Revising using edtech

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Over the years I have tried a number of apps and web 2.0 tools in order to facilitate revision with my GCSE classes.  Listed below are some of my favourites.

Vocabulary

I love using Quizlet to help my students learn or revise vocabulary.  This web 2.0 tool allows you or your students to make flashcards. In the case of Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) I put the French on one side of the card and the English on the other but for other subjects it could be words on one and definitions the other.  You can also search the website for other ‘sets’ that you can copy and use.  In this way, you are not constantly reinventing the wheel.  The site has a variety of activities that the students can engage in including a couple of games.  My students really enjoy the game scatter and Quizlet has a recently introduced a new collaborative game called Quizlet live which all of my students have enjoyed playing.

Students do not have to create an account in order use Quizlet simply share the link to your ‘set’ with them and they are off.  One of the features that I do like is that Quizlet easily links with Google Classroom – simply click the share button and select classroom. . If you want to more functionality  you can sign up for a pro account for which there is a cost involved.

If you like Quizlet you may also like Memrise

Kahoot

If you have never used or come across Kahoot now is the perfect time to make its acquaintance.  Kahoot is a quizzing game that is highly addictive and competitive.  My current GCSE class is made up mainly of boys and they practically beg me to play this game every lesson.  Kahoot allows you to make or search for quizzes by topic.  The quiz question is displayed on the main screen in class and the students’ tablet, laptop or phone becomes the key pad.  This tool enables you to set a time limit for each question and once the quiz is complete you can download results to your Google Drive or your computer – thus enabling you to see very quickly where student misconception lies.

If you like Kahoot  you may also like Quizizz or Plickers 

Listening and Reading

Socrative

This web based tool also has an app.  If you want to create questions you need the teacher app and in order to answer you need the student app.  Socrative is a bit like Kahoot with less gamification.  I find it really useful when talking about metacognition with my class. 

You can make different types of quizzes with Socrative; multiple choice (I use this function the most as most reading and listening exam papers are made up of multiple choice questions) short answer questions or true/false questions.  One of the brilliant things about Socrative is that you don’t actually have to have made a quiz up before hand you can do one on the fly with the quick question function. All you have to do is ask the students a question and they use their tablet/ phone/ laptop as the answer pad.

You can follow the students as they answer questions in real time via your laptop or tablet.  I find this particularly useful as you can see who races through questions which often leads me to think are they reading the questions carefully or not?  The students answers turn red or green for incorrect and correct so at a quick glance you get an overview of how your class are getting on.

Once students have finished a test you can view the results.  The thing I particularly like about Socrative is you can click on the question number at the top of the results page (seen below in yellow) and see  what percentage of students gave which answer. 

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This always allows for some interesting discussions particularly about how to approach the question, where difficulties lay etc.  There are many other elements to Socrative, so much so, that it probably deserves a blog post in itself.  Some other features are exit tickets, voting on answers and the space race game.

If you like Socrative you might also like Google Forms and the marking script Flubaroo which I have written about here.

Edpuzzle

This Web 2.0 tool and app allow you to insert questions into video clips which is really useful for creating listening exercises for students.  It’s really easy to make a task by simply clicking the create button and adding the video URL code.  Once loaded, you can  trim the clip if required then simply play the video and add questions; multiple choice or short answer by clicking the green question button as you go along.  Edpuzzle integrates with Google classroom but if you aren’t a GAFE school fear not, as sharing your work is dead easy simply share the URL code or by embed it in a blog or VLE. Students need to create an account in order to use Edpuzzle.

If you like Edpuzzle you may like Playpostit

Metacognition

The might app Explain Everything is perfect for all things metacognition. Firstly mirror your iPad to the main screen in the room using Apple TV or even better in my opinion AirServer.   I then use the app in combination with the iPad camera app to take photos of the students’ work and  use the drawing tools to highlight good and bad elements of an answer.  I also screen shot exam questions from the exam board website and discuss with students how to tackle the question again using the drawing tools to write all over the exam paper. I can also use this app to import the results from a Socrative quiz  (email yourself the results from Socrative) and then discuss and again highlight good answers, poor answers vocabulary and grammar issues  with students.  You can also view websites within the app and annotate them again, perfect for going through exam papers.

The real magic with this app however is that I use the record feature of the app in order to record my every move and discussion using the app.  Once the lesson or session is finished I have a video of all the work that we have done and this can be easily shared with students via Google Classroom, iTunesU, a blog or VLE  which they can then use as part of their revision tool box at home.

Before I end this post one generic revision app which definitely deserves a mention is Gojimo. This app is broken down into school subjects then exam boards and then questions and is well worth a look. 

As with all edtech use don’t just use it for using its sake.  Edtech in the classroom only works well when it is well thought out and has real pedagogical purpose.   

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Technology As A Tool In The MFL Classroom

What does a lesson with iPads look like in the Modern Foreign Language classroom?

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We all know that every lesson is different and yes, in my classroom we do creative app smashing things and hugely creative things with our iPads but a normal, for want of a better word, lesson with iPads as a tool looks a bit like this…

Y10 French GCSE preparing for written controlled assessment about holidays.

O9:10 – Students enter the room collect an iPad from the trolley, log onto the Internet filter and scan a QR code displayed on the interactive white board. This is all perfectly routine and the students just get on with it. The code links to a pre prepared Google form containing questions about the verb aller. Whilst all this is happening I take the register.

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09:15 All the answers have appeared in my answers spreadsheet on Google docs. I quickly pass the Google add on, Flubaroo over the form and it marks it for me. From here I can see which students have a good knowledge of the verb Aller and which don’t. I share the lesson objectives with the class – we will be working on forming the future tense in French.

09:20 I share the results of the Google form quiz with the class and we discuss why we may need the verb Alber to form the future tense. I leave all questions unanswered and ask students to go to educanon.com

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09:25 Students connect to a “bulb” that I have created for them in Educanon.com. Educanon is a Web 2.0 tool that allows you to add questions to a video, the video pauses as students answer the questions. Y10 watch a YouTube clip about forming the near future tense in French and answer questions regarding the clip. I meanwhile, can monitor their answers on my laptop.

09:35 All students have finished the video exercise and we come together as a class to discuss what we have watched. I can see from the educanon feedback form that 90% of students have a good understanding of the grammar point.

09:40 Students are asked to create a short screecast using the Showme app explaining how to form and use the near perfect tense in French. They all log on to the same account but they could all log on individually and email you the results. Whilst the students are working on this I head over to the students who appear to not yet have fully grasped the concept for a quick chat to try and clarify things.

09:55 Students finish off their screencasts and email themselves a copy for their files. We have discussion about what we have learnt today. They plug their iPads into charge and are on their way at 10am

I now have some real tangible evidence, in the form of a screencast, as to how much the students have understood about the lesson. I spend an hour that evening watching them all and noting down misconceptions ready for discussion in the follow up lesson the next day.

We don’t always use iPads in my classroom, sometimes a pen and paper works just fine however, the beauty of the iPad or any other mobile device for that matter is the ability to be able to “observe” the actions of the students and feedback instantaneously, allowing us as teachers to correct mistakes and misconceptions quickly and easily. It also allows us to direct our help to the students that most need it and most importantly, the results can bring about some hugely interesting classroom discussions.
iPads are simply another classroom tool but used effectively and wisely they can have a huge affect on lesson outcomes and thereby learning in the classroom.

AR you ready for AR?

I posted this tweet at the end of my Y7 lesson today and it has to be said I was a pretty proud teacher, we had finally conquered AR – augmented reality.  I first came across the concept at the #ililc3 conference in 2013 and have always wanted to try it with a class since then but have never been brave enough.  This year though we have been lucky enough to have been given 19 iPads for use in or languages department so there really was no excuse.

Putting together your “magic picture” as we called them, isn’t really that tricky but the results are incredible.  My Y7 class are pretty switched on but I needed to be sure that they were reasonably proficient in the use of the iPads before we took on AR.  I think one of the mistakes we make as teachers is that we think that our students can effectively use mobile technology without us teaching them how to, this in my experience is a big mistake. Our students do use mobile tech but often at it’s most superficial level and often only for playing games, listening to music or using Facebook, so my advice would be get you class up to speed with the basics of iPaddery before you try something like this.

My students have just been studying personal descriptions in Spanish and we normally end this section by making a wanted poster, this seemed like the perfect project to get them working with Augmented Reality.  I used the app Aurasma which once you get going, is pretty straight forward to use.

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Firstly you need to set up an account, I set up a class account and all my students logged into it.

Secondly you need to create a  channel so that others can view the work of your students. Once that is all done it’s time to get creative 🙂

I began my lesson by giving my students a demonstration of how the Aurasma app worked   they were instantly transfixed, once I had their attention it was down to work.  We used the app Pic collage to help us create our “target image” (more of which later) which essentially was a wanted poster in Spanish.

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I like pic collage – it hits my 2 app requirements; intuitive to use and it gives great results or as I have been heard to say I like my apps to be simple and sexy!  Once they had completed their work they emailed their posters to me and I made hard copies on our lovely colour printer 🙂  It took the students about 20 mins to get to the stage.  I asked them to keep their work clear and unfussy  as I am lead to believe this helps the Aurasma app recognise the image more easily.

This gave the students a poster something like this..

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Students then recorded a video of themselves describing what they looked like in Spanish.  Once they had these 2 pieces of information they could then start to use the  Aurasma app.

The first thing students need to do is log into the app using the login details that you have previously set up. They access this by tapping the little A at the bottom of the screen then the far right icon on the next screen which looks a bit like a sun over 2 mountains.

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Once logged in students need to tap the + sign at the bottom of the screen so that they can add their video to the class channel.

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On this screen they need to tap device and the + in the top right hand corner they should then choose photo album and then select their video.  This is called the overlay and they should name it with their name and then hit finish.  They will go back to the create/choose overlay screen and here they should now select their video from the ones that appear on the screen. They should get a screen like this… from here they should tap select.

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They now need to capture the image by holding the iPad over their wanted poster.  They must make sure that the slider at the bottom turns green and then tap the purple camera button.  Their video will now appear over their picture on the iPad screen.  They should resize the video so that it covers their face and then hit the purple arrow on the bottom right hand corner of the screen.

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They are nearly done all that remains now is to name their aura make it public or private, tap the button so that it says  yes in response to add to a channel and then select the channel.

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Hit finish and they are done.

In order for other students or staff to be able to scan the pictures they need to download the Aurasma app search for your channel – like or follow it and then they should be able to see the  creations.

What did the students get out of this activity?

Firstly they greatly improved their iPad skills but that was not the main aim of this lesson. This lesson hits all the buttons.  Students got creative when using the pic collage which I think is really important in this very prescriptive world of education that we live in.  They also developed their written skills as I made my class write down their descriptions of themselves before they recorded.  They developed their speaking skills when making their videos.  They had to work collaboratively as there are not enough iPads in my classroom for one each but they also needed each others help to take photos and make their films.  Their work had a purpose as they know that it is going to be displayed for all to see in school and with the use of one simple app everyone will be able to see and hear their work too.  This activity was really successful and I’m glad I persevered when trying to figure out the app.

If you want to see how the app works search scan the QR code below using a QR code scanner app like i-Nigma.

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Do You Flubaroo? #ililc4

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I was lucky enough to be able to present at this year’s #ililc4 conference in Southampton which took place last weekend.

One of my sessions was about using the marking script Flubaroo.  This script automatically marks answers for google forms.  In this powerpoint I go through the process of creating a google form and then applying the Flubaroo scrip step by step.  I have found that multiple choice and text answers are the ones that work best with Flubaroo as it relies on your students’ answers matching exactly to the answer that you give Flubaroo.

It is also important to not and this is not in the powerpoint that one of your questions MUST be what is your name?  and if you want to email the test results back to your students you must have another question asking them for their email address.

Ensure that you tick the box when making your google form which says required question, this means that students have to have to put an answer in for each question.

Goggle forms are great for use when flipping the classroom or for setting vocabulary tests. You can now embed pictures and video into Google Forms so you can now easily set up listening activities and matching activities.  Have fun and happy Flubarooing!

Any questions just leave a comment or send me a tweet to @lancslassrach and I’ll try to help as best I can.