July 17, 2011
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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:
In the meantime you can access a pdf of the folder from the link below, hard copies can be ordered via the following email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
May 28, 2011
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Tips for creating a Digital Story: theme “My Holiday”
2nd School Visit for Routes into Languages Project
Last week’s visit to Trinity Catholic High School in Woodford to teach year 8 students Digital Storytelling was very successful. The students showed great enthusiasm for the project and seemed to grasp the concept of the digital story very well. A theme of “My School” was chosen for the French group so their teacher could send the stories to their exchange school in Bordeaux. The Spanish group could be a bit more creative with the theme “My Holiday”; groups created stories about a previous holiday or a dream trip; some chosing unusual destinations such as the moon.. very imaginative!
Improved Preparation and Materials
This time we had more language materials prepared, including a handout of useful phrases in French and Spanish. Through liaising with the teachers before the workshop we could assess the level of the students and ensure that they would cover the chosen themes; as a result they were already familiar with the language and vocabulary. The students had in fact been picked for their language ability; they had not yet chosen their GCSEs and their teachers were keen to encourage them to take up languages by involving them in innovative activities such as this.
Despite my rusty French I was able to help correct the students’ scripts; only one French teacher was available. The afternoon’s Spanish group was well catered for with myself and two Spanish teachers on hand to correct scripts before recording began. Most of the students were very willing to write everything in the target language and seemed to enjoy recording their voices. I was particularly impressed by their level, in particular the Spanish group’s accents.
The above slideshow has some screen shots from the students’ stories.
I’ll let the students say the rest: (quotes from their feedback forms)
- “I liked linking Spanish to ICT and learning Spanish in a new way”
- “It was fun and it improved our Spanish vocab”
- “I liked that we got to work in groups and help each other improve our pronunciations”
- “It opens up more ideas and information about languages”
- “It showed me the fun side of languages”
- “Now I know that I can speak French and that it wasn’t hard”
- “Working together improved my confidence when speaking Spanish”
- “You find out that you can use the language to do lots of different things”
Londres, espacio urbano. Camden Town from Spanish in Motion on Vimeo.
Since changing the focus of our Digital Storytelling workshops, we have had several requests to deliver them in secondary schools around London. This workshop was originally designed to be delivered to teachers but we are now delivering it directly to pupils. Here at the LSE Language Centre, Digital Storytelling forms part of the assessed coursework for our French and Spanish Degree students.
Our first school visit was on 22nd March when myself and a colleague visited Dormers High School in Southall and delivered a workshop to two groups of Year 9 students. These visits are part of the Routes into Languages project, which is a consortium of universities which aims to promote the take up of languages in schools.
After our introduction and demonstration the students got straight on with the task of creating their own digital stories, with both of us on hand to supervise and monitor the groups. Despite only a couple of students having previous experience of the program (Movie Maker) most were able to use it with minimal supervision; it was the story structure they needed most support with. As always there were some technical issues but both workshops went very well; perhaps the second was smoother as we could adjust the structure and solve the technical hitches in light of the first session. Each session ended with a showcase of the students’ digital stories.
Feedback from the teachers was good; one suggestion was to have extra support and materials on the language side as students need more help with this and less with the technology, something we we will bear in mind for future sessions. The programme will continue in the summer term so we plan to develop and improve the format with the next workshop scheduled for 16th May.
In case you are wondering what a digital story looks like, above is an example made by one of our Spanish Degree students.
February 4, 2011
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Yesterday I lead a Digital Storytelling (DST) workshop for some English language students. This is the first time I have given this workshop to students – normally I give it as a training workshop for teachers so they can use DST as part of their courses. The Digital Story is created by choosing and uploading some photos, recording a commentary then adding some transitions to make the story more visual. An animated photo story really. This can be done on MovieMaker, Imovie, Powerpoint or online programmes such as Show Beyond. I normally use MovieMaker as it is easily available to all who use a pc and is a very simple programme.
DST can be a very effective tool for language learning and at the LSE Language Centre it forms part of the assessed coursework of the Spanish and French students. It is good for improving pronunciation and intonation as the student usually records their commentary several times until they are happy with it. It also increases confidence in the spoken language.
The English students were very enthusiastic and were in fact so keen that is was difficult to finish the workshop in an hour and a half. I was surprised that they wanted to work in groups as I had planned for each student to work on an individual story. I believed this would be more benificial to their language skills as they would have the maximum time to record their commentary. However, I found that the groups spent quite a lot of time discussing and planning their story, thereby using their language skills throughout the whole process not just at the commentary recording stage.
We have another DST workshop planned for March, this time in a Secondary school in Southall as part of a Language Enrichment Day. This workshop will probably be quite different as the students will be younger and their target language will be Spanish or French.