Using Smartphones During Classes: Lesson Ideas
|ELT Pics – Technology © 2011|
I don’t know about you but a lot of my learners have a smartphone with a camera attached to it. More often than not, they have their heads down in their laps looking at their phones or updating their Facebook status instead of focusing during the lesson and completing various tasks. This got me thinking about how us teachers could incorporate smartphones into lessons and I prepared some lesson ideas. Anyhow, I suppose we are constantly fighting to engage learners in the lesson and getting them to complete tasks. One tenet of Dogme ELT is to include the resources that learners bring into the lesson and if learners (both young or adult) have a smartphone on their possession, how can we exploit this piece of technology. Here are some of the ideas that I have used in class before:
- Picture Hunt – get learners to complete various tasks by using the camera (if one is attached to the smartphone) to take photos of different things. I have included some material below for those that are interested in this activity. Basically, students have to take a photo of something circular, something that is red, etc. It develops the learner’s attention to detail and improves focusing during activities.
- Role Scene Pictures – another activity for learners to exploit the use of the camera. Learners take photos of particular scenes (once they have completed a story brainstorming session in class) and then have to produce the story using a set number of images. Students could then email you the pictures for you to print out and then they can produce a storyboard which can then be presented in class. A variation of this activity is to get learners to create the same storyboard by using a listening/reading activity from a coursebook as the basis of the story. It provides some structure if learners have difficulty to creatively produce a story.
- Mini WebQuest – the most popular form of researching is through the use of an internet quest. Learners traditionally use computers or laptops to find answers to particular questions or support their writing. Obviously, learners that have a connection to a wifi (if one is available in your school) could use the internet to find answers to particular quizzes (such as the cultural quizzes that I posted last week – British Culture & About the Queen). A variation of this activity is whereby learners take photos of the QR Codes spread around the classroom to find out the answers of particular questions.
- Creating and Writing a Blog – smartphone technology these days offer people to write blogposts on the go. If you school has a blog, you could get learners to write up a blog post. It could supplement some form of speaking, listening or reading (What do you do in your free time?, Describe your family, etc). Learners then work in pairs to type up their blog post and then you could (if you have an IWB or projector) show each of the blog posts to elicit feedback or error correction. A variation of this activity could include using Google Docs as this is now available for iPads or iPhones. You could create a Google Docs account for learners to logon, complete their writing so that it is then available for printing and error correction the following lesson.
- My Music – you could get learners to describe what music they listen to on their smartphone to partners and compare different styles of music. It should generate a lot of discussion and a lot of language for scaffolding. Learners are keen to play music on their smartphones to the class. You could exploit this by creating a music quiz (learners have to write down the name of the artist, the song and the year it was released (bonus points for this one)).
- My Pictures – as with the above activity, you could get learners to share their pictures either on their mobile phone or from a social networking site such as Facebook. If learners are willing, they could show pictures of family, their hometown, friends, etc should these be available on their phone or their social networking site.
- Classroom Text Messages – this activity could introduce learners to text message language in English. I know in Korean that there are a lot of characters used to express emotion. In English we use acronyms so this could be introduced at the beginning of the lesson. The next activity learners complete is for students to share their mobile phone numbers with each other and send each other a text message. Put the students’ phone numbers on the board and they can create a message to share with each other. Give the learners space and this will develop naturally. It will provide learners the opportunity to practice writing short messages in English and responding to them.
Some links as suggested in the comments:
Google QR Reader