Development of Application to Learn Spanish as a Second Language: Lessons Learned
Learning a foreign language is a relevant demand in an increasingly globalized world. The dynamic routine of contemporary society and the ubiquitous situation of mobile devices increase the opportunities to learn foreign languages. However, the educational applications (apps) of foreign languages for mobile learning available nowadays are still not in accordance with the contemporary context and needs of learners. Research shows that it should contemplate multimodality (Kress and Van Leeuwen, Reading images: the grammar of visual design. Routledge, London, 2006), critical reading (Braga, Rev Latinoam Tecnología Educativa 9(2):63–76, 2010), situated learning (Cope and Kalantzis, Multiliteracies: Literacy learning and the design of social futures. Routledge, London, 2003), and the systemic-functional conception of communication (Halliday, Language as social semiotic. Edward Arnold, London, 1978), as presented in Andrade’s thesis (2017). To apply mobile digital technologies in relevant manners to the learning of foreign languages, it is important to pay attention to how these technologies are used in educational contexts. To propose a coherent alternative to the scenario of a contemporary language education, it was designed an application for learning Spanish as a foreign language by Brazilian university students called Vecindario. The technical development was carried out by a multidisciplinary team of researchers in the fields of applied linguistics and computer science. This study examines the main lessons learned in the design process, prototyping and validation with volunteers, with the intention to help future projects that intend to develop educational applications for learning foreign languages like this one.
KeywordsMobile-assisted language learning Spanish language learning Systemic-functional linguistics Mobile learning Multimodality
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