10 ways Use Mobile Phones to Teach English

Articles all over the internet claim that there are more smartphones than people on Earth so that means that it is very lilkely that your students have a cellphone and they bring it to the classroom for non- classroom uses.

Sometimes students don’t know that smartphones can be part of the classroom.

10 Ways to Use Mobile Phones to Teach English

These are 10 ways to use Mobile Phones to teach English that I have implemented in the classroom.

#1 Speed-Chats: One of the activities that I have implemented in the English Classroom is speed-chat using images. I usually send a picture of a town map and ask students to have a two-minute conversation by asking questions and giving directions to places found in the map. You can apply the same activity by sending pictures of famous celebrities and asking students  to describe them physically.

#2 Describing Pictures: Another teaching activity that a teacher can easily implement is asking students to take pictures of their community if they have to talk about their communities or good and services present in them. You can also ask them to make a collage using family pictures if you want them to talk about their families, childhood memories or family celebrations.

#3 Focus on Grammar: Make sure students sit in pairs and send them a picture of some people in a specific place and ask them to make sentences using a target language structure. For example if you find a picture about some people in the park, you can use the image and ask students to make sentences like this:

  1. Simple Present:  I see a dog
  2. Present Progressive:  A woman is walking in the park
  3. There is and There are:  There are two birds flying in the sky

#4 Wordles: You can create wordle and ask your students to make sentences based on the words found in the picture or you can easily create a wordle that contain verbs in its infinitive form and ask students to write the past and participle form in their notebooks.

#5 Using a Dictionary: Give students a powerpoint presentation or a powerpoint presentation in a PDF Format, the presentation must have only pictures then tell students to find  two or three words that describe the picture. Take into account that Google Translate has an offline version so you can use it when there is no WiFI Connection.

#6 Listening Tasks: Give students a worksheet and send the audio recording to their cellphones via bluetooth, they have to listen to the track on their cellphones because this gives them an opportunity to rewind and pause  the track as they please.

#7 Record Yourself: Students can use their phone apps to record conversations or sentences with a specific grammar structure.

#8 Dictation Activities: Send a recorded passage to students and ask them to listen to it twice and write out what they are able to understand.

#9 Pronunciation: You can send a recorded passage to students and ask them to identify specific vowel, consonant or diphthong sounds.

#10 Vocabulary Notebooks: Encourage students to record  new words in their cellphones and their cellphone can be their study partner

Challenges when Implementing Mobile Pedagogy in Low-Resource Environments

Using mobile phones in the classroom can be a challenge despite the good intentions of teachers might have.

These are the main challenges to use mobile phones to teach English.

#1 Cellphones are prohibited in many schools or they are allowed into school but they are not meant to be used for classroom learning.

#2 Student don’t want to use their cellphones as part of the learning process, they might claim that they didn’t bring their cellphone to avoid participating in the different classroom activities.

#3 Some students don’t have phones or these are too basic, some cellphones are limited to text and talk only.

#4 Teacher might not know how to integrate cellphones into the English classroom and that will probably keep them in the 80’s for the rest of their careers.

More Information

These are some teaching resources that you might want to check out

  1. 13 Great Websites for English Language Students
  2. 17 Best Podcasts For Learning English in 2021
  3. 3 Vocabulary Profilers to Analyze Texts Effectively
  4. 10 Amazing Websites to Improve your Listening Skills 
  5. 16 Awesome YouTube Channels for Learning English 
  6. 34 Great Ways to Teach English with Technology
  7. 5 Great Apps to Keep a Vocabulary Notebook
Manuel Campos, English Professor

Manuel Campos

I am Jose Manuel, English professor and creator of EnglishPost.org, a blog whose mission is to share lessons for those who want to learn and improve their English