Friday 31 October 2008


Mark Pentleton of Radio Lingua Ltd took us on an entertaining journey through podcasting as the experts do it..
Partners in Excellence
Mark talked of his time as Coordinator of the Partners in Excellence project. Projects included a PiE Cast with interviews and listenings as learning elements., with French verb podcasts, appealed strongly to me. Pupils were given a verb a night to learn, combined with relaxation techniques, and then were sent a text message during the day to test.

Radio Lingua Network
Mark talked us through the many and varied podcasts which are on offer through Radio Lingua, including Coffee Break Spanish and French, My Daily Phrase for Italian and German, and One Minute Languages – 10 lessons in Polish, Irish, Russian, Japanese, Catalan, etc.
Moving on from Coffee Break Spanish, now available is Show Time Spanish with Lessons 1-4 building up vocabulary to understand the soap opera each time.

Lessons learned

  • Ensure that content is presented in the learner’s context.
  • Access – if you point it out to them, then they just might use it
  • Learners learn most by making podcasts
  • Podcasts are brilliant for sharing information, e.g. collaboration for teachers
  • Best podcast = 4 min summary of your lesson
  • Consider scripted vs unscripted
  • echnical lessons –equipment, ‘respect the ear’ – make the recording as good as possible


Here is the first of my posts about my experiences at the Isle of Wight conference. The first workshop I attended was by the entertaining Chris Fuller, entitled “ICT- THINKING OUTSIDE THE CLASSROOM BOX”. Chris talked about using ICT to motivate and to enhance learning, both inside and outside of the classroom walls. He himself has several blogs, both personal and for his school.
During the course of the talk, various questions were raised. One question was if the school had any issue with uploading videos / pupil work, etc, as this can be a common problem nowadays. A good suggestion to get around this if it is an issue in your school is to use puppets or masks.
The work does is very much in line with the new curriculums in Northern Ireland and England, with a strong emphasis on Assessment for Learning. Peer assessment takes place whereby pupils listen to their classmates and leave feedback in the form of 'Two Stars and a Wish'. Pupil improvement is an obvious outcome as pupils ‘steal’ the best phrases they hear when they listen to each other's work
Chris showed us the Flip Ultra camera which is easy to use, particularly given its USB port.
In fact, Chris made the whole thing look easy and it has inspired me to go back to school armed with this information to talk to the powers-that-be about our own school blog...

Monday 27 October 2008


I returned yesterday from the Isle of Wight conference 08, exhausted and overstimulated but with a heap of inspiration, an armful of notes to blog about and loads of new friends. It was a truely amazing experience and I look forward to sharing all that I learnt with you over the next few posts. As you may also have noted, it also prompted me to create my own wee me!

Friday 24 October 2008

Here I am in my hotel room on the Isle of Wight, getting ready to go out and meet fellow enthusiasts for the Isle of Wight Conference 2008. I am fortunate that my school have funded my trip here and I am excited about all the workshops I will be attending over the next two days. I will post here as soon as I am able..

Sunday 12 October 2008


My blog is going pink for October to raise awareness for Breast Cancer. See the website for more information and to support the cause!

Wednesday 1 October 2008

Whiteboard Challenge Task 3

I really struggled with this task, as I found it hard to come up with a meaningful task incorporating the 'transparency' feature. Of course, I could just have used it to make a fancy background to my flipchart page, but I wanted to actually do something with it. I finally came up with the idea of using it when teaching time to my Third Years.
I created a flipchart page in ActivStudio 3 and inserted six blank clock faces, with a time written in Spanish underneath each one. Pupils came up to the board to draw the hands on the clock, according to what it said underneath. I then used the 'transparency' feature to make the text disappear, and pupils then individually wrote the times in Spanish into their classwork books, before coming together to feed back on the IWB.
I chose to make the text disappear, rather than the clock faces, as it is obviously harder to produce Spanish than to recognise it. Therefore, in this way we started with the easier task of text recognition before moving to production.
I was pleased with the task although the process to make the text transparent was somewhat laborious - possibly I have missed a shortcut? I would like it to be one of the options when I rightclick on the text.
I am interested to see what other language teachers have done with this task, given my lack of inspiration at the start.