Pair Activities with Mobile Devices

“Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.” – Henry Ford

Our learners love their mobile devices. However, many of our learners rarely use their mobile devices to communicate with others face-to-face or develop relationships with their peers. We can guide our learners to communicate and collaborate effectively with their mobile devices by pairing or grouping them to problem-solve and create. In my digital book, Learning to Go, you’ll find rubrics, handouts, and lesson plans for the activities listed below. Check out my slide presentation (download for free) and the bookmarks below for pair work activities with mobile devices. You will soon see how these icebreakers and activities will help transform your classroom into a thriving community of excited learners supporting each other. Check out the bookmarks to discover apps and resources to get your students partnering up with their devices.

Get your copy of The 30 Goals for Teachers and Learning to Go.


  • Mingle with devices- Just like square dancing, your students can work with a partner for 30 seconds to 2 minutes to demonstrate their favorite apps, get to know each other, play a game, or problem solve.
  • Draw your favorite- Try a drawing app (click here for a list). Students draw their favorite ice cream, cartoon character, animal, etc. then show a partner the drawing. The partners guess what the drawing represents and they share information with each other. In Learning to Go, use the Knowledge Swap handout with this activity.
  • Draw your monster- Students use their imagination to draw an alien or monster. Students do not reveal their drawings. Instead, students describe their monsters to their partners who draw by listening. Then both compare the drawings. Check out these Educreation monster drawings by elementary students.
  • Students can Think, Pair, Share with devices. Students work in pairs to create a mind map maker about a topic. Try the Popplet app. Students share their mind maps with another set of peers. Each pair adds the new information they learned from each other and add to their mind maps.
  • Student can jigsaw with QR codes.  In Learning to Go, I provide a template and example activity where one student has a joke and the other has the answer. The students try to find the partner with the answer to the question they scanned.
  • Have students use apps like Puppet Pals, Toontastic, Sock Puppets, Buddy Poke Pro (iOS/Android), Voxer (iOS/Android), or Piiig Walkie Talkie (for elementary) to practice role plays.
    • They can take on roles as characters in a book or create modern dialogues between historical figures.
    • Make role-playing cards to guide the conversation. Click here for an example.
  • Students can interview each other:
    • Have them brainstorm questions in advance. Storycorps has a great resource of interview questions.
  • Students can report the news in pairs with apps like Talking Ben & Tom News Reporter (iOS/Android) or TouchCast.
  • Students can play or create games together with their devices.


  • Get a class set of stylus pens to make drawing and filling in mobile handouts easier and more legible. Amazon allows bulk ordering cheap.
  • Are yours students makers? Have them create their own stylus pens. The links below will give you ideas.

Challenge: Get students to work in pairs with their mobile devices.

If you enjoyed these ideas, you may want to get your copy of The 30 Goals for Teachers or my $5.99 ebook, Learning to Go, which has digital/mobile activities for any device and editable/printable handouts and rubrics.


Click to access that resource!

IPad Education, by team Mobile Learning Implementation Resources

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Shelly Terrell

Shelly Sanchez Terrell (@ShellTerrell) is an award winning digital innovator, an international speaker/consultant, and the author of Hacking Digital Learning with EdTech Missions, The 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers, and Learning to Go. She has trained teachers and taught English language learners in over 20 countries as an invited guest expert by organizations, like the US Embassy, UNESCO Bangkok, Cultura Inglesa of Brazil, the British Council in Tel Aviv, IATEFL Slovenia, HUPE Croatia, ISTEK Turkey, and Venezuela TESOL. She has been recognized by several organizations and publications as a leader in the movement of teacher driven professional development as the founder and organizer of various online conferences, Twitter chats, and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Two of the projects she co-organized were shortlisted for ELTons, #ELTChat and the Virtual Round Table Language and Technology online conference. She was named Woman of the Year by the National Association of Professional Women, awarded a Bammy Award as a founder of #Edchat, and named as one of the 10 Most Influential People in EdTech by Tech & Learning. Her greatest joy is being the mother of baby Savannah and Rosco the pug. Shelly has an Honors BA in English with a Minor in Communication and a specialization in Electronic Media from UTSA, a Masters in Curriculum Instruction ESL from the University of Phoenix, and a CELTA from CELT Athens. She regularly shares her tips for effective technology integration via Twitter (@ShellTerrell),, and on her blog,, which has won several awards and recognitions as one of the top ESL, Edtech and Elearning blogs. Find over 400 of her slide presentations at

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