Wednesday 24 September 2008

Jing Project

I have just used Jing to screencast an explanation of setting up a course on Learning NI, the VLE within Northern Irish schools. It was very straightforward to use, and easy to store and view the files. Colleagues have complained that they find it hard to follow typed instructions so I am hoping that this should be really helpful, both for staff and pupils.
It is easy to be intimidated by the amazing blogs that there are out there, with people doing wonderful things with Web 2.0 tools and ICT in general, but I have decided that this should not deter me, and I am going to chat about some of the tools that I have only recently discovered, even if others have been using them for years!

Thursday 11 September 2008

Whiteboard Challenge Task 2

So I finally got to teach the lesson I prepared at the start of the week.. I decided to incorporate the use of sound files that I had learnt in Task 1 with the Infinite Cloning of Task 2. We are learning about 'En el colegio' and had previously learnt how to name the various subjects in Spanish. Today we revised the subjects , and learnt how to give opinions and reasons. We then did a listening activity, whereby the pupils listened to a series of statements I had recorded using Audacity. They then had to come up to the board and drag the appropriate symbols to reflect what had been said e.g. 'Me gusta el inglés porque es fácil' ('I like English because it is easy') Infinite cloning made the task easier for me in terms of making the flipchart, as the pupils had to use the opinions and reasons vocabulary more than once, so we used it as a 'Drag and drop' facility. I can see how I will use both these tools frequently in the production of flipcharts, although I am interested to see how others make different use of the Infinite Cloning tool

Wednesday 10 September 2008

when technology lets you down..

I have been trying in vain all week to complete Task 2 of the Whiteboard Challenge, but fate has been conspiring against me. The interactivity failed one lesson, then there was a fire drill and finally the cable from my data projector finally gave up the ghost! Overuse, I say.. Anyway, I am determined to complete it this week.
On a more positive note, we have accomplished a lot over the last week or so, in terms of Specialist School meetings with our community partners. Some of the primary schools are very excited at the propect of more collaboration, which is encouraging. If only we had time to carry out all the ideas we have had, we would be amazing ha ha!

Wednesday 3 September 2008


Well, classes are well and truely started so I decided it was time to meet the Whiteboard Challenge head-on, and tackle Task 1, which involved using sound on the IWB. This toned in well with recent posts on the forum I belong to,, about recording and the Modern Languages classroom.
I decided to target my new Lower 6 class, for a variety of reasons, not least because I have taught them for so many years now, that if it all went pear-shaped, at least we could have a good laugh about it! Also, it can be hard to use technology efficiently at this level. Here's what I did..

This was only my second lesson with Lower 6 this year, and we had just started with descriptions the previous day. I selected 12 celebrities, and I used the software to record a series of descriptions, both physical and otherwise, about 6 of the celebrities. The pupils had to listen to the descriptions, and select the appropriate person from the list of 12 each time. After we had checked the answers, the pupils then worked in small groups to write descriptions about the remaining 6 celebrities. For homework for next week, pupils have to prepare a presentation about someone they admire. They can either hand this in in written form, or record themselves using their mobiles and save it in LearningNI (virtual learning environment in Northern Ireland).
Now for the technical bit.. and as it is wont to do, the technology played me up a bit when I needed it, in that the internet was so slow, it took me about an hour to view Jess' video about the first task. Howver it was definitely worth it, as I then found it easy to follow her instructions about using Audacity with IWB software. We use Activstudio 3 in school, and it was very straightforward to record my own voice reading the descriptions, using only the inbuilt microphone on my laptop, and then export the mp3 files to the Resource Library in Activstudio.
I thoroughly enjoyed this first foray into the world of voice recording, and starting from these humble beginnings, I look forward to incorporating it much more widely in the future. No more complaints about a lack of vocabulary-specific listenings!