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Going Mobile: Raffle to celebrate the ELTONs

Going mobile
My co-author Gavin Dudeney and I are delighted to be shortlisted for a 2015 British Council Innovation Award (ELTON), for our latest book Going Mobile.

To celebrate, we are running a raffle! To win a copy of the book, simply answer (correctly!) the four questions on our website. The raffle closes on 15 May, and we will announce the winner via our social media channels on 18 May.

Actually we’ve been nominated for two ELTONs this year – one for Going Mobile, and the other as part of the team that developed the NILE Online courses. This nomination is in the category of ‘Digital Innovation’. Going Mobile is in the category of ‘Innovation in Teacher Resources’. There are many excellent contendors in all the categories, so it will be a close race!

The British Council ELTONs are a prestigious prize in the English language teaching community, and we are very honoured to have been shortlisted several times now. We won our first ELTON in 2007 for our ‘ICT in the classroom’ online training course. This was back in the day when The Consultants-E were the only organisation offering online teacher training in the application of new technologies to the English language classroom. It’s nice to come full circle and to be nominated with the NILE team for more online course development, 8 years later!

This year’s ELTONs ceremony will be held on 4 June in London. There will be ‘red carpet’ interviews and the ceremony itself will be live streamed. We hope to see you online for that – and in the meantime, good luck with the raffle!

Going Mobile: Time will tell


cover with border2To celebrate the recent publication of our new book Going Mobile (co-authored with Gavin Dudeney), we’re sharing a number of activities you can try out with your students, to get them using mobile devices as part of the their language learning. The first activity we shared (Addicted!) required no devices at all in class. The second activity (Twitter celebrities) encouraged students to start using the ‘text’ function of their mobile phones with Twitter. Here we move on to an activity called ‘Time will tell’, and it gets students creating photo collage ‘time capsules’ by using the camera function of  their mobile devices.


If you decide to try this activity with your students, I’d love to hear about their reactions, in the Comments box below…

Nicky Hockly
The Consultants-E
January 2015

Going Mobile: Twitter celebrities

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To celebrate the recent publication of our new book Going Mobile (co-authored with Gavin Dudeney), we’re sharing a number of activities you can try out with your students, to get them using mobile devices as part of the their language learning. Last week’s activity (Addicted!) required no devices at all in class. This activity encourages students to start using the ‘text’ function of their mobile phones with Twitter.

I got the idea for this activity from an intermediate student I was teaching as part of an action research BYOD project (more on that here). The students only seemed to use translations apps on their phones as a regular part of their language learning (I asked and they all claimed to use nothing else). But after class one day, one of my students (aged 25) proudly showed me a tweet from David Guetta  (a famous DJ), whose tweets he avidly followed. Clearly this student didn’t think that following a person who tweeted in English (and French) had anything to do with ‘learning English’. This activity comes from that moment with my student… [click on the images below to make them bigger]



If you decide to try this activity with your students, I’d love to hear their reactions (let me know in the Comments box below)!

Nicky Hockly
The Consultants-E
January 2015

New year, new book: Going Mobile

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A new year and a new book. Although published last month (December 2014), the print copies of my new book Going Mobile (co-written with Gavin Dudeney) arrived on my doorstep a few days ago. For me, it’s the perfect New Year gift to finally see the book in print (it’s also available as an e-book).

To celebrate, I’m going to share some activities from the book in a series of blog posts over the coming weeks. Here’s the first.

This simple activity gets learners thinking about and discussing mobile phone addiction – a very real phenomenon these days. To carry out this activity you and your learners don’t need any technology at all in the classroom, so it’s a good place to start if you want a slow and gentle introduction to the use of hand-held devices (or if the use of mobile devices is prohibited in your institution – we talk about that in the book too).

If you can show videos in your classroom though, you could start off the class by first showing your students this well-known video made (ironically) by a telecom company in Thailand. The strapline of the video is ‘Disconnect to connect’. It very effectively introduces the idea of phone addiction and the social costs.

Then move on to the activity outlined below:

addicted1 addicted2

If you try this activity with your students, do let me know how it goes (in the Comments box below)!

Nicky Hockly
The Consultants-E
January 2015

Teaching with mobile devices: FAQs

There is a good reason for my 3 month blogging hiatus. Since January, work has taken me to Chile for 2 weeks, Egypt for a week, India for 3 weeks, and Moscow for a week. And then the TESOL US conference in Portland followed immediately by the IATEFL conference in Harrogate, UK – another 2 weeks of longhaul flights, international airports and jetlag. All of these trips have involved training and conference talks/plenaries on the topic of education and technology. And especially on the use of mobile devices in language teaching.

During my talk at the recent IATEFL Harrogate conference, called ‘Teaching with mobile devices: Choices and challenges’ (see the video recording here), the audience used their mobile devices to send in questions via Poll Everywere. There were several questions which I’m asked regularly by teachers. I’ve chosen 4 questions to answer here.

Question 1:


If you don’t plan to let students use their mobile devices (constructively!) in class, you’re swimming against the tide. You will spend a lot of time and effort trying to ban or confiscate the devices, when you could be using them to your advantage. So much better to put an implementation plan in place, get your stakeholders on board (admin, school directors, other teachers, parents,…) , and have the devices support the learning aims in your classes through good task design and effective classroom management. Here’s a 10 step implementation plan suggested by my colleague Gavin Dudeney and I in our forthcoming book, Going Mobile:


[download a sample from the book]

Question 2:




Some schools invest in class sets of tablet computers to get around this issue. Some schools use a ‘hybrid’ model, where students can choose to use their own devices or to use a school-owned device if they prefer. Institutions that have tried this out find that students often prefer to use their own devices (such as a feature phone) even if these are less sophisticated than the school devices, because the sense of ownership is so strong with one’s own device. Of course, using a range of devices and operating systems (iOS, Android, Windows, Blackberry…) means ensuring that you use generic or cross-platform apps where necessary, and that task design takes this range of devices into account (see the links at the bottom of this post to activities that work with a range of devices and operating systems at the same time).

Question 3:




This is arguably the area that teachers feel most insecure about. There are a number of things to keep in mind here. There are the purely technical issues such as devices not working or not connecting to the school wifi. And there are also logistical issues involved is having class sets, such as who keeps the school’s class sets of devices charged up, or who chooses and downloads the apps onto the school devices. A few suggestions:

  • Your school needs someone tech-savvy enough to deal with things like the wifi routers, or general tech issues.
  • Some schools have students themselves acting as digital leaders, even at primary school level. Look at this inspiring example.
  • Teachers need to be au fait and confident with the devices themselves. Schools that implement mobile devices well often have ongoing professional development for their teachers. For example, listen to Carla Arena in Brazil talking about how her school started using tablets in classes.

Question 4:




A good question. Probably THE question, in fact. It all depends on what we mean by benefits. And it also depends on what we get students to do with mobile devices and what we understand by mobile learning. For example: there is some solid research (via Paul Nation et al) that shows that the use of vocabulary apps such as flashcards can increase vocabulary retention and acquisition. But this is one very specific use of mobile devices, and most probably takes place outside of the classroom as self-study work. My own experience of using a BYOD (bring your own device) approach with students in the UK showed definite improvements in motivation- and one can argue that this is key to any learning. But given the number of factors involved in learning a language, it’s difficult to ‘prove’ that the use of a specific device improves learning. But benefits in terms of interest, motivation, and the opportunity to improve students’ mobile literacy (such as learning to use QR codes, or understanding geolocation or augmented reality) – yes.

Thanks again to those in the workshop who submitted questions – and if you have any questions yourself about using mobile devices in class, please add them to the Comment box below.

Nicky Hockly
The Consultants-E
April 2014

Mobile-based activities that work with a range of devices: