Category: Pub: Dissertation
Details: Tabitha Gaylyn Kura McKenzie (2014)
Keywords: , , , , , , ,

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What are the effects of using mobile devices as part of teacher professional development focused on teaching and learning the Māori language for Māori immersion educational settings? Answers to this question are explored by researching the extent to which electronic devices could be an effective strategy to address the crisis of the continuing decline of the Māori language. Another issue explored in the research is whether learners make expected gains in language proficiency through the use of mobile devices in comparison to standard face-to-face methods of language instruction.

An indigenous framework, Hei Korowai, was used to guide the research and ensure the practices used were culturally appropriate, particularly when entering into and negotiating the research project with participants. Kaupapa Māori and Māori centred approaches were also drawn on to gather data from semi-structured interviews, observations of mobile device use, online questionnaires, and Māori language proficiency tests results. Fifty two participants in total took part in the research, 46 from a PLD programme that used mobile devices and 6 from a separate PLD programme that used mainly face-to-face instruction.

What are the effects of using mobile devices as part of teacher professional development focused on teaching and learning the Māori language for Māori immersion educational settings? Answers to this question are explored by researching the extent to which electronic devices could be an effective strategy to address the crisis of the continuing decline of the Māori language. Another issue explored in the research is whether learners make expected gains in language proficiency through the use of mobile devices in comparison to standard face-to-face methods of language instruction.

An indigenous framework, Hei Korowai, was used to guide the research and ensure the practices used were culturally appropriate, particularly when entering into and negotiating the research project with participants. Kaupapa Māori and Māori centred approaches were also drawn on to gather data from semi-structured interviews, observations of mobile device use, online questionnaires, and Māori language proficiency tests results. Fifty two participants in total took part in the research, 46 from a PLD programme that used mobile devices and 6 from a separate PLD programme that used mainly face-to-face instruction.

Evidence suggests that Māori have been quick to adopt and adapt new technologies since the arrival of the early settlers to the shores of Aotearoa. Could technology be the panacea, the cure-all for the revitalisation of the Māori language, a tool that provides access to language, culture and identity to the multitudes? This research tests the hypotheses in the context of two items of modern technology, the iPod Touch® and the iPad®.

The limitations of the research include potential bias in interpretation given the researcher’s insider position, the relatively small scale of the project, and the absence of a widely accepted theoretical framework for mobile learning. Critical questions that still remain are the implications of promoting ‘one Māori language’ for a large-scale programme and the risks in doing so for the preservation of tribal dialect and community identity. This study has, however, begun the conversation about the use of mobile devices in Māori medium educational settings, and it may contribute to an understanding of how to design technologies, media, and interactions to support learning within these settings towards innovative practices.