UK college uses NFC to help teach English

Central College Nottingham's NFC word hunt. Image: Central College Nottingham
LEARNING: Students take part in Central College Nottingham’s NFC word hunt

A British college has used NFC touch points placed around its campus to help foreign language students improve their English — and found that the NFC tags offer a number of important advantages over an earlier version that used QR codes.

“We placed posters around the campus that our English as Foreign Language (EFL) students were encouraged to seek out and scan with their smartphones,” Simon Wardman, a teacher at Central College Nottingham explains in a blog post.

“The posters contained the English definitions of nearby objects, hosted on a crowd-sourced dictionary called Toponimo, and the students then had to make a collaborative decision on the most appropriate meaning of the word, relevant to its context.

“Our experience and student feedback from our original vocabulary scavenger hunts using QR codes showed that although they were easy to create they were not too easy to use and [that] put them off the exercise,” he adds.

“Our students found the interaction model with NFC tags more elegant in that the learners could simply touch a tag with a phone to share information between the phone and the tag. Additionally, the NFC tags were more convenient for teachers because they could be easily re-written and this saved us lots of time when creating new vocabulary hunts. Students were even able to create interactive posters themselves and use these to set challenges for fellow students.”

“NFC took the focus away from the technology and allowed students to concentrate on the task at hand,” Wardman concludes.

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