7 Ways to use the Mobile Phone in the English Lesson

Teaching Strategies

By Michael Hilkemeijer

Mobile learning is increasingly becoming a common practice in primary schools across the country and around the world.  Ipads, tablets and smartphones are being implemented as young people continue to use them in greater numbers in their lives. Today, many schools are implementing BYOD policies that promotes the use of devices such as laptops but can also be used for other mobile technologies. In this way they open up many more new and unique affordances that may not be possible with other technologies such as desktops.

Through the use of smartphones students can learn in an innovative and exciting way. One way it can do this by facilitating authentic learning experiences as they provide access to realistic settings and activities. Students can connect to experts.  Other practical implications include learning with others through collaboration and learning in informal settings which refers to students learning outside of the classroom or school.

Here are four ways that students can use smartphones in the English classroom.

  1. Text 140 character summary of the homework reading from their class novel to an interactive website (e.g. Starfall - Pre-K to Year 2; PBS Parents - K to Year 3; ABCya - K to Year 5). This could be done during class or for homework;
  2. Create a “Who am I?” character text message to demonstrate their understanding of characters in novels. A great way to assist students in reviewing their class readings;
  3. Recite original poetry to create a class poetry slam podcast and comment on each other’s poems;
  4. After reading a class novel, they can take pictures from their everyday lives that they believe relate to their characters, settings, plot and themes in the novel;
  5. Post audio responses on classroom blogs;
  6. Use text messages and alarm features to remind students about homework assignments and upcoming exams;
  7. Integrate one student smartphone in a group when it comes to student group work. Students could use video functions on their phones to record the group discussions and then send them to the teacher’s phone.

Mobile learning or mlearning can contribute a lot to teaching and learning. There are many benefits that it brings as it extends students’ learning outside of school hours. However, effective policies must be in place which means that teachers need to have a good understanding of what it means and they ensure that it is implemented correctly in their teaching practices.

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