How I use mobile devices in my ESL work

5 ways to make your lessons more effective and engaging using a smart phone

I am obsessed with educational technology, but this obsession is of a rare type which leads to positive outcomes. Now it is difficult to imagine my work and my students (I mostly deal with adult learners in a corporate setting) without using tablets and smart phones. I want this article to be of a more practical value, so I’d rather just give a list of 5 things we do with mobile devices in class and a short description for each usage.

1. Using a learning management system (LMS)

This is a real game changer! Since I started using an LMS in my work 2 years ago my life as a teacher has changed completely. It takes on a lot of functions of a coursebook, your work becomes more creative and flexible. With a good LMS you can practically do anything you want in terms of methods, course design and curriculum. What I am doing now is writing my own course for adult learners and they do like it! Due to using an LMS, we have switched to the blended learning format, and it proves to be very effective. The majority of my students prefer a mobile device to a desk top when working in our LMS, that’s a fact. You don’t have to be rich or wait until your school integrates an LMS, because some providers allow creating free accounts for teachers, and you can start experimenting right away.

2. Trello

Students no longer like paper notebooks to write down new vocabulary. At least my students, because we have found something more interesting and engaging. Trello is a collaboration tool created for business, but we use the free version of it, which is important to me, to learn English: keep the record of new words and phrases, make grammar notes and keep all the necessary files in one virtual place. You can read more about how I use Trello for learning English in another article of my personal blog

3. Quizlet Live

The application Quizlet is not new on the market, but the feature called Live Classroom has been launched quite recently. What it allows you to do is to turn a list of words or a set of cards with any information into a team game. Lively, engaging, fun!

4. Making a presentation and sharing it with your students

I use various tools for creating presentations on grammar, vocabulary, phonics. When they have a presentation like that on their devices, instead of using a whiteboard, I encourage them to work in groups and come up with their versions of the content. Then we discuss it with the whole class and my function is just to be a good “host”, make corrections and help the students figure everything out for themselves. I also make videos, put them on YouTube and the group can watch them at any convenient time. Here are some examples. As far as I know, they mostly watch these videos on their mobiles.

5. Creating groups in messengers

I keep in touch with my students by creating a group in popular messengers which all of them have on their smart phones. Changes in the schedule, notes on homework, anything that is important is very hard to miss if you have such a group.

In conclusion, I would like to point it out that using mobile devices can be effectively applied practically to any aspect of your teaching job and make your interaction with students more interesting and engaging, as you can see from the examples mentioned above.

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