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Pedagogical Songs: learn by doing game based activities


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Author: Santiago Palacios Navarro

Published in: Education, Technology
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    1. Pedagogical Songs: learn by doing game based activities Santiago Palacios Navarro University of the Basque Country, Spain Summary The learning experience we describe in this paper does not have the creation of games as a priority, but the psychodidactic reflection about it and other aspects involved in the efficiency of recreational activities.'
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Pedagogical Songs: learn by doing game based activities

  1. 1. Pedagogical Songs: learn by doing game based activities Santiago Palacios Navarro University of the Basque Country, Spain Summary The learning experience we describe in this paper does not have the creation of games as a priority, but the psychodidactic reflection about it and other aspects involved in the efficiency of recreational activities. Based on games and online activities developed from the study of a song, the project has been implemented throughout the last six years in the “Educational Psychology” course, taught as part of the Teaching degree specialised in Foreign Language at the University of the Basque Country (Spain). However, it should be pointed out that Pedagogical Songs has a distant reference in a radio programme called “Pedagogical Pop”, broadcasted during the 1980s and 90s in the Spanish public channel RNE 3. In this show, the vocabulary and pronunciation of a song were analysed, highlighting expressions, analysing the meaning and so on. Students of this course are reminded that the aim of the project is not only to create a technological product, but to understand and use some of the educational contributions made by different psychological models, such as behaviourism, information processing, social learning, constructivism or psycho-instructional theories. In short, with this project students face a structured activity, guided by the teacher and carried out with the collaboration of other colleagues; it is clearly focused on a specific content of the school curriculum and the learning objectives of the students. Finally, it takes advantage of the potential computing offers in the design of activities, taking also into account the previous knowledge of students. The main conclusion of this initiative is that beyond complex technological teaching methods, the use of more basic and less powerful tools can be quite effective in order to achieve our real objective: the psychodidactic integration of ICT into school life. Keywords: Practice, eLearning, Competences, University, psychodidactic, pedagogical, music, educational psychology 1 ICT, language teaching and edu(cational)-entertainment Although it is almost an odd neologism, “edu-entertainment” is a good name for the theoretical framework that supports the teaching experience analysed in this article. There is no doubt that especially teenagers are consumers of digital products which can be considered as mere games or puzzles but often they can also be considered educational activities (Carrasco, 2005). Similarly, the Internet is full of sites where traditional games and puzzles in print (crossword puzzles, word search, Hangman, sudoku…) have psycho didactically become very attractive virtual activities, especially in the field of language teaching (García-Valcárcel, 1999; Herrera, 2007; Quintana y Suárez 2007). In this way, focusing on the functions that are given to the educational software (Marques, 2000; Martín-Laborda, 2005) such activities fulfil, in more or less extent, the following ones: 1 eLearning Papers • • Nº 13 • April 2009 • ISSN 1887-1542
  2. 2. informative, instructive, motivational, evaluative, expressive, recreational, innovative and creative function. The research on the pedagogy of games has emphasized the educational value of them. Something is learnt in every kind of game, but it is necessary that the game addresses some challenges, several objectives and relevant contents so that it really has teaching aims. The teaching component has to be clearly defined. It is essential to have an effective planning about the objectives, contents and learning strategies adapted to the developmental phases of the child (Raña, 2003). Games have a significant influence in the development of memory, attention processes, verbal and numerical fluency, reasoning and creative skills (García-Varcárcel, 2007; Albadalejo, 2001). Academic games can be used as a tool at different stages within the learning process: at the beginning of the lesson as a motivation element, during the lesson as another complement, or at the end as revision or remedial teaching. All the studies in this field agree on the fact that games raise students’ motivational levels (Felix, 2002; 2003) but as Pivec and Dziabenko (2004) point out, game-based learning is not the superior learning method per se. Druckman (1995) states that games enhance motivation and increase students` interest in the subject matter... yet the extent to which this translates into more effective learning is less clear. A number of studies were carried out that focused on retention of learning. Eight out of eleven studies showed that retention is better when using game-based learning, whereas the results of the other three studies showed no significant difference. Researching students' preference, the results of seven studies out of the eight, were in favour of games. However, we are also aware of other studies where the results are not so clear in favour of game-based learning. There is research evidence to show that feedback in learning with ICT can improve pupils´ learning. Feedback is one of the essential elements in educational ICT activities. When, what and how to provide assessment information is part of these activities and it has been present in all attempts to individualise the teaching through ICT (Lara, 2001). Efficient feedback depends on the available knowledge at each time (Slagter, 2004). Software should offer formative feedback that helps pupils to identify how they could improve (Higgins, 2001). Likewise, analysing how feedback is actually being interpreted by students to ensure that it improves their learning is a key step for the use of ICT for learning and teaching. That is why the proposal we describe below does not have the creation of games as a priority, but the educational value of such games. This learning experience is based on games and on the online creation of recreational activities from the study of one song. It has been developed for the last six years in the Educational Psychology course that is taught in the first year of the Teaching Degree specialised in English as a foreign language. The students’ average age is 19 and the number of average students per class is 60. The course is taught in Basque and its contents are about the psychological models and their educational applications. The project represents one third of the final mark and it is compulsory to pass the course. Therefore, before the project the teacher informs students that the aim is not only to create a sophisticated technological product, but to understand and use some of the educational contributions made by different psychological models such as behaviourism, information processing, social learning, constructivism or the psycho instructional theories. In short, students face a structured activity with this project; an activity guided by the teacher and carried out with other colleagues’ collaboration. In this way, the task clearly focuses on a specific content of the school curriculum and the learning objectives. Likewise, we take 2 eLearning Papers • • Nº 13 • April 2009 • ISSN 1887-1542
  3. 3. advantage of the potentials of computing for the design of activities; taking into account the previous knowledge students have (García-Valcárcel, 2007). 2 Pedagogical songs: activity description It should be pointed out that this educational project has a radio programme as a distant reference that during the 80s and 90s was broadcast in a Spanish public channel (RNE 3) called “Pedagogical Pop”. Just after presenting a song, its vocabulary and pronunciation were analysed; highlighting expressions, interpreting the meaning and so on. Everything was carried out in a very recreational and entertaining context, typical of a radio programme designed for teenagers and those specialised in music. Indeed, songs and their lyrics are elements that are present in teenagers’ daily lives in such a way that sometimes they even become hymns and part of their identity. Moreover, although the latest innovations in relation to ICT are not by any means the main cause of this fact, there is no doubt that its introduction has made the spreading of this youth culture much easier, for instance through digital music players such as the iPod . Thanks to the P2P exchange programmes and others such as YouTube or the recent social networks (Face Book, Tuenti…) the youth can discover new ways of communication, collaboration and knowledge sharing. By exploiting the potential that the Web 2.0 applications offer, second language learning can be improved (Onrubia, 2005; Alexander 2006; Herrera, 2007; Durán, González y Herrán, 2007). Likewise, songs and their content have traditionally been an educational tool. It is easy to acknowledge the educational role of children’s songs or traditional and modern songs as a second language classroom resource. Besides the psychotonic benefits of this exercise, there is no doubt that they allow us to learn contents in the area of second language teaching at different educational levels (Labrador y Morote, 2008; Ruiz, Sánchez y Palomo, 2005). In fact, almost all educators agree that songs are included among their most successful teaching tools. Using music in the second language learning is consistent both with linguistic and psychological theories. According to Krashen (1985), comprehensible input and output are important to the acquisition of a second language. He also claims that affective factors such as motivation, attitude, self-confidence and anxiety will affect the amount of comprehensible input learners receive. Therefore, songs can supply comprehensible input in low anxiety situations. Likewise, songs can be used for different purposes. As Saricoban and Metin (2000) have pointed out, songs can develop the four skill areas of reading, writing, listening, and speaking, which are basic in language learning. According to the theory of multiple intelligences proposed by Gardner (1983), those who have a high level of musical-rhythmic intelligence display greater sensitivity to sounds, rhythms, tunes, and music so they immediately respond to music and they will often use songs or rhythms to learn and memorize information. Among the competences of future second language teachers there are two that are important to develop: the ability to evaluate the validity of a song as a teaching tool (difficulty level, contents’ adaptation to an age and group, the values transmitted, opportunity…) and the possibility of being able to create and generate recreational, but at the same time, formal activities (Monereo, 2005; Tejedor y García-Valcárcel, 2006). Briefly, these are the stages that teaching experience includes: − Training in Hot Potatoes − Creating groups and selecting a song. − Information search (Google, YouTube…) − Study and song production: a study of the signifier and the signified − Preparing written activities − Creating activities in Hot Potatoes (Cloze, Quiz, Mix, Crossword, Match) 3 eLearning Papers • • Nº 13 • April 2009 • ISSN 1887-1542
  4. 4. − Presentation (Power Point, YouTube…) − Presentation (Moodle) and diffusion (Joomla) Next, some comments are made on each stage. They are based on my own experience and they are aimed at teachers-to-be so that they can benefit from it. 2.1 Training in Hot Potatoes Hot Potatoes is a free use application with educational purposes that generates online exercises in a self-evaluative, clear and easy way without any programming knowledge needed. One of the main reasons for the use of Hot Potatoes as a technical tool is exactly the simplicity of its learning and use. Two one-hour sessions are enough for most students to handle it correctly. It is not the right place to expand on the advantages and disadvantages of the use of Hot Potatoes compared to other similar applications (Clic, Moodle, Malted) but the ease of use for creating a variety of interactive activities makes it an effective application in education. This fact has notoriously helped to have these kinds of activities on the Internet. In fact, once the content of an activity is already elaborated, it is very easy to transform this into an attractive website with certain interactivity based and limited by JavaScript. Indeed, many of the students get surprised of having been able to create a website themselves, and for others it is a challenge to their previously developed abilities and skills. Thus, it is unusual that students suggest the use of much more sophisticated technologies (Flash) or that the final products are technically higher, even more when the learning of a tool such as Hot Potatoes is neither the main objective of the subject nor the main learning activity within the “Pedagogical songs” project. In relation to this instrumental character of Hot Potatoes, the learning of this application also serves as a way to approach the contents of the course itself. One obvious example is the analogy between the meanings of the feedback in the activities of Hot Potatoes with behavioural reinforcement. And what is more, not only with the motivational but also with its formative and informative value. Another example is that the need to save the files generated with Hot Potatoes in two different formats serves as an analogy of the different ways of representing the information cognitive psychology proposes and from where they derive psychodidactic pieces of advice such as those related to the way of teaching and learning second language vocabulary. 2.2 Creating groups and selecting a song The fact that students work in groups in this project has important advantages. The first one is that it allows the distribution of different types of tasks among workmates, which avoids students to have problems/obstacles related to technical knowledge. We cannot forget that there are students whose skills are poor, often due to the lack of interest in these devices. However, other students have solid knowledge in relation to ICT and come up with a chance of testing their ability when teaching their classmates. On the other hand, teamwork in this project means that students experiment in decision making that will determine the final outcome. In this way, the negotiation about the song with their workmates, making a diagnosis according to different parameters (thematic and idiomatic), is a present process and not free from difficulties. In fact, discrepancies are frequent and can be increased throughout the process of looking for information/information search, the song or game analysis and activity creation. The students who disagree with the chosen songs are encouraged to prepare their own songs. Indeed, this way to approach the issue has become a priority for the project in such a way that each member individually creates activities for a song 4 eLearning Papers • • Nº 13 • April 2009 • ISSN 1887-1542
  5. 5. chosen by himself or herself. Certainly, we prevent students from abandoning their group and a major involvement and acceptance of the decisions made by the group are also promoted. 2.3 Information search (Google, YouTube...) One of the first uses of the ICT is, without doubt, the possibility to access to a great quantity of information and that is why a wide consensus exists when choosing it as one of the competences to develop the ability of information search and its selection. In the case of Pedagogical Songs, this becomes the first step for students as they use Google, YouTube or other virtual spaces to get part of the needed information: video, music and lyrics, details of the author or singer, CD cover… Obviously, nowadays students come with a much higher preparation in this field, as a result of a wide personal experience linked to ICT. As a mater of fact, most of them have already used several digital tools. On the other hand, the information searching task does not only take place at the beginning of the process but also later at different moments in the project. 2.4 Study and song production: study of the signifier and the meaning If information search is an important competence, the capacity to analyse it is even more important, as this activity is the main focus (or main task) of the work to be done by the students. In fact, this task gives psychodidactic value to the use of ICT. During the analysis students have to assess the suitability of the content of the song, taking into account various parameters: the theme of the song, the required language knowledge, the appropriated age range for the song etc. For this analysis students have to bear in mind the aspects related to the signifier as well as the meaning of the song. On the one hand, students have to display all their English knowledge; on the other hand, they have to consider the cultural knowledge, values, human relations and feelings embedded in the song. Obviously this task takes most of the time assigned to the work in groups. During these sessions, students have time to share knowledge and other reflections in order to establish the basis that will allow them to deal successfully with the next stage dedicated to the creation of activities taking the advantage of the songs’ potential. In order to carry out this task, students have to pay attention to the following aspects and advices (Lavery, 2001; Pickard, 2005): − Preparing the song: Use the song title, key words, pictures and photos in the same way as when preparing reading texts or listening. − Focus on vocabulary items o Listen and order the words as you hear them. o Fill in the missing words and check with the song. o Listen. How many times did you hear this word? o Spot the difference. Change some words for similar-sounding ones or the ones which make sense grammatically but do not make sense in the song. Students read the lyrics and try to spot the strange words. Then they listen to the song and correct the different words. − Focus on structure or meaning 5 eLearning Papers • • Nº 13 • April 2009 • ISSN 1887-1542
  6. 6. Split sentences from the song into two halves which students have to match o before and during the listening, e.g. linking cause and effect. You can give one half and ask them to finish ‘You went away and ...’ Ask students to order parts of the song as they hear them. Put lines on slips of o paper to re-order before and during the listening. Give students a list of verbs to order as they listen to the song or as they read it. o Listen and check if the verbs are in the right place. Blank out auxiliaries and students choose the right one from a list on the board. o Put in a few key items that are wrong. Students can listen and spot them or read o the lyrics, predict the wrong items and then check their predictions when listening. − Ear training with blanks o Give a choice of two words where one is right but the other sounds similar, e.g. night/right, now/how. o Give a choice of two words for each space but having a slight vowel change, e.g. sin/seen. o Give a choice of two words for each space having a consonant change, e.g. moon/soon/noon, fake/take/make. − Focus on stress and rhythm: Songs can sensitize students to stress and mouth movements. Clap or tap along with the song. This helps students get into the rhythm. Students mark the words they think will be stressed and clap on them or tap the desks or stamp their feet. (Be careful of classes above and below.) Say the song following a rhythm without music, whisper it, increase the volume. Mouth the song along with the music but don’t say the words out loud, just exaggerate your mouth movements and students can do the same (it’s less threatening to look English than to sound English!) Always speak the song before attempting to sing it. Students who don’t want to sing can mime it. − Focus on pronunciation o Take out one half of a rhyme and ask students to put them back and then listen to check. o Take out all words with the same consonant cluster or confusing vowel sounds and ask students to match them. o Take a song with distinct rhymes and give it to students as a written text with no punctuation. It must look like a paragraph. Don’t tell students that it is a song. Students punctuate the paragraph and find the rhymes. Then play the song (the surprise makes it more interesting) and get them to check and write out the lyrics. This also generates a good deal of speaking practice and thought about sentence structure and meaning. − Focus on discussing lyrics: Song lyrics can be open to a large number of possible interpretations and this ambiguity can lead to fruitful discussions. These types of song lend themselves well to speculation when people or places are not clear. Songs might refer to ‘you’ or ‘I’ or ‘us’ or ‘them’ without the listener being clear of the identity. − Focus on identity o Listen/read and say who the singers are talking about. Younger people/older people/people the same age o Who do ‘they’ and ‘we’ refer to? o Is the singer talking about a man or a woman? How did you decide? − Focus on feelings of the singer/narrator/subject matter o Do you think the singers have a positive or a negative attitude? Why? o Do young people in your country share this positive attitude? o How does the singer feel? Happy/ confused/ angry/ worried? 6 eLearning Papers • • Nº 13 • April 2009 • ISSN 1887-1542
  7. 7. − Speculate beyond the song whether it is a tale or story o What did the singer talk about when he last saw his girlfriend? o What do you think will happen next? What would you do in this situation? − Use the song as stimulus for writing or speaking o Write the conversation between the singer and his/her friend as a telephone conversation. o Write a letter based on the song or send an e-mail with the same subject heading as the song. o Write about the issues raised in the song. Write a letter to the editor of a national newspaper, drawing attention to these problems. − Role play and songs o After listening to the song ask the students to play the roles. 2.5 Development of activities At this stage students start elaborating several recreational and didactic written activities about the song. At this stage decisions affect important aspects so that the generated activities are not only correct but also qualified. Among these aspects we can mention three: level of difficulty, prevision support and feedback. Indeed, the reflection on the feedback acquires importance at this moment of the teamwork and involves two challenges for the student. On the one hand, to be able to elaborate adequate feedbacks for each situation (success, failure) and on the other hand, students have to judge the validity of the informational as well as the motivational feedback proposed in each activity. 2.6 Creating activities in Hot Potatoes The types of exercises that are generated are the following: − JBC. - Multiple choice exercises. − JQuiz. - Short answers exercises. − JCross. - Crossword exercises. − JMatch. - Matching columns exercises. − JMix. - Ordering exercises. − JCloze. - Filling the gaps exercises. As we have pointed out above, students can use other kind of tools (Flash, Clic, Malted, Moodle…) to create these types of activities or other similar ones. 2.7 Presentation (Power Point, YouTube…) At the end of the course, two sessions are devoted to the presentation of all the projects. Students create Power Point presentations usually supported by several multimedia resources such as a video presented on Web 2.0. The use of these tools is frequently a proposal made spontaneously by the students themselves. These presentations are used for assessing the correct elaboration of the different stages of the project and the students’ level of satisfaction in their own work. Most of the time students prepare these presentations very carefully and the level of satisfaction is high. 2.8 Presentation (Moodle) and spreading (Joomla) 7 eLearning Papers • • Nº 13 • April 2009 • ISSN 1887-1542
  8. 8. Once the presentation is made in class, it is time to hand in the work and share it with other classmates. In this way, this task is fulfilled through the module of Hot Potatoes in Moodle as a platform that allows access to the materials and activities created by all the students. In order to do this, a space is available in Moodle where students acquire some privileges on a virtual teacher role, such as the possibility to create activities. In the same way, a selection of these works is openly exposed within the project EPSIE 1 and it is made in association with HegoBit Aldea using Joomla as a tool to create the space. 3 Pedagogical songs: Results We will take advantage of the site EPSIE to make the presentation of the results showing some of the works already exposed. Throughout the last 5 years, over 100 songs have been analysed and elaborated by students. Without the desire to be exhaustive, this short list of songs is just an example: − Rehab - Amy Winehouse − The Fray - Over my head − Breaking Free - High School Musical − The black eyed...- Where' s the love − It’s my life − Aretha Franklin - Rescue Me − Young folks Lyrics - Peter, Bjork and John − Cristina Aguilera - Beautiful − Good Charlotte - Boys and Girls − We are the word – Various/several authors − You are beautiful − Graze Kelly − Only you - Platters − These boots are made for walking - Jessica Simpson − Paid my dues - Anastasia − Like a rolling stone - Rolling Stones / Bob Dylan − Welcome to my life - Simple Plan − Tom’s dinner - Suzanne Vega − Friend of mine - Bowling for soup − Think - Aretha Franklin − Wonderwall - Oasis − Story of a girl - Blink 82 3.1 Some examples First, it is worth highlighting the project about the song 10 green bottles. In this case, starting from a very popular children’s song used very often in classrooms, a series of activities are prepared and aimed at developing different competencies. This project is a good example of some of the ideas mentioned in this paper. On the one hand, it shows high technological competences of some of our students and on the other hand, people's initiative, the desire for improvement, creativity and other educational competences linked to the preparation of recreational activities. Regarding technological competences, it is worth mentioning that this project was done in Flash, and as we know, it requires quite high knowledge and abilities in reference to the graphic aspects, as well as programming and multimedia integration. This is why the final product acquires a high level in technical quality; 1 8 eLearning Papers • • Nº 13 • April 2009 • ISSN 1887-1542
  9. 9. this comes along with a good level of elaboration in contents focused on the learning of numbers in a recreational environment. Figure 1. 10 green bottles Second, the project about the song Tom’s Dinner by Suzanne Vega is also remarkable. In this case, on the one hand, the activities aimed at the learning of the “Present Continuous” have been prepared using Hot Potatoes. Even if the project does not obviously reach the level of multimedia integration of the previous example in Flash, it explores and uses some of the most advanced technical possibilities of Hot Potatoes. Furthermore, through this song it is possible to travel beyond language teaching as its content refers to events and situations that every educator has to consider, such as family abuse in this case. Figure 2. Tom’s Dinner The third example shows how to deal with the song Yellow Submarine by The Beatles. Once more we have a popular song suitable for learning vocabulary, verb tenses and idiomatic expressions. Moreover, in this case, the biography of the group becomes the subject of study. 9 eLearning Papers • • Nº 13 • April 2009 • ISSN 1887-1542
  10. 10. Figure 3. Yellow Submarine Finally, we present the project about the song Breaking Free from the musical show High School Musical, nowadays so popular among children and pre-teenagers. In addition to the prepared activities, a wider action plan includes watching the film. Figure 4. Breaking Free To end up this little exposition of the results, we pay attention to one of the students’ analysis, because as we have already mentioned, the real objective of this activity, based on the creation of games and activities in Hot Potatoes, is to promote reflection on several psycho didactic aspects such as those related to the sequence of each activity. What is shown below was done by a student about the song Story of a girl by Blink 82: These are the reasons for having chosen this song: on the one hand, it is not a slow song, it is lively and students will like it. On the other hand, the meaning of the lyrics is very well understood and I think it is appropriate for the chosen age range. Moreover, the lyrics give many possibilities to work on grammar as well as vocabulary; as it has many nouns, adjectives… I have decided to use the song “Story of a girl” to work with 3rd grade secondary school students as they already have enough English knowledge to understand it. They have previously worked on the verb tenses we can find in the song, so it will be suitable to use those verbs as a grammar revision for verb tenses. Moreover, the topic of the song (love) is something that students have already experimented in their lives, and I think it is appropriate to use a topic that is familiar for them when talking about their opinions and personal experiences with their classmates using the English language. Apart from the topic and verb tenses, I have also decided to work on further concepts: nouns, adjectives, word order, listening and speaking skills and so on. 10 eLearning Papers • • Nº 13 • April 2009 • ISSN 1887-1542
  11. 11. Figure 5: Story of a girl In order to work with all those things mentioned above, I have used different activities of Hot Potatoes. But apart from that, I have used a part of the session for the practice of comprehension and oral skills. This is the programme to follow: − First of all, students listen to the song once so that they get familiar with it. Once they have listened to it for the second time, students have to do the “CLOZE” activity in Hot Potatoes filling the gaps of the song so that they work on comprehension. They have 10 minutes to do this activity. − Later, the “MATCH” activity is presented to them and they have to match some nouns with their corresponding meaning, as everything is in the wrong place. They have 10 minutes to do this activity. − After that, we work on verbs using the “CROSS” activity where students have to guess the past tenses of the verbs given in a crossword. They have 10 minutes to do this activity. − The “QUIZ” activity is the next one and students have to find adjectives from the song and look for their opposites. They are given 4 options and only one is correct. They have 10 minutes to do this activity. − The last activity of Hot Potatoes is a “MIX”, where they have to order several sentences from the song. Students have 6 different sentences and 2 minutes for each one. They have 2 minutes to do this task. In order to carry out these activities I suggest doing them in any of these days: just before holidays (in the last session as revision and relax so as to have a good time…) or doing it in the first session just after the holiday break is a good idea too. In this way, students remember what they did the year before and get confidence with the language. 4 Conclusions The first conclusion we can draw from this experience of innovative teaching based on the creation of digital educational and fun activities from a song is to verify the great opportunity that ICT offers University Professors to support teaching and learning. However, a study indicating that a great majority of teachers in nursery, primary and secondary education did not feel confident enough to use ICT in their daily work was recently published in the Spanish press. That is why the inclusion of a project such as Pedagogical Songs in the training of future teachers is justified. If a real integration of the TIC is found in our students’ lives, teachers training is necessary, but not only concerning ICT but especially in psycho didactic implications and its uses (Palacios, 2005a, 2005b; Moreno y Barba, 2006). 11 eLearning Papers • • Nº 13 • April 2009 • ISSN 1887-1542
  12. 12. In this way, beyond complex technological teaching methods, we believe that the use of more basic and less powerful tools are more effective (Hot Potatoes, Clic, Malted, Freemind…), they enable us to achieve the real objective without being time-consuming: the psychodidactic integration of ICT into school life. ICT teaching is too often oriented to the tool learning itself rather than going deep in the necessary reflection on its application. So, the function of the button is taught but not the implication of using such function. To sum up, with the Pedagogical Songs Project we aim at influencing the reflection from a practical objective so that reflection and action move forward in an interactive way, influencing each other. Sometimes the proposed utilities will serve to promote reflection, while on other occasions this will lead to the decision of using or not a specific technology choice. In fact, we have to be more concerned about the fact that the student has to be able to analyze the various elements that come together in teaching correctly, such as the need to integrate pupil collaboration and interaction or the improvement of their literacy skills rather than the mere technical capacity of building activities with a certain tool. Ultimately, our goal is more focused on the way of doing than on the target (final product) and even less in the tool itself. As Herrero (2007) pointed out, we must avoid the danger of heightened technophilia that leads us to programming web activities for the mere pleasure of using the network in the classroom. What is more, we cannot forget that technology must always be included in teaching and learning situations with an adequate instructional design and within clear evaluation strategies. However, it should be noted that the proposed project of Pedagogical Songs is positively received by most of the students so it is a motivational element, indeed. In addition to its practical character, another element that contributes to this factor is the fact of starting from a song, as music is part of the daily life of the university students and it is especially linked to their spare time. In the same way, the activities carried out by these students have certainly settled the motivational value when used with nursery, primary or secondary students. It is not necessary to extend the psychodidactic value of songs especially in second language teaching. However, as it has lately been happening with other artistic creations (Cinema), there is a need to make an effort to integrate that value in other areas. In this sense, it should be highlighted that in addition to the intrinsic linguistic value of the songs, they tell stories and refer to historical or social events, express feelings and emotions and reflect social and personal values… That is why the reflection on these contents is also a main objective of Pedagogical Songs. In the same way, under the title of Pedagogical Sex Music, we have been covering various contents of the Sexual Education subject at schools. We cannot finish this conclusion section without mentioning that this type of educational approach allows giving meaning and enhances the ICT skills that students already have, which sometimes exceeds the teachers’ proposals and challenges. In our case, the proposed tool (Hot Potatoes) is a user-friendly computer program that allows teachers to prepare interactive, Web-based exercises. Although no knowledge of Web design is necessary to create these Web page exercises, teachers with such knowledge can benefit much from it. Ultimately, we have also managed to increase students’ interest in the course (Educational Psychology). Similarly, students have worked in groups and, by communicating their ideas, they have had the chance to improve their ability to solve problems and gain much more self- confidence. Besides, they get the opportunity to increase their creativity and imagination. To sum up, we consider Pedagogical Songs an interesting proposal that allows the integration of different aspects for second language teacher education such as the development of linguistic and cultural proficiency, the application of ICT in learning , the beneficial factors with regard to students’ motivation and the promotion of creativity and artistic education, to mention only a few. 12 eLearning Papers • • Nº 13 • April 2009 • ISSN 1887-1542
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