Language Log

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VLE Languages User Group

On 16th March I attended the VIth Annual Conference of the above group at Coventry University. There were some interesting presentations on recent language projects, some entirely online and some involving blended learning. Gavin Dudeney, a former EFL teacher, now e-learning consultant specialising in technology enhanced language learning, gave a particularly good plenary talk on “New Literacies, teachers and learners.” He explored the meaning of digital literacy and discussed the implications it has for teaching and learning. In the afternoon session he gave an excellent workshop on using the web for language teaching. Below are some of the websites he recommended and some ideas on how to use them for language learning activities:

http://www.wordle.net/Blog Wordle

I am familiar with this site already, in fact I used it to create the logo for this blog! The idea is to input text and wordle generates a word cloud. Class activity: Vocabulary exercises; if you cut and paste an extract from a text, the resulting word cloud can be used to introduce the text to the students. You can see an example on the left, I input the definition for “Blog”; you can click on it to see a larger version.

http://photofunia.com/

TPhotoFuniahis site can be used to manipulate photos; upload your own photo and the programme will merge it with an existing photo with some amusing results. Such as this one of me on the  cover of the Oberserver magazine!  Click to enlarge it. Class activity: students prepare a series of manipulated photos and their partners  imagine their life story.

http://www.wherethehellismatt.com/

A particularly good one for language teaching. This is a short film made by someone called Matt who filmed himself doing a silly dance in every (yes every!) country in the world. Class activity: students write down as many countries as they can in two minutes, then watch the film and write down the countries they recognise and why (eg the landmarks, the people, clothing).

Simple film animations: http://www.dfilm.com/live/home.html

Students can design short animations and input a script; good for beginners and younger learners.

Collaborative multimedia slide shows: http://voicethread.com/

Can be used to make audio slideshows, digital stories or simple movies. Users can upload their “voice threads” and comment on others.

Simple podcasting : http://www.podomatic.com/login

An example of student podcasting can be found in the following link; students learning English had to record a podcast entitled “I didn’t do my homework because…” http://aprilfoolsday.podomatic.com/

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