Technology In Modern Foreign Languages A Practitioners Perspective


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Originally published as a series of blog posts titled Technology in Modern Foreign Languages, this collection of articles explores how teachers are successfully incorporating the use of new technologies into their classroom practice with a focus on enhancing teaching and learning.
Technologies such as blogging, microblogging, web 2.0, wikis, sound recording and videoconferencing have all found their way into our classrooms and harnessing them effectively is at the heart of 21st century pedagogy.

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Technology In Modern Foreign Languages A Practitioners Perspective

  1. 1. Technology in Modern Foreign Languages A practitioner’s perspective Edited by José Picardo
  2. 2. Technology in Modern Foreign Languages Contents Acknowledgements 3 Foreword 4 I Using Images in the MFL classroom 5 Alice Ayel II Videoconferencing in the classroom 7 Suzi Bewell III Collaborate, facilitate Educate 9 Alex Blagona IV Tools to get pupils talking 11 Helena Butterfield V German: OFF the curriculum but ON the VLE 14 Mary Cooch VI The power of RSS for 21st century educators 16 Joe Dale VII A word or two about Wordle 19 Saira Ghani VIII Resources: keeping them real and keeping them together 20 Andrea Henderson IX Google Maps in the MFL classroom 23 Simon Howells X Supporting assessment for learning 25 Isabelle Jones XI Simple but effective 26 Samantha Lunn XII Mobile phones in the MFL classroom 29 Dominic McGladdery XIII Mrs Perkins’s journey into the WWW 31 Marie-France Perkins XIV Microblogging: making the case for social networking in education 32 José Picardo XV Looking back and moving forward 36 Amanda Salt XVI Really understanding culture 38 Clare Seccombe XVII Enhancing learning in the MFL Classroom 40 Lisa Stevens Contributors 43 2
  3. 3. Technology in Modern Foreign Languages Acknowledgments My most sincere thanks go to each of the contributors to this collection of articles who have selflessly taken time out from their busy teaching jobs to collaborate in this project and share their experiences in using technology in the modern foreign languages classroom. All photographs are either our own or have been used under a Creative Commons licence, in which case they have been attributed accordingly. The cover photo is courtesy of Erica Marshall of 3
  4. 4. Technology in Modern Foreign Languages Foreword Originally published as a series of blog posts titled Technology in Modern Foreign Languages, this collection of articles explores how teachers are successfully incorporating the use of new technologies into their classroom practice with a focus on enhancing teaching and learning. Technologies such as blogging, microblogging, web 2.0, wikis, sound recording and videoconferencing have all found their way into our classrooms and harnessing them effectively is at the heart of 21st century pedagogy. The original articles can be read at 4
  5. 5. Technology in Modern Foreign Languages Using images in the MFL classroom MFL teachers have always used print them or use them as by Alice Ayel images to teach their students new flashcards. items of vocabulary. However, it Already 52 members have joined can be very time consuming when this group and you can find planning a lesson to find the right pictures from different countries picture matching the word we want such as shops in France, Spain or to teach. Nowadays, the internet is Germany so that pupils can there to help us save time: actually see what shops are like in different countries. To make the Flickr search even easier and quicker, I was introduced to Flickr in teachers looking for a specific January 2009 by attending a free topic can add a post in Discussion online course on exploring images with what they are looking for and in the 21st Century Classroom other group members will help organized by EVO. Flickr is a them in their search. website where you can store, sort, search and share your photos Big Huge Labs online. It is free to up to 2 videos Big Huge Labs is a free website and 100MB worth of photos each where you can create posters, calendar month. You can edit your puzzles, albums, covers, games photos and make them look nicer, and more using photos from your add comments and captions using computer or photos from your Picnik. You can also search Flickr or Facebook account. For pictures taken by other members example, the aim of a Year 8 of Flickr by entering keywords. French lesson was to introduce In addition, you can join different different food from different groups where people share similar countries and to create a nice interests. I joined two groups: menu which would include the Images4Education and Great words students had learnt during Quotes about Lear ning and the lesson. First I looked for Change and then it occurred to me pictures of different types of to create a group for language restaurants and then of different teachers called Images to Teach types of food and I favourited them Languages to share or use photos on my Flickr account. Then I or videos to teach either a word, a created two mosaics with the two conversation or a grammar point. sets of photos using Mosaic Maker Instead of looking in the entire on Big Huge Labs. In less than 15 web, all the pictures are in one one minutes, I ended up with on one place tagged (i.e. catalogued using hand  8 photos of 8 different key words) according to topics – restaurants and on the other hand animals, places in town, shops, a set of  16 different types of food. etc. Teachers can then copy and My students were teamed up into paste the pictures into their groups of 3 or 4 and were tasked presentations, or download them, with looking at the mosaics  in 5
  6. 6. Technology in Modern Foreign Languages order to decide the type of talked about the food specialities in website, for example, or save their restaurant (French, Chinese, each country. Students had a grid url links. I used this fantastic tool Mexican….) and then the to fill in and then had to create a ID with a mixed ability group in year 9 nationality of each type of food and card about a country of their and obtained fantastic results. whether it was a starter, main choice. They had to create a photo book course or dessert. In teams, they S i n c e I c o u l d n ’t p a u s e t h e about their last holidays. First, I then created their own menus. The slideshow to focus on each showed them a photo book I photos were “real”, they were not picture, I favourited each picture on created and explained to them clip-arts and this helped to engage my Flickr account so we could how it worked. Then, students the students in useful discussions have a closer look at them. went into the ICT room and about the topic at hand. Students were engaged, they created their photo books. At the especially liked talking about the end of the lesson, I asked them to PHRASR countries they visited like Spain or send their work to my email PHRASR is an interactive web- where they had family like Ireland. address. At the end of the day, my based application that uses Flickr It helped me show the rest of mailbox was full of BOOKR images to illustrate the phrases Europe to my students in a messages! that users submit. It is part of different, perhaps more positive I then embedded the best photo Pimpampum, a website with other light. books on the school blog. applications which make the most Students were on task throughout of Flickr. PHRASR allows you to BOOKR the lesson very busy creating their create a slideshow from words or BOOKR is another web-based photo album and at the end they sentences, although, unfortunately, application from Pimpampum and were very pleased with themselves currently only in English. it allows you to create photo books because they had some ICT work You type a word or a sentence in a using Flickr images. It is very to view and show off. All of these box, PHRASR then browses straightforward to use because tools were big time savers for me through the pictures on Flickr and students don’t have to sign in or and helped me delivered finds a set of pictures matching the register, so they can start straight successful lessons where students word or sentence you typed. You away. There are no fancy designs, were engaged. then just choose the best picture. I backgrounds, sounds, you just Of course, I came across all those still managed to make relevant use add pictures and captions. Some fantastic tools thanks to my of this fantastic web tool when I might argue it could become Personal Learning Network thanks introduced European countries to boring but I found students didn’t to whom I have become a better my year 8 class. I entered the get too distracted by those effects teacher as well as learner! names of European countries in and could really focus on the task, E n g l i s h : A u s t r i a , G e r m a n y, which was to create a photo book Photo credits: Ireland…. and I had a slideshow in another language. with amazing pictures from Flickr In order to find and add pictures, 3360407169/ made in a matter of minutes. I students enter keywords or tags in showed the slideshow to my class the tag box at the bottom of the 2941451176/ and asked them to translate the screen, they can then choose a 3363137854/ countries into French. picture from Flickr. Finally, when It was the starting point of a students finished their photo 2628760814/ discussion about each country: books, they published it by where it was on the map, what the sending me an email. I then got a 3016286128/ official language was, what you link in my mailbox to their photo could visit and since we had learnt books and I could either copy and previously about food, we also paste the code to the school 6
  7. 7. Technology in Modern Foreign Languages Video conferencing in the classroom Back in early January 2009 I was by Suzi Bewell contacted by Sophie Herblot, a young French headmistress who had stumbled upon my French teaching and learning blog. She got the feeling that I was quite technically aware (not quite true back then) and wanted to know if there was the possibility of starting up a partnership with a special focus on video conferencing. The French government are currently ploughing quite a lot of money into technology and web conferencing in particular. Sophie is lucky enough to teach in one of the 3 pilot organisations in her region. Madame Herblot teaches in a Primary school in Bantouzelle near Cambrai, in Northern France, and The next week I set about Friday the 20th March 2009 was a over the next few weeks we spent downloading Skype onto the most memorable day because we a lot of time on MSN and email Primary school’s laptop and managed to connect with our getting to know more about each despite warnings about firewalls French friends and I experienced other and, more importantly, and   LEA internet security, Sophie the best French lesson of my sorting out the finer details of our a n d I m a n a g e d t o c o n n e c t career to date. A light bulb “projet visioconférence”. Within a classroom to classroom which was moment when learning takes place few days, we had both installed  even more exciting and meant that for a real purpose, in front of a real Skype and discussed ideas for a plan was coming together. audience and where pupils are fully what we might explore in class Our first lesson was planned for engaged and excited about the (with a focus on speaking) and Friday 13th March – pupils would lesson, quite unaware that learning were all ready for our first “essai”. spend the lesson introducing each is actually taking place because We were both keen to have a try in other and using their knowledge of they are having so much fun – and class as soon as possible. numbers and the alphabet in real French kids are clapping at In early February I bought a French and English to fill out them and implying that their French webcam ready for the big day and p e r s o n a l d e t a i l s . S a d l y, f o r is actually not bad! Awesome. the following day we set about technical reasons beyond our A few weeks later, still extremely trying to connect from my home in control, Skype failed to work and excited by the first successful live York to Sophie at school in France. a l l c o n c e r n e d w e r e v e r y hook up, we took the topic of We were both very nervous and disappointed and frustrated… but clothes and colours as our focus. extremely excited as you will hear if not deterred in the slightest! The French pupils had posted us you have a listen to the short audio Sophie and I were determined to cardboard cut outs of Pierre and clip. try again the very next week. Marie along with clothes in a variety of colours. 7
  8. 8. Technology in Modern Foreign Languages We had to listen to their and proud. Our English teaching awareness. The grand finale to the descriptions in French and show adviser was here and filmed it all. lesson was a bilingual Christmas our understanding by dressing the He said it was a very good medley of “Vive le vent” and “Jingle dolls appropriately. Much fun was example of preparation and Bells”. This is what Sophie had to had by all. organisation and he congratulated say: We were then treated to a rendition both of us for our work!! Waouh!! “Je suis super contente de ce of “Hello it’s me!” an English The summer term was quite hectic qu’on a fait vendredi! Les enfants version of a song they had viewed and sadly we didn’t get chance to sont emballés, Ils ont a-do-ré.” on our blog called “Bonjour, c’est connect again so in June we At a recent MFL Show and Tell moi!” (all about parts of the body). decided to write letters to keep the event in London, I stated that I Much to our surprise, they had contact going and to focus on would encourage anyone to try out translated it into English and reading some basic English / web conferencing as it is by far the performed it to us “en live” and French. best thing that has happened to with actions. My pupils were full of In September the Year 6 class had my teaching in the last 11 years. praise and also amazed at how moved onto secondary school and great the pupils’ English was. I took over teaching a Year 5 class Photo Credit: Again there was lots of cheering at the same school. On December Courtesy of Sophie Herblot and clapping – what better 4th they had their first taste of web motivator for learning a foreign conferencing and absolutely loved language! This is what Sophie had it! We sang the alphabet in French to say: to the tune of ten green bottles and Once more, it was wonderful spent most of the lesson focusing today!!! Pupils were very happy on cognates and phonetic 8
  9. 9. Technology in Modern Foreign Languages Collaborate, facilitate, educate by Alex Blagona Whether we care to accept it or successful, and certainly more the advantages that this form of not, a great part of our job as memorable. interaction now presents. Students teachers is the performance in the My main use of ICT in the last who spend seemingly endless classroom. I’m not talking about couple of years has involved the amounts of time online are going to ‘performance’ in the sense of use of  wikis to allow students to be attracted by learning that performance management, but collaborate with each other and to matches up with their interests, more the performance in an almost make them clearer on learning, that they see as accessible, that show-business sense of the word. targets and to make them feel they can relate to, and which can The students are our audience, active participants in their learning. also be fun. and schools now have to be ever We are, without doubt, working To that end I set up a wiki, using more responsive to their views. and living in an age where – there are other Education and lear ning can technology is king, and where wiki providers out there – firstly for actually be entertaining, and virtually all our students have A Level students to help them with teachers are under increasing created an online presence for creative writing, essay preparation pressure to deliver lessons that themselves. and speaking test practice, and engage students, as well bringing Social networks are now de rigeur also for my GCSE students to a smile to their faces. Lessons that for the 21st century youngster, and prepare them for their oral exams are fun and that tap into the teachers have had to become and to enable them to monitor their interests of students are more rapidly aware of how to harness own progress towards the exam. 9
  10. 10. Technology in Modern Foreign Languages Like all things that are considered Using stimulus cards which were Wikis have really engaged the ‘different’, I was confident in how it freely available online, we worked students with whom we have used worked and benefited the learners, in a carousel, where one student them. They have been allowed to and had support from pupils, and answered the stimulus card personalise their pages, and after many of my teaching colleagues. In q u e s t i o n s , a n o t h e r w ro t e a two years of using them, they have May of last year, however, we got selection of follow up questions, become accustomed to leaving the dreaded call from  Ofsted, another student prepared and comments on each other’s pages, telling us that we would be recorded spoken answers using  and it has served to create an inspected not as a whole school, Audacity, and another student atmosphere of trust and but just our department, with a reviewed the performance of the confidence amongst the class. The special focus on our use of ICT in spoken answer. Although the sites have been impeccably self- teaching languages. This was the logistics scared me, it all worked to policed and because the nature of litmus test for what we had been plan, and every student ended up the wiki means that I can check doing, and to see if our methods completing each task, with all who has done what and at what and innovations matched the results on the wiki, so that each time, the participants have not thinking of the inspectors. student could see what every other been tempted to vandalise anyone When the inspection report came student had done. else’s work. back, we were vindicated: The second lesson involved Year Our school, as a  Specialist 10, who were having a go at telling Language College, is also How well is ICT used by the story of a dream holiday. We responsible for managing the teachers and students to had worked on a writing frame in Gifted and Talented Linguists’ improve language learning? the previous lesson, and they had project for the county of Suffolk. just completed their introductions Bringing together fifty Year 11 This is outstanding…the wiki on their individual pages. I was students in what is a very rural system enables students to able to provide individual targeted county is a tough task, and store their work online and staff feedback on each student’s work, creating a wiki for the project has to check and mark it. It also and also ensure that pupils set enabled the participants to share enables students to themselves three achievable ideas and language, and to be communicate rapidly with staff targets for themselves to imaginative irrespective of their about language learning. complete. I gave each pupil a wiki- geographical location. Ofsted Report, May 2009. buddy, another member of the class of a similar ability who would Photo credit: I set up a couple of lessons for the compare targets, and would review inspector to observe, both using 3675852330/ outcomes at the end of the lesson. the technology of wikis to have an This helped the pupils to spot impact on the learning of the common errors in their work, to students. The first was an A Level avoid setting unreachable targets, French lesson with Year 13, who and to remain challenged by the were in the middle of preparing for task at hand. their speaking tests. 10
  11. 11. Technology in Modern Foreign Languages Tools to get pupils talking by Helena Butterfield I am a keen user of new confidence to go ahead and give it music with nobody knowing what’s technologies in my teaching, in a try. really going on. particular of giving my pupils the With this in mind, I find that new With this in mind I’d like to write opportunity to create with new technologies provide an ideal a b o u t m y To p To o l s f o r tools, as I find it a truly motivating opportunity for pupils to practice encouraging pupils to talk. I did a experience for them and me. speaking the language they are short presentation on this topic at Them, because they can see their learning without the feeling that TeachMeetNE09-02 a couple of high-quality work immediately and they are doing it in front of the weeks ago and this post gives me me because I am always amazed whole class, whilst also giving the opportunity to talk in more at what they can produce in such a them the chance to reflect on what detail about some of the tools and short space of time and how easily they hear and think about how how I use them. I will give they manage using what I consider they can improve and move onto examples of how I have used them to be such advanced technology. the next level. with my classes – not all wonderful The skill that I am particularly keen In addition having recordings of examples – but I think they give a on developing with my pupils is themselves speaking means that flavour of what you could do and speaking. Such an essential skill, they can then put themselves onto hopeful you will see ways in which when learning a language but one their iPods, Mp3 Players or you could do better! that pupils really seem to struggle mobiles and truly have a mobile Firstly, and most importantly you with in terms of having the learning experience – obviously need to know what you need in opportunity to do it and having the whilst pretending to listen to cool order to record your pupils. There 11
  12. 12. Technology in Modern Foreign Languages are several things you could use. Having learnt from experience I classroom. It’s amazing how easily When I record my classes would advise that pupils record they picked up how to do chanting / practising in a group I themselves first and only then let everything – even exporting the use a  USB microphone connected them play on the Voki website… files as .wav files. I told each group to my computer and record using otherwise they don’t get the to nominate a techie who was the free Audacity program. If I want important language bit done. Once responsible for the computer side small groups to record one another complete, pupils can then email of things and it worked really well. I use an EasiSpeak microphone you the Voki so that you can then They recorded a wonderful rap, which is really easy to use (even I display them on a blog or wiki. explaining about Haben: ich, can use it!) and records straight Here is an example of how my du,er… away into  .mp3 format. I’ve also pupils used Voki in an   eTwinning Make a podcast recently been given a digital voice Project: Let’s Blog. Make a podcast - A key feature of recorder which can do the same Voicethread getting pupils to be able to speak a thing. Voicethread – This is a fantastic language is getting them to listen In addition, still in my classroom, if site to get pupils talking to it as much as possible. This can I’d like individuals to record spontaneously. You can upload a help them improve their accents themselves, I’ve asked them to use photo or a document and then and give them the confidence to the voice recorders on their others can comment on it. They try it too. A really good way to do mobiles. This can prove particularly can either type or then can record this is to create a podcast so that useful to develop listening skills, as their comments. This is great to they can download sound files that we recorded ourselves and then get pupils preparing for their you create and put them onto their gave the recording to a partner for presentations for GCSE Speaking Mp3 Players or iPods so that they them to listen to and note the main Assessments. can take their language work points. I used Voicethread to encourage wherever they go. I’ve also If I’m lucky enough to be in the ICT pupils to talk about a picture of a recorded my classes doing some suite, I use the traditional house, giving adjectives, opinions choral repetition and turned that headphones with microphones etc. Here is our Voicethread. into a podcast. You could really do attached and ask pupils to record anything as a podcast: chants, themselves using Audacity, which Songsmith raps, vocabulary for tests, is straight forward (although you Songsmith – This is my current grammar explanations… they’re might need to give them a quick favourite. It’s a great program that particularly good for the auditory lesson in how to do this.) adds a backing track to what you learners! To publish my podcasts I So, what are my top tools to get record. You can choose the style of use Podomatic, a free podcasting pupils talking? the track and it picks up the platform. I currently run two rhythm of the words you say. It’s Voki podcasts that have been fantastic for getting pupils to make Voki – This is a lovely site where particularly useful for my Year 7s: up raps and rhymes to help pupils can create talking avatars. Langwitch Radio (German) and remember vocabulary or verbs. I It’s really easy to use and pupils Radio Langwitch (French). got my Year 8 group to make up can add their own voices either by Haben raps. I put my laptop at the Make a slidecast recording in Audacity and back of my room, gave them a Make a slidecast – The next step uploading the sound file, can quick tutorial and then let groups on from a podcast really, is a record directly from the site or even do the recordings while we did a slidecast. To make a slidecast, I phone and leave a recording. carousel activity in the main 12
  13. 13. Technology in Modern Foreign Languages use Slideshare, which is really family sat round the computer begin, you’ll find all kinds of simple and it gives you step-by- practising new language that has amazing ways to encourage your step instructions. This is essentially been learnt…truly involving pupils to develop their speaking a slideshow with sound. So, for everyone in the learning! This has skills. These are just a few, example if you introduce some worked particularly well with some relatively straight forward ways of new language with a PowerPoint in phonics work that I did  with my getting pupils talking… if I can do class you could have you class Year 7s earlier this year : Les Jolly it, anyone can! doing the repetition and turn it into Phoniques. a slidecast so that they can re-visit My final pieces of advice would be Photo Credit: it at home. I envisage my classes to start small and simple and then José Picardo going home and having the whole see where it takes you. Once you 13
  14. 14. Technology in Modern Foreign Languages German: OFF the curriculum but ON the VLE by Mary Cooch My degree is actually in French with Norwegian. Mindful that there isn’t much call for Norwegian teachers in the North West of England, I did my PGCE in French and German. When I was offered a job at my current school (the only job I’ve ever had) I was asked if I would mind, in a full timetable of French, just teaching one hour a week German as a favour. I agreed, and somehow during the ensuing 24 years I ended up in charge of German despite myself. In recent years it’s become even harder than normal to motivate emphasis on games (it was a club, We also tried a bit of blue most students to learn German or after all!). The only requirement to screening – well, ok; it was a blue opt for it at  GCSE. When the only join was that the children accessed sheet I stuck to my whiteboard other Germanist in the department our club page on the VLE and did with blu-tak but it worked! retired and two keen new MFL  the activities there in the days Moviemaker has a plugin to enable NQTs arrived with Spanish as their between meetings. you to bluescreen, which is OK but specialism, it seemed a good time I set up the page (Moodle calls not great, so we ended up using to change departmental policy: we them “courses”) in weekly sections Serif Movie X3 from the school would offer Spanish alongside with the resources we’d used in network – very cheap and highly French in the main curriculum, with class; practice tasks to consolidate recommended. German as an added extra. the grammar, and home works The onus was very much on them Rather than bemoan the loss of a which they had to send in to me to to take their learning further – and, language I never actually intended mark online before the next club in fact, developing their to teach, or worry that those few session. We used so-called  independence would stand two of students showing an interest in SCORM compliant games from the pupils in good stead the German would suffer as a Contentgenerator and following year when they opted to consequence, I saw it as a great Linguascope which meant that do German GSCE. Two pupils and opportunity to use our   VLE –  while the pupils thought they were one teacher was considered not Moodle – as a vehicle for delivering playing games, the VLE was saving economically viable to run in the bulk of the learning. their scores. school time – so, once more, I In Key Stage 3 we offered a one Club members used Audacity to turned to Moodle. hour a week after school German record themselves having I taught two girls GSCE German club to Years 8 and 9 – the only conversations and then used Crazy for one hour after school every face to face experience of German Talk to put funny faces to the week, using another Moodle the children would have. We voices – then I embedded the course to keep us in touch focused on oral work with a great videos on our Moodle club page. between times. They asked me 14
  15. 15. Technology in Modern Foreign Languages questions via a private discussion situation! Despite that, I still worried arrive is that they will be playing forum; they kept their own notes in last summer on results day. Could some games on our Moodle for an personal wikis on the course page; we really get good grades on one hour and that they will leave having I uploaded sample speaking test hour a week plus Moodle? I learned something they never presentations as .mp3; they seriously misjudged the girls and knew before. As it’s billed as a uploaded their efforts to me as feel very bad about it. I predicted a “Mystery Moodle” session, I assignments . B and a C. They got an A* and a B obviously cannot tell you what they Vocabulary and grammar were respectively… do and what they then rush home tested by the –now totally free – This year I’ve passed the German to continue with on our VLE… But Hotpotatoes and Moodle’s inbuilt mantle onto a colleague, as I’m isn’t it fortunate how German has Quiz module. Both these allow you focusing pretty much full time on so many cognates to build to include video, sound and Moodle. However, I’m involved in confidence in young learners? images to brighten up the Primary Liaison and Year 5s from exercises. They will mark the work our feeder schools have been Photo Credit: for you and record the grades in visiting us for a “fun session using José Picardo Moodle ‘s mark book- a win-win our VLE” All they know when they 15
  16. 16. Technology in Modern Foreign Languages The power of RSS for 21st century educators by Joe Dale I’ve always believed that ICT the latest news, the information your blog. Basically, you take the should not be used for the sake of can come to you and be read all in audio podcast RSS feed which you it, but only when it enhances the same place through an RSS could get from say a website like traditional methodology. One of the reader. This seems to save a lot of Podomatic, which gives you highlights of the noughties for me time and improve productivity as a 500MB of space for free and you was the discovery of RSS and how result. can just upload your podcasts on it can be used in so many ways to However, RSS can do so much to there. That will then generate nurture one’s personal learning more than just that. Below, I plan the embed code that you need to network. RSS stands for Really to share with you some of the post the player on your website. Simple Syndication, which is gems I have discovered by reading Essentially, this will allow others to basically a delivery mechanism for my feeds in the last few years and I listen to all of your episodes in the subscribing to frequently updated encourage you to try some of the same place on your blog rather content on Web 2.0 tools such as ideas out for yourself. than having to subscribe to the blogs, podcasts and wikis, etc. The first idea is a site called information. They can just go to In simpler terms this means that Podcast Pickle and if you have got your blog and press play on the instead of remembering to visit your own podcast you can create individual episode and every time your favourite websites to find out a player which you can then put on you update a new episode it will 16
  17. 17. Technology in Modern Foreign Languages appear on the blog. That’s the changed which is a fantastic tip I to Google Reader. So it makes it great thing about RSS, it’s found out from a great podcast easier to find useful links online for dynamic. called Podcasters’ Emporium. topics you’re interested in and it’s a Another idea I have come across Episode 17, which is called fantastic way of researching for up with RSS is Feedburner and in Feeding your audience, has great to date information which comes particular Feedburner chicklets, information not just about to you instead of you having to go which are the little bits of code that Feedburner, but RSS feeds in to it, as it were to find it which you put on your blog which then general. saves a lot of time. tell other people how many people Another tip I would give about RSS RSS feeds are also a great way to are reading or have subscribed to feeds is in relation to YouTube. keep in touch with the core group the RSS feed that you’ve created. Searching for content on YouTube of people that you follow onfpr This is great because you know can be very time-consuming. example, Twitter. Twitter is a great how many of your blog’s readers However, it is possible to create an way of creating your own personal are subscribing. You don’t actually RSS feed to display any recent clip learning network. The know how many people are just which has been tagged with a disadvantage is that, if you are going to the website because certain keyword. For example, I following 1500 people let’s say, they’ve just found it using a search used to be a languages teacher so there’s no way that you can read engine or what have you, but you I might be interested in  Key Stage every single tweet that they make, can actually quantify how many 3 topics, say the family. By putting every single message that they people have subscribed. in “famille”, the French word for send. Now when I say subscribed, that family into the RSS feed that I Therefore if you want to follow a doesn’t cost any money at all. create, it would mean that anyone core group, what you can do is go Sometimes when I talk about this who has tagged a clip with the to the Twitter Search website, put sort of thing at conferences etc word “famille” will then appear in in the username for the person you people get the impression that you my Google Reader, which is a want to follow or track and then have to pay. Well, it’s absolutely really great way of finding content. create an RSS feed for that free and I think in the present sort In addition, you can subscribe to username. Put that into Google of climate, certainly in England, in someone’s YouTube channel by Reader and as a result, you can which teachers are finding it more creating your own RSS feed which see anything that they send as and more difficult to get out of in YouTube itself is not actually long as their tweets are not school because of the Rarely possible. You can subscribe to protected and also anyone who Cover issue, I think that RSS and somebody’s YouTube channel, but replies to them. So that’s really taking control of your own CPD. you can’t generate an RSS feed good. It’s also a great way of Your own continuing professional which will then go into Google meeting like-minded colleagues as development is really important. Reader. well. Another thing about Feedburner is Another way of using RSS for Finally, I discovered a few days ago if you’ve created let’s say your RSS researching is using Google Alerts I could create an RSS feed for my feed through a website like which is fantastic for finding about friends’ updates on Facebook, Podomatic then Feedburrner will topics of interest or individuals who which has been possible in the allow you to, if you like, create are writing interesting blog posts past, but Facebook tend to another version which means that etc and by going to Google Alerts change their security settings from if you then change the host feed and setting up an account you can time to time, which sometimes that you have, the original feed either choose to subscribe via RSS makes this not possible, although it you’ve set up and create another or via email and if you have a is possible at the moment. So, feed, but use the same Feedburner Google Reader account already hopefully, that will continue for a feed, then your content will not be you’ll automatically send that feed while and it means you don’t have 17
  18. 18. Technology in Modern Foreign Languages to log in to the site. You can just So, to finish off with, the challenge Photo Credit: find out what your friends are up to now is to spread the news about on Facebook by having the RSS the power of RSS and to show 363837160/ feed straight into Google Reader or how effective it can be for straight into your RSS reader. enhancing learning in the 21st century. 18
  19. 19. Technology in Modern Foreign Languages A word or two about Wordle by Saira Ghani are so keen to produce a top quality Wordle that they are very happy to draft and re-draft their work in Word, thus contributing to their learning. Also, the knowledge that their work might be displayed for the whole world to see on our department blog drives them to produce a quality piece of work (you can see A year ago I would have described You input a piece of text, or a list of some examples here). From a myself as a technophobe, an MFL words, click go and your text slightly negative point of view, teacher who thought using becomes a Wordle, a word cloud pupils could become bogged Powerpoint as a teaching tool, as in which the most frequently used down in fiddling with the well as allowing pupils to create words are displayed in a larger appearance of their Wordle once their own Powerpoint font. they have inputted their text. I have presentations, was more or less Inspired by posts written by to admit, however, that I haven’t the limit of using ICT in Modern Samantha Lunn and Tom Barrett found that to be an Foreign Languages lessons, along about ways in which Wordles can unsurmountable problem. with CDs and the odd DVD. How be used I decided to take the Reflecting back on the past year, I wrong I was! plunge and give it a go. have gained confidence and am no Last January I discovered Twitter, In terms of my own teaching, I longer afraid to try out new ideas and the myriad of enthusiastic and have used Wordles as starter with classes, even if they don’t supportive teachers that go with it. activities. As classes enter the always work the first time around. My Personal Learning Letwork room, I have my Wordle displayed Remember the old saying “If at first (PLN) broadened rapidly. Having on my projector. Pupils then look at you don’t succeed, try and try such fantastic support, it and guess the topic they are again”? I feel it’s just as important encouragement and advice on going to be learning. Another way I for us as teachers to be taken out hand almost 24 hours a day gave have used them is as a vocabulary of our comfort zone from time to me the confidence to begin trying classifying exercise, which has time as it is for our pupils. out new ideas and web 2.0 tools proven to be a big hit with pupils My PLN has given me the both as an aid to teaching and as arguing over how they have opportunity to reflect much more a creative tool for my pupils to use classified it. on my own practice and to work when practising and consolidating I have also allowed pupils to create more collaboratively with my pupils new language. Tools such as their own Wordles when they have themselves, as their feedback is Edmodo, Voki, Wallwisher, Go! been in an ICT room. Year 7 and 8 invaluable in terms of tweaking Animate, Xtranormal, Animoto and classes have typed sentences on future lessons and tasks. More Wordle have all become part of the various topics in a Word importantly, from a purely selfish armoury of resources used in my document, before copying and point of view I have gained a new day to day teaching. pasting them into Wordle. At first I enthusiasm for teaching and my Wordle is one particular tool that I was a bit sceptical about the pupils are becoming more have used in a number of ways. It worthiness of this in terms of enthusiastic language learners! really is easy to create a Wordle! language learning, but the pupils 19
  20. 20. Technology in Modern Foreign Languages Resources: keeping them real and keeping them together by Andrea Henderson There has never been a better The American Council on Teaching time to be a world language of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) teacher. Every day there is new created national standards for information to make teaching even language learning which focus on more exciting. My PLN (Personal the areas of Communication, Learning Network) on Twitter has Cultures, Comparisons, been a wonderful source of new Connections, and Communities.I ideas and resources and this has realized that even with a clear made me grow in ways I had not understanding of what I needed to imagined. However, there are so many tools, teach, I still needed to create a gadgets, websites, and applications to choose from that it can be difficult to know exactly where to begin. To best take advantage of this new technology, it is a good idea to create a filter so that you know exactly which information you can use of right away and which information you can file away for later. 20
  21. 21. Technology in Modern Foreign Languages clear focus for my own classroom French, I must also show them that apartment. Although the based on these standards, my French does actually exist outside apartments are in Paris, the philosophy of language acquisition of my classroom and is spoken by language can be changed into and my students’ needs. real people! Using authentic Chinese, German, Italian, When I changed schools four years resources brings the francophone Japanese, Portuguese, Russian ago, I created a mission statement world into my classroom and and Spanish. After studying the that not only allowed me to focus students understand that French is various arrondissements in Paris, on what was most important in the indeed a global language. my advanced students get to classroom but also to focus on Some of my favorite authentic choose an apartment to live in. which technological tools would resources are: They love this, and I also have best suit my purpose. An excellent • L’Internaute is an extremely rich my dream apartment which I tutorial for creating a mission French resource with everything have printed out in color and statement can be found at Cedar from restaurant reviews to the placed in the front cover of one Rapids Community Schools. analysis of names. There are also of my planning notebooks. These My mission, which is a component wonderful short videos that give visuals provide a constant source of my full classroom plan, is to instructions on how to make a of descriptions, comparisons, transform students into Tarte Tatin as well as how to tie and narration. francophone Francophiles who are Windsor knot (the boys really • Houra provides the ultimate self-motivated lifelong learners and appreciated this one). online shopping experience. Not world citizens. My main goals are: L’Internaute distributes several o n l y a re s t u d e n t s a b l e t o newsletters which highlight compare French and American • to bring real world language various articles. I recently found a products but they also are able experiences to my students by wonderful article on the first jobs to augment their vocabularies using authentic resources of the heads of state around the with the rich descriptive words • to encourage my students to be world. My French IV/V class has that are present in the ads. autonomous learners been studying education in Although I have mentioned many • to create formative assessments France and we were amazed to times that the French use of and for learning find that one world leader once decimal points where we use • to incorporate developmentally worked as a street vendor selling commas it becomes real to them appropriate learning strategies peanuts. Keeping L’Internaute as when they actually see this my home page gives me system in use. I also have the Additionally, I need to maintain an constant exposure to every-day students convert the euros to efficient storage and retrieval French life. dollars at XE when you access system to keep everything • Lodgis is a real estate site where the Houra site, you must put in a together. In this post I will one can sublet apartments in zip code. I use 75007; the concentrate on the use of Paris. You can select the arrondissement of La Tour Eiffel. authentic sources and how to quartier, price range, and Here is the lesson I created using organize said resources. amenities you would like in your Houra. apartment. There are wonderful • Wordle has been invaluable Real World Language Resources pictures of all of the rooms of the recently for providing pre-reading As a teacher of French in Texas, it apartment as well as a written and pre-listening exercises for is not always easy for students to description of the contents of the news stories of the earthquake in realize that French is a global apartment and the name of the Haiti. I teach French levels 1-V language spoken on five closest metro stop. There is even and Wordle allowed me to continents. In addition to having a list of the stores and other provide comprehensible input for my students communicate in conveniences near the all of students. 21
  22. 22. Technology in Modern Foreign Languages I paste the text of a French news I play film trailers, and music each level. I can easily create a article from France 24 and allow videos. The students love this collection of listening exercises Wordle to create the word cloud. and often tell me that they have organized by theme so that I can I then change the color to black included these francophone find them when I need them. and white, select alphabetical artists in their own music Creating the playlists makes it order, and set the maximum collections. much easier to monitor the class words to 20-30. I then display during assessments because I’m Organizing resources the Worlde on my TV screen so not chained to the CD player Keeping all of your ever-growing that the students can see the trying to find the track I need. number of resource together can words as they come into class. iTunes also allows me to add b e a c h a l l e n g e . T h e re a re , We first find the words they do podcasts to the playlists which however, there are many tools that know and find meanings to the provide move opportunity for can help you organize your words they don’t know. The listening experiences. resources. My favorites are: students then make predictions • One of the challenges of working • Netvibes allows me to keep my of what they think the article will on multiple computers is websites and other accounts all be about. Finally, when I play organizing your multiple in one place. With Netvibes you video of the news story, even the bookmarks. Delicious and Diigo to have a private page and a beginning the students are able allow me to organize my public page. My private page to understand the gist of the bookmarks so that I can find and keeps my email accounts, Flickr, story. For the more advanced share them easily. I started using my bookmarking sites, and blogs students, I print out the article Delicious because I liked the I read together as well as and I may additionally target a aspect of being able to be part of allowing me to see updates of certain grammatical structure. a bookmarking network. Many the blogs in one place. I started Here is an example of a Worlde I members of my PLN use Diigo Netvibes when I took several have used recently with every and I created an account there online courses and had to level. as well. Diigo allows me to be a organize the many online • Commercials, movie trailers, and member of groups so I use it resources we used for the music videos have been another most often. Fortunately, my courses. I had multiple logins, great way of bringing Delicious bookmarks can be wikis, and blogs to manage at francophone culture into my updated simultaneously from once and Netvibes helped me classroom. Every Monday, as the Diigo which makes keeping keep my sanity! I was able to students are coming into the everything updated simple . create a tab for each course I room, I have videos of was taking as well as the commercials playing on my TV. Using technology can be courses teach. These tabs are a Allociné provides movie trailers intimidating unless you have a lifesaver when I take students to so that students can see what is focus. Many teachers become the computer lab (we go about playing in France. I also use it for overwhelmed at the number of every two weeks) because all of students to post their film resources that are available and do the resources are in one place. reviews we write in class. The not know where to begin. If you Here is a link to my public students take their writing much begin by creating a mission, setting Netvibes page. more seriously when they realize goals, and focusing on a limited • iTunes allows me create playlists that it will be posted for the number of areas, you will be able of all of the audio I use for my francophone world to see! Le to tame the information jungle. various levels without having to Top 50 at MCM keeps me aware dig through a mound of CDs. of what the most popular songs Teaching multiple levels means and artists in France. On Fridays, that I have quite a few CDs for 22
  23. 23. Technology in Modern Foreign Languages Google Maps in the MFL classroom by Simon Howells If this term has proved anything to The project in brief: me, it’s that the use of Web 2.0 in • Students to produce an account M o d e r n F o re i g n L a n g u a g e s of a journey in the past tense teaching is a wholly worthwhile and using Google Maps and its effective enterprise. Even the most “Street View” function intransigent class can genuinely • Students to produce this on learn and show real motivation if PowerPoint for display on the  some of the great applications VLE and and on the classroom available to us online these days wall are harnessed in the right way. Things I was worried about before My journey with using ICT in MFL doing this project: teaching began properly this year • It would take me ages and I with the discovery of a wonderful would fall behind in the Schemes online community of practitioners of Work enthusiastic to share their • They would just mess about and excellence. Twitter has been an get nothing done incredible education for me and • It would be too complicated to has had a direct impact on explain classroom teaching as a non-stop • They would use technology as source of ideas and support. As an excuse not to do the work we all know, new ideas can be • They would not actually learn slow to take root in any institution, anything! and schools are no different. But In order to address some of these the MFL Twitterati have been worries I took steps to ensure the invaluable to me in reminding me smooth running of the lessons. I that it ain’t about how fast I get produced a step-by-step guide there… including screenshots for the To cut to the chase, one of the students, which I left on the school web applications I had targeted for network and on our VLE; I planned use this term was Google Maps. a destination for each pupil to save Over the summer, I had produced time. a YouTube tutorial on this topic. I set minimum targets to be Figuring it was about time I took achieved in each of the three my own advice, I determined that I lessons; and, of course, I was on would have a go at it with my Year hand to help. This might seem like 1 0 g ro u p , w h o a re n o t a l l a lot of work, but I now have a enthusiastic linguists and can be great resource to use in future less than focused at times. As it years. happened, this series of lessons As I had previously delivered a was key in turning their attitude lesson on Montpellier, where I around. spent a year abroad in the dim and 23
  24. 24. Technology in Modern Foreign Languages distant past, it seemed appropriate the most – I felt that using it my blog and on the VLE, hinted at to use destinations around that practically made them really learn a changed attitude. town, to further “bring alive” the the past tense. We went from a They feel like they can “do” French place they’re always hearing me class who hated grammar and all of a sudden. They have seen a mention! failed tests to one that saw the practical application for it. They These three lessons turned out to passé composé as… a bit passé! have taken pride in producing be probably the most enjoyable of So how do I know for sure that it accurate work, spurred on by the the term. Pupils less conversant was a success? Much of the knowledge that it will be on public with technology realised they could answer to that question is view. They are ceasing to see follow instructions and produce necessarily anecdotal. My group’s French as a difficult bore and something that looked great. writing, though, has already shown starting to believe in themselves. Others got inspired and produced a marked improvement. The secret They are still far from perfect incredibly detailed instructions. The pride I detected in our classroom linguists – aren’t we all? – but the editing process really hammered display, and the satisfaction they challenge now is to keep that home the past tense, and this was got from seeing work appear on going… it’s the climb! perhaps the thing that pleased me 24
  25. 25. Technology in Modern Foreign Languages Supporting assessment for learning Pixetell is an “on-demand software by Isabelle Jones that enables you to quickly add voice, screen recordings and video to email and other electronic documents”. The twist is that Pixetell supports visual communication but also allows collaboration through sharing multimedia messages -called pixetells- and allowing discussions to take place around them. My vision of how it could be used relies on the need for teachers to develop a more structured approach to verbal feedback to students and links directly with assessment for learning.So, I decided to test it out giving feedback to a first year student-11 years old on a Powerpoint she had produced to • praise personalised answer to their own learn basic animal words in • suggestions for improvement work. Very powerful! Spanish. After trying out different • next steps (target-setting) If used for feedback, Pixetell would microphones, it seems that a Used at the end of a short project, work great with private student/ headset produced the best result. applications such as Pixetell would teacher platforms like Edmodo for What struck me the most was how be a way to ensure that due praise responses to individual projects, uncomfortable I felt at first giving is given to all the students that but used tactfully, example of feedback that way. We always have put in the effort. I also feel students’ work could also be respond to other people’s body that the impact on the student’s presented on a class   wiki/   VLE l a n g u a g e a n d l o o k o u t f o r self-image as a learner would also page with oral comments included. paralinguistic clues when we are be stronger than a well done note Examples of coursework at giving feedback in order to assess on paper. In addition, the students different grades from real or its impact. In many respects, who feel that they are “too cool to imaginary students could also be feedback given through a Pixetell be praised” could still get their pat included for discussion. can be seen as fairer but I suspect on the back in private. There are other tools like Jing, some training would be needed in For the specific purpose of GoView or Camtasia who offer order to ensure that it still feels teaching languages, the benefit of some of the features of Pixetell, so personal. Saying the student’s i n c l u d i n g a u d i o i n t e a c h e r this very useful comparison chart name, using different turns of feedback is obvious. Students then helps the potential user to assess phrases for praising and offering have a model that they can use whether this is the right tool for positive and constructive criticism and replicate if needed. It is also them as well as to find free are all essential. not an impersonal sound file that alternatives for specific features. The structure of the feedback is they have to listen to in its entirety roughly as follows: before they reach the bit that Photo credit: • description of good points/ applies to them, but it supports a criteria for assessment 624190252/ 25
  26. 26. Technology in Modern Foreign Languages Simple but effective by Samantha Lunn There is a phenomenal range of make my resources stimulating completely if it is conjugated, technological resources available and engaging: otherwise I just colour the to MFL teachers to enhance our • Colour – I believe there is no ending. pupils’ skills in the classroom. point in creating a resource using I do not explicitly explain to However, it is inevitable that either a variety of colours, fonts and/or pupils my colour coding; resources or an ICT room are not images unless they have a however, as my classes develop always available in order for every purpose – after all, you do not I encourage them to begin to talk pupil to be able to produce want to distract the reader, so I about what they recognise using something they can be proud of, colour-code language: feminine the target language, eg. “Es azul therefore, at the moment I find that nouns are red and masculine porque es masculino” which can I am the person using the nouns are blue (if I wish to then build up to “es azul porque technology the most in the emphasize plurals – in French, es masculino y termina en o”. classroom – although my new for example, I use green). This metalanguage can develop year’s resolution is to get the pupils Spanish verbs are coloured to an advanced level by the time using more! green, purple or orange they have studied the language This post will therefore look at the according to whether it is an - for a few years, however it does elements I use the most in my AR, -ER or IR verb respectively (I require a bit of planning in order classroom when teaching, and use a slight variation for French), to develop it beyond the basic. what technology I use in order to and I only tend to colour the verb What tools are required? 26
  27. 27. Technology in Modern Foreign Languages Not much is required except a rub and reveal, placing a shape also enjoy creating my own colour palette in Word, over the image and moving it listening material for example, PowerPoint or equivalent away bit by bit or placing items through recording my voice in application. Simple, but effective. over a word or image and Audacity (sometimes changing • Image – I will not add a variety of deleting them in order to see my voice by using effects) and images to a slide or a Word what is underneath . By uploading the sound file to a document unless they are displaying an image, and then Voki. n e e d e d . W h e n c re a t i n g a showing the word in the target I use also regularly use songs in resource to introduce vocabulary language, I make a conscious the classroom in order to drill I will always have on every effort to move away from linking language, and if the class screen the question that we are vocabulary back to English produce a particularly good working on from the scheme of words and the images are then a rendition, then we create a Voki work. I never introduce useful tool to practise language (described in the target vocabulary without a structure later on, through activities such language, of course) and the which stems from a as  Kim’s game, quick flash, slow audio of their version is added Contextualising Question and the reveal, through the keyhole and before I publish it online. re l e v a n t a n s w e r s t e m , f o r many more… More recently, I have begun to example: Where are you from? I When I first trained to teach in use LingtLanguage to create am from…France/Germany/ 2005, we created resources on activities for students, and I will England/Spain etc. acetate to display on the be using the department’s Before introducing to pupils the overhead projector. Even though recently acquired EasiSpeak item of vocabulary that they will these resources were made in microphones and  Flip digital be learning I try to get them to Word, transferring the cameras in order for the pupils to tell me what it is through using a pedagogical reasoning behind create audio and video to variety of techniques such as the methods of introducing and practise their speaking skills paraphrasing in the target practising vocabulary in this further. Of course, I cannot forget language or showing an image, manner to presentation tools to mention all of the video h o w e v e r, r a t h e r t h a n j u s t such as PowerPoint or, more resources that are available to us showing the image directly I recently, Prezi, took a lot of work, through the internet on sites make use of a variety of tools to and is now an essential part of s u c h a s Yo u Tu b e a n d reveal an item very slowly, my teaching, and nearly every TeacherTube which are an enabling the pupils to think about resource I make is displayed excellent source of authentic what it could be before learning electronically on the interactive materials. the word. whiteboard. You can download • Sharing – The most essential In PowerPoint the animation tool examples of this type of element of creating resources, is an effective way of slowly resources from my website for me comes from the sharing of making an object dissolve on to good practice. Within my the screen and I like the • Audio – I rarely use a textbook in department we share nearly interactivity of the trigger tool the classroom as I prefer to everything that we create – (which allows an item that you create my own materials which which includes flash games and have clicked on to be animated, are tailored to my teaching needs audio files – through a well- rather than being animated in a and my pupils’ learning needs. organised shared network area, specific order which is You will find that I use more which led to the creation of my predefined in the PowerPoint). regularly the audio that comes website. In an  ActivStudio Flipchart I can with the textbooks, however, I I also rely on the many kind people replicate these techniques using 27
  28. 28. Technology in Modern Foreign Languages who make their resources available many excellent resources. The Tell and TeachMeet NW have been online, such as through MFL TES forum, Twitter, Yahoo part of this year’s highlights and I, MFL Sunderland, MFL Resources group and the look forward to enhancing my MFL Resources and the TES reading of a variety of blogs (and knowledge in 2010 through the resource bank. I have come across writing one!) are all essential means continued use of ICT both in the so many phenomenal online of communication for me now, and classroom and beyond. resources that I have found that as I look back over 2009 I realise the best way of ‘saving’ all of them that I would not be aware of half of Photo credit: is through using the  Delicious the things that I know without the bookmarking site. Personal Learning Network that I twoacresphotography/3936235776/ I cannot end this article without have developed around me. The mentioning how I come across so MFL Flashmeetings, MFL Show & 28
  29. 29. Technology in Modern Foreign Languages Mobile phones in the MFL classroom by Dominic McGladdery As long ago as 2001, the UK advanced that most children I • Voice recording - The students government asked the Stewart teach have a mobile telephone in record themselves speaking in Inquiry to set guidelines on a their pocket which is considerably the target language using the minimum age for mobile telephone better and faster than the desktop mobile phone’s in-built voice users. It didn’t, but that didn’t stop PC in my study. recorder. They then play it back, the government from issuing a Much has been written about how listening to their work. Instant self circular to all schools in England students can use their telephones assessment and possible peer discouraging non-essential use of as lear ning tools. However, assessment. What did they do mobile telephones among students officially, mobiles are still banned in wrong? How could they under the age of 15. many schools. improve? Since then, things have changed. I have been using them with my • Video recording - Using the video Children used mobiles and didn’t KS4 students with some success recording function, one student grow the tumours the government and here are some ways in which records two others performing a warned them about, and the we have used them: dialogue in the target language. technology has become so 29