Guest Blog Post by Dennis Redley
From the recent improvements we've been experiencing, there’s no question that going mobile is the trend of the modern classroom, especially in language literacy. Citing statistics from the United Nations International Telecommunications Union, Mashables’ Sarah Kessler said that in 2010, there were 5.3 billion mobile phone subscriptions worldwide. Kessler cited a separate report from Blackboard and Project Tomorrow saying that 98% of students in the United States have access to smartphones, opening a vast array of opportunities to speed up language proficiency.
Today, with its fast pace evolution, we are now presented with various mobile innovations for learning.
With the market version of the Google Glass, Business Insider notes that language learning is an aspect that will highly benefit from it. Writer Megan Rose Dickey said that this becomes possible with the inclusion of the real-time and the text-based translations in classes. In the middle of classroom discussions, you can encourage your students to take a photo of the reading material, and have it translated with the simple “Okay Glass” prompt.
Also, software developers are now designing applications intended to assist language learners. Multilingual dictionary company Ectaco is developing an app that allows you to learn a language on the go. Taking a photo of a chair prompts the Glass to translate the word “chair” in Spanish or German.
There are multiple third party applications available on the market, such as the Brain Quest App. A tool dedicated to students with language deficiencies. To make it easier, Verizon has outlined four easy techniques to deal with mobile apps:
· Back to basics
For beginners, the article suggests to download simple translation apps such as the Google Translate, allowing your students to decipher more than 70 languages. It also offers a dictionary to help students become attuned to the sounds of a new language.
· Experiment with your mobile devices
Whether you’re using a smartphone or a tablet, change the language settings of the device into the one your students are studying. Then, they must find a way to change the settings.
· Expand your vocabulary
The article recommends using the Babbel app, which introduces over 2,000 vocabulary words per language. “You won’t have to suffer through ads as you sift through images, vocabulary, and pronunciations of new foreign words,” the article noted.
· Start conversations
This technique serves as the ultimate test, wherein students will apply all the previously discussed ideas by engaging in a conversation. The Busuu app allows students to converse online with native-speaking individuals.
Kids learn best when you let them deal with facts in the manner that they usually like – being entertained through games. In India, the Human Development Lab at the Carnegie Mellon University is running a program called the Mobile and Immersive Learning for Literacy in Emerging Economies (MILLEE). For 10 years, MILLEE has been offering an array of exciting language learning games, adopting a human-centric approach. In measuring the effectiveness, educators from the university were able to conclude that 27 students that attended the after school program exhibited post-test gains at the end of each intervention.
Another popular game wherein you can gather ideas for classroom use is the Mentira, a Spanish language learning game developed at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In the game, you’ll be virtually present in Albuquerque to interact with people using the Spanish language. As you solve the mystery of the crime that took place 100 years ago, you’re able to master Spanish, especially in pronunciation and delivery.
Quick Response (QR) codes are two-dimensional bar codes which can be scanned by a mobile device. BBC Active notes that there’s a wealth of benefits that await teachers, especially in the faster dissemination of course syllabus, assignments, and projects.
In breaking the language barrier, Colleen Lee of Edudemic outlines simple ways of using QR codes:
· “On the door”
Lee posted a QR code on the door of the classroom, which her students can scan to know more about their facilitator. She used the Tellegami app to distribute short animated videos in various languages.
· Bulletin boards
Lee set up a bulletin board where she posted a code that links students to everything about Japan, including the language, culture, and lifestyle.
For what it’s worth, mobile technology is indeed being integrated in the educational spectrum. The brewing developments this year and in the coming years can only mean one thing – that the language barrier may become a thing of the past.
About the Author
Dennis Redley loves to hang out with the kids. He volunteers as a tutor in one of the day care centers in his neighborhood. For more groundbreaking stories, tweet Dennis.