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    #1

    Question Using Smart Phones to Help ELLs during Class.

    Hello!

    I was wondering if anyone has any thoughts or experience in using mobile devices to help facilitate classroom activities. This could be in the form of dictionaries, using the device for research, mobile flashcards, etc. At my school, we take away the student's cell phones, and I am trying to find a way to justify keeping them during class to increase learner autonomy in writing essays, learning vocabulary, and in doing research. My students are 12-13-year-old South Korean Middle Schoolers. Is this a misguided endeavor? Any thoughts on how or if I should integrate this into practice would be greatly appreciated!

  1. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Using Smart Phones to Help ELLs during Class.

    I think the drawback with allowing them all to have their phones in class is that you have no control over what they're actually doing on those phones. There is no way for you to limit their use to online dictionaries, research sites or anything similar.
    There is no doubt that they will use online facilities when they're doing their homework (at home!) but I honestly don't see a reason for them to need them in class. During class they should be reading, writing, listening or speaking.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  2. Skrej's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Using Smart Phones to Help ELLs during Class.

    I've found just the opposite - I mostly impose a ban on devices in my class, just because of all the online stuff they can access. Even when they weren't using the devices for non-classroom work, they mostly just used them to look up answers (instead of trying to figure them out themselves, so they didn't really learn much), or they would simply use dictionaries and translation sites to translate every thing.

    My students are advanced enough that I want them thinking in English, and trying to work things out for themselves. If they could occasionally use a dictionary appropriately, then I'm fine with that, however, they simply try to translate every single word-by-word, which we all know doesn't work.

    I've also found the students who relied on them the most seemed to make the least actual real progress, despite having most of the answers correct. The students who worked through problems and created their own sentences were better able to apply the concepts to future speaking. The ones who translated or researched it online couldn't recognize the same material in a different form or apply the concepts later on. They'd have to start again from scratch.

    I will occasionally want them to research something, and allow them access, but for the most part I've implemented a 'no phone/device' policy during class. When they continue to try to outsmart me, I simply mandate that they put them in a box when they come in the door.

    Of course not everyone does, and they all claim they left their phones at home, but then they're not taking them out in class either, so I don't really care. It is amusing when somebody who earlier told me they didn't have their phone with them suddenly has a ringing pocket or purse.

    We also have a number of computers and devices in the classroom for student use, which I use when I want them online.
    Wear short sleeves! Support your right to bare arms!

  3. Newbie
    Interested in Language
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    #4

    Re: Using Smart Phones to Help ELLs during Class.

    I agree with what has been said already. You do not know what exactly they could be looking at. Even if you let them use it for a dictionary or thesaurus, I see it as more of a crutch than a help. They will learn to rely on google translate or wikipedia instead of asking somebody in person how to say something. A lot of the times, this can work as a good exercise on how to ask proper questions and will lead them to a deeper understanding of the language.

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    #5

    Re: Using Smart Phones to Help ELLs during Class.

    If they have their phones, do they use them the way you'd like?

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