This year at Language World I was invited to present some ideas for using technology for collaboration in language learning. I teach primary so the focus was on that age group but there are many ideas and tools that are equally applicable for young and old! In spite of some technical hitches and running out of time as there was so much to share, the ideas were well received and I hope that this will serve as a reminder/update for those who attended, and a snapshot for those who didn’t.
Below is my presentation. Whilst all the links work, the videos don’t I’m afraid but you’ll find some below to give you a taster.
Link to BetsyBelle’s webinar Out of this World on using apps in the Primary Language Classroom. Highly recommended viewing especially if you’re interested in the how as much as the why.
I’ve been working with Anamil Tech on Pacca Alpaca for a while now. The apps Pacca Alpaca and Pacca Alpaca Travel Playtime have proved very popular and are now available in English, Arabic, French, German, Spanish, Mandarin and Welsh.
Well, there is now a Youtube channel of free videos to accompany the app. You can subscribe to Pacca Alpaca for more kids learning videos in Spanish, English, French and Arabic here – http://bit.ly/paccayoutube
Here’s the first Spanish video, released today!
My session at the wonderful Practical Pedagogies conference centred around the use of technology to enhance Primary Language Learning.
Key points I made included:
I went on to suggest online tools as well as apps that might be useful in a range of contexts and situations.
If you’ve read the July edition of UKEDmagazine you may have read my article entitled Top ten tips for Primary Language Learning. If you haven’t, you can read the unedited version below or the official version at this link
A wide variety of people teach languages in Primary schools, probably more than in any other ‘subject’. Whether you’re a class teacher with or without language skills, a reluctant language coordinator or a visiting language specialist (to name but a few possibilities) here are my top ten tips for primary language teaching and learning.
It doesn’t matter which language you teach, making the correct sounds of that language is key. Working on phonics from the start builds a strong foundation on which learners can build, enabling them to see new words and say them accurately. Have a look at Rachel Hawkes’ website where there are links to free resources covering French Spanish German and Italian. http://www.rachelhawkes.com/Resources/Phonics/Phonics.php
A good way to increase confidence in reading and speaking the language is by sharing songs, poems and rhymes. This is also a good way to reinforce phonic knowledge and explore the rhythms of the language. Mama Lisa has songs and rhymes in many languages, often with a sound file giving the correct pronunciation and a translation into English so you know what you’re saying! There are also many songs and rhymes on Youtube on channels such as Basho and Friends or by searching for the artist such as Alain le lait
Using stories – in translation or original language – is another great tool for language learning as they are familiar and often very repetitive. My favourites include Oso pardo, ¿qué ves?, Le navet enorme and Kleiner weisser Fisch as they lend themselves to acting out (even Y6 like acting!) and are easy for learners to adapt into their own stories. For example, Y5 invented stories based on Le navet enorme that included a child who didn’t want to get in the bath and had to be pulled to the bathroom, a teacher stuck in the PE cupboard and a car that broke down and needed to be pushed.
There are many opportunities for using technology to enhance language learning such as recording, reviewing and refining speaking activities using Audacity or an app like VoiceRecordPro, or performing speeches and role plays using Tellagami, YakitKids, or Puppet Pals. BookCreator app is an excellent tool for creating multimedia books including text, sound, video, hyperlinks, doodles and pictures; incredibly easy to use and suitable for young children as well as those who are less confident with technology. And why not use Build Your Wildself or Switchzoo to create hybrid animals then describe them in the language.
Using technology is also a great way to enable sharing of the great things that go on in language learning. Whether it is via the school website or VLE, tweeted or shared on a class/school blog, celebrating language learning gives it status and also provides an audience and a purpose for learning. Additionally, learners are able to take their learning home with them digitally; the excitement of pupils when we made our first podcast nine or ten years ago was great. “I’m on my Gran’s iPod!” was my favourite comment.
The primary classroom is full of things that can be used and adapted for language learning. Number fans are great for counting and also giving feedback with numbered images for example. Mini whiteboards allow learners to write and correct without committing it to paper as well as drawing images to show understanding of vocabulary or instructions. Unifix cubes can be used for ordering ideas or vocabulary and cushions make great impromptu puppets for speaking or islands for phoneme sorting!
Primary learners are very familiar with grammatical terms and enjoy comparing the grammar of other languages, making links and finding differences. Sorting words into boxes according to gender, making human sentences to explore word order and creating verb flowers or spiders are just some ways of making grammar fun and memorable.
Language learning shouldn’t be seen as a standalone but, as much as possible, integrated into the primary curriculum. As there is no prescribed content in the KS2 PoS, it’s possible to teach the skills through whatever topic if you use a little imagination. And where full integration is tricky or where a specialist delivers the lesson, a class teacher can always build language into routines such as PE warmups, lining up, the register and so on, even if their knowledge of the language is limited.
Don’t just make cross curricular links, but also cross country and cross cultural links. Making contact with children that speak the language you’re learning is very motivating and gives a real purpose to learning. It also increases learners’ understanding of other cultures as well as considering their own in new ways. The British Council SchoolsOnline is a good place to start the search for partners.
Most of all, celebrate all languages. Many learners already speak more than one language which is a valuable skill. Encourage them to share how to say things in their languages; comparing and contrasting numbers or colours in a variety of languages is a fun activity as learners try to group similar words together.
This article first appeared in the July 2015 Edition of UKEdMagazine
If you’d like to read more of the magazine that includes other articles about language learning including one of target language by @reebekwylie and Progress in MFL by @jakehuntonMFL the links are below.
Introducing Pacca Alpaca, a language learning app for little people!
It was lovely to work with Nicole again after the success of The Lingo Show which she created and produced (I did the Spanish on that too!) as I knew that the concept would be fun and interactive.
Pacca is a funny quirky and very inquisitive alpaca who travels on a magical carousel from his home in the Andes to explore, learning languages on the way as well as exploring his new environment. In this first instalment, he pops off to Australia!
Here’s what the ‘blurb’ says:
Pacca Alpaca – Australia!
Pacca Alpaca – Australia is a multilingual app aimed at children aged two to six and designed to encourage them to learn new languages and understand the world around them as they embark on an Australian adventure with Pacca the alpaca.
Pacca’s adventure unfolds in his home in the Andes Mountains, as he spots a new destination from afar and flies off in his magical carousel to investigate. When he lands with a bump in Australia, a local host greets him and takes him on a tour of the country. Along the way, the two play games, meet other animals and learn about shapes, colours and numbers. While they play, children can earn rewards as they complete challenges and learn new words in their chosen language – French, Spanish, Mandarin, Arabic or English.
The app is the first in a series of adventure apps following Pacca and his friends on their travels across the globe, so watch this space for the next installment!
Things I like about it:
It’s not a free app – it costs £2.49 – so having it on a class set of iPads would need some negotiation but I’ll definitely add it to my list of apps that I recommend to parents/grandparents who want ideas for engaging children in learning outside of the classroom as well as putting it on my iPad for individual/paired play.
Following on from yesterday’s post, I forgot to say that there is a Facebook page for Muy Interesante Junior that has little snippets from the magazine as well as previews of upcoming editions.
…and you can follow @MuyInteresante on Twitter for interesting facts in Spanish in 140 characters or less.
A regular feature of Muy Interesante Junior each month is the El que busca encuentra spread. It’s a bit like Where’s Wally? or ¿Dónde está Wally? (did you know that he’s called Charlie in French, Walter in German and BenJ in Swiss German? Find out more here) in that you have to find people in a very ‘busy’ picture! Here’s a section of the picture.
What makes it different is that each edition there is a different theme for the ‘puzzle’; this edition it is “Mujeres célebres.” Alongside the puzzle is a section which gives you the images that you must find along with a couple of sentences about the person. With the new programmes of study in mind, I can see this as a great opportunity to engage learners in short texts as well as increasing their general knowledge, in this case about famous women, and revising and learning structures and vocabulary .
For example, the short texts include details about countries of origin, occupations, years of birth and death.
1. You could ask questions about the women based on the facts. For example:
2. You could also use Clare Seccombe’s Tesoro o basura idea and board along with this PDF of the names (Mujeres célebres) and ask learners to sort words according to given criteria (either with the information, or having found out as much as they can previously):
3. You could use the information strips to work on large numbers and dates; say a date and identify the person:
And what about putting all the women in a timeline and using ordinal numbers to describe their position?
4. You could ask learners to find me the word for…
5. You could ask learners to fill in a form based on the information given: here are some I’ve made
and then make up simple personal identification sentences about the women, using structures with which they are familiar:
Se llama Gabriela Mistral.
Es de Chile.
Nació en mil ochocientos ochenta y nueve.
Murió en mil novecientos cincuenta y siete.
Es famosa por ganar el Premio Nobel de Literatura en 1945.
6. The information given could be extended with some research;
and not necessarily just in Spanish. What a great way of bringing Spanish into other areas of the curriculum by having the inspiration in Spanish and continue it in English?
Of course, you can do activities without even reading the information!
7. You could describe the images of the women in Spanish and ask learners to identify the person from your description – or ask a learner to describe to the class or their partner.
Lleva un vestido negro. (Coco Chanel)
Lleva pantalones , botas y una chaqueta. También lleva una bufanda, un casco y anteojos de aviador. (Amelia Earhart)
Lleva una túnica /un vestido blanco y un tocado blanco y azul. Lleva un cetro de oro. (Nefertiti)
8. Or you could play ¿Quién es? (Guess Who?) with yes/ no / don’t know questions being posed until the correct person is identified.
¿Lleva pantalones? Sí
¿Tiene el pelo rubio? No
¿Es Katherine Hepburn? Sí
You could extend the game to include the entire picture rather than just the 14 featured women – that could be a game that goes on forever!
And that brings us back to the ¿Dónde está Wally? element. Each of the women is hidden in the picture and, once they have been found, learners could describe where each is hidden in Spanish too. For example:
And for those that need an extra challenge, there’s a list of additional people/items to find in the picture – good for dictionary skills!
The latest edition of Muy Interesante Junior has ‘Grandes genios de la Informática’ as the theme of El que busca encuentra – time to start thinking where that may lead.
But I’ll leave that for another time 😉
If you have any ideas that I haven’t considered, please share them in the comments!
My lovely husband John went to México in April and I promised afterwards that I’d share some of things that he bought back. However, I never got past the first item(s)! Time to put that right! I was overjoyed that he returned with a copy of Muy Interesante Junior. Although I’ve never seen the Junior version before, I was aware of Muy Interesante from browsing quioscos over the years. It’s a (Mexican) factual/scientific magazine with the strap line “La revisita para saber más de todo” and the Junior version is along the same lines aimed at younger readers. And I immediately thought: ‘Excellent! Non-fiction texts of varying lengths and for a variety of purposes – just what the new Curriculum ordered!’ As you can see from the cover and below, the edition has lots of interesting content including fact files, comic strips, activities, puzzles and articles. There are five regular sections (below with the focus for this edition in brackets) and also sections of Preguntas y respuestas, Club Junior and short Noticias.
El que busca encuentra (Mujeres célebres)
Mundo salvaje (Serpientes)
Tecnología (Cómo funciona el Internet)
Cuerpo humano (El sistema inmunitario)
Tierra en alerta (tormentas solares)
Here are some bits that I particularly liked.
Many pupils eat this type of tortilla but how much do they really know about them?
This double page spread is all about MEXICAN tortillas. How to make them, the origins of la tortilla, interesting facts, records, statistics, health information and language related to la tortilla too. There are even ‘dichos’ or sayings linked to la tortilla.
In the section on El Sistema Inmunitario, this section is all about how to give your immune system a hand. Good for talking about healthy lifestyles and also for giving instructions in Spanish. Lots of cognates and making connections with things that they already know about staying healthy as well as the (short) length of the bullet points make it accessible to young learners.
Space is one of the topics that I’ve found works really well as a cross curricular one in Spanish, and this series of articles (there are five pages worth!) add plenty of new information to my knowledge! Specifically, lots of information about asteroides, meteoros and meteoritos, and new vocabulary like una estrella fugaz, la lluvia de estrellas and los meteoroides.
I found the graphic below interesting – good vocabulary list too! And I discovered that the seven gold medals handed out on 15th February at the Winter Olympics in Sochi all contained part of a meteorite that fell on Russia on the date in a previous year (doesn’t say when!)
In the middle of the magazine there were two inserts – the first was a set of 18 double sided cards featuring ‘las maravillas naturales de la Tierra’ – one side has an image and the other a short description of the place. Good for countries, recognising landmarks by their Spanish name e.g. Monte Everest, las Cataratas de Iguazú, la Selva Amazónica etc and for map work. I can also see how you could use the short descriptions for simple reading activities:
You could give learners three cards and ask them to identify a landmark according to given statements. You could mix English and Spanish e.g. which place is one of the Seven wonders of the world? (Cataratas de Iguazú) ¿Dónde están los pilares de piedra? (China) Which place is the model for one of the habitats in Avatar? And what is the ‘habitat’ called?(Montañas de Zhangijajie en China; las ‘Montañas Aleluya’) And so on. Or you could make two sets and learners work in pairs to read a sentence and identify the card by listening and following.
The other insert is a double sided poster – one side has information about how an aeroplane flies and the other a really informative spread about the life cycle of a chicken, complete with pictures of chick embryos. You’d have to pick and choose which bits to share with younger learners but lots of good information that would be really useful for CLIL Science lessons.
There are so many other parts that I could highlight – in fact, too much material to assimilate in one go.
I can see that the articles on skyscrapers and tall buildings will be great for looking at large numbers, and I’ll certainly be coming back to the section on Héroes y Superhéroes as it looks at fantasy superheros as well as what makes a real hero, finishing off looking at some real superheroes like Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa and Rigoberta Menchú (like the Hispanic touch!)
The bad news is that you can’t subscribe to the magazine from the UK – they’ll only send it to Mexico 🙁
However, all is not lost as there is a website…
You can’t access the whole magazine but there are selected parts. The current edition online has three highlighted articles on the shape of the moon, dinosaurs and saving the rain forests, and each concludes with links to another three related articles.
Then there are Temas de interés and Galerías of interesting photographs, again each linked to further articles and albums so there’s lots of content available if you explore!
Additionally, you can do a web search and find out what was in previous editions e.g. la sexta edición, la séptima edición, la octava edición. This isn’t much help with the website as you can’t back track on there but… you can purchase ‘back copies’ via Muy Interesante Junior app in the App Store. (Sadly no Android version yet although you can get Muy Interesante in the GooglePlay store)
The app is free but you must purchase each ‘magazine’ for £1.99 or, at the moment, you can subscribe for a year (6 editions) for £5.49. I’ve just downloaded one copy so far (wanted to check the quality before committing myself!) and am very impressed. All the pages (80 odd) and the posters and the photo cards. Well worth the money I’d say, even if it’s only for ideas and information for you because (with ADE hat on!) if you want to use it with your class, you need to purchase a copy for each iPad so it might not be something for all the iPads in a class set. You might buy it for a few, or project it from one device using AppleTV or Reflector or Airserver etc for small groups to use as part of guided reading.
That’s all for now – I’m off to read my newly downloaded June/July copy!
I’ve saved my favourite activity/pages for another post – coming soon!
I presented at Language World as part of a triple act on using iPads in language learning. Joe Dale and Helen Bates preceded me talking about QR codes, sound recording, making screencasts and flipped learning before I took over to talk my favourite app – BookCreator.
I shared how to make a book in BookCreator (free/£2.99), how to add images, sound, videos and hyperlinks; how to change the background, how to make sound buttons invisible and how to avoid copyright issues by using QR codes or hyperlinks to videos! I also showed PicCollage (free) as a way of making my front cover, and Tellagami (free) for adding a “talking head”.
I ran out of time to share how you can combine books into one, meaning that you can make a class book with all learners working separately before putting it all together on one iPad (e.g. save to Dropbox and then open and combine) but I did share the news that BookCreator is now on Android – very popular that one!
You can find out more by checking out my post on iPads here which covers things I shared and much more! You can also have a look at this post to see the process of how my Year3s made their eBooks that I shared.
And here’s a tutorial I did on using Explain Everything (two years ago)
Presentation by Lisa Stevens aka @lisibo about the iPad app Explain Everything (recorded using the app itself) for TeachmeetBrum and TeachMeet iPad. November 8th 2012
My first session at #ililc4 was aimed at beginner users of iPads in the Primary classroom.
My presentation is below, and under that I’ll briefly recap the session.
You can find helpful links, ideas and tutorials at bit.ly/lisiboipad
After looking at some of the pedagogy behind using iPads in the classroom, we watched a video from Cedars School that outlined some of the reasons that such technology is so helpful. And then it was on to the iPad itself.
We talked about how to take screen shots (hold down on/off switch and home key) how to add websites to your iPad as a bookmark and also with an icon so they appear as an app (use ‘box with arrow coming out of it’ icon and Add to home screen) as well as how to add images to the camera roll (hold finger and Save image) as well as copy and paste images and text (hold finger and Copy; hold finger where you wish to put it and Paste) I also explained how to add accents to letters by holding the letter until a popup menu of accented letters appear and then sliding to the option you want, and how to add different keyboards in General – International – Keyboards – add new keyboard then scroll between them using the globe icon next to the space bar when typing thus avoiding auto correction of your Spanish into English for example.
I shared how you might project the iPad in the classroom using Apple TV, Reflector / AirServer or a VGA/HDMI adaptor, and we discussed the advantages/disadvantages of each (I demonstrated the importance of having two options as Reflector wasn’t working so my adaptor was essential!) I also explained a variety of ways to get things off your iPad using email, Dropbox and Foldr for example. We might also have discussed Showbie but it was for beginners!
Then we talked apps – we looked at some specific language apps like Mindsnacks French for French vocabulary learning, Lectura Mágica for phonics in Spanish and Wortzauberer for German spelling/phonics. There are lists on the wikispace of specific language apps.
I made my love of generic apps very clear however as they are so much more versatile and can be used across the curriculum so it’s easier to justify any cost.
We looked at Popplet as a mind mapping tool, useful for vocabulary lists, sharing plans for units, mapping ideas, planning work. We discussed how you can add images from the camera roll or take a picture as well as text, and how to change the colour of the bubbles, and then how to export it as a jpg or pdf via email or to the camera roll as a jpg.
Then we explored Tellagami (which was behaving contrary to reports that morning and unlike Popplet which kept crashing!) an app that allows you to make an talking avatar using text to speech (not so good for languages other than English) or by making up a recording of up to 30 seconds. I explained how I use it in the classroom to record pupils speaking as it allows me to record their task and review it later, and is also very motivating for them, allowing them to rehearse and refine their speaking. I also warned that it is quite addictive making Tellagami avatars so to make sure that the objective of the exercise is clear to learners – to speak Spanish (in my case) not to make a beautiful avatar! We also had a quick look at Morfo Booth, another tool that encourages speaking, and I demonstrated how you could animate a picture – the result was rather scary I have to say!
Then I shared my favourite app, BookCreator. So versatile and useful, not just for writing stories but for all kinds of writing – making speaking word books, dictionaries and glossaries, information books, stories, explanations and so on. The ability to add text, sound, videos (directly from the camera roll), hyperlinks to URLs and also the ability to merge books to make a collaborative book makes it a really powerful tool, not just for language learning. And in BookCreator version 3 you can even draw and write on your book using the pen tool! I’ve talked about how I’ve used this app with Year 3 to write their own ebooks previously, and I’ll be sharing more at Language World in April in Lancaster in a session with Joe Dale and Helen Bates. Books can be shared in a variety of ways and can be easily shared as a PDF. However, this does not allow for audio/video to function and you need either an i-device or Chrome and the app Readium to read the books as fully functional eBooks at present.
And that was it as it was time for tea!
I also wanted to share Pic Collage, Puppet Pals HD and Sock puppets but we ran out of time so here are a few notes!
I’ve used Pic Collage a lot recently to encourage learners to write in Spanish; some of my pupils have only had 6 weeks of Spanish so far and their repertoire to write is limited. They used PicCollage to make a poster using what they knew (and bits that they’d found in the front of their exercise books – impressed me!) They enjoyed it and felt confident, and they were proud to see their work projected onto the IWB.
Puppet Pals HD (with Director’s Pass) and are great digital storytelling apps, taking my use of puppets to a different level. Both allows you to make ‘puppet shows’, SockPuppets with socks and Puppet Pals HD with characters within the app. In Puppet Pals you can also add your own characters from images from camera roll, cutting them out as well as backgrounds. In SockPuppets you can change your voice, higher or lower according to the level you set for each puppet.
And the final slide said – it’s not the technology that’s important, it’s what you do with it as this video demonstrates!
©2020. All Rights Reserved.
Powered by . Theme by