10 ways in which your language learners could be using their smartphones

Mobile phones in class
So much technology… Shouldn't we be finding ways to exploit it?

Check this next time you're in class: how many smart devices are there in the classroom? I suppose it's kind of sad, but most times when I ask that there are more smart devices than people.

That being the case, rather than turning all that amazing technology off and putting it away, and turning on a single computer and the projector, could we find ways in which we could exploit smart devices — ways which would lead to more language learning?

In our Friday workshop series, we have one this week (10.00-12.00, November 27th) which will look at 10 ways in which your language learners could be using their smartphones, some in class, some out of class.

Bring your phone!

Books and links of interest
For lots of ideas on practical tips, I can highly recommend two excellent books from DELTA Publishing. And here's a couple of useful links on the subject:

Mobile pedagogy for English language teaching: a guide for teachers

Tables and apps in your school

If you have a subscription to OneStopEnglish, you'll also find an article of mine there on using mobile phones for images, audio and video.

Previous posts on using mobile phones with learners

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  1. Thanks to all that came to the session.

    I mentioned this idea as a nice simple one for getting started with a WhatsApp group, and that as a first task for using phones with a class.

    Coincidentally, the first email in my inbox after the session was the email bulletin OneStopEnglish send me with resources, which included these two…

    Imagining the ideal phone, a great one for talking about the subject without every necessarily anyone taking a phone out (though talking about what they actually have on their phones is another possibility). Might make a good activity for bringing the subject up and sussing out whether or not THAT class might want to use something like WhatsApp as a class.

    And using phones to create video ads, which could be a lot of fun!

    With the latter, as I suggested in the session, what's important is not the recording and any subsequent editing (and I never do the latter) but the brainstorming and planning and rehearsal (etc), which gets your learners playing with the language, not with the technology.

  2. Another of the things mentioned in the session, setting a few ground rules before using something like WhatsApp with a class.

    One I always suggest: making it clear that you're NOT going to correct everything posted (I think a discussion with my colleague Kim and her experiences with using WhatsApp made me see the importance of that). More on how I correct.

    And suggested in the session, I think by Bonnie, saying "no personal messages to the teacher" via WhatsApp, an idea that sounds a bit harsh, but which is probably wise, and which I liked a lot.

    You have a WhatsApp group so that everyone can practise their English together, not so that individual learners have a private channel to a private teacher whenever they need one.

    You might want to say that kind of question, in class, not via WhatsApp.

    There are more ideas for using WhatsApp here.

    Thanks, as always, to the numerous teachers who have provided feedback and ideas on using it. They say more people in Spain use WhatsApp than email now… That being the case, as language teachers, are there ways we could exploit it?

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