A Mobile Assisted Language Learning Environment to Improve Primary School Pupils' Attitudes and Competencies in Chinese Proverb Learning and Writing

Project Number
OER 14/09 WLH

Project Duration
September 2009 - February 2012


This proposed project attempts to leverage on the mobile technology to design an one-to-one (one mobile device per student) learning environment for primary school Chinese Language (CL) learning that encompasses formal (in-class) and informal (out-of-class) settings. The intention is to describe an ongoing learning process, mediated by the mobile devices to be assigned (loaned) to each pupil ''24 hours a day, 7 days a week'', with the access to a set of mobile device-based animations that feature modern fables to illustrate the meanings and the practical usage of 60 Chinese proverbs. In the formal setting, the teacher will create classroom-based, contextualised learning activities, with the animations as the predominant learning materials, to engage the students and support them in achieving deeper understanding in the proverbs. Subsequently, at the informal side, pupils are required to proactively associate the contexts that they encounter in their day-to-day lives with the proverbs that they have learnt (or create contexts like getting their siblings and friends to role play), and make use of their devices to take photos, make sentences or writing paragraphs (i.e., not full essay writing but ''small chunk writing'') with the proverbs, and post them onto the web for sharing and peer reviews. Although the project seeks for building on the outcomes and experiences of the prior studies in Mobile Assisted Language Learning (MALL) which have in general been focusing more on vocabulary enrichment or verbal skills, we are keen to place our emphasis in addressing typical Singapore pupils' greatest challenge in CL learning - their writing skills, which are far more weaker than their verbal skills (Liang, 1999). We intend to conduct the empirical study for one full year in 2010 in one experimental class. The relatively longer term intervention is needed as another aspect that we plan to investigate is the potential novelty effect due to students' ongoing and repetitive use of the mobile devices, how the teacher could design additional intervention to prevent the stated effect and sustain students' learning motivation throughout the study, and eventually make the MALL environment settle into the ecology of schooling.

Funding Source

Related Links
SingTeach Issue 55: Learning Chinese Seamlessly

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