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Fostering foreign language acquisition in young refugees using mobile devices: The YouRNI project experience

Integration of technology into foreign language learning could extend the opportunities for language contact and better retention in the context of newly arrived refugees in the European countries. Research has shown that technology increases the motivation in foreign language learning and also fosters learner autonomy by allowing the learners to personalise the learning and enables them to self-regulate. The use of mobile technologies for language learning is also in accordance with a constructivist approach that caters for learner involvement and agency in the learning process not only in classrooms but outside the classroom as well. Refugees, asylum seekers and migrants readily have mobile devices at hand which could also be used in the classrooms where they are learning new languages. The teachers should also be able to exploit these devices to develop refugees’ language skills. These reasons have necessitated the YoruRNI project that focuses on the refugee crisis in Europe, giving particular attention to inclusive schooling of asylum seekers and migrants in vocational schools (age 15+). This paper covers the initial findings of the project needs analysis as well as literature review to disseminate best practices on the use of mobile devices and apps in teaching languages of the host countries to the refugees, asylum seekers and migrants.

KEYWORDS: YouRNI project, migrant education, language learning apps, integrating refugees, individual learning, Erasmus +, vocational education and training (VET)

Tuncer Can. DSc in Education. Professor in the ELT Dpt of Istanbul University. On receiving a Fulbright Scholarship (FLTA) in 2005, spent a year at Syracuse University, NY, USA, where he taught Turkish via videoconferencing. Besides training pre-service language teachers, has organised teacher training courses at the Language Centre of Istanbul University since 2007. Has managed and partnered many projects such as Establishing the Virtual Campus of Istanbul University on Second Life funded by Istanbul University Research Centre, and CAMELOT, YouRNI, TABLIO, GUINEVERE and ArtiCULan projects funded by the EU Comission.

Irfan Şimşek. DSc in Education. Professor in the CEIT Dpt of Istanbul University. Completed his doctoral dissertation on web-based intelligent examination system at Istanbul University in 2013. Was engaged as a visiting scholar at Melbourne University, Australia, and Northern Illinois University, Chicago, USA. Has managed and partnered many projects such as Establishing the Virtual Campus of Istanbul University on Second Life funded by Istanbul University Research Centre, and CAMELOT, YouRNI, TABLIO, GUINEVERE and ArtiCULan projects funded by the European Commission.


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