m-learning is the latest trend in education and it has come to stay! Learn how to make your English lessons more engaging and dynamic by utilizing mobile devices like smartphones, digital cameras and tablets. Revolutionize your lessons, "m" that learning!
What is more meaningful than students producing their own material for language practice with pictures of people they really know? Here is an idea for a simple yet fun project to make students practice the Present Continuous in a contextualized way. Moreover, it's a great chance for the teacher and students to build rapport once they will get to know more about their family members and friends as well!
Grammar topic: Present Continuous Language skill: speaking Device needed: any device with a built-in camera Number of devices needed: one per student
Model the activity by showing students a picture of a family member performing an action and eliciting what that person is doing. Explain that they are going to do the same thing using their own devices. Assign the task as homework: they should choose family members or friends and take pictures of them doing any action. On the following class students share their pictures and classmates describe what the people are doing using the Present Continuous (images can be projected on the board or be seen directly in the students' own devices).
Here is a nice warmer for adults with higher proficiency levels. It requires absolutely no preparation!
Level: Intermediate/Advanced Language skills: reading,listening and speaking Device needed: a cellphone or a tablet Number of devices needed: one per student Internet connection: on
Instructions: Ask students to visit the website www.shortnews.com and choose one piece of news they find interesting( explain that there are many different categories to choose from and the news are always really short!). After reading, tell them to pair up with a classmate,report their news and talk a little bit about them. As a follow-up, volunteers can share their news with everyone to generate group discussion on different topics.
Here is the app every teacher should know about: TeacherKit (formerly known as TeacherPal). I have recently started using it with my groups and it has proved to be very useful. In TeacherKit you can:
- send e-emails to students and parents
- add a picture to each student profile (tap on the desk and edit Student Info)
- keep track of absences (Attendance)
- feed in all grades (Gradebook)
- take notes on students' behavior (Behavior)
- organize seating arrangement (tap and hold the desk until it wiggles, then move the students around)
TeacherKit is very user friendly and will definitely keep you more organized throughout the term! Here is the link to the app's official page in case you want to learn more about all its features: TeacherKit official page
Here is a short YouTube video explaining the main features in TeacherKit: YouTube demo video
TeacherKit is a free app and it can be used in iPads and iPhones only.
How about turning a very traditional classroom practice into something more creative and engaging? Students will definitely have fun working on this different "dictation" that is totally created by them! Level: Beginning/Intermediate Grammar topic: Past Continuous Language skill: writing Device needed: a digital camera (cellphone, tablet) Number of devices needed: one per student Instructions: The objective of this activity is to have students practice the Past Continuous is a semi-controlled way. First, assign the task to be done at home: they should use a digital camera to record themselves performing any action. The video should last around 10 seconds and they should interrupt what they were doing to answer the telephone. Then, ask them to email their video to you. On the following class, tell them that they are going to watch all the videos and that each video corresponds to one sentence of the dictation. Write a sentence on the board so they have a model to follow (Ex: " John was dancing when the telephone rang" ). Show them the videos and have them write the sentences. Here are some videos that my own students have produced for this activity:
Tip: turn it into a more challenging task by not establishing that their action should be interrupted by the telephone ringing, let them decide what is going to interrupt it! Source: Vinicius Lemos
This activity can be used to practice vocabulary related to clothing and the present continuous as well! Level: beginning/intermediate Vocabulary: clothingGrammar topic: Present Continuous Language skill: speaking Device needed: any device with a built-in digital camera Number of devices needed: one per student Internet connection: offline Instructions: This is a class project that requires in-class and outside-class work. Part 1: On the first day, give each student a slip with a particular situation written in it (EX: GOING TO SCHOOL/CHURCH/WORK/THE BEACH/THE CHURCH/THE MALL/THE GYM/A WEDDING/A JOB INTERVIEW/ A ROMANTIC DINNER/ A FAMILY PICNIC/A NIGHTCLUB/ETC...). Remind them that they should not reveal which situation they were given. Then, explain that they should go home, pick up in their closet the outfit they would wear for that occasion and take pictures of all items (clothes/shoes/accessories) and a picture of themselves wearing the outfit for that occasion. Part 2: On the second day, ask students to sit in small groups. Explain that they should show the pictures they have taken (and orally say the name of all clothing items) and other group members should guess where their classmates are going dressed like that. As a follow-up, ask students to show the picture in which they are wearing their outfit and have other classmates describe using the Present Continuous (ex: you are wearing a pink dress, high heels, a watch and a necklace). You can also have them vote on the student who was best dressed for the assigned occasion. Alternative suggestion: In part 1, ask students to send you via e-mail their picture wearing the outfit. Then, in part 2, you can show the pictures of all students in a slide presentation and elicit from them the sentences in the Present Continuous (follow-up part). Source: Vinicius Lemos
How about practicing the Present Continuous in a different fun way? Level: Beginning Grammar topic: Present Continuous Language skill: speaking Device needed: iPad Number of devices needed: one per student App: Photo Crop Price: free Internet connection: online (offline if built-in camera is used instead) Instructions: Explain that in this activity students are going to practice the Present Continuous by asking questions. Write the model questions on the board: Is he ____________________-ing? Is she ___________________- ing? Are they _________________-ing? Students, then, should go to Google Images and save an image of someone doing an activity (ex: running, dancing, swimming, sleeping, etc). Then , using Photo Crop (app), they should cut up the image so that only part of it can be seen. Students should then sit in small groups. One student shows the cropped image and the others ask the yes/no questions until they guess it correctly. Students then take turns to guess the other cropped pictures. Tips: -Model it before students actually work on the activity. -If there is no internet connection, students can use their cameras and take pictures of each other performing different actions. Source: Vinicius Lemos
Level: Any Language Skill: Speaking/Listening (but it does not involve language) Device needed: voice recorder (cellphone, tablet or any other device that can record sounds in it) Objective: Guessing what is happening
Grammar point: Present Continuous Instructions: You need two classes to work on this activity. On the first day explain that students are going to have a very different homework: they should use their devices to record someone doing something that we can guess what it is by only listening to it. It is a good idea to bring some samples to class so that students understand exactly what is expected from them. Suggest some ideas if necessary: taking a shower typing on the computer chopping food watching tv swimming dancing etc Set a time limit of 20 seconds for each recording (they can do more than one if they want to). Write on the board the model sentence you expect students to produce " Someone is __________-ing..." . Then break students into small groups and have them listen to their classmates' recording. Remind them that they should use the model sentence when guessing what the noise is ( Someone is chopping vegetables/ Someone is singing/someone is taking a shower/Someone is snoring/etc). As a wrap-up, students can listen to all recordings again as the teacher elicits the correct sentence. Source: Vinicius Lemos Picture credits: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jm999uk/182297015/ (Creative Commons)
This is a very simple voice recorder app that allows you to send the audio files to anybody`s email. Teachers can take advantage of this app to:
1. send students oral feedback on their writing assingments;
2. record students speaking during a classroom speaking activity and e-mail the file so that they can listen to themselves and work on some self-reflection or even correct their mistakes as a homework assignment;
3. send students a recorded question and ask them to reply using the app;
4. send a personalized message or feedback on the student`s overall performance in class (praise, suggestions,etc).
Level: any Device needed: camera (cellphone, tablet,digital camera or any other device that has a camera in it) Aim: vocabulary review/awareness
Students can work individually or in pairs/groups in case not everyone has a camera. Set a time limit of 10 minutes and ask them to go around the school taking pictures of different objects. However, tell them that there is a very important rule: They should take pictures of objects obeying the alphabetical order (the first picture should be of something beginning with letter "A" , the second picture should be of something beginning with letter "B", the third picture with letter "C"...). When the time is up, students get back to class, sit in small groups and show their pictures to their group members. That is a great opportunity for them to practice pronunciation and learn new vocabulary words. The student with more pictures in the correct alphabetical order is the winner.
Here is a simple idea for a very communicative and meaningful activity.
Grammar point:Simple Present
Level: Beginning Language Skill: Speaking Device needed: camera (cellphone, tablet,digital camera or any other device that has a camera in it) Objective: Describing routine
This is a project that should be carried out outside the classroom for a period of a week. Explain that they should use their device to take pictures that can be used to illustrate their activities on a typical week (at school, playing sports, lunch, family, hanging out with friends, etc). Then, in the end of a week taking pictures, they should pick up 5 images that best represent their week. Reinforce the idea that those 5 images are the ones that are going to be used for the class activity.
On the day assigned by the teacher students should bring their devices with the 5 selected photos. Pair them up and ask them to show the pictures as they use the simple present to talk about their routine. Explain that they should not only make a sentence in the simple present as they show the picture but also give additional details about it. Partners should be encouraged to ask questions about details. After students have had a chance to show their pictures and talk to their partners invite some volunteers to talk about their routine to the whole group. As a follow-up students can write 3 new things they learned about their classmates`routine and share it with the whole group.
Tip: Model the activity before students actually start working on it. A great way to do it is by showing students 5 of your own pictures to illustrate your weekly routine.
Number of devices required : 1 per student, if available
Ask students to go to Google Images and search for the photo of any
celebrity they want to. Tell them to save that photo into their device's
library. Then, explain that they should open that saved picture in the
app Photo Crop and crop it so that only a part of the body of that
celebrity can be seen (Ex: nose, eyes, hair, mouth, legs, etc). Then,
classmates should guess who that celebrity is by making sentences in the
Genitive Case (ex: These are Angélica's eyes/This is Justin Bieber's nose/ This is Obama's mouth/etc). Then, students should reveal who the celebrity is by showing the original picture.
Always model how to do it before the students actually start the activity.
Tell students to look for good quality photos, specially the one with a close-up on faces.
Make this activity more sophisticated by asking students to
practice asking questions and giving complete answers so that they can
practice the pertinent grammatical structures ( ex: Whose eyes are
these?/ Whose nose is this?/ Whose hair is this?/ No, this isn't
Justin's nose/No, these aren't Angélica's eyes/ No, This isn't his
mouth/ Yes, this is her hair)
Transform it into a game by dividing class into 2 teams.
Do you want your students to practice the use of "WILL" for making future predictions meaningfully? Here is a simple yet fun way to do so!
Grammar point: using "WILL" for making predictions about the future
App: Palm Scanner
Operating System: iOS (iPad only)
Internet Status: offline
Number of devices required : 1
First ask students to write down on their notebooks a couple of YES/NO questions they would like to know about the future. These can be questions about themselves or somebody else (but the activity might turn out to be more interesting if they actually ask questions aboutthemselves). Provide students with some examples to guide them if necessary (ex: Will I travel to Paris on my next vacation? Will I buy a puppy next year? Will I win the lottery? Will Justin Bieber marry a fan? Will Germany win the next soccer World Cup?). Then, explain that Palm Scanner is going to answer the questions they are dying to know the answer. Students have a blast because nobody can predict what Palm Scanner is going to answer! If Palm Scanner answers positively, then another student should type in another question and have his/her hand scanned. However, if the answer is negative, explain that students should then immediately make their own predictions for their classmate related to the same question.
Student A: (types in) "Will I travel to Paris next vacation?"
Palm Scanner: "That`s not likely to happen."
Student B: "You will travel to the beach."
Student C"You won`t travel. You will stay at home during the whole summer. "
Student d: "You will go hiking in the mountains in Tibet."
Always ask students to read the question out loud after they have typed it .
If classroom is equipped with a projector, then use a VGA cable to mirror the image on a screen.
Here is a nice idea for your students to practice the modals of deduction in an authentic way!
Level: Intermediate Language Skill: Speaking Device needed: camera (cellphone, tablet,digital camera or any other device that has a camera in it) Objective: Guessing what the photo is by making sentences with modals of deduction
Students can work individually or in pairs in case not everyone has a device with a built-in camera. Explain that students have 5 minutes to walk around within the school premises, find an object or place and take 2 photos of it: one that shows the object or place clearly and another one that shows only a piece of it, like a close-up ,an angle or a detail. Then, in groups of 3 or 4, ask students to show their classmates their close-up picture and have the others guess what it is by making sentences using modals of deduction (ex: It might be a flower/ It can't be watch/ it must be a door/etc). Then, after listening to the sentences, classmates should show the other picture (the one that shows the object or place clearly) so that they know if they have guessed it correctly or not.
Here are some tips to make this a successful activity:
a) Model the activity before by showing the students some pictures previously taken. This way they are going to clearly understand how the pictures should be taken. b) Write on the board sample sentences with all the modals of deduction you want students to use in their sentences c) Establish a minimum number of sentences each student should make before classmates reveal what the object/place is.
This app is a "must have" for every teacher! With it you can call on students radomly and avoid any possible bias. Every single student will necessarily be called!
Operating System: iOS
How to use this app:
1. Go to "Classes"and add a class. Type in the name of the class and add students`names. After names are added, you can add a photo or edit any information by tapping on the student`s name.
2. Call on a student randomly by pressing "Calling". For the next student, just shake the cellphone or press "Next".
3. Would you like to divide your students into different groups without being biased? Just press "Groups", choose the class (in case you have more than one )and choose the total numbers of groups on the right side. Then, when you press "Create Groups", students will be automatically grouped up.
4. If a student is absent, just go to "Classes", choose the class you are teaching, find the student in the list and use the on/off switch on the right. This way the student will not be called.
This is an idea of a very simple yet meaningful and communicative activity that requires the use of a digital camera.
Level: Intermediate/Advanced Language Skill: Speaking Device needed: camera (cellphone, tablet,digital camera or any other device that has a camera in it)
Part 1(to be assigned as homework) - Ask students to take a picture of a very special gift they have gotten.
Part 2 (the following class) - Ask students to sit in small groups and tell them that they should show the other classmates the picture they have taken of a very special gift they have gotten. They should tell an anecdote explaining why that gift is so important to them, who gave it to them, when they got it, etc. Encourage students to ask their classmates some follow-up questions in order to get more details about the anecdote.
Here is an awesome activity for very young learners! They will definitely have fun creating different animals and it`s a great opportunity to drill learned vocabulary!
Teaching point: vocabulary- animals
App: Make An Animal
Operating System: IOS (iphone or ipad)
Internet Status: offline
Number of devices required : 1 or more, if available
First, demonstrate how the app works: students can make an animal by choosing the ears, eyes, tail, legs, etc. If each student has a device, have them work in pairs, or, if there is only one, work on the activity with the whole group at the same time. Explain that one student should make an animal and show it to the others. Classmates, then, should say which animals they can identify in the picture.
Here is a simple and fun activity for young learners learning the relationship between simple past and past continuous! The app used for this activity is very user-friendly and intuitive!
Grammar point: simple past x past continuous
App: Action Movie FX
Operating System: IOS (iphone or ipad)
Internet Status: offline
Number of devices required : 1 or more, if available
To get students in the mood, explain that they are going to produce some short video segments for the next Mission: Impossible movie. Students should work in pairs or small groups(assign roles: one student handles the camera, the other directs the scene and the other(or others)should perform the action). Explain that their videos are going to be very short (about 10 seconds) and that the recorded scene should be that of the students performing a single action (ex: dancing, singing, sleeping, etc). Tell them that the effect they are going to choose is : "Missile Attack". After everybody has finished recording their scenes, write on the board:
_____________ was/were ___________ - ing, when the missile hit him/her/them.
Model it by giving an example (ex: Robert was dancing when the missile hit him./ Meggie and Sue were playing tennis when the missile hit them.) Then, explain that students are going to write down a sentence for each video produced by their classmates.
As a follow-up, students can vote on the best/funniest video.
Tip: Before students make their videos, it is a good idea to demonstrate how to use the app. This won`t take more than 2 minutes, since the app is very simple and easy to use.
Level: Beginning Language Skill: Speaking Device needed: camera (cellphone, tablet,digital camera or any other device that has a camera in it) Objective: Describing people
Students can work individually or in pairs/groups in case not everyone has a camera. Set a time limit of 5 minutes and ask them to go around the school taking pictures of the school staff (teachers, secretaries, etc). When students come back to class, group them up and ask each one to show the other classmates some of the pictures they have taken. Classmates should describe the appearance of the people in each picture.
Tip: Talk to the school staff before you conduct this activity, so that you can get their permission to be photographed. Also, remind your students to tell the people they approach that they are working on a class project and to ask for permission before taking the pictures.