Cell Phones for Learning (Research by Dr. Kimura)

cell phone

Dr. Midori Kimura of Tokyo Women’s Medical University in Japan said that since 23% of those who own cell phone check their mail at least 21 times a day, they decided to use cell phones as a learning tool. They developed material for the TOEIC (English Language Exam) which is considered a necessity for the Japanese workplace. In their five year pilot study, they have done three experiments in which the cell phone was used as a mini-computer. The students

Year 1. Do practice exercises such as
Yesterday I ____ to the store A. go B. went C. gone D. going
When they typed in the answer, they got an immediate response.

Year 2. Watch a short English video and answer multiple choice questions

Year 3. Watch a short English video with key word captioning and answer multiple choice questions

In each case, those students using a cell phone had the same level of learning as those using a PC.

Students liked that they could use the cell anywhere, anytime, and anyplace. They liked the immediate feedback. They enjoyed the relax atmosphere of learning.

The university overcame the initial problems of download time, frequent recharging of the battery, and expensive cell bills by sending the programs as attachments to students’ email and then students transferred it to their cell phone. Another alternative was to dump the programs to the students’ cell SD Cards.

Some students felt that the captioning distracted from the listening. (I would suggest key words, not phrases.) They found the videos too difficult; the videos came from their textbook CD. (I would suggest that the instructors make their own simpler videos so that they can structure the videos for the specific learning points they want for their students.) They realized that the students needed headphones for their cellphone.

She concluded that the cell phone was an excellent tool for review and practice. The balance of classroom instruction plus cell phone used was a great combination. She did find that females learned better than males through the cellphone

Is there any review material that you could put on cell phone for those who wanted to learn that way? Can practice /help be just a phone call away in your class? Can they do quick reviews at their leisure through cell phone technology?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

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