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« 20010 and counting | Main | Blogging and Podcasting: Creative and personalised ways of engaging and extending your pupils in the modern foreign languages classroom »

28/02/2007

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Hello
Great to hear from you from the e-twinning conference. I have been involved in e-twinning for the past year and couldn't agree more about your comments on snail mail - quite rewarding project that I have with two schools in Brittany. IT has hardly been used and pupils are really looking forward to the mail once a month.
Keep up your excellent blog
brilliant !! I keep recommending it to all my colleagues.
See you
Erwan

Hi Erwan,

Thank you for your comment. I found the conference really inspiring and hope to find the time to try out Flashmeeting with my pupils soon as well as get into animation.

Cheers

Hello! I love these exchanges. I have 12 of them (I work in several schools). I went to the Nottingham etwinning meeting at the beginning of the school year and got to experiment with animation and flashmeeting as well. I have been able to help a teaching assistant to start an animation project (She has to teach a class of D&T!!!) but there is no MFL element in that lesson. I will see if we can organise something for next term and do a little cross-curicular activities. It will possibly take less time if the children already know how to animate.
Personally, I find that it is sometimes very difficult to get other teachers on board. Maybe it is down to the fact that the middle schools are closing at the end of the year and staff lost motivation for big projects. But I find the same at the primary school. I really have to pester them (ok I am really good at that!!!) to get something from them. There is never enough time.
Joe, have you tried videoconferencing with your pupils already? Will you use flashmeeting? Now that I have done postal and email exchange, podcast, projects with phototstory and moviemaker, I need a new challenge. But I believe the real challenge will have to find a suitable time for both schools across the channel!

Hi Kerenan,

Is this you at the eTwinning conference in Nottingham?
http://etwinninguk.typepad.com/photos/uk_etwinning_workshop_200/pdwoscarteachers3.html

I haven't taken part in a videoconferencing session with my pupils yet, but when I do I will undoubtedly use Flashmeeting.

Joe

Well spotted, Joe!
Regarding videoconferencing, do you find it is difficult to agree on a time? I might have to do the experiment with a few willing pupils outside lesson times.

Kind regards

Kerenan

I would imagine choosing a time during the school day could be problematic, particularly if your link school is not in the same time zone as you. This will always be a problem with any sort of videoconferencing I would imagine. Good luck!

Joe

once more excellent post Joe. Really liked the chat in the brasserie. How did you record it, superb quality? It is nice to know how many folk out there think the same. I agree with Ewan's comparison of making a podcast and producing a powerpoint...podcast anyday for me.
All the best, Adam.
Will try to join in on Thursday.

Hi Adam,

I recorded the conversation on my iRiver H10 20GB and Ewan used his Flash Mic http://www.hhb.co.uk/flashmic/

See photo here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/14969299@N00/402596582/in/set-72157594556587581/

Best wishes

Joe

Hi Joe!
I have just listened to the conversation you had with Christelle and Ewan. Excellent! Is the recording we listen to the iriver one one? Do I need a flashmic? (I ask you as I am taking 12 boys and our FLA to the rugby club on Tuesday to interview some players.)

As a French national, I can relate so well with Christelle. The French system really does not encourage creativity and is a bit suspicious to new things... There is not enough leaway in the system. I guess I felt the same when I used to work in secondary in England though. Unless you give a lot of your time outside your lessons (I have nothing against it and actually enjoy it), you cannot do all these, especially if the pupils insist on doing a perfect job (and who can blame them?). If you do a podcast and it is only a recording. They repeat it several times and it is what you want in the end. But if their motivation is increased by them producing something more elaborate where they edit their recording, cut the silences, amplify, cut what they don't like, create a jingle with a music programme,select podsafe musics, play with the effects... Then it takes too long for our two hours a week (year 7 and 8). It is the same with Photostory and moviemaker. They tend to take too much time with the non-language bits (and again who can blame them.)
I am lucky this year as I made the decision that as I was not going to follow the schemes of work to the letter. I do what I can but don't worry to much really. The middle schools are closing at the end of the year: are they going to fire me. OFSTED might come: who cares... I might not even teach next year if the right job does not come along. And at the primary.... same thing: I am not following the SoW but have introduced a wonderful methodology based on gestures, dance and drama that I got from Canada.
But, really, it is a shame that I have to be in such a desperate situation to be able to finally teach the way I want to and HAVE FUN with my pupils!

Cheers

Hi Kerenan,

The conversation I uploaded was recorded on my iRiver. I'm not sure if Ewan is planning to publish his.

I do appreciate that things must be difficult as you know that your school is closing at the end of the year.

Editing audio in Audacity and using PhotoStory can be time-consuming, but as you say it gives your pupils the opportunity to listen to the target language repeatedly. Could you not start a lunch time club for the really keen ones?

As I said in the recorded conversation with Ewan and Christelle, I think it is important to be creative and follow the scheme of work at the same time. Technology is one way a teacher can do this, but there are obviously many other ways.

I'm sure if you choose to go into primary languages there will be lots of opportunities for you. Good luck!

Joe

It's interesting to read about this. I was the evaluator of an e-twinning project known as ELNET(European Languages Network). 15 schools and colleges in England, France and Germany were hooked up via a basic text-only conferencing system, and they also took part in "real" exchanges, visiting one another's institutions. The project was managed by Dick Davies and Charles Jennings at the CECOMM unit, Southampton Institute. The project ran for two years, 1990-91 - which was in pre-Web days, so you can imagine how primitive the technology was at that time.

Looking at what is going on now, with much more advanced and cheaper technology available, there are still a few lessons which I think can be learned from our past experiences. Joe, I can send you a couple of articles on ELNET, which may be of interest. Some of the activities, e.g. the business simulation and the collaborative novel, were quite successful. The tutor-led and peer-led tandem language learning activities also worked quite well (some of the time) and eventually led on to a much bigger and more technically advanced Multimedia Teleschool project involving Berlitz and the Arte TV channel.

That would be great Graham. My experience in eTwinning and videoconferenceing is more limited compared to other areas.

Thank you in advance.

Joe

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