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« What makes a podcast good? | Main | Scrapblog »

29/12/2006

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I can't wait! I pre-booked two sessions (with Chris & Lesley). Do I need to book the other two?
I am not looking for anything in particular other than inspiration and new ideas to develop!
BTW, Joe, would you mind having a look at my blog? Would it be possible to send it to you on your mail? I don't want to have it public yet.

It's a good selection of sessions, conveniently timetabled on the same day - but, unfortunately, a day on which I am otherwise engaged.

I would like to see a session that looks at ICT and MFL in a wider context - a kind of comprehensive overview. I am increasingly getting the impression that many teachers of MFL are leaping straight into the latest manifestations of new technologies, thereby bypassing established tried and tested uses of ICT, e.g. as covered at the ICT for Language Teachers website at
http://www.ict4lt.org
- which, of course, does cover more recent developments such as blogging, podcasting, videoconferencing, etc. The effects of failing to see the big picture are horrendous gaps in teachers' knowledge and many misconceptions about what computers can and cannot do.

I tried to give such an overview in a keynote I presented at the UCALL conference in Coleraine in June 2005. Here it is:
"Computer Assisted Language Learning: Where are we now and where are we going?"
http://www.camsoftpartners.co.uk/docs/UCALL_Keynote.htm

Maybe it's bit academic in its current format, however.

Yes, I agree, a good selection of sessions, although I also agree with Graham Davies that an apparent (over?)emphasis on the latest technologies - particularly the "fab foursome" of blogging, podcasting, videoconferencing, interactive whiteboard - may be seen to detract from existing, long-standing, tried and tested, classroom-ready technologies, which have had time to be properly embedded in MFL classroom practice and to develop their own pedagogies.

I would also have liked to attend an MFL session at BETT that is unfortunately unavailable on the Saturday, Diana Strasser's seminar on MFL images, as foreign language graphics is a particular interest of mine.

On Martin Jack's contribution, it is certainly welcome, but it doesn't seem to cover every BETT presentation. I'm also a little puzzled by its use of "tags" - the SEN tag takes me to Lesley Welsh's "Funky Flipcharts, Wicked Websites and Interesting Interactivity in MFL", but when I click through to the presentation itself, I find no confirmation that the talk indeed covers SEN. This is important to somebody like me who wants to maximise the potential of what is a truncated day (6 hours instead of the 8 hours from Wednesday to Friday).

These, however, are just a few quibbles. Though a day when SENers are relatively short-changed, Saturday at BETT 2007 is still an excellent day for MFLers. Long may the latter continue.

I agree that we shouldn't forget or reject tried and tested uses of ICT in language learning such as interactive exercises which provide rigorous practice of vocabulary items or verb conjugation.

I know Helen Myers for one feels this is very important too when she gives talks at conferences like BETT, The Language Show and Language World etc. However, she is also keen to direct teachers to sessions which cover new developments.

We clearly need to respect the tradition of CALL (Computer Assisted Language Learning), yet also be interested in researching the latest ideas to engage and extend our pupils. Otherwise we run the risk of implying that the effectiveness of using ICT has reached its peak which personally I don't believe to be the case at all.

See previous blog post on this subject: http://joedale.typepad.com/integrating_ict_into_the_/2006/10/has_ict_reached.html

To me blogging and podcasting in MFL has been a breath of fresh air, having attended many sessions on ICT and MFL in recent years. This is not to say that those sessions were not well delivered, but simply that the "fab foursome" as you say, offer something new and exciting to explore.

The ICT4LT website provides an excellent overview of how technology can be used in language teaching and would be a great starting point for anyone interested in looking at how CALL has developed since its beginnings.

Let's be open-minded though and not assume that as language teachers we all want to start from the same point. Adam Sutcliffe I know for example having attended the Communicate.06 conference in Stirling in March 2006 launched into blogging and podcasting because it sounded interesting. He is now doing inspiring and innovative work on his various blogs up in Scotland. The same is true of Chris Fuller who attended the Isle of Wight conference in October.

I'm not saying this in order to be controversial, I just believe that as technology doesn't stand still, nor should we.

Hi Kerenan,

You can't book a place for The Training Zone unfortunately and there are only 30 places available for each session.

If you'd like me to have a look at your blog, you could leave a message here:
http://www.mybloglog.com/buzz/members/joedale/

If you would prefer to email me, my email address is readily available on the Linguanet forum the archives of which can be found here:
http://www.mailtalk.ac.uk/lists/linguanet-forum.html

I'll also be attending Chris & Lesley's session so maybe we can have a chat there too. That would be great.

Best wishes

Joe

As well as integrating the latest technological developments into our MFL classroom practice, we must also embed the latest educational priorities and practices when we deploy ICT in MFL. I was recently invited by a national agency to attend an educational technology workshop in London where the focus was on the future of education in general and on personalised learning in particular. Technology may well prove a decisive factor in helping teachers drive the personalisation agenda, which is about meeting the individual learning needs of all school students. I'd like to see that laudable general educational objective driving every application of old and new technology in MFL.

I couldn't agree more David. Personalised learning is a great idea in principle, but if in reality it means simply increased workload for the teacher then it seems unfeasible to me.

However, if we are able to use ICT to record pupils' results, track them and provide them with attainable targets for what they need to do to improve, then I can see how personalised learning can be put into practice.

I've found that the best way of differentiating work for pupils is to take them into an ICT suite where they all work at their own pace and at their own level.

As I walk around the room, I can see exactly who is doing which exercise and who needs help. Moreover, those that finish early can be extended by completing different exercises and for those who perhaps are finding the work rather demanding, they can be given easier work to complete.

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