Javier Fernández Molina
Licenciado en Filología Inglesa, UA.
Máster Universitario en Formación del Profesorado, UCAM.
Profesor Asociado en el Departamento de Innovación y Formación Didáctica.
Universidad de Alicante, España.
E-mail: javierfmolina@ua.es ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9273-7821
María Felicidad Tabuenca Cuevas
Licenciada en Filología Inglesa, UA.
Doctora en Investigación Educativa, UA.
Profesora Contratada Doctor en el Departamento Innovación y Formación Didáctica.
Universidad de Alicante, España.
E-mail: maria.tabuenca@gcloud.ua.es ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7985-2614
Reception: 09/11/2018 Acceptance 12/12/18 Publication: 28/06/2019
Suggested citation:
Fernández Molina, J. & Tabuenca Cuevas, M. F. (2019). M-Learning and B-Learning in the CLIL course
in primary and pre-primary education degrees. 3C TIC. Cuadernos de desarrollo aplicados a las TIC, 8(2), 84-
101. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.17993/3ctic.2019.82.84-101
Nota: Este artículo se puede leer traducido en español en:
3C TIC. Cuadernos de desarrollo aplicados a las TIC. ISSN: 2254-6529
This paper presents a study carried out at the University of Alicante with third and fourth year
students training to be future primary and pre-primary teachers. The Valencian Community
has a plurilingual education policy; therefore, students on the education degrees can do a course
on Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL). In 2018, these students were invited to
participate on an experience using mobile learning and blended learning to focus on the cognitive
development in CLIL as part of the 4-C wheel model (Coyle, 2007). Consequently, sixteen activities
based on tasks previously designed by Wilden (2017), Dudley and Osvath (2016) and Kryszewska
and Campbell (1992) were selected and adapted for the students to carry them out individually,
in pairs, or in groups. To this end, additional ICT tools and virtual learning environments (VLEs)
were incorporated to promote debates and discussion in class. In total 148 students, belonging to
three groups, did M-learning and B-learning activities twice a week during a two-month period.
Students primarily used their own devices, which included mobile phones, tablets and laptops. The
activities focused on specic tasks future teachers will have to carry out professionally and required
high order thinking skills such as creating, analyzing and evaluating. The overall results illustrate
how M-learning and B-learning did provide the necessary framework for the development of the
activities and objectives of the experience.
CLIL, M-learning, B-learning, ICTs, Teacher training.
Ed. 29 Vol. 8 N.º 2 Junio - Septiembre 2019
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17993/3ctic.2019.82.84-101
Este trabajo presenta un estudio realizado en la Universidad de Alicante con alumnos de tercer y cuarto año del Grado
de Maestro en Educación Infantil y Primaria. Conforme a la política de educación plurilingüe de la Comunidad
Valenciana los estudiantes de los grados de educación pueden cursar una asignatura de Aprendizaje Integrado de
Contenido y Lenguas (AICLE). En 2018 a estos estudiantes se les invitó a participar en una experiencia del uso
del aprendizaje móvil y del aprendizaje combinado prestando atención al desarrollo cognitivo como parte del modelo
de las 4 ces (Coyle, 2007), de la metodología AICLE. En total, dieciséis actividades basadas en tareas diseñadas
por Wilden (2017), Dudley y Osvath (2016) y Kryszewska y Campbell (1992) fueron seleccionadas y adaptadas
para que los estudiantes las realizaran de forma individual, en parejas y en grupos. Con el n de promover debates y
discusiones en clase, fue necesario incorporar herramientas TICS y entornos de aprendizaje virtuales. Un total de 148
alumnos, pertenecientes a tres grupos, realizaron actividades móviles y actividades combinadas dos veces por semana
durante un periodo de dos meses. Los estudiantes utilizaron principalmente sus propios dispositivos, incluyendo teléfonos
móviles, tabletas, ordenadores portátiles. Las actividades se centraron en tareas especícas que como futuros docentes
habrán de desarrollar profesionalmente, requiriendo capacidades mentales de orden superior como crear, analizar y
evaluar. El aprendizaje móvil y combinado proporcionó el marco necesario para el desarrollo de las actividades y
objetivos de la experiencia.
AICLE, Aprendizaje Móvil, Aprendizaje Combinado, TICs, Formación del Profesorado.
3C TIC. Cuadernos de desarrollo aplicados a las TIC. ISSN: 2254-6529
The incorporation of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (Council of
Europe, 2001) into the linguistic reality of the Valencian region, which shares a co-ocial language,
has led to a plurilingual approach (Cenoz & Gorter, 2013; Cummins, 2007; Esteve, et al., 2015;
García & Sylvan, 2011) in the curriculum in recent years. The reality of the classroom includes the
coexistence and use of the two ocial languages, as well as a foreign language. According to García
and Sylvan (2011), ‘we must learn to teach individuals within multilingual classrooms’ (p. 386). In
order to succeed in additional language teaching, in this case English, the most helpful resource has
become the Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) approach, in which one or more
subjects or parts of a subject are taught in a dierent language to the student’s language (Coyle,
2007; Marsh, et al., 2012).
As part of teacher training in the Education degrees of the University of Alicante students can
do a course on CLIL. In this course CLIL is not only dened and its core features are presented,
but students are also provided with guidance in CLIL methodologies, pedagogies and practices.
Once they graduate, they will be teaching pre-primary and primary pupils, hence, there lays the
importance of correctly grasping the essentials of this new teaching paradigm. The focus of this
study with our Education degree students was to work with the CLIL 4-C wheel model (Coyle,
2002) specically on cognition as “CLIL should cognitively challenge learners - whatever their
ability. It provides a setting rich for developing thinking skills in conjunction with both basic
interpersonal communication skills (BICS) and cognitive-academic language prociency (CALP)”
(p.28). This importance of cognitive engagement and development is a key issue identied by
many researchers such as Hakuta, Ferdman and Díaz (1986), Puchta and Williams (2011),
and Shakkour, (2014) among others. The aim was for students to gain a deeper insight into
the cognition domain related to critical, creative thinking, linked to the higher order thinking
skills (HOTS) as opposed to lower order thinking skills (LOTS) according to Krathwohl’s (2002)
revision of Bloom’s taxonomy.
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As detailed by Meyer (2010), successful planning and teaching strategies are of paramount
importance when aiming at achieving quality CLIL lessons. It is essential to make future teachers
aware that language learning involves not only deliberate manipulation of language to improve
learning but also being a better listener, multitasker, and less distractive. To this end, it is necessary
to work on visualization, association, using clues in reading-comprehension, and mnemonics to
have students with better abilities to problem solve and be more creative. This requires rich input,
scaolding techniques, and rich interaction and a pushed output formed our starting framework.
Meyer (2010) considers HOTS to be the key to success in the information age. For this reason, our
intention was to provide activities that encompassed these elements.
It is necessary to work on visualization, association, using clues in reading-comprehension, and
mnemonics to have students with better abilities to problem solve and be more creative.
Students were asked to participate on activities using M-learning and B-learning premises as both
can provide cognitive challenges (Human & Hahn, 2015). Some of the additional grounds for
choosing M-learning and B-learning tasks for our research are to be found in Wilden’s introduction
(2017). He states how dicult it is to disrupt our students’ addiction to checking their devices, to
keeping up with social media, even to just watch thoughtlessly and routinely an endless amount of
videos and other alike online material. It is a fact that we live in a mobile world, that the tendency is
to be more and more connected and thus, there is nothing we can do as teachers to halt this trend.
Therefore, he poses the question of whether it would be not wise to take advantage of this resource
we have at hand, which indeed encounters no resistance on the part of students, for our everyday
teaching purposes.
Moreover, what was of interest for our aim from Dudley and Osvath (2017) and Kryszewska (1992)
was their approach to the challenges of current education within the CLIL framework from their
particular perspective. We intended that our activities accomplished eective classroom communication,
overcoming mismatches between student’s language prociency and their ability to perform the tasks
designed (Dudley & Osvath, 2017). It is a well-known issue that quite too frequently usual topics
3C TIC. Cuadernos de desarrollo aplicados a las TIC. ISSN: 2254-6529
within traditional EFL classes are either beyond the life experience of students or fall totally at in
the classroom. In many activities they had to share their results with their classmates once they had
accomplished for example, their autonomous learning or the task-based learning (Carless, 2002; Ellis,
2003). Furthermore, with every presentation done, classmates were asked to provide feedback as a way
of peer assessment. The activities were incorporated into the class dynamics either as warm-ups, as
follow-ups or as a way to promote further debrieng.
The activities the students performed were selected from the works and seminars of the authors
Wilden (2017), Dudley and Osvath (2017) Kryszewska and Campbell (1992) and Hird (2018). Next,
the description of the context and the participants is provided, in conjunction with a description of
the activities carried out, and the student’s performance. Kryszewska and Campbell’s (1992) interest
on the CLIL approach and methodology, as dierentiated from English as a medium of instruction
(EMI), was mirrored in our study in the principle of avoiding the tyranny of right or wrong. For
them, a mistake is a gift to the class, since it is the starting point for discussion. The activities she
recommends, developed in our research, do not have a single correct answer. She strongly believes
that it is the people who have alternative solutions/options the ones who push the world forward.
This concept was passed along to the students taking part in the study.
148 students belonging to the third and fourth year of the degrees of primary and pre-primary
education were selected to participate in this experience. Despite the fact that the CLIL course
is an optional course in the syllabus of primary and pre-primary education undergraduate
degrees, passing the subject partially enables students to qualify for the minimum requirement
(B1 according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) of knowledge
of a foreign language to graduate. Due to that, the students involved in this study are not only
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those who will be English specialists in pre-primary and primary, but also future teachers in
other specialties so, we encountered substantial dierences in the English language level of the
The CLIL course is taught intensively in the rst two months of the academic year, as a result, there
are four sessions a week, which enables intensive work to be carried out. The subject encompasses
both theory and practice and the M-learning and B-learning activities proposed were part of the
tasks required in the course.
The CLIL course is taught intensively in the rst two months of the academic year, as a result, there are
four sessions a week, which enables intensive work to be carried out.
The activities will be described in the same order they were performed in the course. Some of the
activities could be done individually, others in pairs and others by means of group work. Next, we
will describe the activities the students were asked to complete, and briey how they were conducted.
To start with, the pair work activities will be discussed. The introductory activity consisted in selecting
one picture from those stored in their devices, and then the students had to perform three tasks.
The rst one was to introduce themselves to classmates they did not know from previous courses.
Next, they had to nd a partner and, not showing their own pic, by means of oral interaction in
English; they were to ask questions to nd out what the other person’s picture was about. Once
some consensus had been reached about how the other student’s picture look liked, then they were
allowed to show each other their own picture. Lastly, they had to compare and contrast both pictures
(Table 1).
3C TIC. Cuadernos de desarrollo aplicados a las TIC. ISSN: 2254-6529
Table 1. Warming up M-learning activities.
Select one picture
from your cell
Use it to introduce yourself.
Ask questions: try to nd out what your partner’s picture
is about:
Are there people?
Is it a place?
What is happening?
Compare and contrast.
In my pic there are more…
My pic is not as … as
Source: the authors.
In the second set of activities students were asked to work individually. Furthermore, in the case of
the second and third tasks, they also had to prepare a presentation to the rest of the class. For the
audience, feedback and debrieng was expected. Table 2 shows the instructions as provided to the
students for these activities.
Table 2. Individual M-learning activities.
Photos of phrasal
Take four photos of living phrasal verbs. Competition.
Alarm and seles
Set the alarm at ve random times and take a sele every time the
alarm rings. Create a collage, a ppt or a video and explain what you
were doing when the seles were taken.
Grafti activity Choose one and record yourself commenting it. Audio or video.
Emoji to the
Send an emoji to the professor indicating how you feel about the
subject. Add comments.
Source: the authors.
Concerning the rst activity, the students of the CLIL course were asked to take four pictures of
phrasal verbs in action at home as a preparation for the next day’s session. For example; a nger and
a switch could mean turn on/o, switch on/o, their trainers and a nger on the shoelace meaning
tie or untie, and so forth. Once in class, we went to the corridors of the faculty and arranging two
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parallel lines they had to compete with the partner facing them by guring out the other’s phrasal
verbs. The one who guessed correctly moved forward, and the one who guessed incorrectly went
backwards. That was how the competition was arranged, taking part at the beginning of a session.
Cognition as part of language learning (Coyle, 2007) emerged recurrently.
The second activity was theoretically meant for the students to take four seles during the week,
one per working day, at random times. First, they were asked to set the alarm, and then they were
instructed in what to do. Although some cheating was expected to occur and indeed happened,
such as some students wearing the same clothes in all pictures, the results were exceptional. All the
students enjoyed talking about themselves very much, even if it was in English.
As for the grati activity, they were basically asked to choose either a grati they knew from their
towns/cities of residence, famous ones they had encountered in London or elsewhere. The only
“must do” was for them to record themselves either in video or audio commenting how the grati
made them feel.
Lastly, at this stage of the course, students were encouraged to send an emoji to the professor stating
how they were feeling so far regarding the CLIL course. The fact is that a WhatsApp group had
been created to ease group communication at an earlier stage.
Table 3. M-learning activities in pairs.
Pic Collage
Create a Pic Collage with six pics selected from your device to
introduce yourself to new people.
Pic Collage
In a new Pic Collage, ve pics must be related somehow. Try to guess
the ODD ONE OUT in your partner’s six pictures.
Text speak
From a list provided try to decipher what the group of letters stand for.
Meme competition Create four different memes using all four conditionals.
Emoji proverbs Write four proverbs/sayings/idioms using emojis. Competition.
Source: the authors.
With regard to the activities to be completed in pairs (Table 3), the rst two required their getting
acquainted with a pic collage creator app. Once they had downloaded the tool, for the rst activity
3C TIC. Cuadernos de desarrollo aplicados a las TIC. ISSN: 2254-6529
they were expected to introduce themselves to other yet unknown classmates, getting out again of
their comfort zone. By means of their pic collage performed with photos of their choosing they
manage to be more talkative.
As for the second pic collage activity a degree of diculty was introduced since ve photos were
meant to be related in a way and one had to be somehow dierent.
For the third task, students were provided with a list of letters, which were in fact frequently used
text-speak for English speaking people, mostly young ones. The goal was to try to decipher the
meaning of most of them. This activity was based on and adapted from a seminar by Hird (2018).
The meme competition, which was met with enthusiasm in all three groups of the CLIL course, was
simple. In pairs they had to create four memes with the sole requirement of using each and all of
the four conditionals in English. Periodically, students were oered the opportunity to present their
own creations to the class. The topic and issues treated were limitless, with just the boundary of the
‘grandmother in class concept’, that is, ‘would you equally perform such presentation/activity if
your grandmother was in the classroom?’
Lastly, the emoji proverb/idiom competition requires a distinct mention. The session aimed at
making use of an alternative remote learning environment. The goal was to test whether an adequate
cognitive load (Choi, Van Merriënboer & Paas, 2014) could be achieved in a learning environment
other than the classroom. The group was told that the rst twenty minutes of the following class
would take place in the canteen of the faculty. They had to arrange themselves around the canteen
randomly in pairs, with their cell phones on and the batteries charged. They received no further
instruction then. Next day, at the agreed time, they were informed that it was again a competition
and that they had to write in the WhatsApp group English proverbs, idioms or sayings making use
of emojis. That is, a pair would write the emojis and the others had to nd out what was written.
At rst, it took them time to get engaged but soon they all participated. It ended up being a very
dynamic activity that lasted longer than expected.
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Table 4. M-learning activities in groups.
Rebus competition Decipher what these each rebus sentence means.
M-collaborative story
Each member of the group writes a sentence in the device (ve/six
words) and passes it over.
Design an emoji
Agree the meaning of a list of emojis provided. Then create a new
emoji for this CLIL course.
Design and ad for this
Using the future tenses and e-devices design an ad.
Source: the authors.
The four activities in Table 4 were designed to be performed in groups, started with a Rebus
competition. Making use of an online rebus generator, several sentences were printed and provided
for them in groups. They just had to nd out the hidden sentence. It resulted in a quite challenging
activity that surprisingly developed in them their most competitive instincts.
Another easy to carry out activity was the writing of a collaborative story. This time, they had to
make use of the device of one of the members of the group to write the story. Each person would
write ve to six words and pass it to the next person until the story was completed. At the end of the
session all stories were shared aloud.
The last two activities of this set did require again a further presentation to the rest of the class.
The third activity consisted in designing a new emoji describing as accurately as possible the course;
whereas the fourth entailed designing an advertisement for the course for next year students. They
were asked to use future tenses as well as an e-tool. Both activities required once again the use of
HOTS such as creating, evaluating and analyzing.
Table 5. B-learning activities in groups.
Describe a picture
Ask ve questions about the picture beginning with ‘why’. Answer those
Alphabet means of
In groups. Name fun, creative, existing means of transport.
Source: the authors.
3C TIC. Cuadernos de desarrollo aplicados a las TIC. ISSN: 2254-6529
The blended learning (Table 5) focused on two tasks based on activities developed by Kryszewska
and Campbell (1992). As for the rst one, students had to be in small groups, a picture would be
provided on the board and they had to ask ve questions about the picture. These questions had to
begin with ‘why’, then, there was a debrieng in order to share the questions of all the groups. This
debrieng allowed them to gain a deeper insight in the picture, to get in more detail as suggested by
Howard Gardner when he refers to visual literacy.
The second activity required much lower eort, still demanding HOTS by students as judging
and hypothesizing while combined with Lower Order Thinking Skills of listing, classifying and
organizing. They had to provide existing, fun, creative means of transport. This activity can be
adapted to any topic within the ESL class.
Throughout the experience, students uploaded their collection of activities on the virtual learning
platform as a digital portfolio for this course. According to Paulson, Paulson and Meyer (1991) a
portfolio allows the students to reveal a lot about themselves, becoming sort of a window into the
students’ heads. Albeit, particular emphasis was placed on the output during classes, mainly oral
production in these activities, it was not our aim to simply assess the students’ performance but to
promote and enhance Higher Order Thinking Skills. Therefore, the digital portfolio was necessary
for this purpose.
The main objective of this experience was to make future pre-primary and primary teachers that
M-learning and B-learning activities can lead to higher cognitive development while enhancing
students’ knowledge of an additional language in a multilingual classroom. Students should be aware
that there are other ways of teaching English (CLIL methodology) and that cognition is essential in
student’s language learning. When they teach pre-primary and primary students in the future, they
will be able to use M-learning and B-learning in their classes to develop high order thinking skills
such as creating, analyzing and evaluating and obtain the best possible results. Moreover, it should
Ed. 29 Vol. 8 N.º 2 Junio - Septiembre 2019
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be noted that M-learning and B-learning led to increased students’ enthusiasm, self-condence
and group cohesion. This may be due to the fact that translanguaging (García & Sylvan, 2011) and
positive group dynamics were encouraged during the activities (Clément, Dornyei & Noels, 1994;
Dornyei, 2003) however, this needs to be studied further.
M-learning and B-learning led increased students’ enthusiasm, self-condence and group cohesion.
3C TIC. Cuadernos de desarrollo aplicados a las TIC. ISSN: 2254-6529
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