Language Show Live: Fun and effective uses for technology in the classroom

05-Dec-2012

Fun ways for effective use of technology in your language classroom

When attending the Language Show Live I spent quite a lot of time in the Language Technology Zone. It was an area where, during 30 minute sessions you could try out, on the iPads provided, apps which were part of tasks in the sessions.  I took part in three sessions in this zone and really enjoyed every single one.

This particular session was opened by a teacher who is part of the Digital Pencil Case Project at Hurstpierpoint  College for 12 year old students. Before they started the project teachers were the main source of information, but by starting the iPad mobile learning students have taken personal responsibility for finding and applying the information they need. The College has equipped its 65 Year 7 students and all its 35 teachers with an iPad. They planned the iPad introduction carefully to ensure maximum success. Year 7 students were selected, because teachers felt they were mature enough to take responsibility for their learning, and look after the device itself especially when students take their iPads home.

Setting up and running the Digital Pencil Case Project

To make sure teachers were comfortable using the iPad, training was provided before the students’ devices arrived. Five ‘champions’ were selected to help mentor other teachers. Parents were also offered training, so they would be able to support their childrens’ work at home. It was very important for teachers to show students that they trust them and decided that students can have games apps. Students were told what a great responsibility lay in their hands and to take good care of the device and make sure it’s set and ready for the lessons. The iPads were preloaded with 4 core apps, which all of the students would use to share their work with each other.

Keynotes

This app is a slightly snazzier version of the traditional PowerPoint, but you don’t have to worry that what you created in the PowerPoint is going to the bin, because you can use the app to import the presentations created in Microsoft PowerPoint. Preparing presentations doesn’t require students to type in much but rather show the way of thinking and present their findings to others in an attractive and interesting way. It also encourages students to contribute to the presentations and share ideas while working in groups on the project. Teachers noticed that students are very comfortable presenting projects in front of classmates, collaborating with each other, and they even show a willingness to take risks.

Pages

This is a word processor and a page layout tool that helps you create amazing looking documents and reports. You can see it as design studio. The app includes over 100 pre-designed templates to choose from e.g. school report or invitation. After choosing a template you can add your own words, drop photos and copy and paste charts from Numbers into your document.

During the project teachers asked students to use the app to create and run surveys focused on the language to be practiced. They found this task very effective and doable during the lessons as surveys are quick to produce: it takes 10-15mins of the lesson and results are immediately available.

The app has also been used for writing assignments as it lets students use the language in a creative environment (combining text with photos) and apply various language discourses.

Comic life

Comic Life gives you a chance to create comics, beautiful picture albums and more. You drag in your pictures and captions and it is done! This particular app has been used in the project to help students during their foreign language class to put together a conversation focused on the studied language point. Teachers really like to use this app as it’s not only visually attractive, but it only takes 15-20mins of the lesson to work on the task.

As the project and students’ work was developing teachers noticed advances in confidence as well as motivation. Students developed a great responsibility for their own learning. There’s also been a boost in subjects’ progress.

The Digital Pencil Case Project has been based on one Year, but the college decided to include in the digital transformation other Years and the ICT rooms they used in the past were dismantled, and each class was given a ‘Learning Box’ – including one iPad, desktop and laptop computers, and iPod touch devices, to be used in the classes.

Joanna

 

 

 

Please see below for more articles in the ‘Language Show Live’ series:

Introduction

Language Show Live: Digital literacy meets EAP

Languag Show Live: Online real-time communication

 

 

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