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Innovative Technology Brings Language Learning to Life

Students using mobile technologyA mobile learning project using interactive posters is helping international students at Central College Nottingham to improve their English language skills, using specialist microchips embedded into posters.

The English as a Foreign Language (EFL) team set group challenges for their students, using android smartphones that can ‘read’ the electronic tags. The EFL learners took part in ‘scavenger-hunt’ trips around the campus to collect words using the phones.

These Near Field Communication (NFC) tags are different to the now familiar ‘QR codes’ - used by many companies for consumers to scan information about a product - as they more discreet and can be easily to ‘re-written’ with the phones.

In focus groups, students reported that investigating words in different places around the college and applying context to them made them easier to learn, and that the activity was more fun than classroom learning alone.

Further developments are now underway, including activities for students to write their own NFC tags and create interactive posters.

The project is being run in collaboration with the University of Nottingham’s Learning Sciences Research Institute (LSRI), who provided equipment, research methodology and teacher training.

Funding for the scheme came from JISC, a charity that works on behalf of UK higher education, further education and skills to champion the use of digital technologies.

Simon Wardman, EFL teacher at and project manager at Central explained: “This interactive style of learning uses new technologies, whilst at the same time taking the emphasis away from that technology and encouraging students to focus on language.

“The project is currently funded until February, but we are exploring options for additional funding to allow us to develop the project even further and include more interactive options for learners.”

For more information on EFL and other courses at Central College Nottingham, visit

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