Cell phones in the Classroom – Yippee!

However, many teachers are realizing that the best way to fight something is not to oppose it but rather to harness its own energy and convert that energy into learning (kind of like what judo is all about…).

Cell phones can ignite student interest and they are an amazingly powerful tool, right in the hands of students who already know how to use them! No learning curve needed! So how could you use them?

Well let me mention just a few ways off the top of my head — I’ll focus on language but there are hundreds of other ways for other subjects.

1. A full scale “Language Lab”. Cell phones are presently being used to teach whole courses of Chinese to Australian students! Students simply answer questions, engage in dialogues etc…through the use of a cell phone… I predict that in the next 3-5 years, this will become more the norm than a strange thing, in the classrooms around the developed world…

2. Pictures! Cell phones have amazing cameras. Students can make slideshows of pictures they took with these powerful recording devices. Add a little audio and BINGO, you have a great educational project……share it with the world, that’s exactly what Sergio Mazzarelli did! I just attended his presentation at a conference and WHAT A JOY IT WAS! He showed us how simple it could be done, as he did with his Japanese univ. students. They made slideshows using the Microsoft Moviemaker (already in all Windows O/Ss). He then collected them and shared them with the world on youtube. Sergio, you uplifted my heart with your inspirational project that really gets students learning 21st century style! Bravo!

Here’s an example from one of his students! Done with a cell phone!

3. Translating text messaging to English….Yes, simply use www.transl8it.com for this. You enter your English text (maybe the story you are reading in class, maybe your lesson from your dry textbook?) and press the button, BINGO – out comes the text messaging. After that, copy / paste / print and give it to students. They decode and then check with the original source. A wonderful way to foster writing skills and learn in a motivating way… See the Transl8it.com games I’ve made in our Powerpoint Games Resource area... They will love Transl8it the Pop Song game! (they transl8it, famous pop song lyrics and guess the singer).

4. I’ve attached a neat way to play a game with a cell phone. Get a good dialogue and students have to unscramble it to find out the teacher’s cell phone number. First student to call or send a text message to the teacher wins!

Here’s how I did it with the first dialogue on our Karaoke Dialogue page. First show the dialogue a few times, then let the students unscramble…..

Cell Phone Scramble: Listen to the dialogue. Unscramble the dialogue below to find
out your teacher’s cell phone number. The first to call WINS!

__ M: No, I’m not. I’m staying in bed. 9 __ W: Yes, I am. 4

__ W: I’m working on Sat. mornings this month __ M: If I’m awake! 1
Are you getting up? 0

1 M: Hey. Are you getting dressed? __ W: It’s a quarter to 8.
I’m going to work. 7

__ W: Okay. See you at noon. 9 __ M: Why?
What time is it? 4

__ M: But it’s Saturday! 6

My cellphone number: CALL: 0 1 0 ___ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____

Here is a great commercial to add some levity to this educational issue….

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Teacher trainer, technology specialist, educational thinker...creator of EFL Classroom 2.0, a social networking site for thousands of EFL / ESL teachers and students around the world.

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