The basis of my theoretical frame work are the two types of language sets ELL experts such as Jim Cummins use to differentiate between social and academic language vocabulary possessed by English language learners.

Cummins theorized that there are two distinct types of language proficiency possessed by ELLs. Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills (BICS) and Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (CALP).

BICS are the types of conversational skills that English language learners acquire quickly. They are the type of communication skills necessary to function in day-to-day interactions and activities. BICS are mainly applied in social contexts. They are not cognitively demanding nor do they require specialized language skills. BICS represent only a small portion of English language comprehension and are usually acquired in one to two years (Cummins, 1979).

Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (CALP) is used to describe academic language proficiency. This level of language proficiency is essential for learners to achieve academic success. Academic language may be more difficult to learn as it appears in context-reduced situations such as reading from a text book or listening to a lecture. Academic language proficiency can be cognitively demanding as learners are required to simultaneously assimilate new ideas, concepts and language. As a result CALP takes much longer to fully develop. Some ELLs may require up to seven years to achieve a fully functional academic vocabulary (Cummins, 1979).

I would like to know how ELL’s students percieve text based language exchange. Do they find it beneficial?  Why?  Could mobile technology be used to assist language learners achineve a more robust academic vocabulary?  Can we used mobile devices to increase an ELL’s CALP?

I read an article that stated before we begin to develop mobile language learning exercises we must first understand how language learners perceive the effectiveness of this type of learning.  That is exactly what I am trying to do.