Use Your SmartPhone or Tablet in the Classroom

Many of us have a smartphone at our fingertips or even a tablet or IPod. We  use them to make calls, play games or listen to music but they are very powerful devices.  In other posts, I have talked about apps that can help us practice English . Today let’s see how we can use them in very simple ways in our English classes.

One of the most powerful and easiest thing to use is the camera on our device. Even most “ordinary” phones have a camera. Let’s use it!

Photo by WTCC Instructor M.Yanez

Photo by WTCC Instructor M.Yanez

  • If the teacher has written a lot on the board and you have trouble writing it all down in your notebook, take a shot  (photograph) of the board.
  •  Maybe there is a great explanation or an interesting reading section  in the textbook at school.  You might try copying it in your notebook but if there
    Photo by WTCC Instructor M.Yanez

    Photo by WTCC Instructor M.Yanez

    isn’t time, snap a picture of the book

  • If you reviewed a classmate’s work. really liked it and want a copy, ask permission (“Can I take a picture of this”) and take a photo.
  • Do you sometimes wish you could keep the Crossroads Cafe worksheet after you and the teacher have edited your writing paragraph?  Photograph it with your camera!  Some phones / tablets can even scan documents like the worksheet into a PDF that you can print at home.

Do you have any other ideas on how to use the camera in the classroom?  Share them with us in a comment.

Now let’s use the microphone in your phone or tablet.  First, always ask permission before recording someone  ( “Do you mind if I record this?”).

  • If you are practicing a dialog with a classmate, record it. Play it back later and listen to yourself. How do you sound? What can you improve?…. timing, ….pronunciation…. grammar??
  • If the teacher does a dictation, record it.  Listen to it at home later and practice it again.  Did you hear more the second time you did it?

Again, do you have any more ideas on what you can record in class to listen to later?

One of the key things students like to use their phones is to translate back and forth from their native language to English.  Google Translate works with many devices and helps translate into 90 languages. You can use the keyboard, camera or recorder to input the words you want to translate. You don’t have to be connected to the Internet in order to translate.

How do you use your phone to translate? Can you recommend an app or technique?

Do you have any other ideas on how to use your phone in class to help you learn English?  Share it with us in a comment.