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.
I had the joy and pleasure of going to France last week for the Practical Pedagogies conference at International School of Toulouse. It’s not every day you get to go on a course that involves a ‘plane journey, and I was wondering about the wisdom of my exploits as I sprinted from one side of Brussels Airport to the other with 20 minutes to make my connecting flight thanks to high winds delaying my incoming flight… I made it, and it was well worth the travel and the late night.
What a conference! Why? Well, there were many reasons!
The welcome received at IST was wonderful. The staff went out of their way to help us. For example, I tweeted that I was having plug adaptor woes (mine didn’t have a ‘top hole’ so wouldn’t go in the socket, the one loaned by the hotel wouldn’t work either as my plug wouldn’t go into it…) and within minutes I was presented with a working adaptor and was able to charge my ‘phone (thanks also to Chris Mayoh who seemed to have a case full of adaptors that he was lending out!)
The organisation. Never have I been to such a well organised conference. Things ran to schedule, the gaps between sessions meant that you always had time for coffee even if you stayed behind to ask a question at the end of the previous one, and I never felt the vertigo I often feel as I rush from one place to another without breathing.
The company. What a great bunch of people! I laughed until I cried at points and enjoyed the friendship offered by those I already knew, those who I’d only previously known online, and those who were completely new acquaintances. Fun and games involving hats, Lycra, yards of beer and bowling alleys spring to mind.
Ewan McIntosh. That man has been so pivotal in my thinking and development as a teacher and learner, right from when he was still a language teacher and spoke at Language World at Oxford Uni. He will forever be known in my house as ‘the man who made Mum buy a Nintendo DS’ for which my sons are very grateful. Every time I hear him speak or read his blog he challenges me to think and consider what I do, how I teach and how I can best facilitate learning. And he is also very human and it’s great to talk to him. Loved this description of him:
Two inspirational keynotes (plus a workshop) that were like rich Dundee cakes in content & depth of ideas from @ewanmcintosh at #pracped15
And 5. The variety of sessions was amazing! Covering any subject you could name plus cross curricular ones as well as technology and even ukelele playing. It was very hard to select just 7 (I was told I had to choose my own session) but I did.
To sum it up in a tweet:
Great ideas and lots of collaboration in a lovely location with wonderful people inspiring great thoughts and actions. And fun!! #pracped15
I tried to sketch note all the sessions I attended, only failing twice as I couldn’t draw during the Drama workshop and it was hard during the AIM one as I needed to use my hands to gesture (and I’m also rubbish at drawing hands!) Anyway, I’ve uploaded my notes below.
Practical Straegies for teaching EAL students – Nick Fretwell (IST) @Nick_Fretwell
All in all, an amazing time during which I’ve learned a lot and laughed a lot too. I hope there’s a #PracPed16 – or 17 if Russel needs longer to recover 😉 – already planning what I might offer to present! (This year’s offering is in the next post!)
I always get excited when people invite me to speak at conferences but I was very excited when Russel Tarr (created Classtools.net and was famously attacked by Gove for using Mr Men to help teach History resulting in a mass Mr Men Twitter avatar protest in solidarity!) asked me if I’d like to speak at a conference he was planning in Toulouse. A trip to France? Don’t mind if I do! And when he told me who else was speaking, I was even more excited and also perhaps a little daunted when I saw who else was speaking!
Practical Pedagogies takes place at the International School of Toulouse on October 15th and 16th and is
A high-impact training conference for classroom teachers by classroom teachers.
Two days of inspiring keynotes, 70+ workshops and networking activities: only 150 Euros!
I’m very much looking forward to the conference as there are so many different sessions under the umbrella theme of “Creativity, internationalism and innovation in the classroom” that it was very hard to choose which I’d like to attend. The programme is packed with goodies as you can see! And Ewan McIntosh @ewanmcintosh@notosh who is keynoting and also delivering workshops always inspires and challenges!
My session will be about using ICT in the Primary Language Classroom:
There are threads for
Pedagogy, Personal and Professional development including sessions by Miles Berry (@mberry), David Rogers (@daviderogers), Bill Lord (@Joga5) and Marisa Constantinides (@marisa_c);
Drama, Music and Design and technology including a session that I want to attend on Using drama games and activities across the curriculum led by G. Fearnehough (@gfearnehough), Curriculum Leader for Drama at IST, and E. Renou (@emmanuelrenou31), Modern Foreign Languages teacher at IST;
History including a session about collaboration between History and Geography (and beyond!) led by Russel Tarr, author of ActiveHistory, and Matthew Podbury, author of GeographyPods.
Science which offers diverse sessions on data logging, helping EAL learners and using SOLO taxonomy;
English and Literacy with sessions led by Julian Wood (@ideas_factory), and staff from IST about using picture and story books to work creatively and cross curricularly (hopefully I’ll get to attend one or both);
Mathematics with sessions on using Lego and Geogebra;
Assessment and reporting with a session entitles Marking:Is it really worth it?;
CAS (Creativity, action, service) and TOK (theory of knowledge);
and of course
Languages that features people I know like Isabelle Jones (@icpjones) and those who I have yet to meet like Dico Krommenhoek (@dico_kr). Oh, and me!I’m very much looking forward to finding out more about AIM and how IST use a FUN reading programme to boost comprehension and expression with their upper primary language learners.
There’s still time to register if you’d like to attend. It costs 150 euros (very reasonable) and if you can get a cheap flight it’s not much more expensive than two days of INSET!
And if you can’t attend in person, you can follow on Twitter! You can follow the Twitter account @pedagogies and the conference hashtag is
It’d be great to see some of you there and if not, converse via Twitter. And of course I’ll share my thoughts (and sketch notes!) on my return!
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)
Reading Los mellizos del tiempo got me thinking about integrating language learning in the Primary curriculum. As I mentioned in my previous post, it links so well with the ‘topic’ of Egyptians, or under the ‘learning journey’ of Treasure taken in Year 4 at WCPS. So I had a bit of a look around and came up with the following ideas, resources and links that might be of use to anyone who wants to do just that!
Egipto para niños – collection of fairly simple texts on a number of areas of Egyptian life including the Pyramids, food, manners and mummies as well as a bit of geography. This text is in fairly short chunks too. And Blog de los Niños has some short chunks of information, particularly about Egyptian gods and the meanings of the various crowns.
Here are some longer texts about various Egyptian ‘misterios’ including the Mummy of Pyramid KV22.
Historia Simple has some short-ish historical summaries of the various phases of the 2500 year long Egyptian era including a section on the Pyramids. There’s also some information on El Historiador.
And of course there’s Wikipedia – you can translate the pages back and forth between languages so you could have some fun with picking out key items of vocabulary.
Slideshare has some presentations for ideas and information including this lovely one from some young learners which is beautifully simple and asks some good questions on slide 4 that could be used for investigation.
And this blog has two simple presentations by Dora la Exploradora and friends, and Hello Kitty covering some of the basics of Egyptian geography and history in words and image.
However, my favourite find is from Junta de Andalucia. This site is a one stop shop about Egyptians, written in simple language and presented in short paragraphs with lots of visuals, making it really accessible. There is a dictionary of key terms as well as the facility to click on highlighted words for an immediate ‘pop up’ definition. Lots of interactive maps and also a hieroglyphics maker within the site also make it a great place for young learners to find out about Egypt. There’s also a webquest that guides learners through the site, posing questions that can be explored and investigated. (There’s another more complex webquest here along with other Egyptian resources shared on the Tiching site.)
A close second goes to a resource from Gobierno de Canarias that takes an interactive look at the Pyramids with extra information, again simply presented, appearing as you click on specific areas of the pyramid.
Videos are another source of information that can often be more accesible than just text.
And then there are these cartoons, the first from a series called Érase una vez.. and the second from a series called Martín Martín.
And here’s another I’ve just found which is a short video about the Egyptian pyramids:
You might also like to try the Barrio Sésamo approach with this video in which Lola visits the Pyramids or this video which presents images and name of the animals of Egypt before moving on to images of buildings and then some short snippets of information about Egyptian life.
You know how I love a good kitschy song! Here’s one called Momias de colores by Rockolate. When my hand is feeling better, I might try to subtitle the video using Amara or at least write them down!
(see also Fátima una momia responsable below under Stories for another song)
(see also Stories below!)
Perhaps with older, more advanced learners you could use some of the definitions from this ‘Glosario’ for a match the word to the definition. You could choose key words like Faraon, Esfinge, Obelisco, Momia, Papiro, Sarcófagos, Vasos canopos and so on.
And this vocabulary list gives you the Spanish word with the Arabic equivalent. Could provide an interesting language comparison activity.
And here’s an online hieroglyphics tool. Would be fun to write some words in hieroglyphics and ask learners to decode before they write their names. Or they could write key Egyptian vocabulary in hieroglyphics for display as well as in Spanish for a multi lingual display!
The Egyptian system of counting and adding etc was very developed and you can find out all about it here (in more detail than I think I need to know but if you like Maths…)
This site has lots of writing at the top (useful information!) but the really ‘useful’ part for learners is the chart with the Egyptian number glyphs and the puzzles underneath, both for whole numbers and also for fractions. I foresee lots of fun with setting maths problems for each other… There are a few more maths problems here.
A document explaining that Egyptian numbers are not positional so you can write the units, tens, hundreds etc in any order! Un sistema aditivo – el egipcio
And of course there are all sorts of things you can do at a very simple level such as sequencing and using geometrical shapes when making Egyptian jewellery, and making pyramids.
I found this free video story about Egypt called El pendiente de la princess: Cuento de Egipto. Sadly it doesn’t go full screen but the man telling the story speaks clearly and fairly slowly so it could be used for a true/false activity or perhaps a multiple choice activity.
However, I found two more promising possibilities!
2. This PDF (rita_ladrones) has links to useful sites (some I’d already highlighted above before I found this!) and also some activity worksheets. Whilst the middle sheet on characters in the book would be hard without reading it, the first sheet (matching words with images and writing your name in hieroglyphics) needs no knowledge of the book, and I think that the third sheet which is a sequencing activity could also be done without reading the story, and actually gives a very simple synopsis of what happens!
3.Then I discovered that there is an online version of the CD rom of activities about the book, complete with Teachers Notes (in Spanish!) There are various activities including finding synonyms and antonyms, sequencing text and a wordsearch – see below image for contents. Some activities are quite challenging for primary learners; however, a bit of challenge can be a good thing!
Fátima, una momia muy responsable
Fátima una momia muy responsable is a lovely story about an Egyptian mummy called Fátima who wants to be a tour guide and keeps scaring people! She builds up a great collection of hats and torches by doing it, but one day…
It’s a narrated version of a book that has been used in many Spanish primary schools.
Some ideas for using the story –
act out the story
talk about colours and sizes describing the hats that Fátima collected / was gifted
pretend to be Fátima and give a tour of a pyramid
one of the class blogs I discovered had a song on it about how Fátima dances which would be great fun, whatever your age! You can access the words here or here, and here is a recording of young learners singing it!
I love ‘being a magpie’ and collecting ideas, and here are some classes in Spanish primaries that have done an Egyptian topic and shared their ideas.
Mis cosillas de Educación Infantil – this link takes you to the posts for the entire project. I particularly like the concept map that they made which includes lots of important vocabulary organised systematically. I think that having a map of what is already known that is added to as time passes and more information is gathered is a great way of documenting learning and progress, especially if learners post questions that they’d like to investigate and see them answered as they explore and investigate!
E.I. 5 años Carlos Ruiz have been doing an Egyptian topic too and this is the first of a number of posts on what they have done. If look in the archive, there are further posts documenting their work throughout noviembre and diciembre 2012 including the sequencing activity referenced in the Maths section above and an interesting post giving instructions on making ‘papiros’.
La Clase de la Bruja Maruja have done a project on Egyptians too and have published some of their work as well as links on their blog. Of particular use I think are the simple worksheets they used that could easily be used in the primary language classroom. I also love the fact that they’ve been using the wonderful Woodlands site by Mandy Barrow using GoogleTranslate to put it into Spanish!
So, I hope you’ve find the above useful. I know that there are many more things that could be done; for example, I haven’t even started on the possibilities for art projects! If you have any ideas or resources, please leave a comment – it’s good to share! And even if you haven’t, leave a comment! Its good to know that people are reading!
I’m currently having a marvellous time playing with my new iPad and finding new apps for it, and my iPhone, so I thought I’d share one I like at the moment.
I’m starting with one that’s great on an iPod Touch or an iPhone – Newshound from Linguascope.
It’s an app that captures the news feed from Yahoo in French, Italian, German, French and English, allows you to browse the headlines, shows the first few sentences so you can decide if you want to read on, then takes you to the Yahoo article if it floats your boat!
I rarely get time to check the headlines online in English let alone Spanish, French or any other language, so having this on my iPhone allows me to check when I have a spare moment.
And if your school is lucky enough to have some iPodTouches, I’d definitely get this onto them.