Would you call that fiction? Definitely not! I am quite sure this has already happened to you if you teach tennagers! So, how do you deal with it? Should you ban mobile devices from your classroom? Every time new technologies land in the classroom, students do naturally react with excitement to them. After a while they get used and tend to calm down. As an educator, I believe that we should never ignore the "world" students live in, but rather find ways to bring it to the learning environment. The number of students who own mobile devices has skyrocketed in recent years and the prediction is that every single person will have a digital camera, a cellphone or a tablet in the near future. In some cases, some might already have them all! So, how about thinking of ways to use these devices creatively in order to effectively teach and practice different grammar points and even improve levels of interaction and communication? Here is one idea I have recently developed for the typical ESL/EFL setting. This activity can be used to practice vocabulary related to clothing and the present continuous as well!
Activity: What's the Occasion?
Grammar topic: Present Continuous
Language skill: speaking
Device needed: any device with a built-in digital camera
Number of devices needed: one per student
Internet connection: offline
This is a class project that requires in-class and outside-class work.
Part 1: On the first day, give each student a slip with a particular situation written in it (EX: GOING TO SCHOOL/CHURCH/WORK/THE BEACH/THE CHURCH/THE MALL/THE GYM/A WEDDING/A JOB INTERVIEW/ A ROMANTIC DINNER/ A FAMILY PICNIC/A NIGHTCLUB/ETC...).
Remind them that they should not reveal which situation they were given. Then, explain that they should go home, pick up in their closet the outfit they would wear for that occasion and take pictures of all items (clothes/shoes/accessories) and a picture of themselves wearing the outfit for that occasion.
Part 2: On the second day, ask students to sit in small groups. Explain that they should show the pictures they have taken (and orally say the name of all clothing items) and other group members should guess where their classmates are going dressed like that. As a follow-up, ask students to show the picture in which they are wearing their outfit and have other classmates describe using the Present Continuous (ex: you are wearing a pink dress, high heels, a watch and a necklace). You can also have them vote on the student who was best dressed for the assigned occasion.
Alternative suggestion: In part 1, ask students to send you via e-mail their picture wearing the outfit. Then, in part 2, you can show the pictures of all students in a slide presentation and elicit from them the sentences in the Present Continuous (follow-up part).
I hope you liked it and let me know if you ever have the chance to test it with your students. I am a mobile learning junkie and I display all my ideas in my blog http://mthatlearning.blogspot.com. If you want to learn more about mobile learning, be my guest!