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« Year 7 practise their Spanish@Bishop | Main | Around the World with Skype »



Hi Joe,

What a fantastic post - a must-read for anybody looking at developing their digital audio practice in the MFL classroom. Thanks for the mention as well as for your good work on the TMNW audio. This is fantastic!


Hi Joe

Very timely indeed - this continues to be an area of urgent need and some frustration for colleagues. The blog post is very welcome and will serve us well.

Thanks for all the support and advice

Valerie Mc

Thank you ladies!

It was great to finally publish all these links that have been kicking around my Google Reader as starred items for a while now.

The audio brings the post to life and I'm delighted how it showcases the fantastic work of like-minded language teachers who are willing to share their ideas at TeachMeets and on their blogs.

¡Ay, caramba!

I am going to be reading this with interest. I am a teacher of English in France and we have recently been "given" a "malette iPod" which I beginning to experiment with. Do you have any experience of some gadgets and gizmos ???

Hi Jenny,

Thanks for your comment. I googled a "malette iPod" and it seems to be a case for recharging iPods. Is that right?

Anyway, for iPod accessories I would recommend the Belkin Tune Talk for recording audio and the iTrip for listening to audio in the car.

Hope that helps

Best wishes


Hi Joe, Thanks for this post and your others! Just wondering if anyone knows of a site where you can post audio and make it publicly available -- like a YouTube site, but for aduio only. Thanks for any help you can give. Patricia

Hi Patricia,

Thanks for your comment. There are many sites where you can upload audio for free. I would recommend you have a look at Podomatic, Podbean and


Inspiring to see such exploration and innovation going into MFL. Lots of food for thought. Great post!

Some good ideas in your blog, Joe. Great stuff!

I haven’t used digital audio as a classroom teacher since around 1992-1993. It was just beginning to catch on in a big way at that time and then I retired from full-time teaching. I was, however, involved in the design of materials incorporating digital audio during most of the1990s and also in the early 2000s when I was contracted as a consultant to the BBC in the production of German Steps. I began by using the first version of the Sound Blaster sound card and the accompanying Creative WaveStudio software, which worked rather like Audacity and was bundled free of charge with the sound card,

More recently, I have used digital audio mainly as a learner, brushing up my knowledge of Spanish and Hungarian and acquiring a bit of very basic Polish from scratch. As a learner, I have found the following activities particularly useful:

1. Listen / respond / playback / compare. OK, it’s old hat and mimics what we used to do with the early AAC tape recorders and analogue language labs, but I still find it a useful activity as I need to hear what I sound like when learning a new language completely from scratch, especially a language like Polish, which has some very difficult sounds that are not easy to master without a lot of practive. The bonus that digital audio offers over the old analogue systems is that the sounds can be combined with images and the written forms of the words on screen, all of which helps reinforcement. I used the EuroTalk CD-ROMs and mastered around 300 words and phrases of Polish in three weeks, which I found useful on two visits that I made to Krakow.

2. Clicking on a word on screen to hear what it sounds like. We built this into the TELL Consortium Encounters series of CD-ROMs, which were produced by the University of Hull in the mid-1990s. Another feature of this series was the role-play exercise in which the learner could take either partner's role in a dialogue, record his/her own voice, listen to the playback of the whole dialogue with the recordings slotted into the correct places and save the best version of the recorded dialogue onto disk and hand it to the teacher for assessment.

3. Gap-filling, Cloze or Total Cloze in response to an audio stimulus, ranging from typing in single words or a whole text, i.e. automated dictation. It’s an easy activity to set up. All the teacher has to do is provide a text and audio recordings and use an authoring package that takes care of the interactivity and feedback. Feedback can be quite finely tuned with some authoring packages, to such an extent that the computer tells the learner which individual letters are right or wrong when mistakes are made.

If you don’t have the time, expertise or inclination to write your own materials incorporating digital audio, there are a lot of useful materials that are commercially available these days. I quite like the EDpaX series for IWBs.


a malette iPod is a bit more complex than just a recharger ... it is a macbook with a setof 15 Nanos for individual work plus special microphone thingies that enable recording onto ipods. Great gadget value and the kids love it.

Thanks for your comments David and Graham and cheers for the explanation Jenny. Sounds really good

Thank you Joe. I will check out those sites. Thanks again, too, for your inspiring work. Patricia

You're welcome Patricia. I can see you are already up and running ;)

Thanks Joe! After I read your suggestions, it didn't take long to get things up and running. I'm looking forward to exploring Podbean as well. Again, thanks for your help. :) Patricia

I think your methods are useful. I'll try them in my class. Hope the kids like that.

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