ANU Language Teaching Forum: Learning from language apps

Date & time

4.15–5.15pm 22 May 2017


Room W3.03, Level 3, Baldessin Precinct Building #110, ANU


Dr Peter Friedlander


Dr France Meyer

Presented by Dr Peter Friedlander as part of the ANU Language Teaching Forum

There are now countless Apps available that promise to make language learning easier. I want to discuss here what makes language learning Apps useful and what are their disadvantages, and what trying to use them can teach us about designing language learning materials.
I will situate this within a discussion of the concept of ubiquitous learning that was the theme of the CLaSIC 2016 language teaching conference in Singapore and the idea of learning anywhere at any time.
However, I will contrast that with my own experiences of trying to learn from some Apps and the limitations in them due to their mechanistic approach to language acquisition which is at odds with a communicative approach to language learning. I will point out that we can learn valuable lessons from Apps about how to present materials in limited spaces.
I will show the contrast between thinking about Hindi teaching materials as textbook pages, web pages and phone screens and how understanding them as mobile Apps helps.
My conclusion is, apart from language learning itself, we can learn a lot from mobile language learning apps, in terms of how we can present materials to learners who see the world through phone screens.

The ANU Language Teaching Forum provides a discussion platform for language teachers and researchers across ANU colleges. It also welcomes language educators from outside the university such as secondary school teachers and teachers from community schools. Its main objective is to foster the exchange of research and new approaches in language education.

This forum is jointly coordinated by the College of Arts & Social Sciences (School of Literature, Languages & Linguistics and Centre for Arab & Islamic Studies) and the College of Asia & the Pacific (School of Culture, History & Language).


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