Using Lino and Mobile Devices to Support Learning in the MFL Classroom


  • The following is a guest post by our very own WHS MFL teacher Tim Munro.  You can find him on twitter @tsgmunro

I have been investigating the use of Lino for about a year now. Lino describes itself as a ‘free sticky and canvas service’ which can be accessed via a web browser or an iPhone/android app. What that really means is that it is a place where you can set up an online notice board and either publish this to the world, or to a select work group. Within that group anyone can post a ‘sticky’ which can contain text or photo or links to audio files, videos or documents. Above all else, it looks colourful and fun for students. And most importantly it’s free (if you don’t mind the odd advert)

Lino 1
Year 12 MFL students working on Lino
Lino 2
and the result…instant feedback
When I used this in the past, it was enjoyable to share work done at home, but didn’t really offer anything that couldn’t be done via a VLE (virtual learning environment). This meant our early enthusiasm wained rather quickly! However, the significantly larger number of students with smart phones/iPhones, rather than blackberries or standard mobiles in my current year 12 group prompted me to wonder whether we might use Lino differently, as a means of seeing instant feedback during a lesson. All of my year 12 students have Lino accounts (we set them up together using an IT suite) and I used this information to set up a private group so that only they could see and post on our notice boards (unfortunately this means I can’t share them with you!)
We have used this for such diverse things as:
  • Posting pieces of completed homework in one shared area so all students can compare their work
  • As a lesson starter (e.g. come up with 5 exciting adverbs in French and share them on Lino) meaning that we build class vocab lists to use that lesson and something for students to access at home (this is what they’re doing in the pictures below).
  • Sharing possible topics for speaking exams – allowing other students and me to give feedback
  • Sharing translations of short texts, enabling the class to review multiple possible answers
  • Students have used Lino as a means of communicating between themselves when they are working on group projects – like our latest one planning and presenting a French music festival
This is working well in an environment where students need to provide their own means of accessing wireless internet. I can see huge potential here in schools which embrace open access to data networks or where students have access to tablets.
These are some brief suggestions from my Year 12s about how it could be used elsewhere – can you add to them?
In the meantime, I will keep developing my BYOD lessons. The next step is to try the same work with my middle-ability  year 9 class, who got so excited my the very thought of being allowed to have their phones out that we made very little progress when I introduced the idea last week!  I will let you all know how the year 9 trial goes over the next half term.