Using Smartphones for Business English Tasks

Jin Ha Woo, Hitotsubashi University

Quick Guide

  • Keywords: Business English, educational technology, smartphone, group work, motivation
  • Learner English level: Low-intermediate to advanced
  • Learner maturity: University
  • Preparation time: 5-10 minutes
  • Activity time: 20 minutes
  • Materials: Smartphones, white board/chalk board or PowerPoint

Students use smartphones to conduct daily research in their native language. Teachers can incorporate smartphone research in business English tasks to familiarize students with conducting research in English. This allows students to break their translation habits and increase their English reading skills. Students will also be further motivated to use English as they encounter useful online information in English. 


Step 1: Write on the whiteboard/chalkboard or create a PowerPoint with a simplified definition of corporate entertainment and a business situation where students would need to find three places, in their respective cities, to take foreign clients.

Step 2: Prepare an example place and travel websites to which students can refer.


Step 1: Briefly review the meaning of corporate entertainment. Explain that students will use their smartphones to find three places to take their foreign clients. Emphasize that they are trying to persuade their foreign clients to collaborate with them on a major international project. 

Step 2: Demonstrate how you found your example place and recommend any travel websites to which students can refer. 

Step 3: Divide students into groups of three to four. Have them begin their smartphone research and emphasize that the research should be conducted in English.

Step 4: In 10 minutes (may vary depending on proficiency level), have students report on their three places and explain why they recommend these places. 


The unlimited availability of online information allows teachers to adapt this activity to other topics in their classes. For example, students can plan a course schedule for a study abroad activity or find recipes for a holiday dinner activity. Students can share their information in an informal presentation or discussion. Teachers can also use smartphone applications innovatively to have students share their information in a brief summary e-mail or by posting pictures with captions on an online class forum. 

Using smartphone research will lead students to recognize the value of smartphones as a tool to further their English education. Smartphones are steadily becoming an integral part of students’ daily lives as well as their future academic and work career. Teachers have an opportunity to teach students how to mindfully use their smartphones to enhance their English education. When smartphones are used consistently in class activities, students will become self-motivated and discover new ways of using their smartphones to learn English.