Further Adventures With iPads


“Why do we have to do this miss? What’s the point?” We have all heard it and this time it was coming from my lovely GCSE French class who already are unsure about the real purpose or value of controlled assessments.  So, how do we make our controlled assessments more valuable more worthwhile?  I had struggled with this concept since the advent of controlled assessments but it was not until I was at the #ililc4 conference this year and one of the delegates said ” we can effectively do what we like with controlled assessment” that the penny finally dropped.  This together with @ChrisFullerisms incredibly thought provoking presentation at the same conference made me go away and have a rethink and here’s what I came up with.

Topic: school

Controlled assessment: Speaking including a 1 minute presentation

School is one of the most relevant themes at GCSE I think in that, all the students have experienced it and all have an opinion on it which always helps.  However, normally when we teach this topic we ask our students to create a presentation on my ideal school which is fine but in my opinion really false.  I wanted my students to have something to get their teeth into something with real meaning so I devised a mini scheme of work on Haiti.  The premise being that we would discuss the devastating earthquake in Haiti and the consequences of and then students would be encouraged to use the information and vocabulary to write a presentation on an ideal school for Haiti.  Personally I thought that this would be easier to do as have no school at all, it would be easier to say what they would put in it and why.

We began with a pretty hard hitting video on the immediate aftermath of the earthquake in Port au Prince.  This really got my student’s attention and we were then ready to tackle a  dual language text, again I got this idea from Chris Fuller and if you have never tried using it before I can highly recommend it as it give students access to much tougher vocabulary and structures which they then eventually incorporate into their own work – it’s fab!

My students are now becoming reasonably proficient when using the iPads but I always want to push the boundaries and show them the capabilities of the technology that we have available to us, thus the next 3 lessons were taken up trying some more app smashing. During this time students were to create a mini newsreel using the tellagami, quipio, photo collage and capture apps.  Students created a very basic news studio backdrop using quipio and photo collage like this;

Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 20.42.50


They then used this as their background image in the tellagami app onto which they also recorded their news article.  They worked in pairs in order to complete this part of the activity.  One of the pair was to create a tellagami as the anchor in the studio their partner was to be the journalist on the ground reporting on the devastation in Port Au Prince. As seen here;

Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 20.51.07


The other student was encouraged to choose a photo from the internet showing the devastation in Haiti after the earthquake as their backdrop.

Once the students had recorded their work, using the vocabulary from the dual language text to help them and the app natural reader to help them with their pronunciation they then “stitched” the two videos together using the capture app.  The finished product was then shared with me.  The results were pretty amazing with students using some complex language and at the same time providing themselves with a great resource from which to base their presentation for their controlled assessment as can be seen in this example clip.

Haiti Newsreel

As I have always said an iPad is just a classroom tool and nowhere is this highlighted more than in this series of lessons.  The students really enjoyed the “reality” aspect of this mini topic.   It exposed them to some fairly complex grammar and vocabulary.  It gave them independence; the work that they produced was all their own, created with help from their dual language text and vocabulary gleaned from videos on the subject of Haiti that we had watched in class.  Most importantly, their controlled assessment presentations are great, they have to describe their ideal school for Haiti.  Most students have begun their presentation with the work they created in the newsreel activity, they have then gone on to explain what their Haitian school would look like using other materials that were presented to them in class like this UNICEF video and this PDF booklet.  If you have never tried something like this before with your class I would urge you to give it a go, you don’t have to stick to what is in the text book you know!


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