Smartphones here, smartphones there, smartphones everywhere

smartphone-hunch

It is not a surprising fact that wherever you go, you see that everyone’s head is down on a glowing screen with headphones on. Whether this is the sad reality of our times or not, we will not discuss in this post. Nowadays, the majority can effort to buy smartphones and tablets. Many know how to use them, and the others learn quickly. Smartphones and similar devices had a remarkable impact on humans’ life. Not only they have eased the communication, but they have also become storage for our memories having all the personal information in them.

Smartphones are an inseparable part of our lives. No one and nothing can change this fact. As language teachers, we can see that students prefer to get busy with their phones rather than attentively listen to us. So, what can we do? Here are different solutions for the issue:

  • You can ask students to put their smartphones on the teacher’s table.
  • You can shout “put your phone away” every minute.
  • You can hire anti-phone guards, so they can walk in the classroom and take the phones.
  • You can make the smartphones as part of language learning process.

As a teacher-to-be, I will definitely choose the last solution. With the help of mobile applications, which are getting updated in the play or I-store regularly, we can engage students in language learning. Stockwell and Hubbard in their  article, emphasize ten principles that need to be considered while implementing mobile-assisted language learning (MALL).

Pedagogical Implementation

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Below I introduced an application, and I designed an activity including the ten principles of the article mentioned above. (to know the principles refer the article)

Application: 6 Minute English with BBC             Audience: 14+

Proficiency level: pre-intermediate

BBC has plenty of good applications for language learning, and my favorite one is 6 minutes English which mainly contains podcasts with transcripts. Before applying MALL, make sure that all the students have smartphones or tables. (principle 4) If yes, then the mentioned application is free and accessible. However, it needs wireless internet for updating the podcasts (principle 1), but for listening to the available podcasts no internet is needed. Refereeing to principle 6, explain for students that the application needs no personal information, and it has no access to the personal info in the device.

As suggested in principle 9, before applying the app, introduce it to the students in the class. Teach them how to download it and how to use it. The application has different sections: grammar, news, short stories. For every class assign the students to read and listen to the news, and take notes. By considering principle 2, ask students to do the listening in a noise free environment to fully understand it.

For the short stories or grammar sections, you can ask students to listen and read them whenever they are free or between their dead times. (principle 8)

At the end, check the activity by asking students to share the news or story they have listened to.

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