By Paul Rogers
The use of mobile devices in adult education is an important addition to the tools used by students and teachers alike. With a mobile device, especially a smartphone, at any time any student can access lessons on the Internet, through Google, YouTube, Facebook, WhatsApp, etc. We have come a long way since Bill Gates began to champion the use of cell phones 8 years ago.
- Adults who work and have families can more easily attend and participate in classes, especially distance learning classes.
- To begin with, teachers at least can use smartphones to keep students notified, to answer questions and to send assignments.
- The free smartphone app, WhatsApp, has grown tremendously in popularity and now teachers can also create WhatsApp study groups for each class, using it to post sites, tests, audios and videos, and teacher-designed lessons.
- In addition, teachers can create free or nearly free class websites for the students – Wikispaces for teachers and WIX are two such sites which are accessible via WhatsApp.
- Teachers can develop a YouTube account for their own video-lessons and utilize thousands of free lessons on YouTube posted by other teachers – accessible via smartphones.
- Facebook allows anyone to create membership groups, which a teacher can develop to include lessons, notices, etc.
A program designed around the use of technology in general and mobile devices in particular could become very popular and more interesting to students, allowing for an increase in enrollment and a lower “drop-out” rate. And, in particular, students who have difficulty enrolling in courses due to work and family obligations would have an opportunity to continue their education in distance learning programs set up to meet their needs.
Paul Rogers has been an ESL teacher for over 25 years and developed a bilingual and phonetic course which became the basis of PUMAROSA.COM, a free website for Spanish speaking adults, beginning in 2004. Pumarosa has been available for use on smartphones for about one year and Paul has been using and promoting the site as part of his program, working as an independent teacher, unaffiliated with any school or non-profit agency.