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Saturday, December 14, 2013

Technology Enhanced Vocabulary Learning

leVocab from leVocab on Vimeo.

leVocab is a new web and mobile-web based application for helping French, German and Spanish language students widen their vocabulary, learn noun genders and practice pronunciation.

A colour and sound system has been developed by leVocab to help learners to remember noun genders. Blue for masculine and pink for feminine. Also, both a masculine voice and a feminine voice are used to improve association.

leVocab is free for teachers and tutors who can use it in the classroom to practise with students. Full access for students/parents is very reasonably priced at €4.99 for a one year subscription - this gives access to over 1,500 nouns in each of three languages - French, German & Spanish.

According to Páraic Slattery, leVocab's co-founder,
“Learning genders has been a perennial problem for language students and leVocab goes a long way towards addressing this. Using leVocab, students can now widen their vocabulary and learn the genders at the same time.”

Launched in November of this year, leVocab is well worth a try!!!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

MOOCs here to stay

Interesting update from Open Eduction Europa on European MOOCs provided by European institutions. Spain leading the way.....

The world of MOOCs is dynamic and growing

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Online Timer with Google Search

Google search provides a useful online 'exam/test' timer. Use 'ctrl/+' to magnify the webpage and project it up on the whiteboard for all to see!! Obviously Internet connection required.

No arguments about how much time is left or when time is up :)

Simply type the following into the google search bar

timer for

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Forthcoming Moodle Webinars

LPM Saarbrücken have scheduled an interesting series of free webinars, all relating to moodle, to be held during September and October. The webinars will be presented in English, French and German. See the schedule given below.

First up is Mary Cooch (@moodlefairy) who is also currently co-running the first official moodle MOOC for beginners, which is just coming to the end of week 1. The course runs for four weeks so it is not too late to join in now!

Mary's webinar, this Thursday, will be covering "What's new in Moodle 2.5"

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

ICT in the Foreign Language Classsroom

Fortbildung Online are currently offering a series of free webinars about ICT in the foreign language classsroom.

The one hour webinars are conducted mainly through German, although there are also some French and English sessions scheduled. The series will runs through April, May and June.

Coming up this Thursday (18/2013 - 19:00h - 20:30h CET), Shona Whyte (Université de Nice) will be speaking on "Interactive technologies for classroom language teaching: iTILT and the IWB". Shona will be covering:
  • the lack of training & materials to use Interactive whiteboards (IWBs) effectively for language teaching
  • presentation of resources from a recent European project on IWBs in language teaching [http://itilt.eu]
  • discussion of materials, activities, and examples of language teaching with the IWB
  • discussion of alternative technological solutions for those without access to an IWB
To register simply send an email to JWagner@lpm.uni-sb.de
To participate: Click on the access link: https://webconf.vc.dfn.de/shona/

The rest of the schedule is as follows:

22. 04. 2013 - 19:00h - 20:30h
Elke Lackner
Durch die Cloud zum kreativen Endprodukt
Zugangslink: https://webconf.vc.dfn.de/wordclouds/

29. 04. 2013 - 19:00h - 20:00h
Pilar Munuera
Les Perles du TICE - remue-méninges sur le FLE [Scoop.it]
Zugangslink: https://webconf.vc.dfn.de/pilar/

06. 05. 2013 - 19:00h - 20:30h
Marie-Hélène Fasquel
Projet e-Twinning et création de livres électroniques
Zugangslink: https://webconf.vc.dfn.de/fasquel/

10. 06. 2013: 19:00h - 20:30h
Jean-Michel Ducrot
"Insuf-FLE" - Le blog phare du FLE
Zugangslink: https://webconf.vc.dfn.de/insuffle/

06. 06. 2013 - 19:00h - 20:30h
Uwe Klemm
Einsatzmöglichkeiten von Moodle im Fremdsprachenunterricht
Zugangslink: https://webconf.vc.dfn.de/moodleimfsu/

17. 06. 2013 - 19:00h - 20:30h
Stephan Rinke
Online Textarbeit mit dem Etherpad/Edupad
Zugangslink: https://webconf.vc.dfn.de/etherpad/

10. 10. 2013 - 19:00h - 20:30h
Stephan Rinke
Moodle muß Spaß machen
Zugangslink: https://webconf.vc.dfn.de/moodlespass/

14. 11. 2013 - 19:00h - 20:30h
Andrew Pickles
Task-based learning
Zugangslink: https://webconf.vc.dfn.de/taskbased/

21. 11. 2013 - 19:00h - 20:30h
Manfred Overmann
Le site portail du professeur de FLE
Zugangslink: https://webconf.vc.dfn.de/overmann/

02. 10. 2013 - 19:00h - 20:30h
Mélanie Auriel
Des applis iPad pour une pédagogie "classe inversée"
Zugangslink: https://webconf.vc.dfn.de/applis/

16. 01. 2014 - 19:00h - 20:30h
Heike Kolacki
"Kooperative Lernformen" im Französischunterricht
Zusammenarbeit mit Cornelsen
Zugangslink: https://webconf.vc.dfn.de/kolacki/

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

School of Open

School of Open launching this week!!

Courses that will launch March 12, 2013

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Mind the App!

Mind the App!
by Thomas Strasser
Mind the App!

Thomas Strasser is a New Learning Technologies researcher, teacher trainer and EFL teacher at University College of Teacher Education, Vienna - website: Learning Reloaded

Mind the App! is a comprehensive and well researched teacher resource book covering a collection of very useful web2.0 apps that may be used for teaching and learning both inside and outside of the classroom. Thomas concentrates on Web 2.0 apps that enable users to "become an important part of an interactive World Wide Web without having any IT-related knowledge other than a few basic skills!" Music to the ears of non-ICT teachers and those that may still feel threatened by the web2.0 revolution!!

The aim of the book "is to provide interactive, meaningful and highly motivational EFL activities" and, accordingly, there is a strong emphasis on the methodology of using the apps in the classroom, rather than just examining what the apps do. There is no doubt that Thomas succeeds in his aim and his emphasis on the practical tried and tested exercises will be of particular interest for teachers with limited ICT skills.

In the introduction, Thomas cites many positive reasons for using web 2.0 tools explaining that they are, in the main, motivational, interactive, creative, collaborative, fast, authentic, environmental friendly, support digital literacy and free to use!! All good reasons to further investigate their potential. Unfortunately, the possible pitfalls in using web2.0 apps should not be ignored, where misuse of such tools can lead to cyber bullying and Thomas does highlight various concerns including potential problems with piracy, spam, plagiarism, copyright and poor quality content on websites.

There is a wealth of information included in this book and apart from the detailed treatment of the individual apps, Thomas provides many links to other useful EFL websites as well as a very useful quick reference guide. This guide details the appropriate language level, focus of the app, suggested lesson time and any minimum age restrictions required for use. In addition, Thomas also provides video tutorials, which can be found on the website dedicated to the book

I love the layout of the book, where each web app is given it's own couple of pages and there is a wide left margin that allows for the teacher to add their own notes and ideas.

As shown above, each app is covered in three sections. The first deals with practicalities such as the language level required by the students, the most suitable age grouping, class time required, ict skills required and equipment requirements. In this section, Thomas also includes links to other similar applications, allowing for further exploration.

The second section explains, with clear accompanying screenshots, how the tool is actually used, while the final section provides examples of using the app in the classroom and for follow up activities including homework. Undoubtedly, this section is of great value to both ICT experts and those that are only starting to dabble in Web2.0 applications.

Thomas groups the 39 apps examined into five general areas (teacher tools, visualisation, collaboration, audio, writing) but is it worth noting that use of any tool is not restricted to only one area and there are many cross over points.

Chapter 1 - teacher tools (6 tools)
Apps dealing with creating and using online content, quizzes and games. Example: LearningApps

Chapter 2 - visualisation (13 tools)
Apps that help you create visual content including word clouds, timelines, presentations, posters, photo stories, QR codes and screen capture/recording. Example WordSift

Chapter 3 - collaboration (9 tools)
Apps that enable document/presentation sharing, webpage markups, backchannelling, surveys and polls, mindmaps brainstorming and online notice boards. Example: Markup

Chapter 4 - audio (4 tools)
Apps for audio including talking avatars, converting text to speech, voice recording and creating radio stations. Example: Spreaker

Chapter 5 - writing (7 tools)
Apps for social bookmarking, creating online stories/books, flipbooks, 3D flipbooks, diaries and cartoons. Example: ZooBurst

The following examples will give you a flavour of just some of the practical exercises suggested in the book:
  • Sharing powerpoint presentations with Authorstream
  • Removing "all the lists, ads, and other distracting features of YouTube" with Quiettube
  • Using MailVU to create short oral quizzes for the students to watch and answer questions or record a given text with deliberate errors (pronouncation, content and grammar) and get the students to identify the mistakes. Ask students to record themselves and listen to the recording for "instant feedback"
  • Encourage students to use Wordle (word cloud) to check for repitition in their essays or assignments. Some of the repeated words can then be replaced by synonyms - a nice visual way to encourage students to expand their vocabulary!
  • Let students use Glogster to create online multimedia rich posters about themselves or celebrities, interesting topics or book reviews.
  • Get students working in groups to create grammar Prezi presentions, which include grammar notes and examples of use - both in written and video format.

Although this book is primarily aimed at language teachers it is equally useful for any subject teacher and many of the exercises provided can be easily adapted to enhance learning in other subject areas. I highly recommend Mind the App! as an excellent resource for the modern 21st century teacher!!!

You can buy a copy of Mind the App! online
from Helbing Languages