Mobigam: Language on the move in India

Mobigam is a new research initiative, the first phase of which runs from September 2012 to July 2013, and is funded by the British Academy. The project studies the use of mobile technologies for language learning in the state of Gujarat, India.

Mobile technologies are spreading and evolving rapidly and have enormous potential for language use and language learning. However, at present neither their use nor the factors that influence their use are well-understood. In particular:

  • mobile technologies contribute to digital inclusion in India through their relative cheapness, but how users interact with them is barely researched in the Indian context;
  • there is a tension between the autonomy afforded by mobile technologies and their employment in language learning, which is premature until we understand how mobile technologies are actually used;
  • the shift to mobile technologies and user-generated online content repositions teachers and learners in the learning environment, with under-explored implications for how language learning might happen.

The aim of the Mobigam project is to address this gap in understanding. Our partnership comprises a network of language teachers and researchers in Gujarat and in Leeds. The core team are James Simpson, Richard Badger (both School of Education, University of Leeds), Caroline Dyer (POLIS, University of Leeds), Atanu Bhattachariya (Gandhinagar University, Gujarat) and Sunil Shah (HM Patel Institute, Anand, Gujarat). In the first phase of the project, we are:

  • developing a training programme for research methods appropriate for the context of rural and semi-rural Gujarat;
  • developing and piloting research instruments for studying the use of mobile technologies for language learning in the state;
  • identifying research sites for carrying out such a study.

“Mobi” (mobile) + “gam” (Gujarati for “a rural setting”) = “Mobigam”
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