How to use mobile phones in school classes

A mobile phone is a very personal gadget in comparison to a computer, and probably every teacher has had issues with students using one in class when they shouldn’t have! However, mobile phones can bring a whole new dimension to learning. This is known as M-Learning (mobile learning) and it’s become very popular as students can easily access data using mobile library apps, and services like Twitter can be used to text each other information to be used in classes. Mobiles can be used to play educational games and puzzles to aid general learning.

The tools of the trade

Most students, if not all, already possess either a smartphone or an alternative, and they are experts at communicating with each other 24/7! Let’s take a look at some ways that a mobile phone can be used in a classroom environment.

How to use mobiles in education

Assigning work to students is easy and convenient when using a mobile. There are lots of services (such as Remind101) where you can send bulk text messages to students, to remind them of deadlines and projects. It could be that a teacher can let the class know which particular book to read for a project. This means that students can be well prepared when they arrive at school or college. It’s great for preparation. How long does it take students to get into the swing of things when you are starting a project from scratch and they are not clued-up on the subject?

Text messages are totally instant, and extremely hard to miss, as opposed to emails which need checking or can go into spam files. You never REALLY know if people get them or have seen them. If you had 30 students in your class, you can see how simple it would be to attach an assignment and send it to all your student contacts for that class. It would take barely a minute.


Some subjects traditionally require students to do field work. Geography is a good example. But students can’t be expected to take laptops out on location as they are easy to damage, and the internet is not available either! Smartphones can be used to take photos of samples, videos can be made, and students can also record audio notes about what they’ve found. 

Understanding a concept

How can you test your students to see if they have fully understood a class or a subject? Using a mobile is an easy way to gauge their progress. For example, you could do a simple quiz which can be answered using mobiles in class. You could send them any question and ask them to find the answer and then reply back via text messaging. You could use this as a competition and reward the person who sends the correct answer first. It’s creative, good fun and helps students learn quickly.

Capture notes

There’s not a lot you can’t do on a mobile these days, and there’s an app for almost everything you can think of. Take Get Pocket – an app which lets students capture notes which they can then read later on their mobiles. You can publish notes on a public domain, where they can all be accessed. There are more apps out there which can help, and many of them are totally free, which is even better!

Access text books

Many libraries have now digitised their libraries and mobile phones can be used to access them via the internet. Some students may wish to buy these e-text books from online stores and then they can read them on their mobiles whenever they wish. Mobiles can be linked directly to computer monitors, so you can create an ‘instant’ computer.

Record podcasts

Podcasts are extremely popular and there are many, many thousands you can access covering virtually every subject known to man! Did you know that you can use mobiles to record them? They can be recorded at any time and then downloaded at any time. Audio notes are easy to understand and offer a flexible way of learning. If a subject requires less in the way of visual aids and illustration – such as English, History, Economics and more, then podcast audio notes are perfect. Obviously, they can be played and re-played for maximum understanding.

Share ideas in class

Mobiles can easily be used to share ideas. Students can form a study group – let’s say any number up to 10 – and they can use texting to discuss a specific subject. Twitter and are also good for the sharing of ideas within specific groups.

Mobile apps

These are a great way for students and teachers to interact. There are masses of academic apps which will really help the learning process. With the app PIAZZA, teachers are able to easily create virtual classrooms and then students can join them and exchange information with their teachers. This app is also perfect for tracking performance. Students who are not usually forthcoming in class feel much better and will happily ask questions and contribute via their mobile.

Go blog!

Teachers and students can post blogs in real time about any subject. How great is it to post information live online, and other students can immediately monitor what’s going on? Blogs can be posted on any subject and these can be accessed at any time, with students commenting on their findings and the project generally. You can even do a live Q&A with a local expert, live from the field!

These are just a few ways that teachers and students can use a mobile phone in and outside of the classroom to make learning more interesting and tech based.

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