JoLIE 4/2011

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David Brett

University of Sassari, Italy






One of the fastest moving sectors of technological development in recent years has been that of mobile devices. Not only have these become smaller and more economical, leading to almost 100% distribution throughout many populations, the range of functions they now offer is extremely wide. Even mobile phones in the middle-low price range now offer functions such as audio and video file reproduction, web browsers, video and still cameras, voice mail etc. alongside the more traditional features such as text messaging and, obviously, the basic telephone function. Workers in the field of second and foreign language learning have not been slow to explore the possibility that mobile devices, and in particular cell phones, may be incorporated into the learning process. Chinnery (2006) provides an overview of work carried out so far. This paper will focus mainly on the creation of standalone interactive exercises for use with mobile phones and their subsequent distribution via the web or wireless technologies, such as Bluetooth. The release of the Flash Lite player by Adobe has created a great deal of excitement amongst software developers for mobile phones. Primarily intended for gaming, it allows much of the functionality normally associated with the Flash player on the desktop computer to be reproduced on the minute screen of the handheld device.

Several examples of its application to language learning will be illustrated:

1)               Text-based interactive vocabulary exercises;

2)               Image-based interactive vocabulary exercises;

3)               Media files with subtitles;

4)               All-in-one listening exercises containing a sound file, interactive quiz and transcription.

Reference will also be made to some of the inherent drawbacks and obstacles, both from a technological and pedagogical point of view.


Keywords: MALL; M-learning; Distance learning; Independent learning; Flash Lite.





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Brett, D. (2005b). Why is the Web such a silent place? Didactic and technical issues relating to the use of sound in CALL materials. In A. Moravcíková, C. Taylor, & T. Vogel (Vol. Eds.), Proceedings of 8th CercleS Conference, 9-11 September 2004. Bratislava: Comenius University in Bratislava.


Brett, D. (2006, September). Conductor: A flash-based tool for the creation of rich and varied CALL material. Paper presented at Eurocall, University of Granada.


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How to cite this article: Brett, D. (2011). Developments in the use of mobile devices for second and foreign language learningJournal of Linguistic and Intercultural Education – JoLIE, 4, 2336. DOI:



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