Recent research found that the smartphone aided English language learning in an unexpected way. Although a useful reference aid – being a portable dictionary and giving access to google searches, most English language learning was almost incidental, being as a result of using apps or social networking.
A few years ago we were told that smartphones would bring revolutionary changes to learning; that learners would do so on the move, in their free time, during down periods at work and while they were on the move in trains and buses. That hasn’t happened and it seems unlikely to happen because when it all comes down to it, the things are just too small. Perhaps as a portable dictionary they are acceptable, but it will take a very creative approach before a way to use them successfully to teach much else is found.
It may be that it is a bandwagon not worth hopping on – like using social networking to market has proven to be.