Realtà e virtualità dell’apprendimento di una L2 con tecnologie mobili


Digital technologies, particularly those employed for mobile learning, drive users to perform actions that are key contributions to the learning process. Thanks to the employment of electronic devices, including those small and handy such as smartphones and tablets, learning and teaching move from being virtual to concrete processes in the development of L2 skills. This paper describes some major characteristics of portable devices and their increasingly pervasive multiple uses. Furthermore, it illustrates mobile learning by focusing on its strongly innovative pedagogical implications: a new notion of context, which is no longer a physical space in which learning takes place; the re-interpretation of the bipolar distinction between formal and informal learning; the pro-active role of learners, who can choose where, what and when to study; and finally the notion of ‘delocalized community’ as an agent of learning. This process of innovation and ‘materialization’ of learning is supported by the growing number of Educational Apps, which they have become increasingly specialized, each of them reflecting more or less innovative pedagogical designs. The spectrum varies from those proposing rote memorization of vocabulary or structural grammar exercises to more creative ones which allow learners to upload digital assets and exchange them online with other people around the world. The former reflect a behaviourist view of learning, the latter a post-costructivist and more learner-centered approach. As an example of the more innovative ones, this paper describes a recently developed App, called Linguacuisine. Finally, the paper suggests that, in order to highlight the ‘materiality’ of mobile learning, it is time to avoid using labels such as ‘virtual exchange’ when referring to events of asynchronous and synchronous communication, and prefer labels such as ‘telecollaboration, online exchanges’. Recognizing ‘materiality’ to actions triggered by the use of technologies in learning implies questioning the potential of digital resources, managing learning needs and processes, becoming aware of the wide-reaching change in learning conditions and attitudes, and directing innovation so as to achieve maximum outcomes.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22390359v33p171

Keywords: language learning; mobile learning; technology enhanced language learning; pedagogical design; educational application


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