Ask Google Anything

Low threat, classroom-based, mobile as research tool.

Focus: relationship between written and spoken representation of language, pronunciation, digital literacies (privacy, data, discriminating between different sources)

Tech tip: you can search for how to … in Google (40 languages supported)

  1. Ask participants to open a Google account if they do not have one, and download the Google app on their phones. The settings menu is accessed by tapping the image. Explore the privacy and voice search actions.
  2. Ask learners to enable voice search on Google, and switch the system settings to the foreign language, or L2. Both these settings can be changed again at the end of the class.
  3. In turns, learners think of a question related to the topic or theme of the lesson, and write it down in L2, individually or in pairs, and practise asking the question.
  4. Now learners ask Google the question, holding their mobiles close to their mouths. Compare the written representation of results given in pairs or small groups, and ‘repair’ any that have not been recognized sufficiently. Give help with pronunciation as needed.
  5. Learners can compare the different results that are returned on different devices, or using different search engines, and examine the reliability of the sources.

Extension of Activity 1

Using a Jigsaw collaborative investigation approach (Figure 4.4), and moving on to adopt the teacher role, in groups, ask groups of participants to investigate, and report back to other groups on the merits of features (e.g. age-appropriacy, data privacy, accessibility) of child-friendly search engines e.g.(,,,, )

Figure 4.4
Figure 4.4: Collaborative activity among teachers, using the jigsaw method

Mobile devices allow us to feel like the conductor of an orchestra or like a child solving a puzzle; there are many different pieces and we can combine them as we like” (Daniela, 2012)


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IAmLearning: Mobilizing and Supporting Educator Practice Copyright © 2017 by International Association for Mobile Learning is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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