10+ Ideas for Using Cell Phones with Young Learners

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One of the first toys we play with when we are young is a phone. I remember playing with a phone that automatically dialed the numbers to the Sesame Street gang. I loved talking to them and hearing their messages. I remember having pretend conversations with them and these pretend conversations helped me learn to communicate with others. I was mimicking conversations I observed my parents and siblings have or those I saw on the television. Nowadays, children will play with cell phones and I think this is because these devices are one of the most incredible ways to learn about communication. As a language teacher and teacher trainer, I try to find the best tools to help my learners communicate effectively. For this reason, I am a huge supporter of using cell phones and mobile devices for learning. They are powerful learning tools, because:

  • the majority of learners have them so they offer us a chance to have a classroom full of technology with little or no cost
  • they are portable, which supports kids getting out of their desks and exploring. Too many times children spend the majority of their school days in desks and for me that is not effective or engaging learning.
  • they put the learning into the learners’ hands. Teachers have to hover over a student using a cell phone. This dynamic means that many activities with cell phones will be student centered.
  • they are used at home. This means that we show our kids that these devices can be used for learning and we help them realize that learning is all around them.

There are several more reasons for mobile learning in the classroom which you can find in my Present.Me presentation below on using cell phones with learners. I hope I have encouraged you to try one of these ideas!

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Use one of these ideas with your young learners!

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Shelly Terrell

Shelly Sanchez Terrell is a teacher trainer, instructional designer, adjunct professor, and the author of The 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers: Small Steps to Transform Your Teaching and Learning to Go: Lesson Ideas for Teaching with Mobile Devices, Cell Phones and BYOT. She has been recognized by the ELTon Awards, The New York Times, the Ministry of Education in Spain, and Microsoft’s Heroes for Education as an innovator in the movement of teacher-driven professional development and education technology. Recently, she was named Woman of the Year 2014 by Star Jone’s National Association of Professional Women and awarded a Bammy Award as a founder of #Edchat, the Twitter chat that spurred over 400 teacher chats. She has trained teachers and taught learners in over 25 countries and has consulted with organizations worldwide such as UNESCO Bangkok, The European Union aPLaNet Project, Cultura Iglesa of Brazil, the British Council in Tel Aviv, IATEFL Slovenia, HUPE Croatia, and VenTESOL. She shares regularly via TeacherRebootCamp.com, Twitter (@ShellTerrell), and Facebook.com/shellyterrell. Her greatest joy is being the mother of Rosco the pug.


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