Teacher Perceptions of the Effectiveness of Using Handheld Devices in Saudi EFL Classroom Practices

Sami Al-Mubireek


This study aims to investigate the effectiveness of using handheld devices such as smartphones and tablets for language teaching purposes (Mobile-Assisted Language Learning, or MALL). A questionnaire with a comment section was distributed in order to investigate EFL teachers’ perceptions on including or excluding smartphones and tablets in the EFL learning process. Data were collected through a 5-Likert scale questionnaire in a leading Saudi university. The findings revealed that the majority of teachers claimed to hardly ever use Android System Phones or iPhones (iOS System), Android tablets or iPads (iOS System) in classroom teaching. Importantly, the study found out that there is a statistically significant difference between male and female teachers in terms of which smart device operating system was reported being used. Within the few participants who employed technology, it was found that teachers with less teaching experience were more open to using technological devices in classroom. In addition, the findings showed that a significant number of teachers admitted to rarely using handheld devices in teaching reading, writing, listening, grammar or playing language-learning games. However, the majority of teachers said they sometimes used applications to assign online exercises, share information about the course, provide visual aids, develop the learners’ speaking skills or as a translation tool. Moreover, teachers claimed to employ these devices frequently to teach vocabulary through visual aids when teaching. Teachers also rely heavily on these devices to communicate with students via social networks, and to access textbooks. Overall, teachers did not effectively integrate MALL into completing classroom language-learning activities or practicing language functions or skills.


MALL, instructional technology, smart devices, operating systems

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Copyright (c) 2020 Sami Al-Mubireek

International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning (iJET) – eISSN: 1863-0383
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