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Ring the changes

Englishcross-curricular

Ages 14 to 18

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em...

The rule in general is to switch off your mobile phone in the classroom. But these sometimes cursed gadgets really do have an educational purpose.

An exploration of your mobile's menu will reveal copious tools to help with learning, and the following activities work well in English. They can be done individually, in pairs, in groups or as a class activity if you have a data projector and speakers. Everything can be checked by the teacher.

Voice recorder: use this to practise talking at length about an exam topic, to compare pronunciation with a teacher's, to check speech volume and to simply hear what conversations sound like. No mobiles in the exam room, though.

Photos and video: these are excellent for learning tenses and descriptive language. Pupils can choose what to film and photograph.

Notebook: pupils can enter problem spellings that can be practised anywhere without using paper and a pen. This can also be done by saving a text to your outbx*

Ben Cope is an ESOL teacher in north-east London http:news.bbc.co.uk1hi school_report6421159.stm

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