Teachability | Teaching English with Technology

Welcome to Teachability!

This site showcases the application of new technologies in language learning. Our blog offers practical tips and provides news for teachers and learners on how they can integrate Mobile Assisted Language Learning (MALL) technologies into their teaching and learning.

About Us

Teachability:

provides practical teaching advice and activities on the integration of new technologies in the classroom. Our blog posts contain practical tips and news for teachers in the rapidly changing world of Mobile Assisted Language Learning (MALL) technologies.

The editor of teachability.info is Simon Wardman.  The blog contains articles and posts are from a number of contributors.

Blog editor:

Simon has been teaching English (EFL, EAP, ESP) for over 25 years in the UK and overseas. Simon is presently a tutor at the Centre for English Language Education (CELE), University of Nottingham and is teaching on the presessional EAP ‘Business and Management’ course,  preparing students going on to postgraduate programmes in business and management. He has designed and taught many courses in ‘English for specific purposes’ (ESP).  His interest is in supporting academic staff integrate modern technology into their lessons.  He has recently led a number of mobile learning collaborative projects in the HE/FE sectors, funded by JISC and other organisations in the United Kingdom.  Simon collaborates on a number of other related blogs.

 

 

Scavenger Hunt

Vocabulary Scavenger Hunts improve language learning

Near Field Communication (NFC) tags embedded into posters are a great way to create vocabulary scavenger hunts and other out-of-classroom collaborative activities for students.  Vocabulary Scavenger Hunts improve language learning by providing the opportunity for students to contextualize language in real situations. Students find these activities engaging and motivating and find new vocabulary easier to understand.

How?

Small groups of students were required to navigate around the college via 9 posters embedded with NFC tags. These interactive posters directed the students’ smartphones to tasks, which could be written on blog posts.  In our recent scavenger hunt, we linked our NFC tags to word definitions on an online crowd-sourced dictionary called Toponimo. The students then had to make a collaborative decision regarding the most appropriate meaning of the word, relevant to its context.

Why?

The GPS system on smartphones can’t work inside buildings, so NFC tags are an ideal way to provide students with contextual information. These interactive posters had the effect of taking the focus away from the technology and allowed students to focus on deciding on the correct word definition for the location they were in. The students found that NFC-enabled mobile devices were a lot easier to use than the QR codes which have been previously used in vocabulary treasure hunts.

Findings

Questionnaires were given to the EFL learners after the scavenger quest and their opinions on the activities where gathered in focus groups. Initial research findings show that nearly 92% of our EFL students already looked up words on their mobile phones but every student involved in the project thought that learning the words in the different places around the college made them easier to understand. At the time of running the first vocabulary quest in December 2012, only one-third of the language learners regularly carried an NFC-enabled device to college. This is the main criticism of the vocabulary scavenger quest. Students mentioned in the focus groups however that these group vocabulary quests using mobile devices were more fun than comparable classroom activities using traditional dictionaries.

 

Read More
JISC Article on NFC Interactive Posters

Jisc blog

rfid journal

NFC World

UK college uses NFC to help teach English

 

 

Read more

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