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Embedding technology within MFL teaching to support professional development and enhance pupil attainment – by Joe Dale.

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At this year’s Language Show, I’ll be giving two practical talks on how technology can support teaching and learning in and out of the languages classroom. The first is “Harnessing the #mfltwitterati and curating digital resources for professional development”. This presentation focuses on the power of social media for providing language teachers with free and limitless classroom support from around the world. I will explain how everyone can keep up to date and informed about all aspects of the teaching profession in a time when schools have stretched budgets for releasing staff for training. Social media communities have proved to be a lifeline for many for keeping up-to-date and refreshed with new approaches and subject specific research. Thousands of language teachers use Twitter and Facebook professionally to share ideas with like-minded colleagues about classroom pedagogy, evidence-based practices and the latest government initiatives. One of the challenges though is how to best filter the never ending flow of tweets or posts and save ideas you particularly like in an organised way. You’ll be pleased to know, I’ll be suggesting some free web tools and apps which allow you to collect links you come across on any internet connected device and store them online so they can be revisited at a later date.

 

For example Flipboard lets you store web links in personalised magazines which can be helpful for sharing independent research around a topic or theme. Wakelet is particularly useful for archiving tweets you find interesting or Twitter chats such as #mflchat on Wednesday evenings. Google Keep is perfect for making to do lists and combining with Google Docs for lesson planning synced across devices. I also plan to use Mentimeter to ask the audience about their favourite ways of curating web links as well as their thoughts on the importance of technology training as part of their professional development.

 

My second Language Show talk is “Quick wins with technology in the languages classroom”. This will showcase a range of practical suggestions for free iOS apps and web tools learners can use to practise their language skills in new and creative ways. I will demonstrate each idea in turn live and will be asking for some audience participation too! We’ll start with the iPhone app Talkee which lets you create a two image slideshow and record a voiceover while quickly switching back and forth between images. I’ll ask for volunteers to have their photo taken and then for them to make up a dialogue up on the spot while swiping back and forth and exporting the results as a video.

 

We’ll then explore the new audio recording feature in Padlet for promoting speaking and listening skills and the iOS app Clips for creating live multilingual subtitles for your videos in real time. Next, I’ll show everyone the iOS and Android app TextingStory which allows you to write a text message conversation and save it as a video encouraging learners to practise their writing skills in a familiar context. Following that, I’ll produce some narrated animations using Superhero Comic Book Maker and Keynote. I’ll show how students can channel their creativity and gain ownership of their personalised multimedia work. Finally, we’ll have a look at Flipgrid for publishing student videos and enabling feedback.

 

I look forward to seeing you all at The Language Show as well as checking out your highlights via social media.

 

Joe Dale is an independent languages consultant from the UK who works with a range of organisations such as Network for Languages, ALL, The British Council, the BBC, Skype, Microsoft and The Guardian. He was host of the TES MFL forum for six years, former SSAT Languages Lead Practitioner, a regular conference speaker and recognised expert on technology and language learning.

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