Sunday 24 February 2013

A level listening

With very many thanks to Helen Myers for this email to the fabulous MFL Resources (a Yahoo group - join it if you haven't already!) about using Euronews in class. The links are below for a variety of languages.  To get transcripts, click ‘about’ then ‘more’ (although sometimes they appear underneath automatically)

For French:

For Spanish:

For Italian:

For German:

For English

For Portuguese:

For Russian:

I have already posted the Spanish link for my A level class on Edmodo. I am asking them to do one a day at home either with or without the transcript (we don't have Youtube in school) The potential for the conversation exam is also excellent.

Tuesday 19 February 2013

#ILILC3 A tweet a day, Bertram Richter

The ever fabulous Bertram Richter @bertramrichter did not disappoint this year again. Head of a thriving department, Bertram seems to constantly push the boundaries of ICT in the class as in his words, ICT levels the playing field.
ReTwitter, the pupils like the fact that it is not a live audience. Why Twitter? It is authentic. Bertram urges us to show them the real thing and its power. You firstly need Twitter unblocked. He then set up Twitter MFL account with a google email account, designing a small number of generic names, passwords and usernames eg Waterlooroad1 @waterlooroadun password waterlooroadun
The question teachers most often ask themselves is "Is it safe?" Bertram has produced a Code of conduct, he monitors the email stream, he protects the tweets and he keeps the passwords. He can see all the kids' messages inc DMs. Bertram logs them in so they can't change settings. He advises using a TL word so they can't guess it. His A2 pupils are in charge of their own account, signing the Code and a copy goes home to parents.
Using Twitter has taught pupils unique vocab eg uploading. With junior classes, he groups them with at least one sensible person per group, only need to log 5 on.
Bertram then talked about some uses of Twitter. With A level A2 Communism Bertram throws famous quotes and statements at them and they have to respond. He is able to tease things out, and he finds pupils open up much more and develop ideas.
Another topic with KS4 was AfL - How is work in German schools assessed? They respond and this is great for Cultural understanding. The teacher can correct their tweets, and indeed is able to correct more than in real time
Pupils can use Twitter as a research tool, using the hash tags to index exam topics. When they see something online they tweet it using the hashtag for that topic. If you use Hootsuite you can embed that stream into the blog. Using the Twitter hashtags is a way of bringing order into the chaos of social media. It provides a structure for exams, as they can't lose it.
Again at A level, Bertram has set HW to meet from 5-5.30pm on Twitter. Bertram sees the HW as it happens. If there is a topic that they struggle with, then they tweet about the same topic that night. They tweet role playing characters such as one who was betrayed, one a soldier, one who betrays, etc. You could easily do the same for literature, taking a character each.
Bertram is acquainted with @GermanAtAston on Twitter. They tweeted the class in class time. It was easier than Skype for half an hour. They had questions to ask and looked at her answers. This then set the work for the next couple of weeks, looking at her answers. She pitched language well for A level.
They use Twitter once a fortnight. With they have to read and feed back. They could do a newspaper using their tweets. At KS4 they have competitions and it is very clear who has answered in what order.
This was a superb talk and has left me very inspired re Twitter and its potential in the language classroom.

Saturday 16 February 2013

#ILIC3, "When ideas are shared, the result is always greater than the sum of the parts" Rich Willis

Those who follow me on Twitter or have read previous posts on this blog will know that I am a huge fan of the annual ICT Links into Languages conference (ILILC) held in Southampton. And not without cause. This event is a superb form of CPD, no matter what your level of ICT proficiency or years of teaching experience. There are a wide variety of talks and workshops, offering delegates the opportunity to put new ideas into practice and ask for help if needed. Over the next week or so, I will blog about the workshops I attended as well as the two I delivered. There are also two keynote speeches as well as the now legendary Show and Tell on the Saturday night.
Joe Dale's keynote looked at ICT and the need to move on. He talked about the use of iPads in the classroom, referring to @elearninglaura as well as pointing us towards with research into the use of iPads in education. Pupils learn best when there is a perfect balance between "have to", "need to" and "want to" Joe also pointed out how information overload is affecting our learning and that it is important to have time off. There are 10 million active Twitter users in UK - as educators, we must consider the importance of how we move education on in light of this. Should we ban or embrace mobile technology? There is an issue of kids with no home Internet, even with lunchtime access and we must remember this. At this moment in time, there is a lot of stress on teachers, lack of professional consultation although Joe did point out that Gove is pro MFL.
Joe tied his talk together by mentioning crowdsourcing to get ideas and feedback, such as #mflstar by @bellaale It is important to "harvest"your own CPD and go for authenticity in the classroom. We have to stick together, ask for help, share ideas.
Of course as the affable "Godfather" of the MFL Twitterati, Joe Dale knows better than most the value of sharing ideas and inspiration. The ILILC conference once again proved that the MFL Twitterati are as close in real life as on Twitter, that as teachers we have so much to offer each other in terms of ideas and support, and that a little bit of love and shared enthusiasm can take you a long way. People are already talking about #ililc4..