Smartphone Applications as a Teaching Technique for Enhancing Tertiary Learners' Speaking Skills: Perceptions and Practices
Keywords:smartphone applications, teaching technique, tertiary learners, speaking skills, perceptions and practices
Utilizing technology and the Internet to keep up with the 21st century language teaching and learning has become trendy in this digital era, highlighting promising features that are expected to tackle one of the most demanding crucial skills in English as a foreign language (EFL) context; yet a difficult one to master; that is, speaking English accurately, confidently and fluently. This study aims at investigating teachers’ perceptions and the current actual practices of utilizing a package of three categories of smartphone applications as a prescribed teaching technique with the purpose of fostering Saudi tertiary students' oral skills, correlating these perceptions with actual classroom practices. Adopting a mixed-mode approach, the data for this study were gleaned from two data collection instruments– an electronic questionnaire designed using SurveyMonkey as a platform, and encoded data from focus group discussion. On receiving 45 complete responses, the IBM SPSS (V24.0) was used to do the statistics, whereas the data from the discussion were thematically analysed. The findings revealed that the majority of participants have high, inspiring positive perceptions of using smartphone applications in teaching speaking. Based on the data obtained, it is concluded that despite EFL teachers' high positive perceptions of smartphone applications used for promoting adult learners' speaking skills, classroom practices reveal weaknesses and insufficient actual experiences. Pedagogically, the study recommends innovating, implementing, and integrating smartphone applications in teaching oral skills, along with drilling teachers and learners on how to effectively utilize them.
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