I feel that learning how to use phones in class to your advantage is making the most out of a bad situation because I feel there is very little they can do on their phones that they cannot do on their laptops (which they MUST BRING TO CLASS in my institution). However, I have gone through a couple of situations in which phones worked to my advantage:
1. The wi-fi was down one afternoon after really strong winds. If students had not had their phones with them and were not skilful enough, the whole two hour lesson would have been “impossible” to deliver. In this case, phones were a God send!
2. Encouraging them to have their own whatsapp/wechat group has made a difference to the amount of emails I receive asking me something that has already been said in class or getting a student up to speed on the class they have missed. If they have that channel, they would much rather talk to each other than to me, so it encourages peer leaning and collaboration.
The thing I have taken away from this unit is using the calendar for them to keep track of important dates. It drives me crazy to have to repeat deadlines when they have it in their material, so in future I will ask them to do that in class on the first day!