Thursday, 3 April 2014

IATEFL: Nicky Hockly (Mobile learning)

I am so excited! I managed to find the recording of Nicky Hockly's talk "Teaching with mobile devices: choices and challenges". I am always excited about Nicky's talks. She has a unique ability to make everything she says sound very interesting. I am starting  using technology in class. My efforts are very timid and Nicky Hockly's advice on the choice of activities to use is always precious.
Nicky Hockly started her talk with the joke. It is amazing how she manages to interact with the audience and it is always logically linked to the talk that follows. Those of you who had a chance to listen to Nicky's previous talks probably remember about mysterious and sneaky Pacific North-West tree octopus, whom noone has ever seen but many English language teachers have heard about. This time Nicky brought good news for all BlackBerry users. According to Nicky Apple and BlackBerry combined their efforts in creating a new version of Smartphone. Fortunately or not it turned out to be an April Fool's joke! That was a bright beginning to Nicky Hockly's session.
Then the talk went about using mobile devices in class. That is a really vital topic nowadays.  No matter how popular mobile devices are among all groups of people, some teachers are still doubtful about the benefits of using them in class. I am sure all of us know of teachers who like to collect mobile phones of their students before class to prevent them from using Internet or chatting to friends during the class. Nicky's talk was about how to actually enhance learning of English using mobile devices. Mobile devices can be friends of English language teachers when applied wisely. Thinking about that, there appear a lot of questions which teachers have to answer:
- Should students use their own devices of class sets?
- How to make sure students stay on task when using mobile devices?
- What activities can be used?
-Should students use devices in or out of class?, etc.
Mobile learning can mean different things. Firstly, it means using mobile devices such as mobile phones and tablets in learning. Secondly, it means learners being mobile, for example moving around the class or around the school when doing certain tasks. Finally, it can be learning itself that is mobile. In every situation there are different activities which can be used to ensure mobile learning.
Using mobile applications is one way to involve students in mobile learning. There are a lot of applications to choose from including British Council ones. Teachers might recommend students using some particular applications and it is actually a convenient way of learning on the go. Personally, I use mobile apps to learn German when I travel to work and back. Nicky Hockly considers  it the least interesting way of using mobile learning.
Next activity suggested in the session was the one where students were given 10 minutes  to move around the school taking pictures associated with a particular topic (Nicky gave an example from her class where the topic was Water). After students came back to class, they had to upload their pictures to Whatsapp and then there was a discussion where students had to justify their choices. The activity turned from just a warmer into a full-scale discussion activity. Nicky’s advice was to use mini-groups of not more than 3 people because of the size of the mobile phone screen during discussion.
Another activity mentioned by Nicky Hockly was a kind of Treasure Hunt using QR codes. Ten questions were turned into QR codes and students had to read them and walk around the school answering these questions. Each question included the instruction of what had to be done and what had to be asked. It was a good orientation activity for students who did not know the school quite well.
Nicky Hockly gave examples of activities which she used with her group of students at the intensive summer course at Cambridge. It was an international group and all students had access to technology in their own countries. In this group everybody had a device but actually same kind of activities could be organized with students sharing.Nicky Hockly gave some more examples of more advanced activities using geolocation and augmented reality which sounded quite interesting but would probably require more proficient users to take part in them. 
In conclusion, Nicky Hockly emphasised the point that using mobile learning in class should be a cooperative effort of both the teacher and the institution and, in case with young learners, of parents too. Her observations show, that there are individual teachers who are trying to implement mobile learning or using technology in class, but without support from institutions it might be quite challenging.  
So what is the right way to start using technology in class? Does it have to be done gradually step by step or by jumping in deep waters and getting involved in challenging activities right away? As for me, the first variant is more applicable. I started trying to use technology in class just recently. I can't say my adult students are very excited about using it. We are making small steps of using some tools at home and I realized that not all of them are willing to spend time learning how to use them. It turned out to be quite challenging. I am looking forward to the blog post that Nicky Hockly promised to write addressing all the questions of IATEFL participants concerting mobile learning. I am sure my questions aren't unique and I will find answers to my concerns in the blog as well. What do I feel after listening to Nicky Hockly's talk? I am inspired to find ways to incorporate mobile learning and using technology in class. It is challenging for me, but I am all ready to take this challenge. 
You can find the recording of this talk at Harrogate Online or right here:

5 comments:

Mariia Kopylovskaia said...

Being very much technologically advanced lost my first commentary to eternity)) As my ultrabook went dead being discharged.

But I can't but say some words about my experince of Nicky's talk in TESOL

Part 1.))))
TESOL catalogue is a mind-blowing experience and any attempt to understand what presentation you would like to attend in the e.g. span fro 9.30 to 10.30 is senseless - you would be eager to visit from 5- 6 at the same time - so the only thing is to choose by name - yes, Nicky's name was my guiding star for the last day of TESOL conference))
All of us downloaded mobile app for TESOL and our 2 guys from IVLP group assured me that there is no Nicky's presentation on Saturday - but I was sure it was - but where - 200 and more pages in the catalogue - index was no help. And fancy!! on my entering the Convention center premises I see Nicky peacefully having her cup of coffee - I could not but rushed to her with messy apologies and a whole bunch of questions: true? today? where?when - it appeared to be in the Electronic village that is probably why we failed to find it through the index list. Thank you, Nicky - she didn't kill me( what I would definitely do if someone would interfere with my my morning coffee-cup meditation) and she was so kind to direct us and our plans for the days have been settled. With her goddess-like brand smile Nicky got back to her coffee( probably thinking - oh, these crazy EFL Teachers).

To be continued)))))))))))))))

Elena Matveeva said...

Maria, that is a really emotional descriptions :) I actually also interrupted Nicky's coffee but in a different location this year - it was in Moscow at E-merging forum and I just came up to her to greet and meet Nicky Hockly in person. I have been dying to meet this wonderful professional who I had heard a lot about for a long time. Now I can say- I met Nicky Hockly in person!

Mariia Kopylovskaia said...

I hope we won't be blacklisted))))

Part 2))
Ludmila and me arrived to the Electronic Village in advance to be seated (as it often been the case with all renowned speakers the audience might have experienced lack of seats) and were comfortably sitting close to the stage. But Nicky's presentation was preceded with two more no doubt prominent presentations. Shame on me, our walk before the talk,the fact we were cold and didn't have enough sleep packing our suitcases half of the night( we were leaving that evening) I was about to burst into tears but couldn't resist falling asleep every second minute - and, oh boy, I might have been even snorring as the guy in the first row was looking at me with an obvious disregard)) but I couldn't say to him- that I am here and I am not going to leave until I hear Nicky Hockly
Dear ladies-presentors,forgive me and let it be worse for me - I missed the most of the things you presented ((((

But things changed as soon as N. broke the stage it was as if the light in my mind was off and now someone turned it on )))) Energy and charisma make wonders - I was back to life again - I did photographed all slides and decided to conduct 6 p.m. selphy activity with some of my students.
The thing was that we missed the closing of the book expo where a book about 50 common errors was prepared for me at Merriam-Webster Booth. But I was not much upset - as now we can easily buy a book through amazon.com - but we can never find NH presentation there)))

Elena Matveeva said...

Maria, thank you very much for your comment. Actually, thanks to IATEFL online we are able to listen to at least one wonderful presentations of Nicky Hockly. The link to it can be found in the blog post above. Nevertheless, it is an undeniable fact that all presentations of Nicky Hockly are worth listening.

Elena Matveeva said...

Actually, the video itself can be found in my blog post! I am so happy I managed to have it embedded :)

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