Skip to main content

Teaching English Using Smartphones

I have been teaching English for over 25 years and during that time I have written many lessons and made CDs and DVDs. My course is bilingual and focuses a lot on phonetics.

I have also developed two free websites - see below.

These websites are easily available on any phone so students can study anytime, any place. No more excuses for not doing homework!!!

In addition there is a thumb drive which fits into a smart phone as well as a computer. I use one  that has 32 gigs. Many students pay for plans that do not provide much memory, so the “gadget” can be a great help.

I also created several WhatsApp groups for people who want to be in contact with me and ask questions.

Plus on my facebook page I set up some groups to learn English, see below.

Songs are an important part of my course, and I can include the students’  favorite songs in English with the lyrics superimposed like a Karaoke. Songs are a great way to teach/learn  new vocabulary, pronunciation, listening and grammar while walking, driving, on the bus, etc. - any time, any place.

I believe that the smartphone is the most important and useful educational tool that a teacher could incorporate into ESL - and other -classes, especially for low-income, working adults who are not able to attend classes in a community college.

Smartphones are also a great way to be introduced to the use of technology, serving as an  important method to bridge the ‘digital divide”.

Paul Rogers

websites= - with voice so that the students just need to raise the volume, click on the icon of an ear and repeat two or three times.

Facebook Groups






Susan Finn Miller's picture
One hundred

Hi Paul, Thanks for sharing how you are using smart phones, Facebook, WhatsApp, songs, and memory devices etc. to teach English bilingually to Spanish speakers.  Your program sounds wonderful!

Cheers, Susan Finn Miller

Moderator, English Language Acquisition CoP

Paul Rogers's picture
One hundred

Thanks, Susan! Yes it is quite remarkable how the smart phone is the key to helping large numbers of immigrants learn English. But I think that there is not too much interest among in the idea among teachers and program directors at this time. If so I would greatly appreciate hearing how other people are integrating the smart phone into their programs/classes.

A note on the title - ESL a GoGo...does anyone remmember what GoGo meant back in the old days? Or am I the only one? 

Susan Finn Miller's picture
One hundred

Hello colleagues, I'm curious if Paul is right that few teachers are using smart phones for teaching English. How about it? If you are using smart phones in your instruction, please let us know.

Personally, I always check out every website I may want to recommend to learners to see if the site works on a cell phone. I'm always delighted to see that many of them do. I prioritize sites that work on cell phones, including Pumarosa for Spanish speakers. When  we use computers in the class (we are lucky to have Chrome books available), some students prefer using their smart phones instead. Another thing I'm doing, which Paul has shared with us before, is communicate with learners through texting and voice texts. When learners send me voice texts for homework, I can then provide them with feedback on their English.

I"m looking forward to hearing how others are using smart phones in ESL class.

Cheers, Susan Finn Miller

Moderator, English Language Acquisition

Lisa Agao's picture

Hello All,  I teach citizenship. So I ask all my students to download the free USCIS: Civics Test Study Tools. In addition, students create accounts on USA Learns. Each week, we dedicate a portion of one class to online learning. Some students now prefer to use their smart phones rather than the traditional desk top computers. 






athomas's picture

We have helped our students download and install USICS 100 questions audio on their I phones.  They listen to this on their drive to work. We also use USALearns, but not  in class. Our students work with online lessons as homework out of class. We have been pretty good at creating a successful blended learning scenario for our students. We also use PLATO Learning systems with our advanced students. Smart phones have been very useful and effective.  We use the 'voice memo' option to record readings and speaking. Students can self record and e mail an audio file for our portfolios.  WhttsApp is a wonderful app to have. We use it record audio, share lessons, music, videos, news items etc.  Since it runs on Wifi our students can use it anywhere there is open wifi available. Even though our students have laptops, most prefer their phones and I pads.  I think it is the ease of use and can be taken to places in their bags/backpacks.

Julia Crawford's picture

Thank you for sharing these resources you have developed.  I look forward to checking them out!