There are many ways in which smartphones can be used in the language classroom -if they are allowed at all! Here I will focus on how we can take advantage of the camera tool to take photos in the classroom in order to be able to see things more clearly or more in detail or to move at different paces or simply for time efficiency purposes or to save paper.
- Instead of printing copies of answer sheets for textbook or workbook grammar activities, show the students the page with the answers from the teacher’s book and they can simply take of photo of it (in most cases it will be a portion of a page).
- If you write questions on the board (or display them) for a listening passage that you are about to play, tell the students to take a photo of the board and they can look at their phone while they answer the questions. It saves time and makes the students be on task right away. However, if there aren’t many questions, it might be a better idea altogether to simply read out the questions for the students to take them down. This implies spending more time but it also engages the students in an extra listening/dictation activity.
- If you are displaying a photo on the board for group discussion, there might be a glare or the data projector might have seen better days and then some students might not be able to get a proper view of things (specially those sitting at the back or on the sides). Invite them to come up to the front, take a photo and go back to their seats. That way they will be able to zoom in and notice details.
- Homework assignments. Tell the students to take of photo of the homework assignments that you have on the board for them. You may also create a qr code for them. Here is a video with 11 ideas for using qr codes in the classroom.
- If you have conversation questions on the board, again let the students take a photo. That way you will be making room for board annotations or to display something else. The students can simply read the questions from the phone screen.
.I will be posting more ideas on how to use the phone as a camera tool shortly. I hope these ones make sense.