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mobile technology in education

With the mobile technology boom the world has known recently , it seems like phones are used everywhere by everyone . The question is does mobile phone technology support language learning ? The answer is definitely yes and in several ways . It is thanks to this technology that educational experts have started talking about mobile-assisted language learning . These are several reasons why mobile phones and other portable devices have been seriously considered in language learning . The most important of them are :

  • Mobile phones are relatively cheap and increasingly powerful
  • Learners are used to work with phones more than computers
  • Research has shown that students enjoy their phones because of easy access to materials and the ability to practice anytime and anywhere
  • Students like its screen size limitation which renders its content more manageable
There are also several pedagogical reasons to consider when using mobile phones in the second language learning classroom :
  • Phones are social tools that facilitate authentic communication and collaboration among learners
  • Phones” situated learning theory” ( which states that learning is more likely to take place when information is contextually relevant and can be put to immediate use ( Lave and Wenger 1991 )
  • Phones give students control over their own learning.

mobile technology in education

How can I get started using mobile phones in the classroom ?

Just like in any other teaching activity , you need to have a pre plan where you would provide answers to questions like :
  • What am I trying to achieve ?
  • What language skills will be focusing on ?
  • Is there any added value behind using phones in this activity ?
After you have clearly defined your teaching objectives move on to the second step which is reflecting upon the available resources for students . do they have phones ? do their phones have the required for students capabilities to carry on the task ?
In most cases , only some students will have recent phones with advanced capabilities,in this case, ask students to work together in small groups and share one phone that has the required utilities .
Here are a set of ideas, meticulously collected from the English Teaching Forum volume 48 number3,2010 ,pages 20,21,22,23, on how we can use phones to support second language learning :

1- Use the “Notes” features to collect everyday language

Most of the phones have notes taking functionality . Students can use it to take notes on the English they hear or read outside of the school and present them to the class or text message them to their teachers for verification

2- use the voice memo recorder feature to record conversations outside of the classroom.

These conversations can be made by students themselves or just in the form of interviews with native speakers . They can then bring their work to the class for feedback and discussion

3- use text messaging feature to reinforce vocabulary learning

For instance students can exchange text messages containing vocabulary items covered in class , thus increasing students retention.

4- use the mobile phone to keep a blog updated :

This requires an internet connection , students can use their cameras and text messages to post to their blogs

5- use the mobile phone for microblogging on social networks such as Twitter ,facebook, and Myspace.

6- use the mobile phone for “phlogging” which is a form of blogging that entails calling a number and leaving a message on a website . They can use free programs like : www.ipadio.com

7-Use mobile phone memory to distinguish listening materials such as audiobooks, podcasts, or a recording.

Students can use the iTunesU website (www.apple.com/education/itunes-u) to upload their own podcasts and they can use http://librivox.org to download free audiobooks .

8- use mobile phone memory for research and data collection

9- Use the mobile phone to check students comprehension and get feedback .

Fro instance, Polleverywhere ( www.Polleverywhere.com) is a free program that lets teachers pose survey questions to students whose answers will show up immediately in a PowerPoint presentation or on a website.

10-Use mobiles phones to play games which focus on language learning and encourage students to engage with the target language in the context of entertainment.


education and the mobile phone

These are just some of the ideas that highlight the exciting potential for mobile phones to increase opportunities for learning . However , there exists a set of possible problems associated with the use of this mobile technology in the classroom . Some of these problems are :
  • Lack of access to mobile phones
  • The relatively expensive cost of mobile phones and wireless services
  • Noise and disruption in class
  • Privacy considerations
  • Increased teacher workload
I will cover this last point about the possible setbacks behind the integration of mobile technology in education in a future post .
That’s it about Mobile Technology in education.
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