M-learning and the EFL classroom

Using mobiles as tools to engage teenagers in speaking activities





digital technology, mobile learning, partnering pedagogy, English as a foreign language, speaking activities


Technology is definitely ubiquitous. It is what keeps us constantly connected to different people on a daily basis. Since the advent of smartphones, technology has also changed the way we perform many of our everyday tasks, including the ones at the school local context. It also reinvented the way teenagers learn and behave in the classroom, EFL institutions included. This article, then, aims to present and discuss the role of mobile learning in the teaching of English-speaking skills and the concept of Bring Your Own Device. Additionally, based on the concept of Partnering Pedagogy (PRENSKY, 2012), it suggests a lesson plan for regular school pre-teens to show how teachers can give the first step toward the implementation of mobile devices in their educational practices. The lesson, which can be applied either to online or face-to-face contexts, showed how teenage students become more willing to participate in speaking activities. Finally, the text brings to light some reflection on the integration of mobile technologies in EFL learning practices, emphasizing the essence of delivering high quality learning lessons rather than giving central importance to technology per se.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Daniela Roza Martin, Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos (UNISINOS), São Leopoldo, RS, Brasil.

Mestre em Linguística Aplicada pela Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos (Unisinos), em São Leopoldo, RS, Brasil. Especialista em Ensino-Aprendizagem de Língua Inglesa pelo Centro Universitário Ritter dos Reis (Uniritter); graduada em Letras Português/Inglês e respectivas Literaturas pela Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul (PUCRS), em Porto Alegre, RS, Brasil. Professora no Colégio Militar de Porto Alegre, em Porto Alegre, RS, Brasil.


Ally, M. (2009). Mobile Learning: Transforming the Delivery of Education and Training. Au Press.

Ally, M., Grimus, M., Ebner, M. (2014). Preparing teachers for a mobile world, to improve access to education. Prospects, 44, 1-17. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11125-014-9293-2

Blake, R. J. (2013). Brave New Digital Classroom: Technology and Foreign Language Learning (2. ed). Georgetown University Press.

Council of Europe (2020). Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: learning, teaching, assessment – Companion volume, Council of Europe Publishing, Strasbourg. Council of Europe. www.coe.int/lang-cefr

Crompton, H. (2013). Mobile Learning: New Approach, New Theory. In Berge, Z. L., Muilenburg, L. Y. (Eds.), Handbook of Mobile Learning. Routledge.

Dudeney, G., Hockly, N. (2007). How to Teach English with Technology. Pearson Education Limited.

Dudeney, G., Hockly, N., & Pegrum, M. (2013). Digital literacies. Pearson.

Gahran, A. (2012, January 20). Phone, tablet users spend more time with apps than Web. Cnn. http://edition.cnn.com/2012/01/20/tech/mobile/apps-web-gahran/index.html?iref=allsearch

GSMA. (2012, October 18). GSMA Announces New Global Research that highlights Significant Growth Opportunity for the Mobile Industry. GSMA. http://www.gsma.com/newsroom/gsma-announces-new-global-research-that-highlights-significant-growth-opportunity-for-the-mobile-industry

GSMA. (2020, September). Connected Society: The state of mobile internet connectivity 2020. GSMA. https://www.gsma.com/r/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/GSMA-State-of-Mobile-Internet-Connectivity-Report-2020.pdf

Hanson-Smith, E. (2000). Technology-enhanced Learning Environments. Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages.

Hockly, N. (2012). Digital Literacies. ELT Journal, 66(1), 108-112.

Khaddage, F., Latterman, C. (2013). The future of mobile apps forteaching and learning. In Z. L. Berge, & L. Y. Muilenburg (Eds.), Handbook of mobile learning (pp.119-128). Routledge.

Lee, M., Winzenried, A. (2006). Interactive Whiteboards: achieving total teacher usage. The Australian Educational Leader, 28(3).

Norris, C. A., Soloway, E. M. (2013). Substantive Educational Changes is in the Palm of our Children’s Hands. In Berge, Z. L., Muilenburg, L. Y. (Eds.), Handbook of Mobile Learning. Routledge.

Pegrum, M. (2011). Modified, multiplied and (re-) mixed: Social media and digital literacies. In M. Thomas (Ed.), Digital education: opportunities for social collaboration (pp. 9-35). Palgrave Macmillan.

Piaget, J. (1972). Development and learning. In C.S. Lavattelly; F. S. Hartcourt Brace J. (Eds.), Reading in Child Behavior and Development (pp. 7-20). Hartcourt Brace Janovich.

Prensky, M. (2001, October 5). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. Marc Prensky. http://www.marcprensky.com/writing/Prensky%20-%20Digital%20Natives,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf

Prensky, M. (2010). Teaching Digital Natives: partnering for Real Learning. Corwin.

Prensky, M. (2012). From Digital Natives to Digital Wisdom: hopeful Essays for 21st Century Learning. Corwin.

Prensky, M. (2013). Digital game-based learning: practical tools for the application of digital game-based learning. Paragon House.

Traxler, J. (2009). Learning in a Mobile Age. IJMBL, 1, 1-12. https://doi.org/10.4018/jmbl.2009010101

UNESCO. (2013). Policy Guidelines for Mobile Learning. Unesco. http://unesdoc.UNESCO.org/images/0021/002196/219641e.pdf

Walker, A., White, G. (2013). Technology Enhanced Language Learning. Oxford.

Ybarra, R., Green, T. (2003). Using Technology to Help ELS/EFL Students Develop Language Skills. http://iteslj.org/Articles/Ybarra-Technology.html

Young, M. F. (1993). Instructional design for situated learning. Educational Technology Research and Development. Technology Source. http://technologysource.org/extra/389/definition/2




How to Cite

Martin, D. R. (2021). M-learning and the EFL classroom: Using mobiles as tools to engage teenagers in speaking activities. BELT - Brazilian English Language Teaching Journal, 12(1), e39752. https://doi.org/10.15448/2178-3640.2021.1.39752