Arab World English Journal: Special Issue: Application of Global ELT Practices in Saudi Arabia September 2019   Pp. 145-163

 Abstract PDF

Full Paper PDF


The Role of the iPad as Instructional Tool in Optimizing Young
Learners’ Achievement in EFL Classes in the Saudi Context


Tariq Elyas,
European Languages Department
Faculty of Arts & Humanities
King Abdulaziz University,
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Basmah Al-Bogami,
English Language Institute
King Abdulaziz University
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia


The iPad tablets have been introduced into various educational sectors to facilitate learning and engage students in the classroom. However, little is known about the empirical evidence with regard to iPad usage in enhancing language achievementThis study set out to examine the effects of integrating iPad tablets as an instructional tool into the second language (L2) curricula to enhance young learner’s academic achievement in the English as a Foreign Language (EFL) classroom. It further endeavored to uncover the limitations that affect the utilization of the iPad in the classroom. To this end, forty Arabic first language (L1) young EFL learners enrolled in a middle school, were assigned as either an experimental group where they were exposed to study via iPad or a control group where they were taught in a traditional printed text across five weeks period. Language achievements were assessed through reading and vocabulary tests which were administered before the intervention and immediately after the intervention. To gauge the students’ engagements during the intended task, their behaviors were assessed in both scenarios. Findings from quantitative and qualitative data revealed that the students who were exposed to iPad were found much engaged and significantly outscored their counterparts in language achievements in the post-tests. Furthermore, technical problems were found to be predominant impediments to the integration of the iPad usage followed by unfamiliarity with the application, and student distraction. These findings provide EFL teachers and policy makers with insight on how to better integrate the iPad into the EFL environment. Further pedagogical recommendations and research directions are also highlighted at the end of the article.
Keywords: Academic Achievement, iPad in education, mobile Learning, reading, vocabulary

Cite as: Elyas, T., & Al-Bogami, B. (2019). The Role of the iPad as Instructional Tool in Optimizing Young Learners’ Achievement in EFL Classes in the Saudi Context. Arab World English Journal, Special Issue 1: Application of Global ELT Practices in Saudi Arabia. 145-163.


Dr. Tariq Elyas is Associate Professor of Applied Linguistics at KAU ELI, Vice-Dean for
Graduate Studies, and Director of the MA TESOL Program. He is also Research Unit Head for
the Prince Khalid Al-Faisal Centre for Moderation in Saudi Arabia. He holds an MA in English
Literature and a PhD in Applied Linguistics. His publication record includes scholarly papers in
some of the most prestigious peer-reviewed journals in this field, as well as an edited book and a
contribution to the most recent (2018) TESOL Encyclopedia of English Language Teaching. He
was recently recognized and awarded the best supervisor in the Humanities & Social Sciences
Track at KAU in 2018.ORCiD: