Improving collaboration in blended learning environments through differentiated activities and mobile-assisted language learning tools
Source of Publication
Proceedings of the 15th International Conference on Mobile Learning 2019, ML 2019
© 2019 IADIS Press. All rights reserved. Recent trends in higher education have initiated an increase in the attention given to the quality of teaching offered to the students, and significant changes in student populations since 2000, such as increasing social diversity (Biggs & Tang, 2011), have required educators to relook at their teaching and instructional practices. As diversity in higher education increases and accelerating technology adoption impacts on teaching, improving the quality of the instructive-educational process becomes fundamental based on understanding, observing, and re-evaluating the differences amongst our students. At the higher education level, our students are even more diverse than K-12 students due to their academic experiences and professional interests. Our learners differ not only culturally or linguistically, but also in their cognitive abilities, learning preferences, background knowledge, and have various levels of strengths and weaknesses in the area of multiple intelligences; hence a rethinking of the structure and management of the classroom, modifying curricula and maximizing classroom interactions are necessary. Differentiated activities together with Web 2.0 tools and mobile-assisted language learning applications can enhance collaborative learning where learners actively participate in groups to explore a topic or discuss to finalize a project. Differentiation or academically responsive instruction concentrates on teaching strategies that provide students with multiple pathways in the teaching and learning process to meet their needs. Mobile-assisted language learning (MALL) is a subarea of mobile learning in which integration of new mobile technologies into teaching and language learning has been a primary focus, and numerous mobile applications and online Web 2.0 tools have been developed to support academic English language learning, including reading, listening, writing, speaking, functional grammar and vocabulary. Web 2.0 refers to a huge array of web-based tools such as blogs, wikis, folksonomies, social networking sites and content-sharing sites which can offer numerous instructional opportunities like active engagement, personalized learning and innovation, and can empower and enable learners to participate in a variety of ways. This qualitative study explored the integration of MALL applications and Web 2.0 tools in differentiated EAP classes and sought to understand how they can assist in improving collaboration of EAP students to achieve higher levels of cognitive learning in higher education in UAE. The findings suggest that the usage of MALL apps and Web 2.0 tools in differentiated EAP classes in higher education assist students in terms of feedback, motivation, collaboration, pace, multi-modality and research skills; gives them an opportunity to choose the activity and the type of assessment that corresponds to their needs and abilities.
Osifo, Ajda, "Improving collaboration in blended learning environments through differentiated activities and mobile-assisted language learning tools" (2019). Scopus Indexed Articles. 786.