Sanna Cedergren and Karin Hellman

Smartphone applications – the future tool for vocabulary learning?


The usage of smartphones has grown extensively over the last years, and so has the services offered to the users. One can interact with other people, play games, surf on the Internet and much more on these small devices that easily can be carried around in a pocket.

There are many ideas about how smartphones can be integrated in schools and learning processes, often defined as mobile learning. This survey aims to study how smartphone applications for vocabulary learning can be used, and what effects it can have on high school students’ learning processes.

In order to receive substantial results we chose to develop a prototype, FlashWords, which we tested on a group of students. Their usage was logged in a database and followed up by a focus group.

The results from the survey showed that students are very positive towards the idea of practicing vocabulary on their smartphones. It was also found that the students practiced more and began earlier when using the application compared to traditional methods. We believe the main reason for this is the smartphone’s portability and the possibility of more spontaneous learning opportunities.