Mobile Assisted Language Learning is an intersection between Mobile Learning and Computer Assisted Language Learning. It is also the name of an optional 5 ECTS subject that is studied during the first semester of this master. This subject is offered to provide the students with an opportunity to learn about the perspectives and results of the work undertaken by the research community in the domain of Mobile Assisted Language Learning, and in other neighbouring fields such as incidental learning, gamification, and social learning, to name a few. The subject also has a practical side whereby the functionality of the mobile device for the specific purpose of language learning and the apps that can be stored and used therein are tried out and reflected upon in an interrelated way.
After a few decades of massive use of mobile devices by the general public and their increasing use for educational and training purposes and, particularly, for learning languages, the time is optimum for a specialized subject that focuses in a mosaic-like way on a steady path of mobile technological innovation and second language learning opportunity. This subject deals with the advantages and disadvantages that networked mobile devices and their various applications and related conceptual frameworks can entail for students, and the associated challenges for language teachers.
Although this subject deals with a specialized language learning modality, it is studied in the first semester of the master because mobile technology is a common factor in language learning these days. It is not necessary anymore to make a case for the use of mobile devices in any type of linguistic education/training because they are already being used! All parties involved in the learning process are convinced of their value, as can be witnessed by teachers - and particularly students - walking to and from their classes with just a laptop, tablet PC, or any other mobile device in hand. The affordances of computer- and mobile-assisted language learning are decisive and their use is likely to coexist with conventional methods (and, in some cases, substitute them) in the foreseeable future.
The adoption and integration of mobile learning technology – and the associated pedagogy - is rapidly progressing and not something just limited to the more affluent students (currently there are five times more low cost Android devices connected to the Internet than more expensive Apple iOS ones). Furthermore, modern students are typically already digitally proficient – often more so than their teachers – and confidently expect them to come up with learning activities that are both linguistically and digitally challenging.