Part I. Using THEIR smartphones for YOUR class assignments: Augmented Reality.
The Talking Business Card
Preface to this lesson: I don’t know when I gave up. I just did. Students busily thumbing away on their smartphones, snapchatting when they should be participating, candy-crushing when they should be reading, selfie-making when they should be communicating in English with each other. I have given up on making these tech addicts ‘put it away’. Instead, I now actively encourage them to use their phones to do things for class. Now, admittedly I am not the first to do this, but I am probably one of the first to have them use their cellphones as video capture devices, as research tools, as a mini language lab, and now, as a tool to create augmented reality. Believe it or not, students are now more selective as to when they take out their phones in my class. I tell students I assume they want to use their cellphones since so many are out in plain sight.
I learned THIS lesson from having textbooks for my intermediate and advanced English classes:
The more I demanded students bring their textbooks to class, the more often the students would forget them in their car, under their bed, or forget they ‘loaned it to a friend’. “Lo que pasa es que…”
When I first started this series of little projects, I wasn’t quite prepared for how my students were going to react. Smart phones suddenly disappeared when I started asking students to make things like videos, podcasts, and required speaking assignments. Smartphones languished in book bags whenever I asked them to use them for any purpose other than chat or selfies. At first I practically had to beg them to get their phones out and use them. But I didn’t give up and now, I have heard every excuse and reason not to use the phone, and respond with a firm, “It’s for a grade, and there are lots of ways to do this, but using your phone is the easiest, fastest way to get the assignment done”. I will give more details later on how else I use students’ smart phones in class, but for this entry, I am going to start with a recent project that introduces students to the idea of augmented reality.