Mark Pentleton – ¡Vámonos! The musings of Lisibo
 

Category: Mark Pentleton

Advent treats!

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Thought I’d highlight two great treats for Advent from two inspirational people.

Firstly, Mandy Barrow of the world famous Woodlands Junior School in Kent has produced an online World Advent calendar with details of Christmas around the world.  Each day you can open a new door and find out about Christmas traditions from other countries, and find the answers to questions like

How does red-suited Santa survive in the heat of a Brazilian summer?
In what country is Pavlova a popular Christmas dessert?

At Whitehouse Common, we’re going to use it to increase our ICU each day, and hopefully discover some things that we didn’t know before!

The second Advent treat is from Mark Pentleton at Radio Lingua Network who has made a Festive Phrase advent calendar. Behind each door is a short enhanced podcast  teaching a festive phrase and also giving information about the language, speakers and where it is spoken.  Can’t wait to find out if he’s doing Icelandic!  Another great opportunity to increase the breadth of experience of our pupils in terms of language, knowledge about the world and understanding of others.

Today sees the beginning of another wonderful offering from Radio Lingua Network as episode 1 of NewsTime Spanish is launched.

Made by a highly talented trio – Mark ‘Mr RadioLingua’ Pentleton, José ‘just say Edmodo and I melt’ Picardo and Chris ‘where’s it to?’ Fuller, this weekly podcast keeps you up to date with news from Spain and Hispanic countries.

In this week’s edition of News Time Spanish we’ll be looking at the major financial reform in Spain as a result of the ongoing issues around Europe. Other stories include:

  • UK elections news
  • Spanish sporting successes
  • Mexican/US immigration issues
  • Health problems in Spain

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes and listen for free, whilst a Premium pass will allow you access to transcripts, exercises and a slower version of the audio.

The Language Show

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On Saturday I’ll be in London at The Language Show. So excited!

There is so much to see and do – check it out for yourself here!
I’ve been asked to do a seminar this year – so if you want to know How to Survive Primary Languages, pop by to see me in room 3 at 1pm. And there are so many more too.
You can get in free by registering on the site so whatever your interest in language learning, if you can get to Olympia over the next three days, it’s well worth the effort!
Of course, I’ll post my presentation here straight after the show, and I’ll be tweeting all day too.

From the home of Coffee Break Spanish, School Run French, One Minute Languages and Showtime Spanish comes a brand new, one off podcast mini series in aid of Comic Relief.

Urged to ‘do something funny’ this year, Mark and the Radio Lingua team have responded to frequent comments about their Scottish accents by producing a three part series entitled CoffeeBreak Scottish in which they teach us some basic Scottish phrases. It is a tongue in cheek look at how people speak in Scotland, not a course in Gaelic and as Mark says..

‘Please be aware that Coffee Break Scottish is provided as a light-hearted introduction to some contemporary Scottish expressions used in certain parts of the country, predominantly in the west. The course does not provide an in-depth study of the Scots language. It is not intended in any way to offend. Remember, we’re Scottish so we are laughing at ourselves! All materials are suitable for a family audience. Above all Coffee Break Scottish intended to give you a linguistic laugh and hopefully make some money for charity!’

So, if you want to know what ‘ah havnae a scooby’ or ‘it’s baltic oot there’ mean, why not pop along to http://www.coffeebreakscottish.com/ where, for £3, all of which goes to Comic Relief, you can downlaod the three episodes covering basic greetings and useful words, eating out, and making arrangements.

And, as a special treat, Radio Lingua are offering a voucher for 25% off any future purchase of a language course from RLN. So, if you enjoy CoffeeBreak Scottish, you might like to explore the catalogue of equally excellent but less tongue-in-cheek podcasts they produce.

School Run French

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Mark Pentleton of Radio Lingua Network fame has one more worked his magic and a few days ago, launched a new addition to the plethora of products already available to help you learn languages.

Called School Run French, the series of 6-7 minute episodes allow you to take advantage of the school run, football run, Brownies / Badgers / BB run – in fact, any short journey to learn or practice your French. As Mark explains

Many of our listeners have been asking for materials which they can use
with their children or grandchildren, and we’ve been working for some time
on the development of materials aimed at this group. We’re delighted to
announce “School Run French” as the first in a series of shows which will
be aimed at younger language learners.

Picking up a language at an early age equips children with valuable skills
for life, and just as our many hundreds of thousands of adult listeners are
learning a language in their coffee break, so too can children learn a
language while they’re doing something else, for example in the car on the
way to school, football practice, ballet class, or whatever.

School Run French breaks down the French language into short chunks of 6-7
minutes, and every episode contains an interactive audio game which helps
children consolidate what they’ve learned.

School Run French is available on iTunes to download and sample audio
episodes will be put there on a weekly basis. However, the first ‘pack’ of five
lessons with colourful pdf puzzle sheets is now available for £5.00 (+VAT for EU customers).

I’ve had a listen and I love it – so do my ‘testers’ – marvellous having two kids who are a acaptive audience! They like the fact that it’s fun and there are games and challenges to test whether they know the answer.

Just itching for Mark to do School Run Spanish as I am constantly asked for such a resource by the parents, grandparents and carers of pupils at school. How about it, Mark? ¡Por favor!

Stuck for a present for Christmas? Don’t want to waste your money on a present that will be discarded as soon as you’ve left? Want to give something with that will have a lasting value?

Here’s an idea, presented with all the cheesiness of a ripe Gorgonzola as only Mr P can ;o)
(Congratulations on the European Podcast Award win)

Alternatively, check out Oxfam Unwrapped or Send a cow :o)


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!!


Only a few days left now until the Isle of Wight Conference this weekend.

I’ll be heading down on Friday for two days (Saturday and Sunday) of PD and social networking at its best – there are so many sessions on offer that we’re spoilt for choice – and I’ve got to fit in delivering one of them with the lovely Jo Rhys-Jones with whom I am also hosting a ‘Round Table’ – I hope this refers to a discussion not a piece of furniture ;o) I’m really looking forward to hearing some inspiring presenters like Mark Pentleton, Drew Buddie, Chris Fuller, Adam Sutcliffe – I could go on and on – and meet up with friends, old new and virtual!

To see what’s on offer – and it is a very impressive lineup – check out Integrating ICT in the MFL classroom, the blog of the mastermind behind the conference, Mr Joe Dale.

I acknowledge that it is a long way, but it is well worth the trip, and is a bargain at £100. And it’s not too late to book! Download the booking form from here – you know it makes sense :o)

Mark Pentleton, of Coffee Break Spanish and Radio Lingua fame, has set himself a challenge to learn Catalan in four weeks. As he admits, he knows some already from his travels, but wants to be able to hold a proper conversation when he goes to Barcelona at the end of the month. He’s begun with a couple of posts this week, in Catalan. Very impressive!


Well, over the last few months, Mark and I have sporadically corresponded via Twitter in Catalan after he mentioned plans for One Minute Catalan and I said that’d be good but why not Mallorquí. The truth is that I learned Catalan at Sheffield University, taught by Alan Yates (of Teach Yourself Catalan fame) and then spent a year at L’Universitat de les Illes Balears in Mallorca. On returning for my final year, I had great fun making myself understood as my fellow students had been to Barcelona and Valencia and couldn’t understand my unique accent.
During my time in Sheffield, I wrote essays in Catalan, read countless books, adored La Plaça del Diamant, worshipped Villalonga and was gutted when Josep Llompart died whist I was in Mallorca. I even managed to deliver a talk to the highly critical, fiercely Mallorquí students of Català1 at UIB – and survived! I really did enjoy it. However, since then, I have no opportunity to use my skills and they are therefore horribly rusty.

So, I’ve decided to join Mark in his challenge. Before you get overexcited, I won’t be posting great essays in Catalan – or Mallorquí – but I will tell you what I’ve been doing. I’ve decided that, as term is just starting (shame I didn’t think of this a month ago!), I’m going for the ‘poc à poc’ approach (that reminds me of a Catalan joke, but it’s rude and I can only recall the punchline!).
I started off by tweeting Mark in Catalan:



After one particular tweet in which I shared my favourite Catalan refrán (probably the only one I know off by heart!) I’ve started reading ‘De mica en mica s’omple la pica‘ by Jaume Fuster once more. I read it at Uni – that was a long time ago, but I have to say that I’m really excited that I can still understand most of it – and the bits I’m looking up in my dictionary are actually familiar once I know what they mean!
Today, I’ve rediscovered one of my favourite expressions – it means don’t worry!

I’m hoping to find a phrase like that for each day – so any suggestions are very welcome!
Might even try to post some 12seconds.TV videos of me talking!

A veure què passi!

CBS socks!

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Whilst blogging last night, I was reminded of a video on Youtube that I had seen 6 months ago (and commented upon, so I know it was six months ago!!) but forgotten about. A masterpiece of sock puppetry, and an advertisement for a great product! See for yourself!

Coffee Break Spanish, presented by Mark and Kara, is an excellent resource for anyone who wants to learn Spanish. Now nearing it’s 100th episode, you can subscribe on iTunes and find out more about CBS at www.coffeebreakspanish.com/.

And should you wish to learn other languages, check out www.radiolingua.com where more of the prodigious output of Mr Mark Pentleton are showcased – including Coffee Break French, One Minute languages including Luxembourgish and Norwegian and MyDailyPhrase eg Italian. No froggycoffee here, eh Mark ;o)

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