October 30, 2008 – ¡Vámonos! The musings of Lisibo
 

Day: October 30, 2008

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clothes line, originally uploaded by daniel n. reid.

Having accosted him at the bus stop, I had the pleasure of travelling from Cowes to Newport with Adam Sutcliffe last Friday. Not quite sure why or how the subject arose, but I do know that at some point during the journey I said ‘This weekend I will mainly be wearing red’ as Adam reminded me of it on Saturday evening when I was in my fourth red outfit of the weekend saying ‘you weren’t joking, were you?!’

So, it amused me to read the following article on BBC Mundo:


Más sexy si se viste de rojo.
¿Quiere volver a un hombre loco de amor? Vístase de rojo. O al menos eso fue lo que encontró un estudio científico.

Basically, it suggests that if a woman wears red, she is seen as more attractive and more worth spending money on by men (but not by women!)

I’d just decided I would stick to one colour to save problems of deciding what to wear jewellery and accessory-wise and I’d just bought some lovely clothes in Barcelona. But it makes you wonder, doesn’t it?? ;o)

¡Vámonos! is 1

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Having congratulated José ‘Así se hace‘ Picardo on the 1st birthday of Box of Tricks yesterday, it dawned on me that it must be ¡Vámonos!’s birthday soon – and then I realised I’d missed it in all the fun and excitement of the IoW conference!

So belatedly, Happy Birthday to my lovely pink blingy blog ;o)

As I explained in my first post on 23rd October last year, I procrastinated and vacilated for a long time before finally taking the plunge and starting a blog. Having said that, I have loved blogging – it suits the chatty, enthusiastic, got to share the news part of me, and also satisfies the part of me that is frustrated by day to day stuff. And it means that I can write which appeals to the part of me that hasn’t seen much action since my Uni of Sheffield days.

Of course, I don’t just blog for my own satisfaction – I hope people find my blog interesting and useful – but I really think I’d carry on even if I didn’t get read. At times this year, I have hidden from reality by blogging and it has kept me going through the hardest and saddest time of my life.

And it has also restored my feeling that I do have something to say that’s worth hearing – sometimes it’s hard when everyone at school tells you that you’re so good but you know that they actually don’t really know if you are or not as they have no idea of how Primary languages or new technologies work. So it’s important to me that my peers – like Jo and Joe and José (and others whose names don’t start with Jo!)- tell me what’s what.

Added to which, without this blog I probably wouldn’t have met and made friends with so many people across the country and world who have enriched my life so much with their advice, thoughts and funny comments.

So to all those who have read ¡Vámonos! over the last year, keep reading and …. xxx

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rTS4PdjbOVs&hl=en&fs=1]


I’ve had the pleasure this weekend of finally meeting Mark Pentleton. Can’t believe we have never actually met before! Mark is a really busy man so I grabbed the opportunity to find out more about why exactly he is up from before dawn to way after nightfall!

I first heard of Mark when he worked on Partners in Excellence (PiE) in Scotland, a project with the purpose of raising achievement in East Ayrshire by establishing a virtual school with pupils contributing through such things as film making, animation and latterly podcasting. The project involved 29 schools across islands and down to South Ayrshire, a very large geographical area with diverse sizes and types of schools. For some, the project became a case of expanding peer group of pupils in tiny schools by use of VLE to develop a community.

The PiEcast was a way of keeping everyone in touch as well as a learning tool for the particpants. It began as a podcast containing news about events, interviews and news reports to give the community a voice. As time went on, this expanded to include a learning element such as listening material in French, Spanish, German and cultural element. This then led to something else – the Verbcast. This was an intense 10-12 minute nightly podcast for four weeks for 25 young people, looking at French verbs. Having listened to the Verbcast, pupils received a text message each day testing them on what they had learned the previous day; the answer was posted to the website – very interactive! Verbcast used relaxation techniques – feedback was good from pupils and teachers were really pleased with the grasp that pupils had of verbs after participation. (Note to Mark – do it in Spanish please!!)

Radio Lingua Network
Mark saw a gap in the market for beginners Spanish podcasts – Notes in Spanish is good for intermediate. So he started Coffee Break Spanish with Ciara in October 2006; a premium version with access to extra materials was launched in January 2007. Lesson 79 was looking at imperfect subjunctive so it wasn’t all easy peasy!!

Mark then began his quest for world domination as follows:
February 2007 – My Daily Phrase German / Italian
September 2007 – Coffee Break French – on episode 41
October 2007 – One Minute Languages x6 in response to requests for basic phrase podcast – Norwegian, Polish, Luxembourgish, German, Gaelic, Russian – 10 lessons
Another 6 just launched – Mandarin, Catalan, Danish, Japanese, French, Romanian
September 2008 – Show Time Spanish – after first few episodes of preparation got soap opera for show – to be released at end as an entity in its own right
October 2008 – Write back soon – EFL podcast tackling phrasal verbs – emails between students using lots of phrasal verbs that are then explained.
Although he didn’t mention it, I particularly like his idea of a week of podcasts leading up to Valentine’s day last year entitled Love Lingo that taught the language of LUUURVE in Spanish, German, Italian, French and Norwegian!

Podcasting fits our lifestyle – it’s hard to learn from a course that is linked to a text book when you’re driving, walking etc. It’s so much easier to listen alone- and less obvious too!! And that’s why podcasting is so successful!

Mark then shared some future projects for RLN – but I’m not allowed to blog those so you’ll have to wait and see ;o)

So, to the lessons learned:

Learning
Podcasts give-

  • content in the learner’s context
  • ‘secret learning’ – lack of peer pressure
  • massive storage opportunities – 670 hrs in 5 years lang learning/1000 on an iPod
  • access – if it’s there, they might just use it! If it’s not, they don’t have the opportunity!
  • just in time delivery via RSS – time things to happen just before an exam, at a particular time etc
  • learners learn most by making podcasts

Sharing information
Podcasts show that

  • learning not just for pupils
  • podcasting inherently builds community
  • collaboration

Style of delivery
Podcasting should NOT be recording of classes delivered – must be created eg four main points rather than whole lesson
Should they be scripted or non-scripted – most of RLN’s are non scripted

Technical lessons

  • equipment – CO3U Samsung USB mike
  • mic techniques
  • recording
  • systems
  • ‘respecting the ear’ – if people are listening through headphones, avoid crackles!!

I found all this fascinating – I am not going to launch a business empire like Mark – for a start, he’s too good and I wouldn’t stand a chance against that competition. However, the lessons are applicable to all podcasting and podcasters. It also all showed exactly why Mark never seemingly sleeps – he has no time!!

If you’re going to the Language Show this weekend, you can catchup with Mark and the RLN crew yourself on stand 20!

Keep up the good work Mark – and I look forward to the next lot of RLN projects in the pipeline – they sound very exciting – but my lips (and cheeky tweets!) are sealed ;o)

So – for all your language needs – check out RLN – there’s something for everyone!!

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