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Category Archives: Conferences

Routes into Languages Resource Folder Launch

From training secondary school pupils to training secondary school teachers.. Rather a different experience but equally rewarding. The occasion was the Launch of the Routes into Languages Resource Folder for language teachers; a resource pack with cross curricular activities for learning languages, which have all been delivered to schools in the London area. Included was our Digital Storytelling project, which you can see above. The pack includes outlines of each activity, and supporting resources, including detailed class plans and handouts, will soon be available on the Routes website:

http://www.routesintolanguages.ac.uk/london/resources

In the meantime you can access a pdf of the folder from the link below, hard copies can be ordered via the following email: routes@soas.ac.uk

Access the Routes into Languages Resource Folder

The workshop itself was only an hour long, yet all the participants were able to produce digital stories which were shown at the end of the session. Most participants worked in groups of 2 or 3 and recorded commentaries in a variety of languages, including German, French, Mandarin and Arabic. They seemed enthusiatic about the potential of Digital Storytelling for language learning and expressed interest in trying it out with their students.

The rest of the day included other language workshops, as well as a showcase of activities to promote the Resource Folder and provide attendees with a chance to see how the activities within the folder can be put into practice.

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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/

Why Languages Matter

Do languages matter?

Above is a short film which was shown at the beginning of the event “Why Languages Matter”, hosted by the LSE Language Centre on 8th March. The footage was taken by a group of students, who went around the campus one day to interview students about the languages they spoke and why languages were important to them. I edited the footage and made it into a short film.

The event was attended by around 80 people, both students, teachers and language professionals from Universities and other organisations. A round table discussion on the importance of language learning was held and the panel discussed issues such as the following:

  • Are monolingual Brits at a disadvantage?
  • Is English really enough?
  • Should a language qualification be compulsory for university entry and be re-introduced in all schools until 16?
  • Which are the languages for the new century?
  • Is language learning just about employability?
  • What do we mean by intercultural communication?
  • Is the future Multilingual?

If, like myself, you believe in the importance of language learning, here is some information on a new campaign to promote languages, which has just been launched:

http://www.speaktothefuture.org/

Storytelling Without Limits – Conference

This Friday 11th February, the Conference “Storytelling Without Limits” is taking place at LSE. It is being organised by the LSE Language Centre, the University of Westminister and Routes into Languages. The conference combines both the Traditional forms of Storytelling and the Digital forms of Storytelling and will consist of presentations by academics and teachers, interactive sessions by Storytellers and performances by schoolchildren. It promises to be a fascinating and inspiring day!

There is more information below:

Conference – Storytelling Without Limits and the Pleasures of Language Learning and Practice:

http://www2.lse.ac.uk/publicEvents/events/2011/20110211t1000vLSE.aspx

http://www.routesintolanguages.ac.uk/london/events/1884