Adventures in my classroom; Harnessing the Power of Technology to get them speaking! 

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The new (academic) year equals new classes and without a doubt new strategies to employ. Good friends who are brill with ICT, Apps and iPads have given me a helping hand to get students speaking in the target language overcoming fears of looking or sounds daft and the anxiety of not sounding right. I am grateful to them for their support as labouring the same strategies can become repetitive and lose impact hence my steps in to harnessing everyday technology to keep learning exciting and fresh in my MFL classroom.

1. The trusty old MP3 player. Image of Sansa MP3 player via Amazon.co.uk

We have mini MP3 players for students to use, alone or in pairs and groups prior to or instead of speaking in class. Trusting students to be in charge of the recording allows them to relax a little, actually a lot. Allowing students to be totally in control is extremely liberating they can delete and re-record their spoken pieces if and when they’d like to. They love it. You just have to remind them to give their name at some point so you can praise their hard work and effort!
 

Handheld MP3 players don’t cost a fortune and can be easily uploaded to the cloud or student server, students could do this if you teach them where to save it so you have access, your fabulous IT technicians or you if you have time. It’s easy and once it’s done you have a digital recording that can be used for DIRTime, for praise and as evidence.  

2. Yakit kids. Image of Yakit Kids app via itunes.apple.com

Oh boy do I love Yakit kids! The amazing and generous @musicmind shared this fantastic gem with me several months ago to try out with some very testy Y8 students who just couldn’t be encouraged to speak French in lessons or out of it. The impact that it has had on the confidence of these students has been awesome, truly brilliant.

Yakit kids is a free app available for iPhone where students can upload a selfie or other image and record short bursts of sound. The photo and sound can be edited to produce some fantastic and hilarious results. This app is genius as it draws students in that they forget about the worry of speaking, the anxiety about not looking cool, the accent and they go for it. They are speaking and they love it. Students come to lessons asking if its a Yakit lesson which can only be a good thing! This App has had a phenomenal impact on my students and I’d urge you to have a go at it with your classes. 

Download it here: YAKiT Kids by Freak’n Genius Inc

https://appsto.re/gb/Ba9wV.i


3. Telligami.
                              Image of Telligami app via itunes.apple.com

Telligami is great for getting students recording longer chunks of spoken work through a digital avatar which they can customise. 

I like this app a lot as it allows student to speak through their avatars. It’s great really and fun and it allows students to speak for longer than the 15 second bursts of recording on Yakit kids. This has had a brilliant impact upon students and presents more grown up graphics for more able or older students. It’s a fun app and definitely one worth trying if you haven’t discovered it with your students yet.  Students seem to forget their anxieties about speaking in the target language when using this and Yakit kids and it’s fantastic to see.

Download it here: Tellagami by Tellagami Labs Inc.

https://appsto.re/gb/nK0iI.i


4. Replay.   Image via iTunes.apple.com
I absolutely love this. @ictevangelist kindly shared this with me in October and I used it to collate the students and teachers photos taken on our visit to Barcelona. 

Replay is very easy to use, to upload photos from your phone or iPad to create a slideshow of images in a fun ‘zoomy’ way that students love. And the images appear to music. Brilliant. Having spent time showing students the Reply shows students have gone on to create their own Replay shows which is always a good thing. 

In the classroom I have used Replay to present new vocabulary visually having collated the images separately and uploaded them in the order I want to present them. Students like this as its a little different to traditional flash cards and Quizlet, and it’s another way to present, have fun with or test vocabulary. 

I plan to use Replay to create photo stories with students to develop their length of speaking with a visually aid/prompt. I can see students having fun with this in developing their oral presentations or picture based discussions and it will help them ditch the paper some rely upon so heavily. I’ll let you know how we get on!

Download it here: Replay Video Editor – Make Movies with Photos, Clips and Free Music by Stupeflix

https://appsto.re/gb/ZSbyP.i


5. Shadow Puppet edu.
  
Image via iTunes.apple.com

This brilliant app was introduced to me by @musicmind, again another fun visual app that allows students to upload their own edited images and create labels, add amusing additions and also support development of spoken language and confidence. The images can serve as prompts to extended spoken tasks or simply as a slideshow background to presentations. 

My students have had fun creating these and some have created these to help in other subject areas as the visual nature of the images they have created has helped how to structure responses to exam questions in a range of other subjects. Others have found that using this as a tool to order thoughts when revising has proven extremely helpful.  

I’ve also used this to celebrate student success in a unit of work photographing work and students in action then adding captions and icons proved a great success as it was such a giggle for all concerned. 

Download it here: Shadow Puppet Edu by Shadow Puppet Inc.

https://appsto.re/gb/afy90.i

Many thanks to @musicmind and @ictevangelist for generously sharing their knowledge and expertise! And for their precious time and patience. And a special thank you to my students who have taken a risk, embraced this and enjoyed every minute. Great Learning ahoy! 

Two fun Yakit Kids ‘vidz’ – purely for fun you understand but the students absolutely loved them so please have a go, download it and play!
  
 

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