Mobile Learning App Helps Develop English and Digital Literacy Skills in Costa Rican Communities

Conference: The European Conference on Education (ECE2020)
Title: Mobile Learning App Helps Develop English and Digital Literacy Skills in Costa Rican Communities
Stream: Foreign Languages Education & Applied Linguistics (including ESL/TESL/TEFL)
Presentation Type: Live-Stream Presentation
Authors:
Hee Jin Bang, Age of Learning, Inc., United States
Kirsten Collins, Age of Learning, Inc., United States

Abstract:

Technology has changed the way we learn, communicate, and live. English, the dominant language on the internet, is also the most widely spoken language in the world. Therefore, digital literacy and English are core skills that young people must develop to participate in the global economy. In recent years, numerous mobile apps have been created to support learning. Research on mobile education apps is still in the early stages, and few studies have been conducted to understand their effectiveness on helping learners develop language or digital literacy skills. This presentation focuses on a 6-month study conducted with 266 elementary school children (7-to 11-years-old) in Costa Rica. Treatment English teachers used a mobile learning app to support their classroom instruction, while the control group teacher continued with business-as-usual instruction. Program developers trained the teachers on program usage prior to the study, and professional development was provided through webinars throughout program implementation. Pre- and posttest of students’ language skills, along with survey, interview, and focus groups conducted with parents and teachers, shed light on how the program helped children develop their English knowledge and digital literacy skills. Students who used the program made significantly greater gains in their English language skills in comparison to their control group peers. Qualitative data offered insights into how the program fostered greater interest and confidence in using technology among students, teachers, and parents. Attendees will learn how the app was used as a tool to support learning and teaching, as well as effective strategies for implementation.