In a month where Paul Harrington's podcasting adventures appeared in TES Cymru, I was delighted to hear about another great example of good practice in Wales via Kristina Hedges Secondary Language Teaching Adviser from CILT Cymru. Kristina got in touch as she and her colleague Nia Gwyn Jones have decided to attend both the MFL Show and Tell session and Isle of Wight Conference in the Autumn term to find out more about how teachers are using podcasting and blogging with their pupils.
In her email, Kristina explained how CILT Cymru are encouraging colleagues in Wales to use more ICT in their language teaching and have set up the Compact Schools Project to help them achieve this. One project which she is particularly excited about is from Argoed High School in Mold, Flintshire where pupils have been using a range of web 2.0 tools to publish their work to a worldwide audience.
Spearheaded by Kathleen Holton, Head of Modern Foreign Languages, the project has been running since March 2006 with the launch of the German/English Blog argoeddeutsch2. That month's newsletter published on the Argoed Online News blog contained the following inspiring quotes from Kathleen herself and her students:
”I have been thrilled by the enthusiasm shown by my students in creating the German blog. Every entry has encouraged them to discover new vocabulary and to be positive in their attitude to learning a foreign language”.
“I really enjoyed writing this blog and I hope we can get more in touch with our German partners through it”
“By doing this blog we have learnt new language skills while making new friends”
“The blog is a great opportunity for us to meet new people and help us with our learning. It’s a practical way to help us understand the language”
“Writing and reading the blog helps us develop our IT skills whilst learning new German vocabulary and making new friends. It’s great!”
“I think the blog is a great idea to improve our communication skills and that it is also a fun way to learn languages and make new friends”
From this promising start, the project has gone from strength to strength, with Kathleen setting up a German and French wiki as well as announcing Argoed's own radio station AHS Radio. Not wanting to miss out on the fun, departmental colleague Julie Kelsall has also set up her own French and Welsh wikis which seem to have been equally well received judging by her pupils' feedback.
I can see why Kristina feels this is an exciting project and it's great to see language learning being enhanced in this way. It's a pleasure to publicize it.