行動科技輔助英語字彙學習之使用載具偏好研究

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(1)國立臺灣師範大學英語學系 碩 士. 技. 術. 報. 告. Technical Report for the Degree of Master Department of English National Taiwan Normal University. 行動科技輔助英語字彙學習之 使用載具偏好研究. Investigating Learners’ Preferences for Devices in Mobile-Assisted Vocabulary Learning. 指導教授:林至誠 博士 Advisor: Dr. Chih-Cheng Lin 研 究 生:韓岱昀. 中 華 民 國 一百零七年七月 July, 2018.

(2) 摘要. 行動科技輔助語言學習在字彙方面的研究中,常以實驗組以及控制組的分組 設計,經過實驗後,證明行動科技輔助字彙學習的成效。研究對象在實過程裡, 往往沒有機會選擇以何種工具進行學習。Stockwell 是少數讓學習者自由選擇工 具的學者,他讓大學生自行選擇以個人電腦或手機來進行字彙學習。Stockwell 的數次研究均顯示學習者普遍偏好使用個人電腦進行字彙學習,而非使用手機 (Stockwell, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2013; Stockwell & Liu, 2015)。 本研究旨在探究台灣高中生偏好使用何種工具來進行英語字彙學習。與過往 研究不同的是,本研究提供更多樣的工具選擇機會,並以高中生而非大學生作為 研究對象。來自台灣北部某高中三班共 111 名高二學生參與了為期四周的研究。 在這段期間,學生可以任意使用手機、桌上型電腦、筆記型電腦或平板電腦登入 數位學習平台,完成針對課本學習內容所設計的字彙練習,幫助學習。 研究結果顯示學生最常在自己家中使用手機進行英語字彙學習。運用不同工 具進行練習的所得分數與所花時間並沒有明顯差異。在訪談中,大部分學生對於 運用手機進行英語字彙學習抱有歡迎的態度。他們很少反映手機螢幕過小影響閱 讀,或是反映手機文字輸入方法會造成學習困擾。受訪學生也普遍表示自己平時 除了手機之外,不常使用像桌上型電腦、筆記型電腦、平板電腦等學習工具。他 們的高手機持有率以及對於手機作為日常工具的習慣,決定他們選擇以手機進行 字彙學習的偏好。他們對於生活中的行動科技使用感到適應,而這也影響了他們 對於行動科技輔助英語字彙學習的態度。. 關鍵字:行動輔助語言學習、字彙學習、行動載具、學習平台. i.

(3) ABSTRACT. Previous studies on mobile-assisted vocabulary learning seldom offered participants choices of devices. The findings from the between-subject studies failed to inform the issue of preferences, although that of effectiveness was well answered. Stockwell addressed the issue by offering the freedom to choose either mobile phones or personal computers (PCs), and has found a strong preference for PCs despite the advancement and increased prevalence of mobile phones over years (Stockwell, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2013; Stockwell & Liu, 2015). The present study intends to investigate Taiwanese senior high school students’ preferences for devices in mobile-assisted vocabulary learning. The present study differs itself from the previous ones as it offered a wider selection of devices and included younger participants. In a public high school in northern Taiwan, 111 11th graders were recruited to participate in the study for four weeks. They were encouraged to practice vocabulary exercises for school English lessons on an online platform by using mobile phones, desktop PCs, laptop PCs, or tablet PCs. Results showed that mobile phones were the most frequently-used device, and were used primarily when the participants were at home. The performance in terms of the scores achieved and the time spent did not vary greatly among different devices. When interviewed about their preferences, most participants had a welcoming attitude towards mobile phones. They reported that there was no discomfort to the screen size or inputting method, and that they seldom used PCs or other devices in their daily lives. The high ownership of and the easy accessibility to the device determined their preference of mobile phones over other devices. The participants confirmed their being accustomed to mobile lives. They took it for granted that learning and. ii.

(4) practicing vocabulary take place on mobile phones, which in turn facilitated their acceptance of mobile integration in their learning.. Keywords: mobile-assisted language learning, vocabulary learning, mobile devices, learning platforms. iii.

(5) ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS. This technical reported was completed because of the assistance, guidance, encouragement and company of many people. I would like to express my appreciation to all of you. My sincerest thanks and deepest gratitude are extended to my long-time teacher and advisor, Dr. Chih-Cheng Lin. Long before I started the master program, I have been under his instruction as a college student and joined his team as an assistant for years. With his guidance, I have learned many valuable experiences, which benefited me a lot in my teaching and in the writing of the technical report. He offered proper suggestions and provided me chances to try, trusting me in completing all the tasks. No matter as a teacher or as a master graduate, I would never be what I am today without him. I would next like to express my gratitude for the committee members, Dr. Jun-Jie Tseng and Dr. Yen-Liang Lin. Their warm-hearted feedback and insightful suggestions enabled me to further improve my study. I also want to thank the teachers in the master program, whose professional expertise and hardworking attitude would always remind me how influential teachers can be to their students. I am thankful to my friends who joined the program with me and studied together as classmates. With your company, taking classes on weekends was never considered tiring and was always worth expectation. At last, I would like to thank my parents for being invariably caring and encouraging. Thank you for your love and support, which motivated me to move ahead.. iv.

(6) TABLE OF CONTENTS. CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ................................................................................... 1 1.1. Background of the Study ................................................................................ 1 1.2. Purpose of the Study ....................................................................................... 2 CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW......................................................................... 4 2.1. Mobile-assisted Language Learning ............................................................... 4 2.2. Mobile-assisted Vocabulary Learning ............................................................. 5 2.3. Empirical Studies Comparing Devices in Vocabulary Learning .................... 8 2.4. The Present Study ......................................................................................... 12 CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY ................................................................................ 15 3.1. Participants .................................................................................................... 15 3.2. Vocabulary Exercises .................................................................................... 16 3.3. Data Collection and Analysis ........................................................................ 17 3.3.1. The Server Log .................................................................................. 17 3.3.2. Semi-structured Interview .................................................................. 18 CHAPTER 4 RESULTS .............................................................................................. 20 4.1. Descriptive Statistics from the Server Logs.................................................. 20 4.1.1. General Description of the Completion of the Exercises................... 20 4.1.2. The Scores Achieved and the Time Spent .......................................... 22 4.1.3. The Locations Where the Students Completed the Exercises ............ 24 4.2. Semi-structured Interview ............................................................................. 25 CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION.................................................... 28 5.1. Major Findings and Discussion .................................................................... 28 5.1.1. Preferring Using Mobile Phones for Vocabulary Learning ............... 28 5.1.2. Slight Performance Difference among Devices ................................. 29 v.

(7) 5.1.3. Private Places as the Most Preferred Location .................................. 30 5.1.4. No Discomfort with Mobile Phones .................................................. 31 5.2. Pedagogical Implications .............................................................................. 31 5.3. Limitations of the Present Study and Suggestions for Future Research ....... 33 5.4. Conclusion .................................................................................................... 34 REFERENCES ............................................................................................................ 35 APPENDIX A .............................................................................................................. 39 APPENDIX B .............................................................................................................. 40. vi.

(8) LIST OF TABLES. Table 1. Percentage of exercises completed on Moodle .............................................. 21 Table 2. Percentage of exercises completed on different devices ................................ 22 Table 3. Scores achieved for each exercise on different devices ................................. 23 Table 4. Time spent for each exercise on different devices ......................................... 24 Table 5. Locations where the students completed the exercises .................................. 25. vii.

(9) CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION. 1.1. Background of the Study Language learning using mobile devices has been one of the major topics of research in learning technology for the past decade (Sung, Chang, &Yang, 2015). With the emergence of a variety of mobile devices that are easily portable and allow language learning to be individualized (Kukulska-Hulme & Shield, 2008), research focus has gradually shifted from computer-assisted language learning (CALL) to mobile-assisted language learning (MALL) (Sung, Chang, &Yang, 2015). Many MALL studies aimed at investigating the effectiveness of mobile vocabulary learning, as can be suggested by meta-analysis research comparing empirical studies on mobile devices for language learning (Burston, 2015; Mahdi, 2017; Sung, Chang, &Yang, 2015). While these studies analyzed in general have indicated a medium effect of using mobile devices on vocabulary learning, most of them adopted a between-subject design, often with the control group participating in paper-based learning without devices. Such design would prevent all participants from choosing the devices of their preference. Although the effectiveness of mobile vocabulary learning was well supported by an abundance of research, the issue of learners’ preferences for devices has yet been sufficiently addressed. Stockwell was among the first researchers to explore learners’ preferences for devices. He developed a comprehensive research design and has conducted multiple studies comparing mobile devices and PCs (Stockwell, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2013; Stockwell & Liu, 2015). He provided university students with vocabulary exercises on an online learning platform, and offered them the freedom to use either desktop computers (PCs) or mobile phones, two of the most common technological tools for 1.

(10) computer- or mobile-assisted language learning. The participants completed the vocabulary exercises using either device outside the classroom as they preferred. Despite the technological advancement and increased prevalence of mobile phones over years, Stockwell consistently found a strong preference of students for PCs, which is the most significant finding throughout his studies comparing learning devices.. 1.2. Purpose of the Study Understanding learners’ preferences for a certain type of device enables teachers and material developers to design activities on suitable platforms that can help maximize learning outcomes (Ko, 2017). As previous related studies remain scant, the present study intends to explore learners’ preferences for devices in vocabulary learning. The present study differs itself from the previous ones in two major aspects. First, the present study offered a wider selection of devices. Being the latest empirical investigation on preferences for learning devices, the present study included mobile phones, desktop PCs, laptop PCs, and tablet PCs, all of which are often-used devices in computer- or mobile-assisted language learning in contemporary times. Second, the present study included senior high school students in Taiwan as participants. Stockwell’s studies mostly recruited Japanese university students, with an only exception being Stockwell and Liu’s study in 2015. However, Taiwanese university students’ low usage of mobile phones in the study made it difficult to draw valid conclusions. An inclusion of Taiwanese students, especially high school students, may generate different results compared to Stockwell’s studies, as high school students are supposed to be more accustomed to and familiar with using mobile devices. The present study aims to look into Taiwanese senior high school students’ preferences for devices in vocabulary learning. The study wishes to add more 2.

(11) empirical evidence to relevant research comparing learning devices in vocabulary learning, and to provide some implications on integrating learning devices into vocabulary learning for Taiwanese senior high school teachers.. 3.

(12) CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW. The review of the literature in this chapter covers research on mobile-assisted language learning and mobile-assisted vocabulary learning as theoretical background of the present study. Previous empirical studies comparing learning devices for vocabulary learning will also be reviewed and discussed to provide guidance for research design and execution of the present study. Finally, based on the literature reviewed, the chapter will identify the research gap that the present study intends to address, and will explain how it differs from previous studies.. 2.1. Mobile-assisted Language Learning Mobile devices have played an important role in language learning and acquisition. Mobile-assisted language learning (MALL) can be regarded as the use of “mobile technologies in language learning, especially in situations where device portability offers specific advantages” (Kukulska-Hulme, 2013, p.3701). Different from computer-assisted language learning (CALL), MALL features devices that are easily portable and can be personalized for individual needs (Kukulska-Hulme & Shield, 2008). Such features have allowed learners to learn individually or collaboratively, in formal or in non-formal learning contexts, and without limitations of time and space (Cheng & Chung, 2008), which all help to increase and expand learners’ learning opportunities. The effectiveness of MALL for language learning and acquisition has been widely investigated. Innovative concepts such as mobile learning (m-learning) and ubiquitous learning (u-learning) were proposed and integrated in language learning, carried out by various mobile devices, including mobile phones, smartphones, 4.

(13) personal digital assistants (PDAs), MP3/MP4 players, and tablet PCs (Burston, 2015; Kukulska-Hulme & Shield, 2008). Much relevant research has been done based on specific language skills targeted, the usability of the device, learners’ learning stages, different hardware and software used, teaching methods adopted, and so on (Burston, 2013, 2015; Duman, Orhon, & Gedik, 2015; Sung, Chang, &Yang, 2015). In terms of language skills, MALL has been proven effective in reading skills (Chang & Hsu, 2011; Lan, Sung, & Chang, 2007, 2009), writing skills (Hwang, Chen, Shadiev, Huang, & Chen, 2014; Liu & Tsai, 2013), and listening and speaking skills (Liu, 2009; Liu & Chu, 2010). As for vocabulary acquisition, many empirical studies so far have supported the notion that learners can benefit from mobile-assisted vocabulary learning (Cavus & Ibrahim, 2009; Cheng & Chung, 2008; Chen, Hsieh, & Kinshuk, 2008; Lu, 2008; Uosaki, Ogata, Sugimoto, Li, & Hou, 2012; Wong & Looi, 2010).. 2.2. Mobile-assisted Vocabulary Learning Utilizing mobile devices for vocabulary learning has received most attention among all the related MALL studies (Burston, 2013, 2015; Godwin-Jones, 2011; Sung, Chang, &Yang, 2015). Many empirical studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of mobile devices for vocabulary learning by adopting experimental designs and comparing learning outcomes between experimental groups and control groups. Learners were often randomly assigned to either group, receiving treatments that were investigated by the studies. Since the emergence of MALL, experimental studies have been conducted concerning whether mobile devices or mobile integration would benefit learners as well as or more than traditional paper-based learning could (Lu, 2008; Suwantarathip & Orawiwatnakul, 2015; Thornton & Houser, 2005; Wu, 2018; Zhang, 2011; Zhou & Yadav, 2017). For example, Thornton and Houser (2005) e-mailed English vocabulary 5.

(14) lessons to 44 Japanese university students on their mobile phones. Compared to those receiving same lessons printed on papers or on desktop PC web pages, students learning on their mobile phones performed significantly better in the post-test. Lu (2008) divided 30 Taiwanese high school students into two groups, and provided them with SMS (Short Message Service) vocabulary lessons or paper-based vocabulary lessons. Students receiving SMS lessons on their mobile phones recognized more vocabulary after the lessons than those in paper-based ones. Zhang (2011) engaged 50 Chinese university students in SMS vocabulary learning and another 50 students in paper-based vocabulary learning, with the former students achieving significantly higher scores for the post-test. Suwantarathip and Orawiwatnakul (2015) provided new words and dictations in class for 80 university students. 40 of them were assigned into experimental group doing SMS vocabulary exercises while the others were assigned into control group doing the same exercises on paper. Students doing SMS exercises outperformed the control group in vocabulary knowledge after the experiment. In order to explore the effects of multimedia story reading and questioning strategies on preschool children’s literacy skills and vocabulary acquisition, Zhou and Yadav (2017) recruited 74 children aged five in the United States. They were randomly assigned to multimedia or paper story reading with or without questions. The multimedia story reading groups were provided with touch-interactive mobile devices. For learners not receiving questions when reading, the multimedia story reading group performed significantly better than paper story reading group in vocabulary post-test. For those who received questions when reading, however, performances from the multimedia group and the paper group were equally well. Recently in Taiwan, Wu (2018) recruited 32 university freshmen for game‐based vocabulary learning and another 30 for traditional paper-based vocabulary learning. Students assigned to game‐based vocabulary learning 6.

(15) outperformed their counterparts after a semester. Generally, these studies proved that learning vocabulary on mobile devices can benefit learners more than paper-based learning. In addition to comparing the effects between mobile-assisted and paper-based vocabulary learning, some experimental studies also have investigated the application of mobile devices (Ç akmak, F., & Erçetin, G., 2018; Chen, Hsieh, & Kinshuk, 2008; Lin & Yu, 2017; Sandberg, Maris, & de Geus, 2011; Uosaki, Ogata, Sugimoto, Li, & Hou, 2012; Vatalaro, Culp, Hahs-Vaughn, & Barnes, 2018). For instance, in the Netherlands, Sandberg, Maris, and de Geus (2011) engaged 75 fifth graders in English lessons about zoo animals, and divided them into one control group and two experimental groups. All groups took lessons at school while the experimental groups additionally visited a public zoo and used mobile application to learn the English words about zoo animals. The first experimental group handed back the mobile phones right after the visit; the second experimental group were allowed to keep the mobile phones for two weeks. The results showed that the second experimental group improved the most. Lin and Yu (2017) explored the effectiveness of learning English vocabulary presented in different modes in MMS (Multimedia Message Service) messages. 32 Taiwanese high school students were presented four sets of target words on their mobile phones, including text mode, text-picture mode, text-sound mode, and text-picture-sound mode. No significant effects were found on vocabulary gains among different presentation modes. However, text-picture-sound mode had a better effect on vocabulary retention among all modes, and significantly reduced the students’ cognitive load of learning new words. Ç akmak and Erçetin (2018) in Turkey also investigated the effects of gloss type on incidental vocabulary learning on 88 university freshmen. When using mobile devices to listen to narrative texts, the students were assigned to four groups: no gloss group, text group, picture group, and 7.

(16) text-and-picture group. All three gloss groups performed better on vocabulary recognition than no gloss group, with no significant differences observed among gloss types. In sum, the previous studies supported that using mobile devices could increase the effectiveness of vocabulary learning. While many mobile-assisted vocabulary learning studies investigated the effectiveness of vocabulary learning, they often adopted a between-subject experimental design. Learners were often assigned to mobile-based learning or paper-based learning, or assigned to a particular learning method using mobile devices. During the experiments, learners could not access the learning activities or exercises using the devices as they preferred.. 2.3. Empirical Studies Comparing Devices in Vocabulary Learning While many studies explored the effectiveness of MALL in vocabulary learning as mentioned above, few of them compared different learning devices or looked into students’ preferences for devices. Some exceptions include comparison studies mostly conducted by Stockwell, who offered participants the freedom to choose devices from PCs and mobile phones while completing vocabulary learning activities on an online learning platform (Stockwell, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2013; Stockwell & Liu, 2015). This section introduces Stockwell’s studies from early to recent times, and summarizes the findings that offer valuable insights for the present study. Empirical studies comparing devices in vocabulary learning could be found as early as in 2007. Stockwell (2007) designed an online vocabulary learning system to investigate the feasibility of vocabulary learning on mobile phones. 11 advanced English learners at a university in Japan participated in the study, with the freedom to complete an activity through their mobile phones or PCs. The results showed that five students had tried using mobile phones, with one of them using mobile phones more 8.

(17) often. Vocabulary activities accessed by mobile phones generally took longer time to complete. More than half of the students considered PCs to be a better tool for learning vocabulary. Small screen and high cost of mobile phones and noisy environment on transportation were the concerns raised by those preferring PCs. As a small scale preliminary study, it indicated students’ strong preference for PCs, but also suggested a potential to provide mobile-based vocabulary learning activities. Stockwell (2008) further refined the research design by including a larger number of participants—75 Japanese university students—and by exploring when and where they completed the vocabulary learning activities on mobile phones. The results showed that 33.3% of the students had tried using mobile phones. They thought that mobile phones could be used anywhere and in their own free time. They also thought that it would be faster to use mobile phones because it required no boot-up time as PCs did. In contrast, for those who had not used mobile phones, their concerns were mainly the cost, the small screen size, and the keypad of mobile phones. Other concerns such as uncertainty about how to complete vocabulary learning activities via mobile phones were also raised. Among the students who used mobile phones to complete the activities, they did them while they were commuting (79.1%), when they were at the university (29.2%), when they were at home (20.8%), and while they were waiting for friends (12.5%). Stockwell (2010) then recruited 80, 50, and 45 pre-intermediate Japanese university students in three consecutive years. The study looked more closely into quantitative data such as the scores achieved in activities and the amount of time taken to complete the activities. The results showed that the percentage of students using mobile phones (40%) was slightly higher than that in the 2008 study (33.3%). No significant difference was found in scores achieved by both devices. However, it. 9.

(18) took 1.4 more minutes to complete an activity when students used mobile phones. The 2010 study provided more informative data regarding the performance of the devices. The following study was done in 2013, with a particular focus on when and where the vocabulary learning activities were completed, the amount of time taken, and the scores achieved. During the time when the study was conducted, the number of smartphone users had gradually increased. Among the 50 pre-intermediate Japanese university students, 32% of them owned a smartphone. Vocabulary activities were provided to help students better prepare for class quizzes. The results showed that only 28% of the students had used mobile phones to complete the activities. It took similar amount of time to complete an activity using smartphones and cellphones, while using PCs took 1.5 minutes less. Activities accessed by PCs were completed when the students were at home (52.5%) or at the university (44.1%). Activities accessed by mobile phones were completed when the students were at home (43.9%), at the university (25.5%), or on transportation (15.4%). Stockwell’s latest research was conducted in 2015 with a Taiwanese scholar. Although it was a replicate of the 2010 study, the 2015 study was different in three ways. First, smartphone, instead of cellphone, became a dominant mobile device at the time of the study (Stockwell & Liu, 2015). Its sensitive touch screen and larger screen size, in contrast to keypads and smaller screen of cellphones, could allow text inputting and reading to be easier. Secondly, the study included Taiwanese university students as well. People in Taiwan have high ownership of smartphones or mobile devices as it has been one of the major producers of mobile phones. The country is also very prolific in mobile learning research, making it worthwhile to study learners’ preferences for mobile devices. Third, instruments for data collection became various, including server logs of the learning system, post surveys, and semi-structured interviews. The study recruited 39 Japanese and 121 Taiwanese university freshmen, 10.

(19) whose smartphone ownership was 74.3% and 87.3% respectively. The vocabulary activities applied in previous studies were updated and provided for the students. The results showed that 61.5% of the Japanese students had used mobile phones, while the percentage was only 5.8% among Taiwanese students. Japanese students’ mobile phone usage had increased compared to previous studies, while Taiwanese students’ mobile phone usage was extremely low, indicating little interest in using the device. Stockwell argued that it was because Taiwanese students took those vocabulary activities as additional supplements without the absolute necessity to complete, whereas Japanese students regarded the activities as part of the learning materials. In terms of the scores achieved and the time taken, whether using mobile phones or PCs, the students achieved similar scores. It took 0.8 more minutes to complete an activity when students used their mobile phones. Post surveys and semi-structured interviews revealed that many Japanese and Taiwanese students considered the screen of their mobile phones too small to read comfortably. The small font size prevented them from keeping the device at a proper distance away when reading. Some students also reported that they had never considered using mobile phones or that they thought using mobile phones was not a good way to learn, showing that there were still some psychological barriers to using the device for vocabulary learning. To sum up, Stockwell’s comparison studies on learning devices have offered rich quantitative and qualitative information about students’ learning behaviors. He recruited university students and provided them vocabulary activities that could be completed by using mobile phones or PCs. The collected data included students’ preferences for devices, their perceptions of using the two devices, differences in scores achieved and time taken, and locations where an activity was completed. Overall, the majority of the students preferred PCs over mobile phones. The studies raised some practical limitations of using mobile phones for vocabulary learning, such 11.

(20) as small screen size, high cost, input method, and small font size (Stockwell, 2007, 2008, 2013). Despite this, mobile phone usage had increased in Stockwell’s studies with the rise of smartphone ownership (Stockewell & Liu, 2015). Whether using their mobile phone or PC, students achieved similar scores on the vocabulary activities, indicating no differences in students’ performance based on their actual use of devices. Although it took longer to complete an activity using mobile phones, the time was gradually shortened as more students used smartphones instead of cellphones (Stockewell & Liu, 2015). While the students preferring PC mainly used it for vocabulary learning at home or at the university, those preferring their mobile phone mainly used it for vocabulary learning at home, at the university, or on transportation.. 2.4. The Present Study The above-reviewed mobile-assisted vocabulary learning studies have supported the idea that using mobile devices can benefit language learners’ vocabulary learning. The effectiveness of mobile-assisted vocabulary learning has been proved by many empirical studies as discussed earlier. However, the often-adopted between-subject experimental design in these studies would prevent learners from choosing a certain device they prefer to use, and might therefore limit their potential to achieve better learning outcomes. Research comparing learning devices in mobile-assisted vocabulary learning needs more attention as it can provide valuable pedagogical implications for language learning. Designing mobile vocabulary learning actives that can be done on different devices at the same time is important. It can allow learners to adopt suitable learning strategies or methods that cater to their different needs and learning habits in real learning environments. Therefore, the present study hopes to fill that gap and provide empirical support for relevant research. Previous Stockwell’s studies offered students’ the freedom to choose PCs and 12.

(21) mobile phones while they were engaged in vocabulary learning (Stockwell, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2013; Stockwell & Liu, 2015). Results from the Japanese university students consistently showed that they preferred PCs to mobile phones. The findings revealed that many students were basically reluctant to use mobile phones for vocabulary learning. However, such finding may not be generalized to Taiwanese senior high school students nowadays. Currently, mobile phone ownership has exceeded 100% among people aged over 12 in Taiwan, according to a nationwide sample survey conducted in Taiwan (National Communications Commission, 2017). As senior high school students were born later, it can be inferred that they have started using mobile phones at an earlier growing stage, and should thus be more used to and familiar with the device. They are likely to have more experiences of mobile integration in learning environments. In addition, technological advancement through time has tackled the problems such as small screen size, keypad and inputting methods mentioned in previous studies (Stockwell, 2007, 2008, 2013), which may lead to higher willingness to use mobile devices for learning. Different devices such as laptop PCs and tablet PCs are also likely to be more widely applied for learning than they were before. Therefore, the present study would like to recruit Taiwanese senior high school students as participants, and to expand the types of devices investigated. Previous Stockwell’s studies provide sufficient theoretical design and serve as important references for the present study to follow. The present study seeks to integrate vocabulary learning into a web-based learning platform with a wider selection of devices used. The platform can be accessed by any kinds of devices, enabling students to choose the one they prefer. The present study would like to understand what students’ most preferred type of device is and whether there are performance differences among different devices. In addition, while the majority of 13.

(22) the studies discussed previously included university students as participants, the present study targets high school students, whose characteristics of mobile-assisted vocabulary learning may be different from those older learners. The purpose of the study is to investigate Taiwanese senior high school students’ preferences for devices in mobile-assisted vocabulary learning. Five research questions guide the study: 1. What type of device do students use most frequently when doing online vocabulary exercises? 2. Are there any differences in the scores achieved in the exercises by using different devices? 3. Are there any differences in the time required to complete the exercises by using different devices? 4. Where do the students complete the exercises with different devices? 5. What are the reasons for preferring a certain type of device over others?. 14.

(23) CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY. 3.1. Participants 111 11th graders were recruited to participate in the present study for four weeks. The students were from three intact classes at a senior high school in northern Taiwan. The students consisted of 54 males and 57 females and were at the age of 16 or 17. They had received formal English instructions for eight years since elementary school. They were screened to the senior high school based on the results of the national entrance examination two years ago. As they became 11th graders, they were randomly chosen into the classes by their preferences for either science-related subjects or art-related subjects. Their English proficiency level ranged from low intermediate to intermediate based on the scores of tests and examinations, the difficulty level of the textbook used, and the judgment from their English teacher with years of teaching experience. Normally, the students had English classes four times a week, with each class lasting 50 minutes. In class, each student received formal English education with unified textbooks. The textbook was approved by the Ministry of Education and selected by the teachers at school. In each unit of the text book, a reading passage, a list of target words, and two sentence patterns were taught. The students learned 25 to 40 target words from each unit. The KK phonetic symbols, parts of speech, Chinese meanings, brief definitions in English, morphological derivations, and example sentences were provided for the target words. Based on the teacher’s teaching experience and observation in class, the students devoted the majority of their effort to learning and reviewing the target words in the textbook. A preliminary survey on the students’ accessibility to mobile phones, desktop 15.

(24) PCs or other devices was conducted by the teacher in class. Only two of the students did not own a mobile phone. Most of them had a desktop or laptop PC at home. Few had a tablet PC. The students had experiences in using their mobile phones for individual or cooperative in-class learning activities of subjects other than English at school from time to time. They also had experiences in using PC at school or at home to complete individual assignments or group projects.. 3.2. Vocabulary Exercises A set of vocabulary exercises was posted on Moodle, a free online learning platform. The vocabulary exercises were designed to consolidate the students’ learning of the target words. A total of 37 words from one unit were included in the exercises. Each word was repetitively shown in different exercises to ensure that the students would review the word several times and achieve a better learning outcome. Each exercise contained ten vocabulary questions and could be completed within a few minutes. The score of an exercise ranged from zero to ten, and each question weighed one point. There were six vocabulary exercises, and they were in five types. The former three exercises consisted of vocabulary recognition questions, including choosing the correct Chinese definition for the English word seen, choosing the correct English word for the Chinese definition seen, and choosing the correct Chinese definition for the English word heard. The latter three exercises consisted of vocabulary production questions, including spelling the English word heard, and spelling the English word to complete a gapped sentence. The fifth and sixth exercises were the same type. The design of the questions was similar to that of the questions in Stockwell’s previous studies. Sample questions are provided in Appendix A. While the students learned the target words from the teacher in class, they were encouraged to access Moodle to do the vocabulary exercises on their own out of class. 16.

(25) A brief introduction was given before the teaching of the unit to make sure they would understand how to login to Moodle and complete exercises, and then they would be able to practice alone by using their mobile phone, desktop PC, laptop PC or tablet PC regardless of time and place. They were told that the exercises were for practice rather than for tests, and that the scores of the exercises would not be included in the assessment of their learning. They could practice any exercise multiple times until they understood each question and achieved a satisfying result. In other words, the students could decide freely on whether to do the vocabulary exercises, which exercise to do, which tool to use, where to practice, when to practice, and how many times to practice.. 3.3. Data Collection and Analysis 3.3.1. The Server Log The data were collected through the server logs on Moodle. When a student completed an exercise, an entry was kept in the server logs. Multiple entries were kept when a student made more than one attempt on the same exercise. An entry included the following information: the type of exercise, the starting date and time, the finishing date and time, the amount of time taken, the scores of an exercise, the device used, and the location where an attempt was made. All the information was recorded without the need for intervention, except for the device and the location, which were presented in checklist format for the students to self-complete following each attempt. The items on the device checklist included mobile phones, desktop PCs, laptop PCs, and tablet PCs. The items on the location checklist included public places (such as classroom, school campus, library, restaurant, plaza, etc.), private places (such as home, study room, living room, dormitory, etc.) and transportation (such as car, bus, MRT, train, etc.). 17.

(26) After the four-week duration of the experiment, the server logs were retrieved from Moodle to further analyze the students’ learning behavior. The entries in the data were first categorized to make a general comparison of the students’ preferences for different devices. The categories were mobile phones, desktop PCs, laptop PCs, and tablet PCs. Statistical figures such as the average scores obtained from the exercises and the average time taken to complete the exercises were then calculated to determine if there were any differences among the devices used. In each category, the locations where the students completed vocabulary exercises were also investigated to find out if there were any relationships between devices and locations.. 3.3.2. Semi-structured Interview The semi-structured interview was conducted to better understand the students’ subjective learning experiences and their learning behaviors. Those who showed strong preference for a certain device or completed more exercises on Moodle were selected and invited to have an interview with the researcher. The guided questions were developed in order to gain insights into the students’ perceptions of doing vocabulary exercises on Moodle, and to elicit more qualitative data to explore their individual preferences for devices. The students were interviewed about whether they decided to do the vocabulary exercises on Moodle, their perceptions of the usefulness of the vocabulary exercises on Moodle, their preferred devices and locations, and the reasons for their preferences. The interview was conducted in the students’ mother tongue, Mandarin Chinese, to allow them to express themselves clearly and communicate at ease. The guided questions for the interview are provided in Appendix B. The students’ responses to the questions were recorded during the interview. The audio recordings were transcribed for further analysis. The transcript data were read 18.

(27) and organized by the researcher. The students’ responses were categorized or coded based on the themes emerging from the data. Later, interpretations of the data were presented to account for the students’ perceptions of the vocabulary exercises and their preferences for different tools. To ensure the accuracy of categorization and the appropriateness of interpretations, the researcher revisited the transcript several times. The researcher also invited some students or colleagues to help look over the results of the qualitative data. They could help confirm whether the excerpts from the transcripts were properly translated, and provide suggestions regarding whether the interpretations of the qualitative data were subjective and should be modified accordingly.. 19.

(28) CHAPTER 4 RESULTS. The results of the analysis of the data collected from the server logs on Moodle and from the interviews with the students are presented. The descriptive statistics from the server logs include a general description of all the exercises completed on Moodle, the scores achieved and the time spent by different devices, and the locations where the students completed the exercises. The interview data include students’ overall perceptions of the exercises on Moodle, their preferred type of device, the reasons for their preference, and the locations where they often completed the exercises.. 4.1. Descriptive Statistics from the Server Logs 4.1.1. General Description of the Completion of the Exercises During the experiment, the students were encouraged, but not required, to access Moodle and complete these vocabulary exercises that were designed to facilitate their learning of textbook content. They could do the exercises and preview for the lesson in the textbook before class, or do the exercises after each class to review for what they had learned. They could also do a certain type of exercises many times until they improved on the scores achieved or the time taken. They could decide on which exercise to do, or not to do, using any device as they preferred. Table 1 shows the percentage of the vocabulary exercises completed by the students. 76.6% have done some exercises on Moodle for at least once, with 20.7% completing all the exercises and about 30% to 42% completing less than two thirds of the exercises. 23.4% of the students have not completed any exercise, meaning that they only participated in English classes at school and did not log on to Moodle to do the exercises at all after 20.

(29) class during the experiment.. Table 1. Percentage of exercises completed on Moodle (N = 111) Percentage of exercises completed on Moodle. Number of students. 100. 23 (20.7%). 81-99. 6 (5.4%). 61-80. 8 (7.2%). 41-60. 14 (12.6%). 21-40. 17 (15.3%). 1-20. 17 (15.3%). 0. 26 (23.4%). N. 111. As students were welcomed to do the same exercise multiple times, every attempt made by a student would be counted for the exercise. Table 2 shows the number and percentage of the attempts made by the students with different devices. For those who failed to complete an exercise or answer the device and the location questions following each exercise, their attempts were filtered out. Besides, to obtain a more accurate and consistent result, the data from those who spent a considerably long time on an attempt were also taken out of the analysis. Spending more than ten minutes to complete an exercise, in the present study, would be considered an invalid attempt, according to the judgment of the researcher and the average time information retrieved from the data. The effective number of entries was 324 in total. The data collected from the server logs indicated that the students used mobile phones most often. They have made 217 attempts to complete the vocabulary exercises online with 21.

(30) their mobile phones. Desktop PCs, the second most often used device, contributed to 80 attempts. The least preferred devices were laptop PCs and tablet PCs, with each contributing to 21 and 6 attempts. Whichever exercise the students completed, mobile phones was the most often used device, followed by desktop PCs, laptop PCs and tablet PCs in order of frequency.. Table 2. Percentage of exercises completed on different devices (324 entries) Entries. Exercise 1. Exercise 2. Exercise 3. Exercise 4. Exercise 5. Total. 59. 31. 27. 21. 79. 217. (79.7%). (67.4%). (52.9%). (53.8%). (69.3%). (67.0%). 11. 11. 15. 14. 29. 80. (14.9%). (23.9%). (29.4%). (35.9%). (25.4%). (24.7%). 3. 4. 6. 3. 5. 21. (4.1%). (8.7%). (11.8%). (7.7%). (4.4%). (6.5%). 3. 1. 1. 6. (5.9%). (2.6%). (0.9%). (1.9%). 51. 39. 114. 324. Mobile phone. Desktop PC. Laptop PC. 1 —. Tablet PC (1.4%) Total. 74. 46. 4.1.2. The Scores Achieved and the Time Spent Table 3 and Table 4 show the scores achieved for each exercise and the time taken to complete each exercise on different devices. The scores and time are average figures calculated from the entries for each exercise and for each type of device. The total average score and time are also presented in the tables. The students got an average score of 8.22 for the vocabulary exercises. The differences of scores among devices were slight. No matter which device the students 22.

(31) used, they all achieved similar scores above eight. Among all devices, laptop PCs performed the best, followed by desktop PCs, tablet PCs, and mobile phones. Desktop PCs performed better than mobile phones in all types of exercises. The scores from laptop PCs and tablet PCs, on the other hand, were not very consistent. This was probably because the number of entries for laptop PCs and tablet PCs was small, which led the average scores to vary more widely. In terms of the types of exercises, exercises 1 to 3 had higher scores as they consisted of vocabulary recognition questions and were easier to complete. Exercises 4 to 5, consisting of vocabulary production questions, were more difficult, which therefore resulted in lower scores.. Table 3. Scores achieved for each exercise on different devices Scores. Exercise 1. Exercise 2. Exercise 3. Exercise 4. Exercise 5. Average. Mobile phone. 9.14. 9.48. 9.15. 8.48. 6.28. 8.08. Desktop PC. 9.55. 9.73. 9.33. 8.86. 6.93. 8.46. Laptop PC. 10.00. 9.50. 9.33. 10.00. 5.80. 8.71. Tablet PC. 10.00. —. 8.33. 4.00. 10.00. 8.17. Average. 9.24. 9.54. 9.18. 8.62. 6.46. 8.22. The students spent an average time of 3.30 minutes on the vocabulary exercises. The differences of time among mobile phones, desktop PCs and laptop PCs were slight. It took shorter time for desktop PCs to complete exercises 1 to 4 than mobile phones. On the contrary, it took almost one minute less for mobile phones to complete exercise 5 compared to desktop PCs. As for laptop PCs and tablet PCs, the times for each exercise were again widely-varied, which was probably due to the small number of entries. In terms of the types of exercises, exercises 1 to 2 took shorter time than 23.

(32) exercise 3 because the latter one contained audio files for the words to be played and listened to. Exercise 4 required the students to spell the words heard by typing. Exercise 5 required the students to spell the words to fill in gapped sentences. Both of them would take longer time to complete than the first three exercises, as indicated in Table 4.. Table 4. Time (minutes) spent for each exercise on different devices Time. Exercise 1. Exercise 2. Exercise 3. Exercise 4. Exercise 5. Average. Mobile phone. 1.77. 1.33. 3.55. 4.75. 4.58. 3.24. Desktop PC. 1.58. 1.17. 2.39. 3.93. 5.49. 3.50. Laptop PC. 1.21. 1.08. 2.91. 4.82. 6.38. 3.42. Tablet PC. 0.92. —. 2.83. 3.30. 2.53. 2.54. Average. 1.70. 1.27. 3.09. 4.42. 4.87. 3.30. 4.1.3. The Locations Where the Students Completed the Exercises In terms of the locations where the students logged on to Moodle and completed the exercises online, they preferred to do the vocabulary exercises in private places the most no matter which kind of device they used, as can be seen in Table 5. For the exercises done via mobile phones, 67.7% were done in private places, such as in their own living room or at home, and 28.1% were done in public places, such as in the classroom, in the school campus or in the library. Only 4.1% were done on transportation, such as when they were taking a bus to school. For desktop PCs, private places accounted for 97.5% of the exercises completed. Only 2.5% of the exercises were done in public places. Laptop PCs and tablet PCs were only used in private places. 24.

(33) Table 5. Locations where the students completed the exercises Mobile phone. Desktop PC. Laptop PC. Tablet PC. (217 entries). (80 entries). (21 entries). (6 entries). Public place. 61 (28.1%). 2 (2.5%). —. —. Private place. 147 (67.7%). 78 (97.5). 21 (100%). 6 (100%). Transportation. 9 (4.1%). —. —. —. Location. 4.2. Semi-structured Interview The interviews were conducted to gain more insights into the students’ learning behavior and to support the quantitative data collected from the server logs. 22 students who had completed over 60% of the exercises on Moodle were selected and invited for the interview. All of the interviews were carried out by the researcher one-by-one and face-to-face at school. The students’ responses were transcribed from their audio recordings and then labeled by their class, gender and their last name. In the interviews, the selected students mainly answered questions regarding their perceptions of the vocabulary exercises on the online platform, their preferred devices and locations, and the reasons for their preferences. In general, the students confirmed the usefulness of the vocabulary exercises. Some agreed that doing the exercises helped them better prepare for the quizzes and tests of the textbook unit. Others considered the exercises useful because they could evaluate their learning of the textbook content. Still others said some types of the exercises, such as blank-filling ones, posed certain challenges and made them think more and therefore memorize the target words better. Most interviewed students revealed their willingness to do the vocabulary exercises online to improve their vocabulary 25.

(34) learning. For the preferred type of devices and the locations, most students preferred to use their mobile phones to do the vocabulary exercises in private places. They preferred their mobile phone simply because it was the handiest and most convenient device they owned. They preferred to do the exercises at home mainly because it was a place for them to quiet down and focus on learning, or because their mobile phone had no free WiFi access outside. For example, when asked about the most preferred type of device, a student replied, “I did the exercises when I studied in my room. I always used my mobile phone. It is handy and convenient. I can use it whenever I want to review or practice.” (1-2 Zhang) Another student who preferred using mobile phone for its availability and convenience stated, “The PC at home is owned by my parents. They need it when working. I choose to use my mobile phone because I can get it and start practicing whenever I want. It is just lying next to me. Besides, it takes some time for the PC to start up, while my mobile phone is always turned on.” (1-1 Cai) Only a few students preferred to use their mobile phones on their way to school or home, saying, “I used my mobile phone to do the exercises when I took a bus to school or back home. I could complete two exercises on a single ride.” (2-1 Jiang) For the students who preferred to use desktop PCs or laptop PCs at home, they usually used computers for school work or entertainments more often than their peers. For instance, student who had no mobile phones and used desktop PC at home almost every day said, “I did the exercises on Moodle during the time when I turned on my computer and played some games.” (3-1 Xie) Another student who used laptop PC and tablet PC to complete the exercises, replied, “I usually use the computer on weekends. After I finish my own things or schoolwork, I would sometimes get access to Moodle and do some practices as well.” (3-1 Wang) When interviewed about whether there were any difficulties regarding using 26.

(35) mobile phones, such as screen size, font size, screen scrolling, and so on, the majority of the students reported no difficulty in using their mobile phone to access the online platform and complete the vocabulary exercises. Exceptions existed, however. A student who preferred to use desktop PC thought that “the computer screen is much bigger, and the words are bigger and easier to read.” (1-2 Cheng) Another student who took the vocabulary exercises seriously said, “I preferred desktop PC for its bigger screen. I did not like to use my mobile phone to do practices like these. I usually use computer for homework or school assignments like these.” (2-1 Zheng) In sum, although students were generally comfortable with using their mobile phone to do the vocabulary exercises, some would still prefer to use other type of devices, such as desktop PCs, for their own reasons.. 27.

(36) CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION. In this chapter, the major findings of the present study are presented and discussed, followed by pedagogical implications derived from the study. The limitations of the present study and suggestions for future research will also be provided. Last, a brief summary of the study will be given as conclusion.. 5.1. Major Findings and Discussion 5.1.1. Preferring Using Mobile Phones for Vocabulary Learning The results of the server logs showed that the students used their mobile phones far more often than PCs. This finding differed greatly from the previous ones in Stockwell’s studies, in which the university students’ preferred using PCs the most (Stockwell, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2013; Stockwell & Liu, 2015). Such difference might result from the fact that university students are more likely to own a personal computer than high school students. In the present study, some students had limited access to PCs as they often belonged either to their elder siblings or their working parents, according to the results of the interview. As they were still teenage adolescents studying at local high schools, a personal computer for academic purposes would not be as necessary to them as it would be to university students. Compared to PCs, mobile phones, especially smartphones, were the device that these students commonly owned. The smartphone ownership of the students was nearly 100% in the present study, compared to 74.3% for the Japanese students and 87.3% for the Taiwanese students in Stockwell and Liu’s 2015 study years ago. Since smartphone was the device that an overwhelming majority of the high school students owned nowadays in Taiwan, preferring mobile phones to other types of devices would be an 28.

(37) expected result. Generally, the high ownership of mobile phones and low availability of other types of devices contributed to the high school students’ strong preferences for mobile phones. They preferred mobile phones because they used it much more often than any other type of devices in their daily lives. According to the interviews with students, many of them did not reveal any interest in using other devices during the experiment, nor did they have all kinds of devices at home, especially laptop PCs and tablet PCs. They considered using their mobile phones the fastest and most convenient way to complete a vocabulary exercise. Some even took it for granted that the exercises should be done on mobile phones as it has been the most widely-used tool in modern life, while some also considered turning on a computer to be time-wasting. The students in the present study were easily accustomed to mobile-assisted vocabulary learning.. 5.1.2. Slight Performance Difference among Devices In terms of the scores achieved and the time spent on the exercises completed via different tools, mobile phones did not hold any particular advantage in both aspects. The students did nearly equally well whether they used their mobile phones or PCs. However, as the number of entries for laptop PCs and tablet PCs were much smaller than that of entries for mobile phones and desktop PCs, the data collected from the server logs would not be sufficient enough to infer whether there were differences of the scores achieved and the time spent in these two devices compared to mobile phones or desktop PCs. If we compare the performance only between mobile phones and desktop PCs, the differences are small. Results in Table 3 showed that the students using mobile phones achieved a score a little lower than that achieved by the students using desktop 29.

(38) PCs. Such finding was similar to Stockwell and Liu’s 2015 study. The average figures in Table 4 showed that the students spent 0.26 minutes less on mobile phones than on desktop PCs, which was contrary to Stockwell’s findings (Stockwell, 2010, 2013; Stockwell & Liu, 2015). It was inferred that students have gradually become used to mobile phones over time. The gap has been closed from 1.4 minutes in Stockwell’s 2010 study to 0.8 minutes in Stockwell and Liu’s 2015 study. In the present study, the gap between mobile phones and desktop PCs could also likely be closed, or even reversed, as the results suggested.. 5.1.3. Private Places as the Most Preferred Location As for locations and the preferred type of devices, the results of the interviews were consistent with the quantitative data. That is, the students most often completed the vocabulary exercises with their mobile phones in private places—when they were studying at home. The finding was similar to Stockwell’s 2013 study, in which both PC users and mobile phone users most often did the vocabulary activities at home. The percentage of the present study, nevertheless, was higher than the previous one, meaning the students less often did the vocabulary exercises outside elsewhere, even when they were at school. Interestingly, whichever device the students used, they did the vocabulary exercises mostly at home. Despite the advantages such as small size and easy portability that allowed the device to be taken with the users anywhere they could go, mobile phones in the present study were still much more frequently used in private places compared to public places or even transportations, as can be shown in Table 5. In addition, no matter where a vocabulary exercise was done, mobile phones would invariably be the most preferred type of device for the students.. 30.

(39) 5.1.4. No Discomfort with Mobile Phones Problems such as small screen, high cost, input method, and small font size of mobile devices (Stockwell, 2007, 2008, 2013) did not negatively affect the students, with only few exceptions found in the interviews. Once the above-mentioned limitations were overcome both by mobile technology advancement and by users’ adaptation to mobile devices, the students in the present study would reveal a welcoming attitude toward using mobile phones for vocabulary learning. The high school students in the present study, born in the time when mobile technology is much more advanced, should be more familiar with and used to using mobile phones, which led to the extensive use of the device, including using it to get online and do vocabulary exercises.. 5.2. Pedagogical Implications Three pedagogical implications could be drawn from the findings of the present study. First, to assist high school student’s vocabulary learning out of class, language instructors can provide online vocabulary exercises that are quick to complete. Designing structurally simple vocabulary exercises for practice can cater to students’ preferences for using mobile phones. Compared to traditional paper-based quizzes or tests that may take from ten to 30 minutes or longer to finish in class, online vocabulary exercises contain fewer questions and can be done within a few minutes. The exercises can also be used as supplementary learning materials for students to evaluate their learning and to prepare for class tests and quizzes. Secondly, as the students in the present study tended to use the device that they were accustomed to and familiar with, there would not be much need to assign a certain device to be used. When promoting mobile integration in vocabulary teaching and learning, teachers can have less worry or concern for choosing a certain type of 31.

(40) device for students, and can provide students the freedom to choose any device they would like to use. As the present study shows, all devices achieved similar results in terms of the scores and the time. The high school students, according to the results in the present study, most often used their mobile phones, because they owned the device and had less convenient access to other devices. For those who preferred desktop PCs, they usually had a more frequent usage of desktop PCs than other classmates, which suggested that they were more familiar with using the device than their peers. However, no matter which device they used, the performance in terms of the scores achieved and the time spent were not very much different. Therefore, students engaged in vocabulary exercises similar to the ones in the present study can be free to choose any device, depending on their own needs and preferences. Finally, high school students are willing to use their mobile phones for learning. Based on an informal survey conducted before the experiment in the present study, the students revealed that they had experiences in using their mobile phones for in-class learning activities individually or cooperatively in high school. During the interview, only one student expressed reluctance to use mobile phone to do the vocabulary exercises. He considered the exercises as schoolwork and he usually did such schoolwork using a computer. For other students interviewed, they stated that they were willing to use their mobile phones to do the exercises, even though mobile phones might not be the most preferred device for some of them. Psychological barriers preventing the students to use mobile phones as mentioned in the previous studies (Stockwell, 2008; Stockwell & Liu, 2015) were less frequently observed in the present study. The students’ practical experiences of and their welcoming attitude toward using mobile phones for learning activities could help promote mobile integration in their learning. It can be suggested that parents, school teachers, material developers and other roles involved in educational decision making consider the 32.

(41) practical use of mobile devices in facilitating students’ vocabulary learning.. 5.3. Limitations of the Present Study and Suggestions for Future Research Some limitations should be noted regarding the present study. First, the present study recruited 11th graders in a public high school in northern Taiwan. The findings may not be generalized to other context and settings, such as in schools elsewhere or in students at a different learning stage. It is suggested that more studies adopting similar research methods be replicated in other parts of Taiwan and in students of different ages in the future to see whether the findings would be consistent. Secondly, the entries of the data collected from the server logs were not satisfying enough. Relevant studies in Stockwell’s research all collected over ten thousand entries (Stockwell, 2010, 2013; Stockwell & Liu, 2015). As Stockwell’s studies normally lasted from a semester to an academic year and included a complete course consisting of multiple units, much more data could be collected for analysis. On the contrary, the four-week investigation on vocabulary exercises for a single textbook unit in the present study might not be adequate enough to collect sufficient data. Maybe the students needed longer time to get used to the online learning platform or form a habit of doing the exercises regularly with their preferred devices. The small number of entries would make it difficult to draw valid conclusions or appropriate inferences. It is suggested that relevant studies in the future be conducted for a longer time. In addition, the present study did not deal with those who had not done any exercises at all. They were usually lower-achievers or less motivated learners in English. To help enhance their willingness to do the exercises, the teacher could survey these students for their opinions about the online learning platform and the exercises, and then provide proper guidance and encourage for them to utilize the 33.

(42) exercises to assist their learning. By doing so, the usage of the online learning platform would be improved, and more data could also be collected as a result. Finally, the usefulness of the vocabulary exercises was perceived and recognized by the students interviewed, not proved by the results of any standard achievement tests. Including control group participants and pre- and post-tests in the research method can solve the problem, if further studies will be carried out in the future. The control group participants will receive the same lessons and take the same tests as the experimental group participants will do, only without having any access to the online vocabulary exercises during the experiment.. 5.4. Conclusion As a preliminary investigation in the context of high schools in Taiwan, the present study explores students’ preferences for devices in mobile-assisted vocabulary learning. The students’ high ownership of mobile phone and its immediate availability contributed to their being accustomed to mobile lives. They regarded completing vocabulary exercises one of the many things their mobile phones could easily do. Their welcoming attitude toward mobile phones determined their preference for mobile phones over other devices, which in turn facilitated their acceptance of mobile integration in their learning.. 34.

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(47) APPENDIX A Vocabulary Exercise Sample Questions 1.. 讀英文選中文 Students will read a word and chose the correct Chinese meaning.. 2.. (. ). apparent. A. 明顯的. B. 著名的. C. 傳統的. D. 龐大的. (. ). range. A. 戲劇. B. 決定. C. 範圍. D. 存在. 讀中文選英文 Students will read a Chinese meaning and chose the correct word.. 3.. (. ). 關心. A. suggestion B. instance. C. regard. D. inquiry. (. ). 明顯的. A. distinct. C. vast. D. renowned. B. former. 聽英文選中文 Students will listen to a word and choose the correct Chinese meaning.. 4.. (. ) ancestor. A. 範圍. B. 決定. C. 祖先. D. 感情. (. ). A. 明顯的. B. 特殊的. C. 龐大的. D. 著名的. vast. 聽英文拼單字 Students will listen to a word and spell it by typing on their devices.. 5.. ____________. majority. ____________. convention. 文意字彙 Students will read a gapped sentence, choose a correct word, and spell it by typing on their devices. ____________. This website offers a wide _____ of health foods for customers to choose from.. ____________. The question of how humans first came into _____ has remained a mystery to scientists. 39.

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