Currently browsing Posts Tagged “glogster”

Using Glogster as an assessment tool

It was a tremendous privilege to invited to present earlier this month at the Social Media Workshop 2012 organised by San Diego State University’s Language Acquisition Resource Center. My session was titled Glogster for the Language Classroom and the following notes are derived from it.

What is Glogster?

Glogster is an internet tool that allows users to create and share interactive posters composed of text, graphics, sound and videos, as in the example above. Glogster is a free tool but offers a premium service to teachers and schools, which is great for those who have concerns over privacy and security or would welcome the ability to generate, control and administer their students’ accounts.

Why use Glogster? The student’s perspective

Tools such as Glogster dovetail effortlessly with our students’ digital lifestyle. You may well remember fondly those fabled times without email and digital distractions when when every student was reputedly exemplary, but those who started secondary education in the past three years do not remember a world without social networking and internet interactivity. Our students are growing up in a multimedia world where they can communicate, learn and exercise their creativity online.

The ability to create products – tangible outcomes – that they can share with pride, using tools with which they are familiar, is undoubtedly a motivating factor for most students. However, it is not a magic bullet: using Glogster doesn’t guarantee students will do a good job. The best outcomes will only be achieved if both teacher and students assign the required level of importance and significance to the task.

Whenever students achieve poorly in their exercise books, we don’t blame the exercise books and decide to stop using them. Instead we tackle whatever problems led to such poor achievement in the first place and even apply sanctions if deemed necessary. The same principles should apply to using tools such as Glogster. The internet is not an excuse for poor teaching.

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Three essential tools for the teacher of languages

Web applications are fun for both teachers and students, but often both teachers and students can become too preoccupied with the tool itself and forget what its purpose ought to be: to support teaching and learning. Here’s a little guide to using three fantastic web applications successfully and effectively.

In fact, time wasting and lack of academic rigour are two criticism often levelled at the use of web applications in the classroom. However, just like any other tool, when used appropriately, these web applications will soon prove their worth to you  and your students as an effective learning tool and I am certain they will become an essential part of your schemes of work.

Whilst the tool may change the principles remain the same. Let’s look at how to plan a series of lessons before we look at each of the tools in more detail, but first a note of caution:

Not a magic bullet

I use web applications regularly. Regularly does not mean so often that your class gets bored of them. To me regularly means once or twice every half term – roughly 6 weeks. I also vary the web application so that any single class uses a variety of tools throughout the academic year. In my experience, overusing any of the tools below may lead to your students quickly becoming weary of any particular tool, as the novelty factor wears off and their interest and engagement wanes. In order to stop the tool itself becoming an obstacle to successful learning, how you plan and deliver the series of lessons leading up to actually using the tool is therefore essential.

Lesson Planning

Approximately once every half term I will plan a series of lessons culminating in the use of one of these web applications. I generally follow this pattern:

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Hard to Teach – Secondary Modern Foreign Languages Using ICT

Earlier this year, a camera crew from Teachers TV and the sadly soon to be defunct Becta came to Nottingham High School to film my classes in Years 9, 10 and 11 using web applications to help them practise their spoken foreign language skills. The result was premiered today on the Teachers TV website and will be broadcast on TV next week.

The tools we used on the day were VokiGlogster and Stupeflix. You can find a more extensive list of tools here.

Also in the video, Fiona Hilton from Kingstone School in Barnsley uses the internet to stimulate her students’ interest in French life and language. She downloads French language videos to trigger vocabulary work with her Year 10 class, encourages them to use the internet for research, and use an inter-school social network to communicate with French-speaking students around the world.

Chris Harte, from Cramlington Learning Village uses Audacity to encourage students’ self-assessment skills with Year 9 group who are practicing their spoken French by creating an audio-visual presentation about Haiti.

The original video can be watched on Teachers TV.

Demonstrating the effective use of Internet Resources

This presentation, delivered to a group of Heads of Modern Foreign Language and titled The Effective use of Internet Resources, was meant to demystify the use of internet tools, so-called Web 2.0, in the classroom context.

Many teachers think/fear that they are going to be out of their depths and/or that it’s going to be require an inordinate amount of effort on their parts. With this presentation, I set out to demonstrate:

a) that the enrichment of MFL teaching and learning through the effective use of ICT is both desirable and, indeed, recommended by both the New Secondary Curriculum in the UK and the new specifications for GCSE in MFL;

b) how, given our pupils’ natural predisposition to use ICT, using internet tools can effectively improve the the teaching and learning of MFL by increasing motivation, engagement and, therefore, achievement;

c) how the work is mainly carried out by students on their home or school computers, releasing the teacher to facilitate and oversee the process, as well as to assess the results.

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Ten tried and tested internet tools for teachers

Over the past academic year, my students and I have been experimenting with the use of a number of web based applications (often known as Web 2.0 tools). My aim has been to enhance our schemes of work by providing our students with new and exciting learning opportunities.

In my opinion, using technology effectively has clear benefits for both teaching and learning and can help to improve motivation by engaging pupils in activities which, perhaps, step out of their ordinary school experience and which show them that it is possible to teach and learn about a subject using tools similar to those they use daily outside school. In other words, we have tried to use the types of tools with which they are often already familiar.

I have written about each of these individual tools in separate posts, but I thought it would be useful to list the ten most used internet applications on one post. As ever, I aim to provide, not only a list of the web applications we have used, but also examples of practice which you may wish to follow or, indeed, improve upon.

Therefore, each of the entries below has links leading to lesson plans which have incorporated the tools as well as working examples of students’ work where appropriate. Without further ado, and in alphabetical order, my ten tried and tested internet tools for teachers are:

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Do you know of a teaching and learning resource you would like to share? Please do not hesitate to get in touch.