hotel restaurant and capture images of the menus to use in the lesson as well as accessing content from the internet. The third lesson saw students taking photos of products in a real shop to use in the first part of the lesson and then the students went back to the shop to practice functional language for shopping while at the same time recording the audio to work on as a listening activity at the end of the lesson. In lesson 4, students accessed real maps of London on their devices to conduct the activities, and lessons 5-7 saw students using the environment they were in to generate images and video to use in the activities of the lessons (see Appendix C). There was no pre-selected or pre-prepared material used in any of the lessons, and the students commented on this by saying that they preferred these types of lessons as they were using “real things” and they were “talking to real people”. These students’ responses to student generated material are similar to those in Donato & McCormick’s (1994) study of students’ development of learning strategies where one student stated that their best documents were the ones that they had created because they were real, and the worst documents were the ones in the course book as they were not real.

4.4.1 The disruptive potential of authenticity and context

As we have seen in the discussion of disruptive innovation in Chapter 2, for mobile devices to be a disruptive innovation to language teaching and learning, they will need to be adopted by students and teachers and provide a more effective alternative or addition to current teaching and learning. The ability for mobile devices to enable students to work with material in an authentic context could be argued to be an element that is currently missing from language teaching and learning. It could provide for more effective teaching as students may be more focused to use them opposed to published materials as they may perceive them, as more real, such as the students in this and Donato & McCormick’s study. As mentioned in chapter 2, this element of disruption has been suggested by Kukulska-Hulme et al (2007: 55) when discussing how mobile devices are able to “challenge one of the underlying mechanisms of many educational systems” which they claim to be how an education system “delivers abstractions, simplifications and representations of ‘the outside world”. In addition, to this, it has been suggested that educators need to create a balance between in-class and out-of-class activities as what is happening outside of the classroom may be more interesting than inside and that modern technologies with the ability for students to learn in a variety of contexts could provide this (Jones et al 2006). Finally, the ability to situate students in context and provide them with adequate tools (the devices) to learn in those contexts has been suggested as a requirement for turning students into constructors of knowledge instead of passive receivers (Naismith et al 2004), which may be viewed by teachers as beneficial to teaching and learning. As mentioned earlier in this chapter, providing students with this element of control over their learning may produce more focused students and possibly more effective learning and may thus contribute to the adoption of mobile devices and their potential to disrupt current teaching and learning.

4.5 Limitations and areas of concern

The final section of this chapter will outline limitations and issues regarding the use of mobile devices that arose during the lessons. This aim of the study was to assess the ability for mobile devices to be a disruptive innovation to language teaching and learning and what form/s that disruption may take. However, it would not be sufficient to discuss this without discussing limitations and issues that arose as these may affect the devices disruptive potential. The areas that arose were: deviating from task, difficulty to monitor students, user-generated content, authenticity and context and using the devices.

4.5.1 Deviating from the task

Using mobile devices in the lessons enabled students to deviate from the tasks for a number of reasons. In the first lesson, a student who was new to the group, spent a considerable amount of time searching for a video and did not manage to upload any pictures to Dropbox. Additionally, other students in the lesson were too interested in finding and uploading photos instead of finding a photo and then working on the language to describe it. Deviation from the task could also be seen in lesson 3 where students decided to use the devices to insult each other and then play games when they got bored.

One explanation for this is that as the students were using devices that are very personal. It gave them the ability to pursue directions that were guided by their own needs (Kukulska-Hulme et al 2007) and possibly not those of the teacher. This idea was also highlighted by Jones et al (2006) when discussing how students use tools to mediate their learning. They claimed that students can appropriate tools (the devices) in subversive ways that could not be predicted by those who designed the activity and by doing so could undermine the purpose of the activity. The idea of students being guided by their own needs was evident with regards to the new student. His needs in the task may have been to focus on introducing himself to the group, but in doing so, his personal needs of wanting to find a ‘cool’ video of him snowboarding to do so did undermine the activity of generating pictures and generating language. In addition to this, the ability that mobile devices provided for students to control their own learning may also allow the students to conduct activities out of the classroom that to not match the teachers expectations (Naismith et al 2004). It could be said that this ability to perform tasks away from the class could lead to problems with monitoring the use of the devices for learning (Kukulska-Hulme et al 2007). The difficulties of monitoring the students will be discussed next.

4.5.2 Difficulty to monitor the students

The difficulty in monitoring students’ use of mobile devices was highlighted by (Kukulska-Hulme et al 2007: 60) who stated that when students were participating in mobile activities that were “beyond the physical boundaries of an institution, and even within classrooms” that it may be difficult to monitor students. This was evident throughout the study. As the teacher, I felt uneasy when the students were performing tasks outside of the classroom for a number of reasons. First, there was no way of monitoring whether that students were performing the task correctly, which could be seen in lesson 3 when the students came back with inappropriate images to complete the task. Also, it was uncertain if they would interact inappropriately with any of the hotel guests, which could have resulted in complaints about their behaviour. Finally, it was difficult to measure the effectiveness of their control over adapting activities. They adapted the directions’ task successfully and they managed to complete the it well. However, it was difficult to monitor all of the students during this, and other lessons, as they all had the potential, at any opportunity, to alter tasks to suit their needs. This inability to monitor the students may prove discouraging to some teachers who are not confident enough in their students or the use of the devices, and this may restrict the disruptive potential of the devices.

4.5.3 Limitations and issues of user generated content

Enabling the students to generate their own content was not without its problems. In lesson 1, some of the students had not had their device long, did not have sufficient photos on them and had the difficult task of searching the internet to find pictures of their town, hobbies and family. This was possible by accessing Facebook and Google Images, but it slowed them down. Another issue raised in lesson 1 was that as the students knew they had to talk about the photos, some decided to take the easy root and upload multiple images of the same topic, so they could use the same language for each photo. This was from the students who in the past were not the most focused and as this was the first lesson they were still a little unfocused. However, this did change throughout the week. Using the devices to generate content also distracted students by drawing their attention away from the task. This was seen in lesson 1 with the student looking for the video of him snowboarding; in lesson 3, due to technical difficulties, when the audio was not clear enough to perform the language analysis; and in lessons 6-7 where the faulty video editing feature prevented Group A and B from editing their video and Group A from adding their narration. These technical difficulties could suggest a problem with the device or the tasks that the devices were used in.

4.5.4 Limitations and issues of authenticity and context

The main limitation regarding authenticity and context was a result of the location of the lessons. As mention previously, the lessons were conducted at a hotel and the students were confined to the grounds of the hotel, which meant that the situated tasks were reliant on the facilities of the hotel. When the student went to the hotel shop and asked what they wanted to know about the products, there was limited choice, and the students were not genuinely motivated to ask about the products. In addition to this, the responses that the shop assistants gave were natural responses but were very short. The most complicated answer was “they are all in the rack below you”. I suspect that as I briefed the shop before hand, they knew that the students were not going to buy anything, so the staff did not treat them as genuine customers, and this was reflected in the amount of discourse the students recorded.

4.5.5 Limitations and issues of using the devices

The use of the devices in the lesson brought with it a number of issues. A number of which resulted from what (Bodker 1991 cited in Waycott 2004) described as a focus shift, which is where there is a shift in the students focus from the activity to the tool (mobile device) mediating the students’ participation in that activity. This was evident in a number of lessons. In lesson 2, the students had difficulty completing the lesson due to the small screens and the difficulty they had entering text into Google Docs. This resulted in the students focusing on the devices and abandoning their focus on the task. It was also evident in lesson 7 when the students had to edit their videos and for Group A to add narration to their video. The video editing app that they were using kept crashing at various times throughout the editing process, which took the students attention away from the language of the narration or in the clips they were editing and re-focused it on the editing software. A further limitation of using the device was observed in lesson 3 when students had to record their interaction with the shop assistant. One group returned with was an inaudible recording which could have prevented them from completing the listening stage at the end of the lesson. The final limitation of using the device was in lesson 7 when Group A lacked experience of using the app and took screenshots of their work instead of using the camera in the app. This meant that when they returned to the classroom to discuss the language they used, they could not edit the language on the images to correct it (see Appendix C). The issues mentioned here may act as a barrier to the disruptive potential of the devices. In classes where teachers and students are used to using the devices and are prepared for such eventualities, they may not pose a threat. However, if in the early stages of the devices being adopted, they could prevent teachers and students from adopting the devices and restrict the potential for the mobile devices to be a disruptive innovation.

4.6 Conclusion

This chapter has examined the findings of the study and discussed the potential for mobile devices to be a disruptive innovation to language teaching and learning and the forms that disruption could take. Areas of disruption that were observed included: control, motivation, user-generated content and authenticity and context. The discussion also highlighted limitations and areas of concern that arose through using the devices, these were: deviating from the task, the difficulty in monitoring students, limitations and issues of user-generated content, authenticity and context and the use of the devices. The final chapter of this dissertation will draw conclusions from the study, highlight limitations and weaknesses of the study and suggest areas for future research.

5: Conclusion
5.1 Summary of the study

The aim of this study was to investigate whether mobile devices have the potential to be a disruptive innovation for language teaching and learning and what form that disruption may take. This topic was chosen due to my dislike for traditional language teaching and learning and my belief that mobile devices may have the potential to disrupt this by offering a more engaging, student centred approach. The study used the theory of disruptive innovation to view teaching and learning within a language school as a market that could be disrupted through the use of mobile devices to support teaching and learning. Disruptive innovation in industry and the lack of disruptive innovation in education was discussed, as was the lack of research into mobile devices being a disruptive innovation to language teaching and learning. The study adopted characteristics of an ethnographic approach that used participant observation to observe the use of mobile devices to support the teaching and learning of a class of eight Italian students attending a seven day English and golfing holiday. The study was conducted over seven, one and a half hour lessons during the course of a week.

5.2 The potential for mobile devices to be a disruptive innovation

It was suggested that for mobile devices to be a disruptive innovation and disrupt the traditional language teaching and learning paradigm they would have to be adopted, initially, by the students to support their learning and then by the teachers for teaching and learning. For this to be successful, the devices would have to be potentially disruptive in ways that would encourage their adoption by students and teachers. This study has identified a number of areas that suggest the potential for mobile devices to be a disruptive innovation. The first area was the element of control the devices gave the students. This resulted in the students being more focused to perform tasks as they had choice over what tasks to perform and how to perform them. Additionally, they could adapt tasks to suit their needs and abilities, which resulted in more motivated students, with certain lower level students performing better than expected. This element of control could promote the adoption of the devices by students and teachers as it may empower students in ways that might not have been possible in other language lessons and provide a more student-centred learning experience which may be welcomed by both students and teachers.

The next area identified as potentially disruptive was motivation. The students enjoyed using the devices, possibly as they associated them with entertainment, fashion and being cool. They enjoyed the ability to share their work with their peers and lacked motivation when this wasn’t possible. The use of the devices and the ability to tailor learning to students’ needs created increased motivation, especially with the students who were unfocused in previous years. Also, the ability to use the devices to incorporate interaction with ‘real’ English people into the lessons motivated the students. These motivational areas observed certainly suggest that devices could be adopted by teachers and students as they may result in more engage students, and could be a disruption as using the devices may be more motivating for the students than traditional teaching and learning.

User-generated content was also identified as potentially disruptive. In each lesson in the study, students either generated their own content in the form of pictures or videos or accessed content using the device (the maps and recipes). It was this ability to eliminate the need for pre-selected, pre-published materials that suggests the use of mobile devices could be a major disruption to how content and information is accessed in lessons. This could promote a move away from coursebooks which would mean a disruption of the traditional language teaching paradigm as coursebooks play a major part in current language teaching and learning.

The final potentially disruptive area was authenticity and context. The devices enable the students to participate in activities in real-life contexts. It enabled them to engage with “real things” and talk to “real people”, which was very motivating to them. Instead of dealing with representations of the real world, students were able to work in authentic contexts that were relevant to the lessons. The ability to work with material in an authentic setting may not be present in current traditional language teaching and learning, and the ability provided by the devices to do this may encourage the adoption of the devices by teachers and cause a disruption to traditional teaching and learning.

5.3 Restrictions of mobile devices to be a disruptive innovation

In addition to the potential areas of disruption, the study also highlighted a number of limitations and issues with the use of the devices that may restrict the potential for the devices to a disruptive innovation. The first was the resistance to formal teaching that students appeared to develop as a result of the freedom provided by the devices. Teachers may not welcome this resistance and it may prove to be a deterrent for teachers to adopt the devices. The ability the devices gave students to deviate from tasks could also prove to be an important area that may result in teachers not adopting mobile devices. In the study, students deviated from tasks by looking at pictures and videos, insulting each other, playing games and adapted activities to suit their own needs. Teachers who are not prepared for this to happen and/or who are not very experienced with conducting activities using mobile devices, may see these as negative disruptions and not adopt the use of mobile devices in their lessons. In addition to this, the inability to monitor students’ use of the devices in or out of the classroom may also prove to be a deterrent to teachers. Even I had concerns, at times, as to what the students were doing when they were out of the classroom.

Further restrictions to the devices being a disruptive innovation came in the form of user-generated content. Lack of content on their device to perform a task could have resulted in frustration and a lack of motivation that could have restricted the use of the devices and thus their ability to be disruptive. Limitations and issues of authenticity and context were evident as a potential restriction. This was due to the location of the lessons and the limitations of the context. If lessons were situated where teachers could not utilise the outside the classroom, the devices may not have any potential to be disruptive regarding utilizing context. In addition, there are ethical considerations with sending students outside of the classroom to perform tasks as it may not be possible to monitor their interacts with people in context, and this may be a major barrier for teachers to use mobile devices in authentic contexts. The final area that may restrict the disruptive potential is using the device. If students have difficulty using the device due to unfamiliarity with them and inability to operate them to due to small screens, it may deter them from using them in class. Also, if students cannot use the devices to perform the activities set, teachers may not be inclined to adopt their use in class.

5.4 Limitations and weaknesses of the study

The first weakness was the length of the study. It could be suggested that a week long study was too short to produce accurate results, and that it only skimmed the surface of topic, without being able to thoroughly test the hypothesis generated. For example, there could have been a novelty value attached to using the devices that could have decreased through a longer study, therefore producing different results. In addition to this, as the study was only conducted with one class, it is not possible to judge whether the results are unique to this group of students. The location of the study was also a limitation and weakness to the study. Conducting the study in a hotel provides insights into using mobile devices in a hotel context, but does not provide insight into using the devices in other contexts, such as towns, which is where many language programmes would conduct activities in context. A further weakness of this study is the lack of a focus group at the end of the study. This would have provided a rich insight into the students’ views of using the devices. The absence of this required the study to rely on my observations and informal interviews conducted during activities. The final weakness of the study, is that it could be suggested that as the students were informed about the study beforehand, it made them more willing to try and use the devices in the activities than in a traditional lessons, which could have affected the results.

5.5 Further research identified

This study has identified a number of areas for further research. The first is to conduct a larger study consisting of more classes studied over a longer period of time to test this study’s results. User-generated content was highlighted as a potentially disruptive area. A study that investigates the effectiveness of user-generated content using mobile devices may be beneficial. In addition, a study using mobile devices combined with a Dogme approach to language teaching could prove insight in the area of content and published materials use. The impact of students adapting activities and having control over their learning using module devices in an area that also warrants further study as it was a main area of disruption that arose from this study. Finally, investigating the technical ability of students and teachers combined with their views on using mobile devices would provide valuable information when considering the potential for mobile devices to disrupt language teaching and learning.

5.6 Final thoughts

This study set out to investigate whether mobile devices could be a disruptive innovation to language teaching and learning and what form that disruption would take. It has succeeded in doing this by identifying areas of potential disruption as well as identifying areas that may restrict the potential of the devices to be disruptive. At the beginning of the study, I was very confident in the potential for the devices to be disruptive. However, on completing the study, I can now see that there are many factors that could affect this. The study has identified areas for further research into this topic, and I feel that this study plus further research could impact a number of areas including: materials use/design, teacher training, motivation and language teaching and learning as a whole. I therefore look forward to continuing research in this area in the future.

Appendices

 

Appendix A : List of tables and images used

Figure 1: Language teaching and learning as a market

Figure 2: The model of mobile device disruption within a language school

Table of apps used

Appendix B: Outlines of Lessons Taught

Lesson 1 – Introductions

Aims:

  • Discuss the content for the weeks lessons

  • Assess students mobile devices and their ability to use the devices

  • Describe pictures of related to themselves to the class

  • Listen to their classmates describing pictures of themselves.

Device features and apps used:

  • Dropbox

  • Web-browser

  • E-mail account

  • Photo album

Structure of the Lesson

Students will:

  • Discuss and choose the topic to be covered in each lesson

  • Show which devices they have and their ability to download apps

  • Add the class e-mail account to their device

  • Download Dropbox and login to the class account

  • Experiment adding pictures to the class Dropbox account

  • Add pictures of themselves and relating to themselves to their folder within the class Dropbox account

  • Work in pairs to create sentences describing the picture

  • Describe the pictures to the class using the projector


Lesson 2 – Food

Aims:

  • Review vocabulary for food and verbs for preparing food

  • Create instructions for preparing a dish

Device features and apps used:

  • Evernote

  • Camera

  • Google Docs

Structure of the Lesson

Student will:

  • Download evernote and experiment adding text and images to their Evernote folders in class Evernote account

  • Go to the restaurant and take a picture of the menu

  • Open a file named food in Google Docs

  • Compete, in teams, with the other students to enter as much food vocabulary as they can in five minutes to the Google doc.

  • Choose a dish from the doc and search the Internet for a recipe for that dish

  • Extract the food preparation verbs from the recipe and discuss any unknown words with their partner

  • Using verbs generated during the lesson students choose a dish to and write instructions for preparing that dish with their partner

  • The final instruction and a photo of the dish will be added to evernote a displayed on the projector


Lesson 3 – Shopping

Aim:

  • Practice functional language for shopping

Device features and apps used:

  • Audio recorder

  • Camera

Structure of the Lesson

Student will:

  • Go to the hotel shop and take pictures of the products

  • Work with a partner to discuss the names of the items in the photos

  • Choose a number of products in the photos that they wish to ask the shop assistant about on their return to the shop.

  • Work with their partner to create sentences to ask the shop assistant about the products

  • Return to the shop, practice the sentences they produced and record their progress

  • Listen to the dialogue, from the recording, with their partner and discuss the language that emerged.

  • Share their results as a group to check for similarities and differences


Lesson 4 – Directions

Aim:

  • Practice functional language for asking for and giving directions

Device features and apps used:

  • Google maps

Structure of the Lesson

Student will:

  • Brainstorm, in pairs, as many names for buildings in towns/cities as they can

  • Play a game of Mallet’s Mallet to see which pairs can generate the most vocabulary

  • Generate vocabulary for directions, as a group, using the map on the projector as a guide

  • As a group, direct the teacher along a pre-programmed Google Maps route, on the projector, between two London landmarks

  • Search for two London attractions and use Google Maps to plan a route between the two

  • Swap their routes with their partner and check each others route for inaccuracies

  • Create directions for a secret destination, only telling their partner the start and seeing if they can get to the correct destination by following their directions.


Lessons 5 & 6 – Video Project

Aim:

  • To create their own video project

Device features and apps used:

  • Video recorder

  • Vimeo App

Structure of the Lesson

Student will:

  • Download the Vimeo app

  • In groups of four, brainstorm their story for the video project

  • Create a short storyboard detailing where each scene will be shot and who will be in each scene

  • Discuss and script the language for each scene

  • Have the option to film their movie without audio if they are having difficulties with the language and add narration afterwards

  • Film their movies

  • Practice using the editing app

  • Edit their movie

  • Upload their movie to Dropbox and play their movie to the group


Lesson 7 – Comic Strip

Aims:

  • Create a comic strip

Device features and apps used:

  • Camera

  • Captions App

  • Comic Book App

  • Dropbox

Structure of the Lesson

Student will:

  • Download the Captions app or Comic Book app depending of whether they can purchase apps or not.

  • In groups of four, brainstorm their story for their comic book

  • Create a sketch of their comic strip on flip-chart paper using areas of the hotel as their setting

  • Discuss and plan the language for the comic strip

  • Go around the hotel and take the required pictures for their comic strip

  • Add the cations to the photos containing the language they generated previously

  • Upload their comic strips to Dropbox for the class to view on the projector

 

 

Appendix C: User-generated content
Group A’s comic book story

Group B’s Comic Strip Stories:
Story 1

Story 2

Table of disruptive potential observed in each lesson.

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Chapter 1: Introduction

1.1 Aim

1.2 Defining disruption

1.3 Trigger

1.4 Rationale

1.4.1 The disruptive potential of mobile devices

1.4.2 Lack technology disruption in education

1.4.3 Potential benefits of disrupting teaching and learning with mobile devices

1.4.4 Lack of research into the disruptive potential of mobile devices

1.5 Structure

1.5 Conclusion

Chapter 2:  Disruptive Innovation and Mobile Technology

2.1 Defining disruptive Innovation

2.1.1 Sustaining Innovation

2.1.2 Disruptive Innovation

2.2 Examples of disruptive innovation in industry

2.3 Disruptive innovation in education (Value networks)

2.4 Innovation in language holiday schools at present

2.5 Mobile devices as a disruptive innovation in language schools

2.6 Mobile devices as a disruptive innovation.

2.7 The disruptive potential of mobile devices for language teaching and learning

2.7.1 Learning resources

2.7.2 Collaboration

2.7.3 Situated Learning

2.7.4 Control

2.7.5 Personalised learning

2.7.6 Motivation

2.8 Conclusion

Chapter 3: Research Methods

3.1 Research Questions

3.2 Research Method

3.3 Participant Observation (Reasons for choice – advantages/disadvantages)

3.4 Areas for consideration

3.5 Structure

3.6 The Lessons

3.7 Participants, Settings

3.8 Ethical considerations

3.9 Data Collection

3.10 Data Analysis

3.10.1 Coding

3.10.2 Validity

3.11 Conclusion

Chapter 4: Research findings

4.1 Control

4.1.1 Focused and on task

4.1.2 Adapt tasks to suit their needs

4.1.3 Resistance to traditional teaching

4.1.4 The disruptive potential of control

4.2 Motivation

4.2.1 Fun

4.2.2 Sharing

4.2.3 Personal needs/goals

4.2.4 The Disruptive potential of Motivation

4.3 User generated content

4.3.1 The disruptive potential of user generated content

4.4 Authenticity and Context

4.4.1 The disruptive potential of authenticity and context

4.5 Limitations and areas of concern

4.5.1 Deviating from the task

4.5.2 Difficulty to monitor the students

4.5.3 Limitations and issues of user generated content

4.5.4 Limitations and issues of authenticity and context

4.5.5 Limitations and issues of using the devices

4.6 Conclusion

Chapter 5 Conclusion

5.1 Summary of the study

5.2 The potential for mobile devices to be a disruptive innovation

5.3 Restrictions of mobile devices to be a disruptive innovation

5.4 Limitations and weaknesses of the study

5.5 Further research identified

5.6 Final Thoughts

Appendix A

List of tables/Illustrations and apps

Listing apps and websites used

Appendix B

Outline of the lessons taught

Appendix C

User-generated content

Group A’s comic book

Group B’s comic book

Table of areas of disruption observed

Bibliography