In my role as teacher of languages, I have sought to study and understand how the social aspect of Web 2.0 can be harnessed to strengthen the teaching and learning of MFL. Most interesting to me was the transformative potential of blogs, Web 2.0 applications and social networks, not only to enhance existing practice, but also to create new technology-based tasks which would have been previously inconceivable[1. PUENTEDURA, R R (2006) Transformation, Technology, and Education. (2006) Available from http://hippasus.com/resources/tte/ Accessed 11/08/2011], a process depicted below:
However, in order to assess whether learning socially online can truly have a transformative and positive impact on learning outcomes and curriculum delivery as accurately as possible, it is important to moderate any inherent positivity and open up the field of study to all viewpoints[2. SELWIN, N (2011) In praise of pessimism - the need for negativity in education technology. In British Journal of Educational Technology, Volume 42, Number 5, pp 713-718 Available from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-8535.2011.01215.x/abstract Accessed 30/08/2011], discarding any preconceived notions that may bias the conclusions of this case study and taking care not to avoid any evidence that may be counter to those notions[3. COHEN, ., MANION, L. & MORRISON, K (2007) Research Methods in Education. London: Routledge-Falmer. Available from http://lib.leeds.ac.uk/record=b2879829 Accessed 18/04/2011].
Technology in the MFL classroom is the Marmite of many MFL teachers, who either love it or loathe it. Funny thing really, given how much ICT has helped not just to enhance, but to transform the MFL classroom for the better.
The ICT and Languages Conference takes place on Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th February 2012 and is, as Joe Dale – one of the plenary speakers – has already pointed out, the must attend event of the year for teachers who are seeking to exploit the possibilities new technologies afford both teaching and learning.
Whether you’re a complete beginner or a self confessed geek, the ICT and Languages Conference is the place to go to meet and learn from other MFL teachers in an informal and supportive atmosphere. If last year’s conference is anything to go by, this year’s promises to become the best CPD event of the year.
I too am one of the plenary speakers and will be talking about how to harness social media and social networking to help us transform the way we teach and learn… for the better!
I am a real fan of WordPress, which is, in my opinion, the most flexible and reliable of all self-hosted blogging platforms (hosted WordPress is also available). One of the reasons why WordPress is so flexible is that there are thousands of plug-ins offering additional functionality.
On this occasion I will be using a video shot with our Flip Camera HD and hosted at Vimeo and a plug in called Quizzin that allows you to create quizzes, that is to say, self-marking exercises within your blog posts.
Voki has featured in my teaching for several years now, having proven itself a very valuable tool to encourage speaking in the foreign languages classroom.
Many other teachers have also realised that Voki can be very valuable, not only to encourage and motivate reluctant learners, but also as an assessment tool. As a result, the people at Voki, in consultation with their users and with specially designated Voki Ambassadors, are building a tool that is specifically designed for use in the classroom: Voki Classroom.
The main features of Voki Classroom will be:
It was a real privilege to be invited once again by Macmillan to deliver the keynote speech and a seminar at the Alicante Teachers’ Day on Saturday 21st May, where I was delighted to be able to address and meet so many committed teachers of English who were giving up their Saturday morning to keep up with the latest ideas and innovations in the field of language learning.
The keynote speech was titled The Case for Social Networking in Education was largely based on the research I have been carrying out for my MA in ICT in Education. A summary of the keynote speech can be found here.
Above are the slides the seminar titled Using ICT to Enhance Language Teaching and Learning. Links to all the tools mentioned in these slides can be found in the resources section of this blog and examples of the tools in action can be found by browsing this blog and my school blog.