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Mobile technology in the MFL classroom using the iPad and iPod touch


This innovative project has explored the use of mobile devices such as the iPad and the iPod Touch to enhance the teaching and learning of languages, to complement schemes of work, to motivate learners, to truly collaborate with partner institutions and to raise the profile of languages within the schools.

What were we trying to achieve?

For the learners:
To develop all four linguistic skills through a variety of topics which would not only engage them in controlling their own learning but also develop their technical skills; these could be used in other curriculum areas. Learners could engage in immediate peer assessment and would be encouraged to assess the use of mobile devices and impact on their own language learning.

For the teachers:
To work in a truly collaborative way through the provision of a platform through which to link their subject expertise (through their schemes of work) to their pupils’ language learning in an engaging and motivating way. They would trial emerging mobile technologies and web 2.0 tools and use these as a vehicle for teaching all four skills and producing and/or adapting appropriate resources to meet the needs of their learners. They would also showcase their pupils’ work via web 2.0 tools and a learning platform and investigate how the technology could enhance the language learning experience beyond the classroom walls.

For the partner institutions:
To give languages a higher profile by showing how the curriculum could be enhanced by technology when used with appropriate planning and closely linked to the schemes of work.

What did we do?

Project partners identified useful apps and trialled them in the classroom with their focus groups; the teachers soon used the devices with many of their classes.

Productivity apps (sundry notes, keynote, story buddy, builder story, and strip design) were used to develop writing and speaking skills. Specific language apps such as Linguascope were used to enhance vocabulary and understanding of grammar. Voice recorder apps were used to prepare for speaking exams and for peer assessment. Safari was used to access topic related websites, and keynote to improve reading skills. Use of the iPad encouraged and promoted independent learning and thinking skills through the use of a variety of resources such as internet dictionary apps. The video/audio cameras provided were used effectively to record pupils’ role plays and other work.

In addition, project partners overcame technical issues such as wireless access, syncing and charging multiple devices.

We met on a regular basis to share our knowledge of the apps and good practice, as well as peer observation.

There were opportunities for dissemination of the findings for the project with departmental colleagues and with other school colleagues and faculty areas.

We have uploaded material and resources onto a specially prepared VLE site.

How well have we achieved our aims?

We feel we have achieved many of our aims despite starting the project late. We had to delay the start of our project to coincide with the release of the iPad in the UK and a conference was organised to launch the iPad and its uses by an Apple educator.

We have tapped into the Zeitgeist of youth culture and their fascination for emerging technologies to engage them in their learning. The collaborative aspect of the project has provided an excellent platform for the sharing of ideas and use of apps.

There was a mixed reception when starting the project (technicians’ reaction, colleagues’ interest, little previous knowledge of mobile devices) but we feel that we have started on our own journey as we have progressively gained technical skills and knowledge, and hope to continue to explore the usage of mobile devices in the classroom and deepen our understanding of the impact of these devices on learning.

Working under the guidelines of the LinkedUp Award scheme has provided a framework for the project which we hope will be disseminated to a wider audience.


  • Lead: Miss Marie-Line Antoine (Nottingham e-learning centres)
  • Partners:
    • Ms Jude Clark, Fernwood School, Nottingham
    • Mrs Salome Hidalgo-Wilkinson, the Nottingham Bluecoat School
    • Mr Guillaume Jauzelon, the Nottingham University Samworth academy (NUSA)
    • Mrs Alison Rogers, Trinity School, Nottingham

Lesson Plans

We have included some lesson plan examples in this section to give you an idea of how the devices could be incorporated into lessons.

Please note that the movie files have had to be compressed for download and quality has inevitably been reduced.

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Learners responses and questionnaires

This section looks at the project from the learners’ point of view: what they have got out of the project – some feedback

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Video clips of pupils talking about and using iPads/IPod Touches

These are some video clips to show the use of the iPad and iPod Touch and some feedback from pupils. There is a variety of years and ability.

Alison Rogers Year 13 boys at Trinity School have been successful:

“My year 13 class of boys have won a competition organised by the UK-German connection about the benefits of school partnerships. They made a film about their partnership with a German school and used the iPads and microphone/camera provided by the project. We wouldn't have done it otherwise because we didn't have hand held technology beforehand.”

Please note that the movie files have had to be compressed for download and quality has inevitably been reduced.

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Video clips and other documents

In this section there are two further video clips featuring year 11 students. There are also some observations made by a teacher who engaged in peer observation during the project and who also visited and observed a teacher at a different school involved in the project that you might find interesting and useful.

Please note that the movie files have had to be compressed for download and quality has inevitably been reduced.

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