The Potential of Building High School Students’ Vocabulary Using an iPod Touch and Gaming App


  • Jennifer Redd San Jose State University
  • Denise Schmidt-Crawford Iowa State University



This study focused on the potential for building 25 high-school students’ word knowledge by using a mobile learning device and gaming app. Using a game as an instructional tool is a portable way for students to engage with content. The amount of vocabulary mastered after using the app on the mobile device was examined in relation to a pre-test and a post-test, completed 3 weeks apart. The aspects investigated were the transfer potential of learning on a mobile device, and the variation in performance levels. The results indicated a direct correlation between the pre-test score as a predictor for the post-test score. Also, the choice of techniques used to play the app indicated that participants called upon the ‘process of elimination’ and ‘roots/word parts’ as tools to help them master the vocabulary. These findings point to the potential for incorporating a game as an instructional tool for vocabulary development.

Author Biographies

Jennifer Redd, San Jose State University

Jennifer Redd is an instructional designer with eCampus at San José State University. Her research interests include mobile-device learning for students from pre-K to college levels, English education, and technology-based academic interventions that relate specifically to the development of reading and writing skills.

Denise Schmidt-Crawford, Iowa State University

Denise Schmidt-Crawford is an associate professor and director of the Center for Technology in Learning and Teaching at Iowa State University. Her research focuses on teachers’ development of technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK) and her teaching interests include using technology as a tool for innovation in schools and teacher education.