giovedì 3 aprile 2014

Harrogate Online - The 48th Annual International IATEFL Conference & Exhibition (part 2)

My first report is about the session Teaching with mobile devices: choices and challenges by Nicky Hockly.
The presenter:
Nicky is Director of Pedagogy of The Consultants-E and has worked in the field of face-to-face and distance education since 1987, as a teacher, teacher trainer and consultant. She is involved in materials development, for both EFL course books and online learning. She is currently joint Co-ordinator of the IATEFL Learning Technologies Special Interest Group. Nicky has written many articles on education, technology and online learning, and she is a plenary speaker at conferences all over the world. She is a well-known author of methodology books on the application of technology to language teaching.

The session:
Teaching with mobile devices: choices and challenges

The content in 40 words
The workshop dealt about the choices and challenges involved in teaching with mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) in the classroom. There were also examples which showed practically how to implement mobile-based activities with beginner, lower-intermediate, and intermediate students.

Nicky started her workshop by showing the meaning of Mobile Learning. She considered three aspects:
1. when devices are mobile (smartphones and tablets, not laptops)
2. when learners are mobile (students move around the classroom/school with their devices or they use their devices at home)
3. when learning experience is mobile (how mobile devices can be used in language learning tasks)
In order to better explain the third point Nicky showed examples of activies she did during her teaching experience in Cambridge last year. I was particularly interested in the following task activities.
The first activity was one she integrated to the course book with lower-intermediate students. The
topic was water and students were asked to go around the school and take pictures of things which were connected with water but not water itself. They shared the pictures on the group of Whatsapp. Then they justified their choices. The pictures raised a lot of discussion among students.

The second activity was aimed at beginner students and it involved the use of QR codes and it was a
sort of treasure hunt. Students were supposed to go around the school, take pictures and ask questions to the staff. This activity allowed the students to recycle the language learnt, practicing speaking (they asked questions), reading and reviewing grammar.

The third activity is based on geotagging and was done by mid-intermediate students  They used a free app called Woices (it can be used both on Android and Apple devices). They created an audio guide of a place they liked in Cambridge. This activity was carried out both in the classroom and at home over the weekend.

Nicky also took into account the practical aspects of bringing mobile devices into the classroom such as the age of students, using students' belongings or school's, the mobile integration to the course books or assessment.

Finally, she considered the learning aims, the logistic and legal (especially the role of parents when students are young learners) aspects of using mobile devices.

My consideration in 40 words:
I am especially interested in the combination of technology and daily life and this session gave me food for thought. I can’t wait to adapt the activities carried out by Nicky’s students in my classes to meet my students’ needs.

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