m-Learning in the EFL Classroom

More and more, I’ve been interested in finding and testing possibilities of using mobile devices in the classroom – flip cameras, smartphones, recorders, tablets – everything which is at a student’s reach. When I had a group of teens, it was simply natural to explore what was at my students’ fingertips, as for them it is just part of who they are and how they use the devices on a daily basis.

One of the results was this very simple, but extremely rewarding class project I had with them. I brought a Flip Camera to class, we were working with relative pronouns. I told them about my international friends’ interest in learning Portuguese. So, they decided for the words they wanted to teach my friends, they wrote sentences with the definitions of those words, they recorded it and we posted on a Voicethread. Then, I invited my friends through my Twitter network to learn Portuguese and work on their pronunciation skills. My students were marveled to see that their work was valued and used by an international community.

Here’s the result:


http://voicethread.com/share/525514/ 

What does this mini-project show?

  • m-Learning is not a distant concept. We can start profiting from it with what we have now in class. Just look around and ask your students what devices they have that can be used for learning and connecting to others.
  • Project-based learning doesn’t mean year-long project. It can be a one-class hour project.
  • Engagement means choice. Give your students as many choices as possible within the learning framework you’ve established for the project.
  • Projects can be truly simple and productive.
  • Give up control, guide, and let the students be the producers of content.
  • Stop underestimating your students’ abilities to produce content.
  • Let them be the owners of the language they are studying through hands-on activities.
  • Remember that learning is not a passive act, that our attention capabilities are triggered by movement and not stillness.
  • Start small and get more ambitious as you get used to using the mobile devices.
  • Start exploring the online references about m-Learning, tablets, smartphones…

Here’s my list to help you get excited for the next term at your school with new projects that might bring great learning outcomes, powerful teaching moments and the enjoyment of you with your learner being learning partners:

One Comment

  1. classroom201x August 2, 2011 at 15:13 #

    This is a great project – It looks a fantastic way of showing learners the value of collaboration, and I really think technology is having a big impact on the teaching of spoken language.

    Flip cameras are a great part of that – I carried out an action research project using them with learners here in the UK – you can read the details here: http://classroom201x.wordpress.com/2010/02/07/using-digital-video-recording-with-esol-students/

    Now I just need to have a play with voicethread – it looks great.

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