Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Teaching English using mobile phones

Playing shop

A couple of days ago I mentioned an idea for using audio tours as the basis for an efl/esl lesson. The actual lesson plan was for more advanced students and perhaps would not be useful for many teaching situations. So here is another idea which can be used for post beginners/intermediate students and can be more easily organised in a classroom context.

Lesson plan

1 Explain what a audio tour is. Ideally, have one ready top play on your mp3 player/mobile/PC etc. Click here to see a list of Lonely Planet Travelcasts to get some ideas.

2 Students listen to a short, easy section and then ask them in groups to discuss how this could help a tourist or visitor to their country.

3 Now explain that they are going to do their own mini audio tour/podcast/travelcast. However, this is not going to be about historic sites or landmarks but about their own home.

4 To help them with this work on the kind of vocabulary needed to describe the outside of somebody's home. Elicit ideas for categories;. For example;

type: flat, two bedroomed semi, etc.
size: small, huge, square metres, etc.
location: in the centre, next to a park, on the corner, etc.
other: old, modern, etc.

5 Students then write a short description (2 to 3 sentences) and check it with each other. the teacher quickly has a look to help or correct student work.

6 Now ask students about ways in which they can describe the inside of their home. What would we need to know?

rooms: kitchen, living room etc
colours, light yellow, bright white,
shape: square narrow, low,
atmosphere: friendly, cosy etc.

7 Explain to students that they are going to give a tour of their home and record it. The easiest way to do this is to use a mobile phone. Most models now have the ability to record audio which can then be transferred to a PC (though this is not necessary).

8 To help students oragnise their thoughts get them to draw a floor plan of their home. It maybe necessay to draw one of your own on the board to make sure they get the right idea.

9 Students then outline the route the tour will take on the plan.

10 Help them with useful phrases such as;

On the left you can see....
straight ahead is the......
just opposite......

11 Students write out their descriptions, either in full or in note form. Remind them that they are going to talk for just a few minutes and that they do not need to describe everything in too much detail. However, do get them to add a few personal details such as;

"This is my study where I revise for my exams etc."

12 Students record their descriptions on their mobile phones. Encourage them to repeat the process until they are happy with their presentation.

13 The descriptions can be posted on a class/personal blog along with either pictures or video if the students wish . Once again the mobile phone is an ideal way of doing this.

As you can see this lesson allows students to revise many areas of vocabulary such as shapes, colours, rooms, housing vocabulary, adjectives describing personal feelings etc. In addition it allows them to personalise their learning experience and finally, the act of recording and listening is a wonderful way to improve speaking skills.

For more teaching ideas using mobile - cell phones click here.

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