Thursday, 17 December 2009

A couple of icebreaking activities using mobile phones

It's possible to use students' mobile phones to provide a spin on the traditional icebreaking activities and games you play on the first day.

Using the picture gallery on mobile phones

Almost all phones nowadays come with cameras and most will have some kind of gallery program to allow you to view all the photos taken. For example this is how mine looks:

Here are some suggestions for how they could be used to add variety on day one:

Students work in groups of four. Two of the students hand over their phones to the other two and vice-versa and they go through their galleries and make guesses about who the people are (family, friends etc) and where/why the picture was taken. They then get back together with the other pair and find out if their guesses are true.

Alternatively the students, the students can work in pairs and they just look at each other's galleries and ask questions to learn more about them (who's this? Where was this picture taken?)

Another more extensive (and potentially invasive - make sure you get students' permission to do this first!) is to get them to look through eah other's phones to find out as much about each other as possible. So, for example, they could look at the music on their phone to find out their tastes, look at the gallery, contacts. These can then be checked with the person whose phone it is.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Using the video recording/playback function for student presentations

As I've written in previous posts, mobile phones don't necessarily offer any greater functionality than many individual devices, but they do offer them all in one small gadget that you are likely to have with you.

Good example was the other day when my students were practising spoken presentations. We had been working on various aspects such as signalling language, intonation, pausing etc and they then were going to practise them in front of the class and give each other feedback. I thought it might be helpful for them to be able to see themselves speaking, particularly to analyse their body language/eye contact etc.

So, I quickly propped my phone up against a book and recorded their presentations. Afterwards I connected my phone up to the TV (many phones have this function these days) and we had a productive look at their performance and they were able to spot many things about their performance that they would otherwise have missed. In fact, several of them asked me to send the video files by email for them to look at.

Below you can see an example of one of the presentations (permission granted by student to reproduce here!), the quality isn't great but decent enough to use in class. Again, another good example of how a mobile phone can be uses impromptu in class.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Mobile learning report

Fascinating (well, the content, not so much the style) on the role and progress of mobile learning in education. Lots of interesting links.

Here it is

Monday, 7 December 2009

Iphone apps that will make you smarter

This is not specifically language related, but this is a great list of applications for your iphone that may actually help you learn. Numbers 63 to 73 focus specifically on languages.

100 free iPhone apps that will make you smarter.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Blogging from my phone

One thing I want to try for this blog is to send all my posts via my phone. If I believe that phones are now these mini computers that can pretty much do what normal PCs and laptops can do then I should walk the talk a little. This is the first post I've tried it on and even I'd admit it's not easy bashing out posts on a cramped QWERTY. But this should at least give me some appreciation of the possible dfficulties of mobile learning.