How do you use mobile devices in the classroom? Tips, apps, best practices #ELTchat Summary 11/01/2012

A PLN for ELT Professionals

How do you use mobile devices in the classroom? Tips, apps, best practices #ELTchat Summary 11/01/2012

Summary contributed by Shaun Wilden, #ELTchat moderator and posted on his blog AppedELT

image from



This is the summary of eltchat on 11.01.2012 on the topic of m-learning. As a lot of the people taking part seemed to have got an ipad from Santa, the chat was very smart device orientated with lots of apps being suggested along with tips for their use. Therefore rather than summarize everything in prose, I am listing apps and uses and where possible have linked the app to Itunes store (UK) – most of the apps mentioned where for the apple variety of devices though some are also android.

One of the things mentioned in the chat was the m-learning course run by the consultants-e. This is a course I took year and this #eltchat reminded me one of my action plan things was to blog about apps so welcome to my new blog.


What and Whys about M-learning? <o:p></o:p>


I think mobile is anything that is easy to take with you, but now the focus is probably tablets and smartphones?Why m-learning? Because Ss can learn anywhere – on bus, walking, etc. I know I do! Students always have their phones with them. Using them as mobile classrooms means they can take advantage of time on buses/in queues etc. M-learning is well suited for learner autonomy since sts can access authentic English. M-learning isrelevant to students (especially younger ones) who live on their phones – accesses their world. Things such as iPads are portable, flexible and very user friendly so much better for kids. Teachers that have tried m-learning with sts have found it beneficial and engaging.


A simple first step for the students:


In the first class of a course I always encourage sts to switch their devices into English, that’s first and very useful step.




I like…..

  1. using games on my Smart Phone or iPad with 1-2-1 YLs. They really enjoy them especially word games such asBookworm, words with friends,
  2. my iPad in class for listening tasks, pronunciation, recording….you name it!
  3. it as a giant timer
  4. letting students create stories by taking photos and using apps such as photocomic, comic book and strip designer
  5. students accessing dictionaries sites like or apps such as wordweb,, OALD and the Cambridge Advanced learner’s
  6. using an Ipad as a study tool i.e. taking notes
  7. the Guardian Eyewitness app. It is great for conversation starters and for picture description work
  8. using italk for sts to record them selves then send me for personalized feedback
  9. demonstrating problems with google translate to SS by translating sth, then translating it back again = nonsense.
  10. Accessing flashcard from using apps recommended on their site
  11. Taking a photo of the board after a lesson and then sending it to EverNote & collate with lesson plans, notes etc later. Other tools that work with Evernote are Peek and Skitch
  12. That my sts upload our coursebook (doc file) on iPads and smartphones and work through these at class.
  13. Asking the asking the sts for the news at the beginning of a lesson, sts check news on phones, takes a couple of mins
  14. using an app set up such as doceri then I don’t need an IWB. Or using other apps such as ‘showme’, ‘jot’ and‘screenchomp’
  15. using free apps for pre-school children can help adult EFL sts to learn pronunciation and deal with literacy issues.

It doesn’t have to be smart.

  1. I once got all my learners calling different travel agents on their different mobile phones to get the best travel deal to Egypt.
  2. Record on their phones. Great tool for self-assessment
  3. Use phones to discuss photos they’ve made (after a holiday), see latest post by @aClilToClimb for #eltpics

Some additional things to consider:

  1. Is it cheating to use a mobile device to look up things online and use tools such as google translate? If so how do you stop it?
  2. If you allow the use of phones how do you know they are not texting each other?
  3. Non-ELT apps may have just as much if not more educational value than those specifically produced for teaching.
  4. If you use an LMS such as moodle or edmodo, make it I-friendly so sts can access it on a mobile device.
  5. Be aware that some students might be resistant to m-learning. Although perhaps it is likely to be the teacher rather than the sts who is resistant.
  6. I teach adults and lots have smartphones BUT not all so can’t be exclusively mobile.

Further Reading and generally things to ponder and peruse.

  1. Macmillian’s global m-learning course
  2. Consultants-e m-learning lesson plans
  3. Top 50 mLearning resources
  4. Emoderation skills blog posts about m-learning
  5. Macmillian glossary of m-learning terms
  6. How do you use mobile devices in the classroom an #eltchat summary
  7. Why m-learning changed my life 
  8. 39 sites for using an ipad in the classroom
  9. Edu app news: apps, ebooks, and sites for your classroom #mlearning
  10. Teaching kids with ipads
  11. 10 Talking Points to Lift the Ban on Cell Phones
  12. Using mLearning and MOOCs to Understand Chaos, Emergence, and

Complexity in Education 

  1. Blooming iPad



And that’s it. Check the transcript for who said what – the post was too long so I left out the names. Apologies if I didn’t use your tweets in the summary and big apologies to @CliveSir who despite my overzealous moderation still gave us some useful links.


Remember #eltchat takes place every Wednesday 12 – 13 and 21-22 UK time, check out the blog for more details.

Right now I’ve started a new blog, I better set about reviewing some apps.