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Tuesday, 04 November 2014 00:00

Using smart phones in the language classroom

smart phones blogUsing smartphones in the classroom: I recently had the opportunity to attend a workshop on using smart phones in the language classroom organised by the University of Limerick Language Centre and delivered by Joan O’Sullivan.


While we all know that sometimes there are issues about using phones in the classroom and that not all students have a smart phone, we cannot ignore the fact that for most students smart phones are part of their daily lives.  As we learnt at the workshop smart phones offer new and exciting possibilities for language learning.  In particular around listening and speaking as there are so many apps that allow students record themselves and listen.

Here is a summary of some of the ideas and activities presented by Joan

  • Ask students to use photos on their phone for introductions, descriptions, telling stories etc.
  • Use the location feature on Google maps for practising  giving directions  
  •  At http://www.emoderationskills.com/?p=1177 You will find an interesting example of how a teacher uses smart phones to introduce and teach vocabulary
  • If you have a Youtube Channel students can watch again and again all the videos you show in class and share
  • Use Camscanner https://www.camscanner.com/user/download  to create PDFs and replace handouts: With CamScanner, any documents you see in the real world can be digitized and saved right away with your mobile phone. Just take a photo. You can also share documents with others.  It is a great tool to share notes and keep copies or share students work.  These are some of things you can do:
    • Scan any kind of document in seconds, texts or graphics
    • Scan multi-page documents
    • Auto-crop scanned photos
    • Save scan results to system albun
    • Create PPF files for scana
  • Use Edmodo as an easy way to get your students connected so they can safely collaborate, get and stay organized, and access assignments, marks etc. The Facebook for the classroom in a secure environment (but you probably know this already)

 Using QR codes

The possibilities are endless when it comes to QR codes, and we would love to hear from anyone using them in the classroom. But in case you are not sure what they are, we give you a very brief introduction and a few sites to check out.

QR, or Quick Response codes, are two-dimensional barcodes that can be read using smartphones, tablets, laptops and dedicated QR reading devices. They link directly to articles, emails, websites, phone numbers, videos, social media pages and more.

Here is an example:

 QR code example 1

A QR reader can be downloaded to any phone for free. There are many to choose from. Once you have the QR reader on your phone, just place it in front of the QR code above to go to a great website dedicated to using QR in the language classroom.  You can create a QR code and when students read it, it sends them on a task. You could create a trail from code to code. This is great tool to create a QR treasure hunt http://www.classtools.net/QR/. The same principle goes on to QR Voice for it allows you to create QR codes that when scanned will play a short audio message.  This message could be how to pronounce a word or feedback to a particular studenthttp://qrvoice.net/.           QR code voice teaching learning languages PPLI

Finally, http://www.emoderationskills.com/  is an interesting blogpost by e-moderation station which answers 4 questions often asked by teachers:

1. Why do some teachers get upset when students use their phones?

2. What about students who do not have devices?

3. What can you do about technical problems?

4. Are there benefits to mobile learning?

Plus an excellent 10 steps implementation plan!


Thanks to Joan for a very informative session

Read 7383 times Last modified on Wednesday, 17 December 2014 16:03