July 2014
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EFL-IS Primary InterSection with CALL-IS, 2014 TESOL Convention, Portland, Oregon

Claire Bradin Siskin
, Excelsior College, Albany, New York, USA

In my presentation, I described the current state of mobile-assisted language learning in India as well as various projects that are currently taking place.

Mobile phones are very common in India, and phoning and texting are used for communication much more often than email. Very few English teachers and their students have tablets. Some teachers and a few students have smartphones. Among those who do have smartphones, the Samsung Galaxy is the most common model. The use of mobile devices in learning English is not widespread, but awareness of the benefits seems to be growing.

Several initiatives in mobile-assisted language learning are currently taking place in various parts of India. Kalyan Chattopadhyay, of Bankim Sardar College in West Bengal, is well known in India as an advocate of mobile-assisted language learning. He makes use of iPads in a lab setting to support a basic course in English proficiency, business English, and English for academic purposes. His students receive training in how to use the iPads, which they use only in the lab. They use both free and commercial apps. One popular activity is “appmashing,” in which several apps are used together to collect and display information.

Dee Broughton, a senior English language fellow with the Regional English Language Office in New Delhi, leads the Mobile Education for English Teachers project. The purpose of this ingenious project is to provide training materials for English language teachers in rural areas. These teachers have “feature phones” rather than smartphones. She produced videos that show teaching techniques. This content has been pre-loaded and distributed on micro-SD cards that can be viewed on the teachers’ phones. Links to the videos as well as the accompanying textbook in PDF format can be found at http://studydo.asia. This project was funded by the U.S. Department of State and the Regional English Language Office in New Delhi.

In Jodhpur, I participated in a workshop, “Teacher Training and E-Networks for Madrassa English Teachers, 2013–2014,” for 35 English language teachers who work in Madrassa schools throughout India. Croma tablets were distributed to the teachers. I conducted training in how to use the tablets, how to record videos, and how to use email. The objectives were to have the teachers take photographs and make videos of their teaching demonstrations and also to be able to stay in touch via email after the workshop. Even though many of the teachers had never used a computer before, they adopted the tablets readily.

As the middle class in India continues to grow and the demand for English flourishes, I predict that mobile learning will expand rapidly in India in the near future.

Claire Bradin Siskin is an enthusiastic practitioner of computer-assisted language learning. Recently she was a senior English language fellow in India and is now a consultant with Edvista. She currently serves on the TESOL Board of Directors.

Other presenters at this session were Aaron Schwartz, Ohio University, USA (How Mobile Technology and Mobile-Assisted Language Learning Have Taken Hold in a Large Intensive English Program); Paul Daniels, Kochi University of Technology, Japan (Mobile Language Labs in Japan); and Carla Arena de Aquino, Casa Thomas Jefferson, Brazil (From Mobile to Learning). Their presentation articles were not available at press time.

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