In this short interview, Literacy teacher, Marion Ahrens describes the learning benefits of using iPods and Belkin Voice Recorders to allow her students to listen to themselves reading unfamiliar texts and assess their own and other's work based on agreed success criteria.
"Because they were able to hear themselves read, they realised what they were and weren't doing. When it's just a teacher telling them, "Read like this", "Pause at the periods" or "You need to add more expression", "Read it like this" and they are just trying to copy it, they have no sense of what they are trying to see. So, by recording their reading, it made it visible for students. Their reading behaviour became visible to them and then they were conscious and aware of it and able to change it".
In addition, she says how listening back to her students' recordings gives her a greater insight on what they need to work on to improve further.
Marion explains how she structures her guided reading sessions so that over time her students are able to work more independantly recording and peer assessing each other. By transfering the recordings on to her students' mp3 players, they are also able to practise at home.
If you have used voice recorders in this way, please leave a comment and share your experiences/successes too.
One of the great things about the summer break is you have time to catch up on jobs you've been meaning to do all year. A classic example for me, would be finally sorting out all the video footage and stills that were taken at last year's Isle of Wight Conference by the Nodehill film crew Richard Lashley and Robin Chubb and make them into a film. Well thanks to Richard's and Robin's editing skills and my directorial input, we now have the finished results!
Nick Peachey has written a great post about how the free avatar creation site Face your Manga could be used in the EFL classroom. Judging by the home page, it would seem that French, Spanish and Japanese versions of the site are also planned. Now that would be cool!
Andrew Grenfell, manager of the Open Learning Resources for the School of Modern Languages at Newcastle University was one of the first language specialists in the UK to explore the potential of podcasting as an educational tool. Launching the Linguacast project with colleague David Lowe back in 2005, Andrew started his research by making EFL material to support international students, then built up a depository of resources in various languages recorded by native speakers and finally provided language learning materials for KS3 and 1st year A level students
The project then stalled for a while following a funding hiatus, but was able to carry on thanks to the Routes into Languages initiative in 2007 and has gone from strength to strength. For example, pupils can now visit the university for a day, learn how to podcast or create digital videos and publish the results on the Linguacast site. Andrew has also designed the web repository Universed which features free materials in a range of languages for access in school or at home.
In our 25 minute interview, Andrew describes how the two strands of his research have developed over time and what his plans are for the future.
If you are teaching daily routine or imperatives or are just up for a laugh, you may find La canción de la mamá useful for your Spanish classes. The song is supposed to summarise the sorts of things a mother would typically say to her child over a 24 hour period, condensed into 2 minutes and 55 seconds!