Would you mind if I take a photo of you?

… and could you take one of us, too?

Here's a small project suggested to me by a colleague, Susana Ortiz, who got her students to take their mobile phones out into the street to take pictures.

They'd been practising making requests and asking for permission, and what they had to do was, in pairs, (1) ask a complete stranger if s/he would mind taking a photo of them, and then (2) ask another complete stranger if s/he would mind if they took a photo — of the stranger.

Foreign students learning Spanish in Barcelona, they then returned to class to report back how they'd got on (no, none of them got themselves punched, though in most cases they had to explain what it was for, and they did get quite a few "no way's" before they got their pictures!).

What do you think of it as a project…?

How much does the Internet weigh?

Two useless facts about technology I thought you might like to know:

All the wisdom, information and pornographic images (etc) on the Internet weighs 0.2 millionths of an ounce.

Forest guards in India are using cell phone ring tones of cows mooing, goats bleating, and roosters crowing to lure hungry leopards away from human inhabitation.

Source | Harper's Weekly

Using cell phones in class

Does your school have a ban on using mobile phones in the classroom? Do you confiscate them if you see your kids using them? Does it annoy you when your adults jump up and run out in the middle of your class to take a call?

Personally, I think that as educators we have an obligation — especially with kids — to get our learners into the habit of switching them off. Even with adults I would agree with them that we will all turn our phones off for an hour.

You wouldn't (would you?) interrupt a business meeting to take a call; you shouldn't interrupt a class either — apart from anything else because it's rude to the social group (the class) we belong to.

Classroom activities with mobile phones
But there are things you can do with mobile phones in the classroom which can make interesting activities.

This article on techlearning.com has some suggestions and, for the seriously geeky, here's an article on futurelab.

See also
Skype is a possible alternative to cell phones.

Using mobile phones in the classroom

You need your book and a pencil, your mobile phone is best kept switched off in your pocket… Or is it?

Do your teenagers play with their mobile phones in class…? Do your adults suddenly stand up in class and walk out, as whoever it is that's calling them is much more important than their English class…? As a teacher, do you hate mobile phones too…?

This article on Modern Foreign Language Environment [website] suggests ways in which you could make (profitable) use of mobile phones in the classroom…