22 SES 13 C, Student Learning, Development and Supervision
Rapid developments in technology have shown their effects in all aspects of life from art to sport, from education to commerce. One leading technologies most commonly used is the smartphone. Smartphones are evolving very fast and they affect a large spectrum of aspects of life from marketing and business activities to education and mobile industry (Aldhaban, 2012). Thanks to the baseline capabilities smartphones offer, including easy and ubiquitous access to information, wireless internet connection and mobility, their popularity increased unprecedentedly (Özsoy ve İzmir, 2016). The number of mobile broadband connections is expected to growth due to the rising smartphone penetration, with almost 4 billion additional mobile broadband connections globally by 2020 (GSMA Intelligence, 2014, p.2). Today, smartphones have become, far beyond being just a means of mobile communication, a device people always need in every field of life thanks to the applications and functions they hold (Campbell, 2007; Şad & Göktaş, 2014). One field that smartphones are being used gradually more and more is education. Students prefer smartphones over desktop or laptop computers because of its capabilities like portability, easy internet connection, multi-media files etc. Smartphones are used also in foreign language classes, as in all other subjects, yielding some favorable outcomes (Chung et al., 2014; Cui & Wang, 2008; Muhammed, 2014; Simonova, 2016). While previous research on smartphones use in education in general and in language education in particular have revealed positive results, some research findings also refer to the adverse effects of smartphones including lack of attention, distraction and waste of time (Biçen & Karakoyun, 2013; Gheytasi et al., 2014; Uğur & Koç, 2015). Therefore, it was regarded significant to investigate how smartphones are used in foreign language learning process and what positive and negative effects they have on learners within the context of foreign language education in tertiary preparation classes.
To simply put the main purpose of this paper, it was aimed to investigate the views of students attending the first-year preparation class at School of Foreign Languages at İnönü University in Malatya and Fırat University in Elazığ, Turkey, on using their smartphones in learning English as a foreign language.
The study was designed based on quantitative associational model. To this end after reporting about basic descriptive results on the issue, we are going to compare students' views on smartphone use in learning English as a foreign language in terms of gender, department/program, type and duration of internet connection. Data were collected from the 428 freshmen attending the English preparation programs at Schools of Foreign Languages in both universities during the spring semester of 2017-2018 academic year. The data were collected using “Smartphone Use in Learning Foreign Language Scale” originally developed by Şad and Yakar (2017). The scale comprised of 21 items. This five-point (Always-Never) Likert scale aims at measuring the university students’ views about using smartphones particularly in developing four language skills, and smartphones' negative effects on language learning. The Cronbach Alpha internal consistency coefficients were 0,817 for Adverse Effects factor; 0,808 for General Skills factor; 0,786 for Reading&Writing factor; and 0,680 for Listening&Speaking factor (Şad and Yakar, 2017).
According to the descriptive analysis, participants use their smartphones to improve their listening and speaking skills ( =3.27) sometimes (the purpose they are used relatively the most). On the other hand, participants use smartphones the least ( =1.77) to improve their reading and writing skills. Moreover, students’ mean score from the General Skills factor was 3.00, indicating that they sometimes use their smartphones to improve their general English skills. Also, the participants believe that smartphones scarcely ( =2.27) have adverse effects on learning English. When compared by gender, both female and male prep students’ frequency to use their smartphones to improve their listening and speaking skills was found alike, t(426)=1,014, p>.05. Also, both groups found the smartphones having rarely adverse effects on their language learning, t(426)=,104, p>.05. However, female students were found to use their smartphones statistically more frequently than male peers to improve their general English skills, t(426)=2,264, p<.05. On the contrary, male students were found to use their smartphones statistically more frequently than female peers to improve their reading and writing skills, t(423,430)=3,561, p<.05. A comparison between departments revealed that business and administration students use their smartphones to improve their general English skills statistically more frequently than philosophy and medical students, F(5; 422)=6,909, p<.05. Likewise, molecular biology and genetics students were found to use their smartphones to improve their listening and speaking skills statistically more frequently than philosophy students, F(5; 422)=3,493, p<.05. No statistically significant difference was found (p>.05) between mean scores of any factors according to types of internet connection (WiFi, mobile data, or both). Finally, statistically significant correlations with small coefficients were found between students’ duration of internet connection and frequency of using smartphones to improve listening and speaking skills (r=0,139, p<.05) and frequency of suffering its adverse effects on language learning (r=0,120, p<.01).
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