Web&ICT

By , February 9, 2013 4:29 pm

ICT and Webtools

for Language Teaching and Learning

In the last few years ICT and Web-tools have become so user-friendly that even young children can use them. If they can — us teachers can do it as well. 😀

The ICT-project ideas shown on this page fit perfectly into creative, communicative language classrooms and can be done without any specialist technical knowledge or skills.

All the software  and web-tools used in these projects can be downloaded for free.

 

 

The projects are all

  • based on the principles of communicative language teaching and show the learners even at A1 level that the foreign language is a tool for real life communication.
  • They foster  social interaction, group learning and learning from one another.
  • They help develop skills for self- and peer evaluation and feedback.
  • They motivate learners to do their best and produce high quality products that they proudly present online.
  • They provide extra oral practice outside the classroom and thus help improve oral skills (fluency, intonation, pronunciation)
  • They teach learners to focus on their target audience and use language to convey a clear message.

Let’s start with the most basic idea that can be done after about two weeks of English at A1 level:

A1/Elementary:

Getting to know your new classmates

 

Step 1: That’s Me

In their first week of learning English learners produce a collage showing what is important to them. Depending on the learners’ age these collages will include pictures of pets, hobbies, sports, family members, games, places etc. In class the learners label their collages with the help of the teacher. The teacher then scans all the collages and displays them on a Moodle database, visible for the whole class.

Step 2: Who are you?

Asking questions: The learners practice asking simple questions to find out more about their new classmates: What is your name? Where do you come from? Do you have any brothers and sisters? Do you have a pet? (Worksheet: Finding out about my friends)

Interviews: The learners work in pairs and interview each other using the questions they have learned. They practice these interviews a few times until they feel confident to record their interviews on the teacher’s mobile phone. The teacher records all the interviews and puts the sound-files on Moodle together with the scanned collages. Listen to a few of the interviews recorded in  the second week of the school-year. Click on the phones to start the interviews. For a more recent version, click on the “play” buttons in the picture of 1a. In this version I have used a “glogster” to share the audio-files with the kids.

 

Step 3: Listening comprehension and grammar: I play — he/she plays:

After raising the learners’ awareness for the use of the 3rd person s the learners are asked to listen to all the interviews online and find one thing they have in common with each of their new classmates. This is their first listening comprehension exercise. In contrast to the listening exercises in textbooks, which deal with fictitious characters,  learners are here listening to each other and really want to find out new things about their new classmates.

 If your browser does not show this glog, follow this link.

Step 4: Writing

After listening the learners are asked to write a  text about all the things they share with their new friends. Have a look at my example here.   Remind the learners not to forget to use the third person s whenever they write about their friends. (I like pizza. —- Peter likes pizza.)

 

Technical requirements:   Set up a Moodle database or a simple blog to share all these entries. Use your mobile phone to record the interviews and upload them to Moodle.

In this activity the students learn  from the start that the new language is used for communication. Young learners love to see their work displayed online and find it quite magic to see and listen to their work on the internet. This activity also helps them to get to know one another and to focus on the things they share rather than on the differences between them. Even boys and girls have to find something they have in common — and it always works! 😉

 

A1 to C2: Any level

Video-Mail and Video Presentations 

The next project idea is  very versatile and can be used at all levels. It gives learners additional speaking time that you cannot always give them in class. When recording their own voice learners tend to be quite critical with themselves and therefore plan their presentations well and often record the presentations several times before sharing them online. This leads to higher quality and to a heightened awareness of pronunciation, intonation and word choice. Students listen to one another’s  presentations and copy good phrases or good ideas from their classmates.

Originally we  used the online tool eyejot.com to record and share short video messages on all kinds of topics. Unfortunateyl eyejot isn’t offering this service any longer. I am now using  flipgrid for this purpose. This is a new start-up company that looks really promising. What is perfect here is that the kids do NOT need to sign up; you just use their tool in the browser. It is suuuuper easy to use and share the videos all in one grid. Have a look at the teacher’s instructions here.

I have recently used flipgrid for all levels: A1 to C2: Introduce yourself to your new classmates — A1 to A2: Talk about your favorite day in the year — C2:  Convince your colleagues that notional grammar is more efficient than traditional grammar.

Any topic will work: The free version allows 90 second videos — that’s enough for a clear message.

If you’d rather produce longer videos, use KNOVIO.com. You will find my instructions on my  HELP page.

Examples of year 1 students: My favorite day…

After learning to talk about their daily routines students produce little online videos where they talk about their favorite day in the year. They are asked to prepare a few drawings showing events on this day and show them in their video. This “trick” helps the children structure their little talks without reading a prepared text.

Examples of year 1 students: My favorite day in the year…

 

More examples of year one video-messages:

My Room, our Flat and my Neighborhood

 

 

 

My dream house

 

 

 

 

 

A2 – B1: Lower intermediate

Writing your own online audio-video-books

The following examples of audio-video-books can be used at all levels as soon as learners can write simple texts in English. The format can be used for any topic. When writing their texts the learners are aware of a real audience. This usually motivates them to put in some extra effort and produce high quality work that they are proud of. In addition to the writing practice the learners then read their own texts or stories and record their voice. This way they get extra speaking practice. Speaking and listening to themselves will also help them to remember the new vocabulary that they have used in their texts.

First have a look at the examples. Then read the instructions below.

Click on the pictures below to open the video-books. Depending on your internet connection you might have to wait a moment to download the files. To start the presentation and the sound click into the “status bar” at the bottom of the picture.

These examples were produced in a double period in year 1. The students worked in pairs. After a short instruction phase where they were shown how to use the programs they chose a topic of their interest and produced these video-books.

To create such flipbooks, simply use powerpoint. The learners can upload their own pictures and use page-flip transitions. Powerpoint allows you to record your voice. If you want to produce a video from it, use powerpoint MIX  and save the whole file as an mp4 video.

I have found another very simple way of producing cool flipbooks:  Create your storybook in word. Export it as a pdf file and upload the pdf file to http://www.axmag.com/

This will produce a nice flipbook. To record their voice, my students then use a simple screen recorder (screencast-o-matic  or jing). Find instructions for both on my HELP page. This works very well and produces very nice results.

 

The same idea has been used to create the following spooky story books in a year 2. This project actually started as a grammar project.

For a detailed description and instructions for this project go to “Writing Spooky Stories”.

 

B1 to C2: Intermediate to Advanced

Video Presentations with KNOVIO.com

Knovio  is a wonderful tool for exciting online presentations.  Learners upload pictures or a simple power-point presentation and then record their voice for each slide. I have used this tool many times for very different purposes. In each case the students have produced very interesting, creative presentations with a clear focus on their target audience. 

Have  a look at the following examples and don’t worry about the little mistakes the kids might have made. Some of the examples below were produced by a tool called “mybrainshark”. This tool is no longer available, but Knovio does the same things even better.

 

Examples

Let’s cook our favorite foods

The following presentations have been produced by year 2 students in the course of a little “food project“. The learners produced their own cookbooks and tried out one of their favorite recipes at home. For their cookbooks they collected recipes and food vocabulary from online sources and used it in their presentations.They took photos of all the steps and then presented their recipes online. Have a look at some delicious, mouth-watering dishes prepared by 2b and 2c 😀

 

 

 

 

Book Presentations

Sometimes we do book presentations online. The following examples have been produced by a year 4 (age 14) after a book project on “Being Different”. The students were asked to “walk in the main character’s shoes” and try to show the world from their character’s perspective. For more info about this reading project go to: Popular books for years 4-5-6 and scroll down the page to the project “Being Different”.

In this project the students also produced “reading booklets” that we shared online. Have a look at these examples:

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime 1

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime  2

 

 

For more online bookpresentations visit our blog readingiscool.xyz or click on the following image.

readingiscool-logo

 

Radio programs or interviews with the book characters

An interview with Stanley Yelnats (Holes)

The “Positive Negatives” Rap (Gangsta Rap)

TV News about a cases of murder in London (Stone Cold)

 

Presenting a Topic

Interactive Posters: Sustainable Tourism

Important Steps in the Civil Rights Movement

In the course of our Civil Rights Project students of year 5 produced short online presentations. The learners were given a  timeline of important steps in the Civil Rights movement. They were  asked to choose 3 important events, find additional information about them and briefly explain their importance in the Civil Rights movement to their classmates. This task combines reading comprehension (finding information) and speaking skills and helps the learners to distinguish between important, relevant information and useless details.

Civil Rights Activists: Mini Biographies

In the second example the students had to choose an important Civil Rights leader and present this person to the class.

 

 

Radio Shows

Sometimes we do not need pictures and videos but want to concentrate on listening only. In this case we use a program called vocaroo.com    or clyp.it .    These programs records sound only and, just like Knovio  , provide the students with a link to the file. 

Producing radio shows can be a very interesting project. Radio shows are not easy to produce because the speakers must explain everything in detail and cannot refer to any pictures or visuals. Thus, these radio shows are often more demanding than video messages.

In the following examples the learners (age 12-13) had worked on mysteries and produced short radio programs about mysterious events happening in our area. See the instructions here. 

Schwarzlmonster

Strange Crop Circles

The Mystery Tomato

ABD radio

 

Elevator Speeches: a great way to present your message convincingly

These “elevator speeches” have been produced in a “research project” of year 4 students. The students worked in groups on a topic of their choice and presented their results orally and in writing.

The project handout  for the research project

Instructions for the learners  What is an elevator speech?

Click on the headphones to listen to the speeches.

                                   

A few examples of “research booklets” produced in this project.

Architecture                               Crime

 

 

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