How lucky our MFL department is. Recently we were given training on how to make the most of technology and iPads (iPads for us, but the talk could have been about BYOD) in the modern languages classroom. @joedale visited us and shared his not inconsiderable expertise and all of us, experienced technophiles and lesser technophiles, picked up lots of useful ideas. Interestingly, much of what we learnt would be transferable to other subjects.
The session started with an introduction to todaysmeet which is an online room which can be used as a ‘backchannel’ to host questions and comments whilst the presentation is in process. We certainly made good use of it during Joe’s presentation and I can see how it could be a useful teaching tool. A room can be opened and managed by the teacher and is a useful place for sharing links and ideas. It can be accessed for as long as the room is open and as the teacher who sets up the room it is very easy to moderate.
It was great to see how Audacity works. Joe explained this tool perfectly. At first, to the uninitiated, it looked a little complicated. However, after the demo it was clear to see that this is a tool that will serve our needs perfectly. In conjunction with cueprompter which works just like an autocue and is free I can see how this will be advantageous to students working on their oral. With a little planning and good use of our FLA I can see how we could create some interesting listening activities too with Audacity.
Our next stop was Padlet (@padlet). Now this is a tool we know well as it is one we have shared before in department meetings. We were all quick to fill up the TodaysMeet backchannel with examples of previous Padlets created with classes of all different ages. However, the idea of putting our home grown sound files in there had not crossed our minds. In this respect, AFL can really come into its own. In fact just days after our Inset I put one of the other ideas gleaned from the Inset into practice in my Year 8 class. I had never thought of using a grid as the background picture but you can see from this image below that it worked well:
The second half of our session concentrated on using iPads. We are not (yet) a department that is fully equipped with this wonderful tool, however we plan to be and we have a few between us. Our first port of call was Yakit Kids. This is a fabulous tool that will engage the most reticent of speakers by virtue of the fact that it can make any photo talk. It is one I have explored before and used briefly with classes. It is certainly one that can be explored for use with all ages and is limited only by a lack of creativity in the user. Each Yakit video lasts only 15 seconds which means that it is necessary to combine two or three videos together. We were shown how easy this is to do using a video capture app, in this case YouTube Capture.
Finally, Joe demonstrated how easy it is to create QR codes with i-nigma (@inigmareader) and how best to share work. These tips mean that we can take oral recordings and make them available for other year groups to listen to via displays. This helps us move along in our department goal to make our displays more interactive and engaging.
We are already getting there as this excellent display (left) from the Italian department demonstrates. Our next stop is to get some recordings created by students on our displays to applaud their achievements and to share them with other year groups. Now our displays no longer need to be uniquely demonstrations of written work and we are excited about what we can do for our students with our new found skills.
As you can see from our backchannel on TodaysMeet, we loved our Inset:
If you are looking for some top advice on using BYOD and web technology in the classroom then @joedale is your man.
Finally, if you have tried out any of these tools mentioned here, or if you have any other ideas for us to try out in the classroom, let us know your thoughts in the comment box below.