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Technology in

Modern Foreign Languages

A practitioner’s perspective

Edited by José Picardo

Technology in Modern Foreign Languages

Acknowledgements 3
Foreword 4
I Using Images in the MFL classroom 5
Alice Ayel
II Videoconferencing in the classroom 7
Suzi Bewell
III Collaborate, facilitate Educate 9
Alex Blagona
IV Tools to get pupils talking 11
Helena Butterfield
V German: OFF the curriculum but ON the VLE 14
Mary Cooch
VI The power of RSS for 21st century educators 16
Joe Dale
VII A word or two about Wordle 19
Saira Ghani
VIII Resources: keeping them real and keeping them together 20
Andrea Henderson
IX Google Maps in the MFL classroom 23
Simon Howells
X Supporting assessment for learning 25
Isabelle Jones
XI Simple but effective 26
Samantha Lunn
XII Mobile phones in the MFL classroom 29
Dominic McGladdery
XIII Mrs Perkins’s journey into the WWW 31
Marie-France Perkins
XIV Microblogging: making the case for social networking in education 32
José Picardo
XV Looking back and moving forward 36
Amanda Salt
XVI Really understanding culture 38
Clare Seccombe
XVII Enhancing learning in the MFL Classroom 40
Lisa Stevens
Contributors 43

Technology in Modern Foreign Languages


My most sincere thanks go to each of the contributors to this collection of articles who have
selflessly taken time out from their busy teaching jobs to collaborate in this project and share
their experiences in using technology in the modern foreign languages classroom.

All photographs are either our own or have been used under a Creative Commons licence, in
which case they have been attributed accordingly. The cover photo is courtesy of Erica
Marshall of

Technology in Modern Foreign Languages


Originally published as a series of blog posts titled Technology in Modern Foreign Languages,
this collection of articles explores how teachers are successfully incorporating the use of new
technologies into their classroom practice with a focus on enhancing teaching and learning.

Technologies such as blogging, microblogging, web 2.0, wikis, sound recording and
videoconferencing have all found their way into our classrooms and harnessing them
effectively is at the heart of 21st century pedagogy.

The original articles can be read at

Technology in Modern Foreign Languages

Using images in the MFL classroom

MFL teachers have always used print them or use them as by Alice Ayel
images to teach their students new flashcards.
items of vocabulary. However, it Already 52 members have joined
can be very time consuming when this group and you can find
planning a lesson to find the right pictures from different countries
picture matching the word we want such as shops in France, Spain or
to teach. Nowadays, the internet is Germany so that pupils can
there to help us save time: actually see what shops are like in
different countries. To make the
search even easier and quicker,
I was introduced to Flickr in
teachers looking for a specific
January 2009 by attending a free
topic can add a post in Discussion
online course on exploring images
with what they are looking for and
in the 21st Century Classroom
other group members will help
organized by EVO. Flickr is a
them in their search.
website where you can store, sort,
search and share your photos Big Huge Labs
online. It is free to up to 2 videos Big Huge Labs is a free website
and 100MB worth of photos each where you can create posters,
calendar month. You can edit your puzzles, albums, covers, games
photos and make them look nicer, and more using photos from your
add comments and captions using computer or photos from your
Picnik. You can also search Flickr or Facebook account. For
pictures taken by other members example, the aim of a Year 8
of Flickr by entering keywords. French lesson was to introduce
In addition, you can join different different food from different
groups where people share similar countries and to create a nice
interests. I joined two groups: menu which would include the
Images4Education and Great words students had learnt during
Quotes about Lear ning and the lesson. First I looked for
Change and then it occurred to me pictures of different types of
to create a group for language restaurants and then of different
teachers called Images to Teach types of food and I favourited them
Languages to share or use photos on my Flickr account. Then I
or videos to teach either a word, a created two mosaics with the two
conversation or a grammar point. sets of photos using Mosaic Maker
Instead of looking in the entire on Big Huge Labs. In less than 15
web, all the pictures are in one one minutes, I ended up with on one
place tagged (i.e. catalogued using hand  8 photos of 8 different
key words) according to topics – restaurants and on the other hand
animals, places in town, shops, a set of  16 different types of food.
etc. Teachers can then copy and My students were teamed up into
paste the pictures into their groups of 3 or 4 and were tasked
presentations, or download them, with looking at the mosaics  in

Technology in Modern Foreign Languages

order to decide the type of talked about the food specialities in website, for example, or save their
restaurant (French, Chinese, each country. Students had a grid url links. I used this fantastic tool
Mexican….) and then the to fill in and then had to create a ID with a mixed ability group in year 9
nationality of each type of food and card about a country of their and obtained fantastic results.
whether it was a starter, main choice. They had to create a photo book
course or dessert. In teams, they S i n c e I c o u l d n ’t p a u s e t h e about their last holidays. First, I
then created their own menus. The slideshow to focus on each showed them a photo book I
photos were “real”, they were not picture, I favourited each picture on created and explained to them
clip-arts and this helped to engage my Flickr account so we could how it worked. Then, students
the students in useful discussions have a closer look at them. went into the ICT room and
about the topic at hand. Students were engaged, they created their photo books. At the
especially liked talking about the end of the lesson, I asked them to
countries they visited like Spain or send their work to my email
PHRASR is an interactive web-
where they had family like Ireland. address. At the end of the day, my
based application that uses Flickr
It helped me show the rest of mailbox was full of BOOKR
images to illustrate the phrases
Europe to my students in a messages!
that users submit. It is part of
different, perhaps more positive I then embedded the best photo
Pimpampum, a website with other
light. books on the school blog.
applications which make the most
Students were on task throughout
of Flickr. PHRASR allows you to BOOKR
the lesson very busy creating their
create a slideshow from words or BOOKR is another web-based
photo album and at the end they
sentences, although, unfortunately, application from Pimpampum and
were very pleased with themselves
currently only in English. it allows you to create photo books
because they had some ICT work
You type a word or a sentence in a using Flickr images. It is very
to view and show off. All of these
box, PHRASR then browses straightforward to use because
tools were big time savers for me
through the pictures on Flickr and students don’t have to sign in or
and helped me delivered
finds a set of pictures matching the register, so they can start straight
successful lessons where students
word or sentence you typed. You away. There are no fancy designs,
were engaged.
then just choose the best picture. I backgrounds, sounds, you just
Of course, I came across all those
still managed to make relevant use add pictures and captions. Some
fantastic tools thanks to my
of this fantastic web tool when I might argue it could become
Personal Learning Network thanks
introduced European countries to boring but I found students didn’t
to whom I have become a better
my year 8 class. I entered the get too distracted by those effects
teacher as well as learner!
names of European countries in and could really focus on the task,
E n g l i s h : A u s t r i a , G e r m a n y, which was to create a photo book
Photo credits:
Ireland…. and I had a slideshow in another language.
with amazing pictures from Flickr In order to find and add pictures, 3360407169/
made in a matter of minutes. I students enter keywords or tags in
showed the slideshow to my class the tag box at the bottom of the 2941451176/
and asked them to translate the screen, they can then choose a
countries into French. picture from Flickr. Finally, when
It was the starting point of a students finished their photo
discussion about each country: books, they published it by
where it was on the map, what the sending me an email. I then got a 3016286128/
official language was, what you link in my mailbox to their photo
could visit and since we had learnt books and I could either copy and
previously about food, we also paste the code to the school

Technology in Modern Foreign Languages

Video conferencing in the classroom

Back in early January 2009 I was by Suzi Bewell
contacted by Sophie Herblot, a
young French headmistress who had
stumbled upon my French teaching
and learning blog. She got the feeling
that I was quite technically aware (not
quite true back then) and wanted to
know if there was the possibility of
starting up a partnership with a
special focus on video conferencing.
The French government are currently
ploughing quite a lot of money into
technology and web conferencing in
particular. Sophie is lucky enough to
teach in one of the 3 pilot
organisations in her region.
Madame Herblot teaches in a
Primary school in Bantouzelle near
Cambrai, in Northern France, and The next week I set about Friday the 20th March 2009 was a
over the next few weeks we spent downloading Skype onto the most memorable day because we
a lot of time on MSN and email Primary school’s laptop and managed to connect with our
getting to know more about each despite warnings about firewalls French friends and I experienced
other and, more importantly, and   LEA internet security, Sophie the best French lesson of my
sorting out the finer details of our a n d I m a n a g e d t o c o n n e c t career to date. A light bulb
“projet visioconférence”. Within a classroom to classroom which was moment when learning takes place
few days, we had both installed  even more exciting and meant that for a real purpose, in front of a real
Skype and discussed ideas for a plan was coming together. audience and where pupils are fully
what we might explore in class Our first lesson was planned for engaged and excited about the
(with a focus on speaking) and Friday 13th March – pupils would lesson, quite unaware that learning
were all ready for our first “essai”. spend the lesson introducing each is actually taking place because
We were both keen to have a try in other and using their knowledge of they are having so much fun – and
class as soon as possible. numbers and the alphabet in real French kids are clapping at
In early February I bought a French and English to fill out them and implying that their French
webcam ready for the big day and p e r s o n a l d e t a i l s . S a d l y, f o r is actually not bad! Awesome.
the following day we set about technical reasons beyond our A few weeks later, still extremely
trying to connect from my home in control, Skype failed to work and excited by the first successful live
York to Sophie at school in France. a l l c o n c e r n e d w e r e v e r y hook up, we took the topic of
We were both very nervous and disappointed and frustrated… but clothes and colours as our focus.
extremely excited as you will hear if not deterred in the slightest! The French pupils had posted us
you have a listen to the short audio Sophie and I were determined to cardboard cut outs of Pierre and
clip. try again the very next week. Marie along with clothes in a
variety of colours.

Technology in Modern Foreign Languages

We had to listen to their and proud. Our English teaching awareness. The grand finale to the
descriptions in French and show adviser was here and filmed it all. lesson was a bilingual Christmas
our understanding by dressing the He said it was a very good medley of “Vive le vent” and “Jingle
dolls appropriately. Much fun was example of preparation and Bells”. This is what Sophie had to
had by all. organisation and he congratulated say:
We were then treated to a rendition both of us for our work!! Waouh!! “Je suis super contente de ce
of “Hello it’s me!” an English The summer term was quite hectic qu’on a fait vendredi! Les enfants
version of a song they had viewed and sadly we didn’t get chance to sont emballés, Ils ont a-do-ré.”
on our blog called “Bonjour, c’est connect again so in June we At a recent MFL Show and Tell
moi!” (all about parts of the body). decided to write letters to keep the event in London, I stated that I
Much to our surprise, they had contact going and to focus on would encourage anyone to try out
translated it into English and reading some basic English / web conferencing as it is by far the
performed it to us “en live” and French. best thing that has happened to
with actions. My pupils were full of In September the Year 6 class had my teaching in the last 11 years.
praise and also amazed at how moved onto secondary school and
great the pupils’ English was. I took over teaching a Year 5 class Photo Credit:
Again there was lots of cheering at the same school. On December Courtesy of Sophie Herblot
and clapping – what better 4th they had their first taste of web
motivator for learning a foreign conferencing and absolutely loved
language! This is what Sophie had it! We sang the alphabet in French
to say: to the tune of ten green bottles and
Once more, it was wonderful spent most of the lesson focusing
today!!! Pupils were very happy on cognates and phonetic

Technology in Modern Foreign Languages

Collaborate, facilitate, educate

by Alex Blagona

Whether we care to accept it or successful, and certainly more the advantages that this form of
not, a great part of our job as memorable. interaction now presents. Students
teachers is the performance in the My main use of ICT in the last who spend seemingly endless
classroom. I’m not talking about couple of years has involved the amounts of time online are going to
‘performance’ in the sense of use of  wikis to allow students to be attracted by learning that
performance management, but collaborate with each other and to matches up with their interests,
more the performance in an almost make them clearer on learning, that they see as accessible, that
show-business sense of the word. targets and to make them feel they can relate to, and which can
The students are our audience, active participants in their learning. also be fun.
and schools now have to be ever We are, without doubt, working To that end I set up a wiki, using
more responsive to their views. and living in an age where – there are other
Education and lear ning can technology is king, and where wiki providers out there – firstly for
actually be entertaining, and virtually all our students have A Level students to help them with
teachers are under increasing created an online presence for creative writing, essay preparation
pressure to deliver lessons that themselves. and speaking test practice, and
engage students, as well bringing Social networks are now de rigeur also for my GCSE students to
a smile to their faces. Lessons that for the 21st century youngster, and prepare them for their oral exams
are fun and that tap into the teachers have had to become and to enable them to monitor their
interests of students are more rapidly aware of how to harness own progress towards the exam.

Technology in Modern Foreign Languages

Like all things that are considered Using stimulus cards which were Wikis have really engaged the
‘different’, I was confident in how it freely available online, we worked students with whom we have used
worked and benefited the learners, in a carousel, where one student them. They have been allowed to
and had support from pupils, and answered the stimulus card personalise their pages, and after
many of my teaching colleagues. In q u e s t i o n s , a n o t h e r w ro t e a two years of using them, they have
May of last year, however, we got selection of follow up questions, become accustomed to leaving
the dreaded call from  Ofsted, another student prepared and comments on each other’s pages,
telling us that we would be recorded spoken answers using  and it has served to create an
inspected not as a whole school, Audacity, and another student atmosphere of trust and
but just our department, with a reviewed the performance of the confidence amongst the class. The
special focus on our use of ICT in spoken answer. Although the sites have been impeccably self-
teaching languages. This was the logistics scared me, it all worked to policed and because the nature of
litmus test for what we had been plan, and every student ended up the wiki means that I can check
doing, and to see if our methods completing each task, with all who has done what and at what
and innovations matched the results on the wiki, so that each time, the participants have not
thinking of the inspectors. student could see what every other been tempted to vandalise anyone
When the inspection report came student had done. else’s work.
back, we were vindicated: The second lesson involved Year Our school, as a  Specialist
10, who were having a go at telling Language College, is also
How well is ICT used by the story of a dream holiday. We responsible for managing the
teachers and students to had worked on a writing frame in Gifted and Talented Linguists’
improve language learning? the previous lesson, and they had project for the county of Suffolk.
just completed their introductions Bringing together fifty Year 11
This is outstanding…the wiki on their individual pages. I was students in what is a very rural
system enables students to able to provide individual targeted county is a tough task, and
store their work online and staff feedback on each student’s work, creating a wiki for the project has
to check and mark it. It also and also ensure that pupils set enabled the participants to share
enables students to
themselves three achievable ideas and language, and to be
communicate rapidly with staff
targets for themselves to imaginative irrespective of their
about language learning.
complete. I gave each pupil a wiki- geographical location.
Ofsted Report, May 2009.
buddy, another member of the
class of a similar ability who would Photo credit:
I set up a couple of lessons for the
compare targets, and would review
inspector to observe, both using 3675852330/
outcomes at the end of the lesson.
the technology of wikis to have an
This helped the pupils to spot
impact on the learning of the
common errors in their work, to
students. The first was an A Level
avoid setting unreachable targets,
French lesson with Year 13, who
and to remain challenged by the
were in the middle of preparing for
task at hand.
their speaking tests.

Technology in Modern Foreign Languages

Tools to get pupils talking

by Helena Butterfield

I am a keen user of new confidence to go ahead and give it music with nobody knowing what’s
technologies in my teaching, in a try. really going on.
particular of giving my pupils the With this in mind, I find that new With this in mind I’d like to write
opportunity to create with new technologies provide an ideal a b o u t m y To p To o l s f o r
tools, as I find it a truly motivating opportunity for pupils to practice encouraging pupils to talk. I did a
experience for them and me. speaking the language they are short presentation on this topic at
Them, because they can see their learning without the feeling that TeachMeetNE09-02 a couple of
high-quality work immediately and they are doing it in front of the weeks ago and this post gives me
me because I am always amazed whole class, whilst also giving the opportunity to talk in more
at what they can produce in such a them the chance to reflect on what detail about some of the tools and
short space of time and how easily they hear and think about how how I use them. I will give
they manage using what I consider they can improve and move onto examples of how I have used them
to be such advanced technology. the next level. with my classes – not all wonderful
The skill that I am particularly keen In addition having recordings of examples – but I think they give a
on developing with my pupils is themselves speaking means that flavour of what you could do and
speaking. Such an essential skill, they can then put themselves onto hopeful you will see ways in which
when learning a language but one their iPods, Mp3 Players or you could do better!
that pupils really seem to struggle mobiles and truly have a mobile Firstly, and most importantly you
with in terms of having the learning experience – obviously need to know what you need in
opportunity to do it and having the whilst pretending to listen to cool order to record your pupils. There

Technology in Modern Foreign Languages

are several things you could use. Having learnt from experience I classroom. It’s amazing how easily
When I record my classes would advise that pupils record they picked up how to do
chanting / practising in a group I themselves first and only then let everything – even exporting the
use a  USB microphone connected them play on the Voki website… files as .wav files. I told each group
to my computer and record using otherwise they don’t get the to nominate a techie who was
the free Audacity program. If I want important language bit done. Once responsible for the computer side
small groups to record one another complete, pupils can then email of things and it worked really well.
I use an EasiSpeak microphone you the Voki so that you can then They recorded a wonderful rap,
which is really easy to use (even I display them on a blog or wiki. explaining about Haben: ich,
can use it!) and records straight Here is an example of how my du,er…
away into  .mp3 format. I’ve also pupils used Voki in an   eTwinning
Make a podcast
recently been given a digital voice Project: Let’s Blog.
Make a podcast - A key feature of
recorder which can do the same
Voicethread getting pupils to be able to speak a
Voicethread – This is a fantastic language is getting them to listen
In addition, still in my classroom, if
site to get pupils talking to it as much as possible. This can
I’d like individuals to record
spontaneously. You can upload a help them improve their accents
themselves, I’ve asked them to use
photo or a document and then and give them the confidence to
the voice recorders on their
others can comment on it. They try it too. A really good way to do
mobiles. This can prove particularly
can either type or then can record this is to create a podcast so that
useful to develop listening skills, as
their comments. This is great to they can download sound files that
we recorded ourselves and then
get pupils preparing for their you create and put them onto their
gave the recording to a partner for
presentations for GCSE Speaking Mp3 Players or iPods so that they
them to listen to and note the main
Assessments. can take their language work
I used Voicethread to encourage wherever they go. I’ve also
If I’m lucky enough to be in the ICT
pupils to talk about a picture of a recorded my classes doing some
suite, I use the traditional
house, giving adjectives, opinions choral repetition and turned that
headphones with microphones
etc. Here is our Voicethread. into a podcast. You could really do
attached and ask pupils to record
anything as a podcast: chants,
themselves using Audacity, which Songsmith
raps, vocabulary for tests,
is straight forward (although you Songsmith – This is my current
grammar explanations… they’re
might need to give them a quick favourite. It’s a great program that
particularly good for the auditory
lesson in how to do this.) adds a backing track to what you
learners! To publish my podcasts I
So, what are my top tools to get record. You can choose the style of
use Podomatic, a free podcasting
pupils talking? the track and it picks up the
platform. I currently run two
rhythm of the words you say. It’s
Voki podcasts that have been
fantastic for getting pupils to make
Voki – This is a lovely site where particularly useful for my Year 7s:
up raps and rhymes to help
pupils can create talking avatars. Langwitch Radio (German) and
remember vocabulary or verbs. I
It’s really easy to use and pupils Radio Langwitch (French).
got my Year 8 group to make up
can add their own voices either by
Haben raps. I put my laptop at the Make a slidecast
recording in Audacity and
back of my room, gave them a Make a slidecast – The next step
uploading the sound file, can
quick tutorial and then let groups on from a podcast really, is a
record directly from the site or even
do the recordings while we did a slidecast. To make a slidecast, I
phone and leave a recording.
carousel activity in the main

Technology in Modern Foreign Languages

use Slideshare, which is really family sat round the computer begin, you’ll find all kinds of
simple and it gives you step-by- practising new language that has amazing ways to encourage your
step instructions. This is essentially been learnt…truly involving pupils to develop their speaking
a slideshow with sound. So, for everyone in the learning! This has skills. These are just a few,
example if you introduce some worked particularly well with some relatively straight forward ways of
new language with a PowerPoint in phonics work that I did  with my getting pupils talking… if I can do
class you could have you class Year 7s earlier this year : Les Jolly it, anyone can!
doing the repetition and turn it into Phoniques.
a slidecast so that they can re-visit My final pieces of advice would be Photo Credit:
it at home. I envisage my classes to start small and simple and then José Picardo

going home and having the whole see where it takes you. Once you

Technology in Modern Foreign Languages

German: OFF the curriculum but ON

the VLE by Mary Cooch

My degree is actually in French

with Norwegian. Mindful that there
isn’t much call for Norwegian
teachers in the North West of
England, I did my PGCE in French
and German. When I was offered a
job at my current school (the only
job I’ve ever had) I was asked if I
would mind, in a full timetable of
French, just teaching one hour a
week German as a favour. I
agreed, and somehow during the
ensuing 24 years I ended up in
charge of German despite myself.
In recent years it’s become even
harder than normal to motivate emphasis on games (it was a club, We also tried a bit of blue
most students to learn German or after all!). The only requirement to screening – well, ok; it was a blue
opt for it at  GCSE. When the only join was that the children accessed sheet I stuck to my whiteboard
other Germanist in the department our club page on the VLE and did with blu-tak but it worked!
retired and two keen new MFL  the activities there in the days Moviemaker has a plugin to enable
NQTs arrived with Spanish as their between meetings. you to bluescreen, which is OK but
specialism, it seemed a good time I set up the page (Moodle calls not great, so we ended up using
to change departmental policy: we them “courses”) in weekly sections Serif Movie X3 from the school
would offer Spanish alongside with the resources we’d used in network – very cheap and highly
French in the main curriculum, with class; practice tasks to consolidate recommended.
German as an added extra. the grammar, and home works The onus was very much on them
Rather than bemoan the loss of a which they had to send in to me to to take their learning further – and,
language I never actually intended mark online before the next club in fact, developing their
to teach, or worry that those few session. We used so-called  independence would stand two of
students showing an interest in SCORM compliant games from the pupils in good stead the
German would suffer as a Contentgenerator and following year when they opted to
consequence, I saw it as a great Linguascope which meant that do German GSCE. Two pupils and
opportunity to use our   VLE –  while the pupils thought they were one teacher was considered not
Moodle – as a vehicle for delivering playing games, the VLE was saving economically viable to run in
the bulk of the learning. their scores. school time – so, once more, I
In Key Stage 3 we offered a one Club members used Audacity to turned to Moodle.
hour a week after school German record themselves having I taught two girls GSCE German
club to Years 8 and 9 – the only conversations and then used Crazy for one hour after school every
face to face experience of German Talk to put funny faces to the week, using another Moodle
the children would have. We voices – then I embedded the course to keep us in touch
focused on oral work with a great videos on our Moodle club page. between times. They asked me

Technology in Modern Foreign Languages
questions via a private discussion situation! Despite that, I still worried arrive is that they will be playing
forum; they kept their own notes in last summer on results day. Could some games on our Moodle for an
personal wikis on the course page; we really get good grades on one hour and that they will leave having
I uploaded sample speaking test hour a week plus Moodle? I learned something they never
presentations as .mp3; they seriously misjudged the girls and knew before. As it’s billed as a
uploaded their efforts to me as feel very bad about it. I predicted a “Mystery Moodle” session, I
assignments . B and a C. They got an A* and a B obviously cannot tell you what they
Vocabulary and grammar were respectively… do and what they then rush home
tested by the –now totally free – This year I’ve passed the German to continue with on our VLE… But
Hotpotatoes and Moodle’s inbuilt mantle onto a colleague, as I’m isn’t it fortunate how German has
Quiz module. Both these allow you focusing pretty much full time on so many cognates to build
to include video, sound and Moodle. However, I’m involved in confidence in young learners?
images to brighten up the Primary Liaison and Year 5s from
exercises. They will mark the work our feeder schools have been Photo Credit:
for you and record the grades in visiting us for a “fun session using José Picardo

Moodle ‘s mark book- a win-win our VLE” All they know when they

Technology in Modern Foreign Languages

The power of RSS for 21st century

educators by Joe Dale

I’ve always believed that ICT the latest news, the information your blog. Basically, you take the
should not be used for the sake of can come to you and be read all in audio podcast RSS feed which you
it, but only when it enhances the same place through an RSS could get from say a website like
traditional methodology. One of the reader. This seems to save a lot of Podomatic, which gives you
highlights of the noughties for me time and improve productivity as a 500MB of space for free and you
was the discovery of RSS and how result. can just upload your podcasts on
it can be used in so many ways to However, RSS can do so much to there. That will then generate
nurture one’s personal learning more than just that. Below, I plan the embed code that you need to
network. RSS stands for Really to share with you some of the post the player on your website.
Simple Syndication, which is gems I have discovered by reading Essentially, this will allow others to
basically a delivery mechanism for my feeds in the last few years and I listen to all of your episodes in the
subscribing to frequently updated encourage you to try some of the same place on your blog rather
content on Web 2.0 tools such as ideas out for yourself. than having to subscribe to the
blogs, podcasts and wikis, etc. The first idea is a site called information. They can just go to
In simpler terms this means that Podcast Pickle and if you have got your blog and press play on the
instead of remembering to visit your own podcast you can create individual episode and every time
your favourite websites to find out a player which you can then put on you update a new episode it will

Technology in Modern Foreign Languages
appear on the blog. That’s the changed which is a fantastic tip I to Google Reader. So it makes it
great thing about RSS, it’s found out from a great podcast easier to find useful links online for
dynamic. called Podcasters’ Emporium. topics you’re interested in and it’s a
Another idea I have come across Episode 17, which is called fantastic way of researching for up
with RSS is Feedburner and in Feeding your audience, has great to date information which comes
particular Feedburner chicklets, information not just about to you instead of you having to go
which are the little bits of code that Feedburner, but RSS feeds in to it, as it were to find it which
you put on your blog which then general. saves a lot of time.
tell other people how many people Another tip I would give about RSS RSS feeds are also a great way to
are reading or have subscribed to feeds is in relation to YouTube. keep in touch with the core group
the RSS feed that you’ve created. Searching for content on YouTube of people that you follow onfpr
This is great because you know can be very time-consuming. example, Twitter. Twitter is a great
how many of your blog’s readers However, it is possible to create an way of creating your own personal
are subscribing. You don’t actually RSS feed to display any recent clip learning network. The
know how many people are just which has been tagged with a disadvantage is that, if you are
going to the website because certain keyword. For example, I following 1500 people let’s say,
they’ve just found it using a search used to be a languages teacher so there’s no way that you can read
engine or what have you, but you I might be interested in  Key Stage every single tweet that they make,
can actually quantify how many 3 topics, say the family. By putting every single message that they
people have subscribed. in “famille”, the French word for send.
Now when I say subscribed, that family into the RSS feed that I Therefore if you want to follow a
doesn’t cost any money at all. create, it would mean that anyone core group, what you can do is go
Sometimes when I talk about this who has tagged a clip with the to the Twitter Search website, put
sort of thing at conferences etc word “famille” will then appear in in the username for the person you
people get the impression that you my Google Reader, which is a want to follow or track and then
have to pay. Well, it’s absolutely really great way of finding content. create an RSS feed for that
free and I think in the present sort In addition, you can subscribe to username. Put that into Google
of climate, certainly in England, in someone’s YouTube channel by Reader and as a result, you can
which teachers are finding it more creating your own RSS feed which see anything that they send as
and more difficult to get out of in YouTube itself is not actually long as their tweets are not
school because of the Rarely possible. You can subscribe to protected and also anyone who
Cover issue, I think that RSS and somebody’s YouTube channel, but replies to them. So that’s really
taking control of your own CPD. you can’t generate an RSS feed good. It’s also a great way of
Your own continuing professional which will then go into Google meeting like-minded colleagues as
development is really important. Reader. well.
Another thing about Feedburner is Another way of using RSS for Finally, I discovered a few days ago
if you’ve created let’s say your RSS researching is using Google Alerts I could create an RSS feed for my
feed through a website like which is fantastic for finding about friends’ updates on Facebook,
Podomatic then Feedburrner will topics of interest or individuals who which has been possible in the
allow you to, if you like, create are writing interesting blog posts past, but Facebook tend to
another version which means that etc and by going to Google Alerts change their security settings from
if you then change the host feed and setting up an account you can time to time, which sometimes
that you have, the original feed either choose to subscribe via RSS makes this not possible, although it
you’ve set up and create another or via email and if you have a is possible at the moment. So,
feed, but use the same Feedburner Google Reader account already hopefully, that will continue for a
feed, then your content will not be you’ll automatically send that feed while and it means you don’t have

Technology in Modern Foreign Languages
to log in to the site. You can just So, to finish off with, the challenge Photo Credit:
find out what your friends are up to now is to spread the news about
on Facebook by having the RSS the power of RSS and to show 363837160/

feed straight into Google Reader or how effective it can be for

straight into your RSS reader. enhancing learning in the 21st

Technology in Modern Foreign Languages

A word or two about Wordle

by Saira Ghani
are so keen to produce a top
quality Wordle that they are very
happy to draft and re-draft their
work in Word, thus contributing to
their learning.
Also, the knowledge that their work
might be displayed for the whole
world to see on our department
blog drives them to produce a
quality piece of work (you can see
A year ago I would have described You input a piece of text, or a list of
some examples here). From a
myself as a technophobe, an MFL words, click go and your text
slightly negative point of view,
teacher who thought using becomes a Wordle, a word cloud
pupils could become bogged
Powerpoint as a teaching tool, as in which the most frequently used
d o w n i n fi d d l i n g w i t h t h e
well as allowing pupils to create words are displayed in a larger
appearance of their Wordle once
their own Powerpoint font.
they have inputted their text. I have
presentations, was more or less Inspired by posts written by
to admit, however, that I haven’t
the limit of using ICT in Modern Samantha Lunn and Tom Barrett
found that to be an
Foreign Languages lessons, along about ways in which Wordles can
unsurmountable problem.
with CDs and the odd DVD. How be used I decided to take the
Reflecting back on the past year, I
wrong I was! plunge and give it a go.
have gained confidence and am no
Last January I discovered Twitter, In terms of my own teaching, I
longer afraid to try out new ideas
and the myriad of enthusiastic and have used Wordles as starter
with classes, even if they don’t
supportive teachers that go with it. activities. As classes enter the
always work the first time around.
My Personal Learning Letwork room, I have my Wordle displayed
Remember the old saying “If at first
(PLN) broadened rapidly. Having on my projector. Pupils then look at
you don’t succeed, try and try
such fantastic support, it and guess the topic they are
again”? I feel it’s just as important
encouragement and advice on going to be learning. Another way I
for us as teachers to be taken out
hand almost 24 hours a day gave have used them is as a vocabulary
of our comfort zone from time to
me the confidence to begin trying classifying exercise, which has
time as it is for our pupils.
out new ideas and web 2.0 tools proven to be a big hit with pupils
My PLN has given me the
both as an aid to teaching and as arguing over how they have
opportunity to reflect much more
a creative tool for my pupils to use classified it.
on my own practice and to work
when practising and consolidating I have also allowed pupils to create
more collaboratively with my pupils
new language. Tools such as their own Wordles when they have
themselves, as their feedback is
Edmodo, Voki, Wallwisher, Go! been in an ICT room. Year 7 and 8
invaluable in terms of tweaking
Animate, Xtranormal, Animoto and classes have typed sentences on
future lessons and tasks. More
Wordle have all become part of the various topics in a Word
importantly, from a purely selfish
armoury of resources used in my document, before copying and
point of view I have gained a new
day to day teaching. pasting them into Wordle. At first I
enthusiasm for teaching and my
Wordle is one particular tool that I was a bit sceptical about the
pupils are becoming more
have used in a number of ways. It worthiness of this in terms of
enthusiastic language learners!
really is easy to create a Wordle! language learning, but the pupils

Technology in Modern Foreign Languages

Resources: keeping them real and

keeping them together by Andrea Henderson

There has never been a better The American Council on Teaching

time to be a world language of Foreign Languages (ACTFL)
teacher. Every day there is new created national standards for
information to make teaching even language learning which focus on
more exciting. My PLN (Personal the areas of Communication,
Learning Network) on Twitter has Cultures, Comparisons,
been a wonderful source of new Connections, and Communities.I
ideas and resources and this has realized that even with a clear
made me grow in ways I had not understanding of what I needed to
imagined. However, there are so many tools, teach, I still needed to create a
gadgets, websites, and
applications to choose from that it
can be difficult to know exactly
where to begin. To best take
advantage of this new technology,
it is a good idea to create a filter
so that you know exactly which
information you can use of right
away and which information you
can file away for later.

Technology in Modern Foreign Languages

clear focus for my own classroom French, I must also show them that apartment. Although the
based on these standards, my French does actually exist outside apartments are in Paris, the
philosophy of language acquisition of my classroom and is spoken by language can be changed into
and my students’ needs. real people! Using authentic Chinese, German, Italian,
When I changed schools four years resources brings the francophone Japanese, Portuguese, Russian
ago, I created a mission statement world into my classroom and and Spanish. After studying the
that not only allowed me to focus students understand that French is various arrondissements in Paris,
on what was most important in the indeed a global language. my advanced students get to
classroom but also to focus on Some of my favorite authentic choose an apartment to live in.
which technological tools would resources are: They love this, and I also have
best suit my purpose. An excellent • L’Internaute is an extremely rich my dream apartment which I
tutorial for creating a mission French resource with everything have printed out in color and
statement can be found at Cedar from restaurant reviews to the placed in the front cover of one
Rapids Community Schools. analysis of names. There are also of my planning notebooks. These
My mission, which is a component wonderful short videos that give visuals provide a constant source
of my full classroom plan, is to instructions on how to make a of descriptions, comparisons,
transform students into Tarte Tatin as well as how to tie and narration.
francophone Francophiles who are Windsor knot (the boys really • Houra provides the ultimate
self-motivated lifelong learners and appreciated this one). online shopping experience. Not
world citizens. My main goals are: L’Internaute distributes several o n l y a re s t u d e n t s a b l e t o
newsletters which highlight compare French and American
• to bring real world language various articles. I recently found a products but they also are able
experiences to my students by wonderful article on the first jobs to augment their vocabularies
using authentic resources of the heads of state around the with the rich descriptive words
• to encourage my students to be world. My French IV/V class has that are present in the ads.
autonomous learners been studying education in Although I have mentioned many
• to create formative assessments France and we were amazed to times that the French use
of and for learning find that one world leader once decimal points where we use
• to incorporate developmentally worked as a street vendor selling commas it becomes real to them
appropriate learning strategies peanuts. Keeping L’Internaute as when they actually see this
my home page gives me system in use. I also have the
Additionally, I need to maintain an constant exposure to every-day students convert the euros to
efficient storage and retrieval French life. dollars at XE when you access
system to keep everything • Lodgis is a real estate site where the Houra site, you must put in a
together. In this post I will one can sublet apartments in zip code. I use 75007; the
concentrate on the use of Paris. You can select the arrondissement of La Tour Eiffel.
authentic sources and how to quartier, price range, and Here is the lesson I created using
organize said resources. amenities you would like in your Houra.
apartment. There are wonderful • Wordle has been invaluable
Real World Language Resources
pictures of all of the rooms of the recently for providing pre-reading
As a teacher of French in Texas, it
apartment as well as a written and pre-listening exercises for
is not always easy for students to
description of the contents of the news stories of the earthquake in
realize that French is a global
apartment and the name of the Haiti. I teach French levels 1-V
l a n g u a g e s p o k e n o n fi v e
closest metro stop. There is even and Wordle allowed me to
continents. In addition to having
a list of the stores and other provide comprehensible input for
my students communicate in
conveniences near the all of students.

Technology in Modern Foreign Languages

I paste the text of a French news I play film trailers, and music each level. I can easily create a
article from France 24 and allow videos. The students love this collection of listening exercises
Wordle to create the word cloud. and often tell me that they have organized by theme so that I can
I then change the color to black included these francophone find them when I need them.
and white, select alphabetical artists in their own music Creating the playlists makes it
order, and set the maximum collections. much easier to monitor the class
words to 20-30. I then display during assessments because I’m
Organizing resources
the Worlde on my TV screen so not chained to the CD player
Keeping all of your ever-growing
that the students can see the trying to find the track I need.
number of resource together can
words as they come into class. iTunes also allows me to add
b e a c h a l l e n g e . T h e re a re ,
We first find the words they do podcasts to the playlists which
however, there are many tools that
know and find meanings to the provide move opportunity for
can help you organize your
words they don’t know. The listening experiences.
resources. My favorites are:
students then make predictions • One of the challenges of working
• Netvibes allows me to keep my
of what they think the article will on multiple computers is
websites and other accounts all
be about. Finally, when I play organizing your multiple
in one place. With Netvibes you
video of the news story, even the bookmarks. Delicious and Diigo
to have a private page and a
beginning the students are able allow me to organize my
public page. My private page
to understand the gist of the bookmarks so that I can find and
keeps my email accounts, Flickr,
story. For the more advanced share them easily. I started using
my bookmarking sites, and blogs
students, I print out the article Delicious because I liked the
I read together as well as
and I may additionally target a aspect of being able to be part of
allowing me to see updates of
certain grammatical structure. a bookmarking network. Many
the blogs in one place. I started
Here is an example of a Worlde I members of my PLN use Diigo
Netvibes when I took several
have used recently with every and I created an account there
online courses and had to
level. as well. Diigo allows me to be a
organize the many online
• Commercials, movie trailers, and member of groups so I use it
resources we used for the
music videos have been another most often. Fortunately, my
courses. I had multiple logins,
great way of bringing Delicious bookmarks can be
wikis, and blogs to manage at
francophone culture into my updated simultaneously from
once and Netvibes helped me
classroom. Every Monday, as the Diigo which makes keeping
keep my sanity! I was able to
students are coming into the everything updated simple .
create a tab for each course I
room, I have videos of
was taking as well as the
commercials playing on my TV. Using technology can be
courses teach. These tabs are a
Allociné provides movie trailers intimidating unless you have a
lifesaver when I take students to
so that students can see what is focus. Many teachers become
the computer lab (we go about
playing in France. I also use it for overwhelmed at the number of
every two weeks) because all of
students to post their film resources that are available and do
the resources are in one place.
reviews we write in class. The not know where to begin. If you
Here is a link to my public
students take their writing much begin by creating a mission, setting
Netvibes page.
more seriously when they realize goals, and focusing on a limited
• iTunes allows me create playlists
that it will be posted for the number of areas, you will be able
of all of the audio I use for my
francophone world to see! Le to tame the information jungle.
various levels without having to
Top 50 at MCM keeps me aware
dig through a mound of CDs.
of what the most popular songs
Teaching multiple levels means
and artists in France. On Fridays,
that I have quite a few CDs for

Technology in Modern Foreign Languages

Google Maps in the MFL classroom

by Simon Howells

If this term has proved anything to The project in brief:

me, it’s that the use of Web 2.0 in • Students to produce an account
M o d e r n F o re i g n L a n g u a g e s of a journey in the past tense
teaching is a wholly worthwhile and using Google Maps and its
effective enterprise. Even the most “Street View” function
intransigent class can genuinely • Students to produce this on
learn and show real motivation if PowerPoint for display on the 
some of the great applications VLE and and on the classroom
available to us online these days wall
are harnessed in the right way. Things I was worried about before
My journey with using ICT in MFL doing this project:
teaching began properly this year • It would take me ages and I
with the discovery of a wonderful would fall behind in the Schemes
online community of practitioners of Work
enthusiastic to share their • They would just mess about and
excellence. Twitter has been an get nothing done
incredible education for me and • It would be too complicated to
has had a direct impact on explain
classroom teaching as a non-stop • They would use technology as
source of ideas and support. As an excuse not to do the work
we all know, new ideas can be • They would not actually learn
slow to take root in any institution, anything!
and schools are no different. But In order to address some of these
the MFL Twitterati have been worries I took steps to ensure the
invaluable to me in reminding me smooth running of the lessons. I
that it ain’t about how fast I get produced a step-by-step guide
there… including screenshots for the
To cut to the chase, one of the students, which I left on the school
web applications I had targeted for network and on our VLE; I planned
use this term was Google Maps. a destination for each pupil to save
Over the summer, I had produced time.
a YouTube tutorial on this topic. I set minimum targets to be
Figuring it was about time I took achieved in each of the three
my own advice, I determined that I lessons; and, of course, I was on
would have a go at it with my Year hand to help. This might seem like
1 0 g ro u p , w h o a re n o t a l l a lot of work, but I now have a
enthusiastic linguists and can be great resource to use in future
less than focused at times. As it years.
happened, this series of lessons As I had previously delivered a
was key in turning their attitude lesson on Montpellier, where I
around. spent a year abroad in the dim and

Technology in Modern Foreign Languages

distant past, it seemed appropriate the most – I felt that using it my blog and on the VLE, hinted at
to use destinations around that practically made them really learn a changed attitude.
town, to further “bring alive” the the past tense. We went from a They feel like they can “do” French
place they’re always hearing me class who hated grammar and all of a sudden. They have seen a
mention! failed tests to one that saw the practical application for it. They
These three lessons turned out to passé composé as… a bit passé! have taken pride in producing
be probably the most enjoyable of So how do I know for sure that it accurate work, spurred on by the
the term. Pupils less conversant was a success? Much of the knowledge that it will be on public
with technology realised they could answer to that question is view. They are ceasing to see
follow instructions and produce necessarily anecdotal. My group’s French as a difficult bore and
something that looked great. writing, though, has already shown starting to believe in themselves.
Others got inspired and produced a marked improvement. The secret They are still far from perfect
incredibly detailed instructions. The pride I detected in our classroom linguists – aren’t we all? – but the
editing process really hammered display, and the satisfaction they challenge now is to keep that
home the past tense, and this was got from seeing work appear on going… it’s the climb!
perhaps the thing that pleased me

Technology in Modern Foreign Languages

Supporting assessment for learning

Pixetell is an “on-demand software by Isabelle Jones
that enables you to quickly add
voice, screen recordings and video
to email and other electronic
documents”. The twist is that Pixetell
supports visual communication but
also allows collaboration through
sharing multimedia messages -called
pixetells- and allowing discussions to
take place around them.
My vision of how it could be used
relies on the need for teachers to
develop a more structured approach
to verbal feedback to students and
links directly with assessment for
learning.So, I decided to test it out
giving feedback to a first year
student-11 years old on a
Powerpoint she had produced to • praise personalised answer to their own
learn basic animal words in • suggestions for improvement work. Very powerful!
Spanish. After trying out different • next steps (target-setting) If used for feedback, Pixetell would
microphones, it seems that a Used at the end of a short project, work great with private student/
headset produced the best result. applications such as Pixetell would teacher platforms like Edmodo for
What struck me the most was how be a way to ensure that due praise responses to individual projects,
uncomfortable I felt at first giving is given to all the students that but used tactfully, example of
feedback that way. We always have put in the effort. I also feel students’ work could also be
respond to other people’s body that the impact on the student’s presented on a class   wiki/   VLE
l a n g u a g e a n d l o o k o u t f o r self-image as a learner would also page with oral comments included.
paralinguistic clues when we are be stronger than a well done note Examples of coursework at
giving feedback in order to assess on paper. In addition, the students different grades from real or
its impact. In many respects, who feel that they are “too cool to imaginary students could also be
feedback given through a Pixetell be praised” could still get their pat included for discussion.
can be seen as fairer but I suspect on the back in private. There are other tools like Jing,
some training would be needed in For the specific purpose of GoView or Camtasia who offer
order to ensure that it still feels teaching languages, the benefit of some of the features of Pixetell, so
personal. Saying the student’s i n c l u d i n g a u d i o i n t e a c h e r this very useful comparison chart
name, using different turns of feedback is obvious. Students then helps the potential user to assess
phrases for praising and offering have a model that they can use whether this is the right tool for
positive and constructive criticism and replicate if needed. It is also them as well as to find free
are all essential. not an impersonal sound file that alternatives for specific features.
The structure of the feedback is they have to listen to in its entirety
roughly as follows: before they reach the bit that Photo credit:
• description of good points/ applies to them, but it supports a

criteria for assessment 624190252/

Technology in Modern Foreign Languages

Simple but effective

by Samantha Lunn

There is a phenomenal range of make my resources stimulating completely if it is conjugated,

technological resources available and engaging: otherwise I just colour the
to MFL teachers to enhance our • Colour – I believe there is no ending.
pupils’ skills in the classroom. point in creating a resource using I do not explicitly explain to
However, it is inevitable that either a variety of colours, fonts and/or pupils my colour coding;
resources or an ICT room are not images unless they have a however, as my classes develop
always available in order for every purpose – after all, you do not I encourage them to begin to talk
pupil to be able to produce want to distract the reader, so I about what they recognise using
something they can be proud of, colour-code language: feminine the target language, eg. “Es azul
therefore, at the moment I find that nouns are red and masculine porque es masculino” which can
I am the person using the nouns are blue (if I wish to then build up to “es azul porque
technology the most in the emphasize plurals – in French, es masculino y termina en o”.
classroom – although my new for example, I use green). This metalanguage can develop
year’s resolution is to get the pupils Spanish verbs are coloured to an advanced level by the time
using more! green, purple or orange they have studied the language
This post will therefore look at the according to whether it is an - for a few years, however it does
elements I use the most in my AR, -ER or IR verb respectively (I require a bit of planning in order
classroom when teaching, and use a slight variation for French), to develop it beyond the basic.
what technology I use in order to and I only tend to colour the verb What tools are required?

Technology in Modern Foreign Languages

Not much is required except a rub and reveal, placing a shape also enjoy creating my own
colour palette in Word, over the image and moving it listening material for example,
PowerPoint or equivalent away bit by bit or placing items through recording my voice in
application. Simple, but effective. over a word or image and Audacity (sometimes changing
• Image – I will not add a variety of deleting them in order to see my voice by using effects) and
images to a slide or a Word what is underneath . By uploading the sound file to a
document unless they are displaying an image, and then Voki.
n e e d e d . W h e n c re a t i n g a showing the word in the target I use also regularly use songs in
resource to introduce vocabulary language, I make a conscious the classroom in order to drill
I will always have on every effort to move away from linking language, and if the class
screen the question that we are vocabulary back to English produce a particularly good
working on from the scheme of words and the images are then a rendition, then we create a Voki
work. I never introduce useful tool to practise language (described in the target
vocabulary without a structure later on, through activities such language, of course) and the
which stems from a as  Kim’s game, quick flash, slow audio of their version is added
Contextualising Question and the reveal, through the keyhole and before I publish it online.
re l e v a n t a n s w e r s t e m , f o r many more… More recently, I have begun to
example: Where are you from? I When I first trained to teach in use LingtLanguage to create
am from…France/Germany/ 2005, we created resources on activities for students, and I will
England/Spain etc. acetate to display on the be using the department’s
Before introducing to pupils the overhead projector. Even though recently acquired EasiSpeak
item of vocabulary that they will these resources were made in microphones and  Flip digital
be learning I try to get them to Word, transferring the cameras in order for the pupils to
tell me what it is through using a pedagogical reasoning behind create audio and video to
variety of techniques such as the methods of introducing and practise their speaking skills
paraphrasing in the target practising vocabulary in this further. Of course, I cannot forget
language or showing an image, manner to presentation tools to mention all of the video
h o w e v e r, r a t h e r t h a n j u s t such as PowerPoint or, more resources that are available to us
showing the image directly I recently, Prezi, took a lot of work, through the internet on sites
make use of a variety of tools to and is now an essential part of s u c h a s Yo u Tu b e a n d
reveal an item very slowly, my teaching, and nearly every TeacherTube which are an
enabling the pupils to think about resource I make is displayed excellent source of authentic
what it could be before learning electronically on the interactive materials.
the word. whiteboard. You can download • Sharing – The most essential
In PowerPoint the animation tool examples of this type of element of creating resources,
is an effective way of slowly resources from my website for me comes from the sharing of
making an object dissolve on to good practice. Within my
the screen and I like the • Audio – I rarely use a textbook in department we share nearly
interactivity of the trigger tool the classroom as I prefer to everything that we create –
(which allows an item that you create my own materials which which includes flash games and
have clicked on to be animated, are tailored to my teaching needs audio files – through a well-
rather than being animated in a and my pupils’ learning needs. organised shared network area,
s p e c i fi c o r d e r w h i c h i s You will find that I use more which led to the creation of my
predefined in the PowerPoint). regularly the audio that comes website.
In an  ActivStudio Flipchart I can with the textbooks, however, I I also rely on the many kind people
replicate these techniques using

Technology in Modern Foreign Languages

who make their resources available many excellent resources. The Tell and TeachMeet NW have been
online, such as through MFL TES forum, Twitter, Yahoo part of this year’s highlights and I, MFL Sunderland, MFL Resources group and the look forward to enhancing my
MFL Resources and the TES reading of a variety of blogs (and knowledge in 2010 through the
resource bank. I have come across writing one!) are all essential means continued use of ICT both in the
so many phenomenal online of communication for me now, and classroom and beyond.
resources that I have found that as I look back over 2009 I realise
the best way of ‘saving’ all of them that I would not be aware of half of Photo credit:
is through using the  Delicious the things that I know without the
bookmarking site. Personal Learning Network that I twoacresphotography/3936235776/

I cannot end this article without have developed around me. The
mentioning how I come across so MFL Flashmeetings, MFL Show &

Technology in Modern Foreign Languages

Mobile phones in the MFL

classroom by Dominic McGladdery

As long ago as 2001, the UK advanced that most children I • Voice recording - The students
government asked the Stewart teach have a mobile telephone in record themselves speaking in
Inquiry to set guidelines on a their pocket which is considerably the target language using the
minimum age for mobile telephone better and faster than the desktop mobile phone’s in-built voice
users. It didn’t, but that didn’t stop PC in my study. recorder. They then play it back,
the government from issuing a Much has been written about how listening to their work. Instant self
circular to all schools in England students can use their telephones assessment and possible peer
discouraging non-essential use of as lear ning tools. However, assessment. What did they do
mobile telephones among students officially, mobiles are still banned in wrong? How could they
under the age of 15. many schools. improve?
Since then, things have changed. I have been using them with my • Video recording - Using the video
Children used mobiles and didn’t KS4 students with some success recording function, one student
grow the tumours the government and here are some ways in which records two others performing a
warned them about, and the we have used them: dialogue in the target language.
technology has become so

Technology in Modern Foreign Languages

This is great for practising GCSE them to students’ phones using So what are my future plans?
Role Play activities and also for Bluetooth. They were really Well, next term I hope to get the
improving pronunciation. We proud of what they had done students to use their phones
have also done this using the and achieved. actively in lessons. Ideally, I want
school’s video cameras but, for We have used Bluetooth to them to use their phones to
some reason, the students prefer revise grammar points too. I answer questions by text
to use their mobiles. The fact converted some grammar message. I’d already heard of one
that they don’t need to be taught PowerPoint files I made into site, SMSPoll and, after reading
to use them saves valuable time movies with  Movie Maker and Mark Cunningham’s blog about his
in class too. bluetoothed them to the recent experiences, another called
The finished work can then be students. PollEverywhere. Both these sites
sent to my laptop via  Bluetooth • Downloading - I made some allow students to answer multiple
and shared with the group. Crazytalk movies with some of choice questions and give realtime
• Sending files via - Bluetooth the students and uploaded them answers which can be put straight
For the last couple of years the to a YouTube account I created into PowerPoint presentations,
students have recorded their for the department. The students which would be ideal for starters
Presentations for their GCSE then downloaded the files to their and plenaries in the classroom.
speaking exams using Audacity. I mobiles to show their friends and PollEverywhere also allows you to
edited them taking out long families. create free text polls where
pauses and erms, saved them as  • Using the web - I recently had a students can respond with their
.mp3 files and bluetoothed them student use her mobile phone in own answers and allows answers
to each student. They then my class to look up the meaning via Twitter, too. This would be ideal
listened to them on their mobiles of a word on WordReference for feedback and gathering
or copied them to their Mp3 because she couldn’t find it in information in languages lessons.
Players. We found this an the dictionary. I have also allowed I’m aware that not all students will
excellent way to revise. Your students to use Wikipedia to find have their mobiles in school and
friends don’t need to know that information on certain topics in that not all of them will be able to
you are revising for your German the target language. send  SMS for free, but I hope to
exam, do they? find a way around this. When I do,
I also used Xtranormal with Year If you work in a school which I’ll let you know.
9 students to create movies allows students to use their
which I embedded into my mobiles responsibly, I would Photo credit:
department’s  wiki. I downloaded definitely recommend that you try
out some of the ideas listed above. 1142365603/
them using RealPlayer and sent

Technology in Modern Foreign Languages

Mrs Perkins’s journey into the w w w

by Marie-France Perkins
I started teaching languages in the
mid-eighties (last century). Our use
of technology in the MFL faculty
was limited to using a  reel to reel
tape-recorder and showing films
from the film strips projector. With
the introduction of the tape-
recorder, our life became easier as
locating the right track was less
time consuming.
My first encounter with a computer
was a   BBC acorn. At first, I did
not see how computers could be
u s e d i n M F L . H o w e v e r, I
discovered a game called Granville.
I started taking classes into the
then very basic computer-room to shopping precincts, visit museums interesting websites which I know
play the game. The students and so much more in the will make my lessons more
enjoyed playing the game which francophone world. interesting and will bring the world
involved visiting the town of Search engines have helped me to my classroom!
Granville and spending holiday access these resources. Listening  Twitter, online Languages fora and
money. I started seeing the exercises are more appropriate to flashmeetings have given me
potential of computers and how the students; all our bought access to resources that I would
students could control their own textbook recordings are accessible not have imagined possible at the
learning. on the school’s   Intranet. I like to beginning of this century.
I have been in my present school challenge students with the news My tape-recorder and my
since 1992 and I have seen from Mon jt quotidien, songs from overhead projector are still in a
technology evolved at such a YouTube, their own recordings corner in my classroom…
speed that the mind boggles. My using Audacity or the Easispeak gathering dust!!
teaching has changed so much in microphones.
the 21st century! My favourite tool Reading skills are enhanced by Photo credit:
in the classroom is the Interactive texts which are more relevant to
Whiteboard, but, for me, access to their lives. Students have read c64/745817175/

the Internet in the classroom has about their favourite actors by

been the greatest breakthrough. searching information online. Often
Finished are the days of collecting the learning does not stop at
newspapers, magazines or leaflets school, research is also done at
and filling up my car boot with home as independent study.
realia to enhance my teaching. I I also use the Internet to create
still use some but students can and host my own games. I use Hot
now be exposed to the latest Potatoes, Quia and Linguascope
news, up-to-date prices, products to promote new vocabulary. Every
etc. They can explore towns, day I discover new tools and

Technology in Modern Foreign Languages

Microblogging: making the case for

social networking in education
According to   W ikipedia, word processing, powerpoint by José Picardo
m i c ro b l o g g i n g i s a f o r m o f presentations and desktop
multimedia blogging that allows applications in general- has often
users to send short text updates or been demonstrated to motivate
micromedia such as photos, video students.
or audio clips and publish them, However, the bright, colourful,
either to be viewed by anyone or engaging and intuitive world of
by a restricted group which can be Web 2.0 has opened new
chosen by the user. The fact that possibilities to encourage creativity
these updates can be sent to a (photo and video sharing and
restricted group is an essential editing sites), promote participation
consideration in the context of (social networking sites) and
education and online safety. improve access to information
Essentially, microblogging is the (social book-marking sites) in ways
purpose for which the vast majority which we are only beginning to
of students use social networking understand. Sharing and
sites such as Facebook, MySpace collaborating can be redefined as
or, increasingly, microblogging the main characteristics of the
services such as Twitter. whole Web 2.0 phenomenon, as
In the absence of an institutional  opposed to its earlier, more static
Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), incarnation.
social networking online can be There is no doubt that, although
used as an extension to classroom my students might be blissfully
teaching and as a tool to unaware of the term Web 2.0, they
encourage communication and are all familiar with the concept
inquisitiveness among students, behind it: creating content, sharing,
with the overarching objective of collaborating and networking
enhancing teaching and learning of online. In fact, social networking
by improving both teacher-student online has rapidly become the
and student-student principal means of communication
communication, and, in so doing, for the current generation of
bridging the home-school divide. teenagers.
The advent of what we adults call  Social networking is, after all, what
Web 2.0 -I say this because, to our they do on their mobile phones
students, Web 2.0 is the web- has and other hand-held devices under
brought us a myriad of tools with their desks when we teachers are
considerable educational potential not looking. This is what they do as
that the education establishment soon as they get home from
would be unwise to overlook or school.
disparage. Old fashioned ICT - Many will argue that most students

Technology in Modern Foreign Languages

are just wasting their time and They are communicating with each My challenge was therefore to
gossiping online but, whatever other on an unprecedented scale, provide my students with the
anyone’s opinion on the benefits or spending more and more time in means to communicate with their
dangers of social networking is, it front of a computer screen with teachers and with each other in a
cannot be denied that they are all multi-player games, email, the way which they would find both
sharing, collaborating and Internet and instant messaging attractive and natural, fitting in with
networking and they are doing so becoming an ever more integral their technological expectations
in a way which they enjoy and find part of their lives. The rising and making use of the skills they
engaging, otherwise they simply importance and availability of already possessed whilst, at the
would not do it. online social networks and their same, time adding value to their
More and more people, not just popularity among young people in education.
our students, are becoming aware particular cannot be dismissed, Using a microblogging service
of the power of belonging to a putting the use of ICT at the heart which looked and felt like those
network: each individual member of 21st century interconnectivity in already in use by my students
contributes a small part, so that all areas of society, not just would, in theory, allow teachers to
the resulting body of knowledge is education. enter their territory and continue to
much greater than that which any Pedagogy, in my opinion, needs to bring education to them wherever
individual member could have reflect these social changes and they happened to be through their
amassed on their own. This is why conform to the needs and computers and portable devices. I
the social internet has become so expectations of today’s students felt it was important to bring
successful: groups of people have and, if we teach them in a way that access to language learning
clumped together forming mirrors how they live their lives opportunities from home and,
networks, generally because of when they are not in school, if we therefore, started to look for a way
some sort of affinity or shared help to ensure that the gap in which I could bridge the gap
interest, and have started between their school life and real between school and home (by
communicating and passing on life is minimised, we then become home I really mean not school) by
information that matters to them. better able to guarantee the tapping into the potential offered
Social and Personal networks, commitment and engagement of by social networking in terms of
fora, blogs and microblogs have the vast majority of our students. catalysing student’s interest,
become the narrow end of the Motivation and engagement are therefore making the most of the
funnel through which a seemingly often seen as the holy grail of positive attitudes my students
chaotic maelstrom of voices is language teaching. Lack of displayed towards Computer
poured, resulting in a steady flow motivation resulting in Mediated Communication (CMC).
o f m e a n i n g f u l a n d re l e v a n t disengagement continues to be a Using ICT with a focus on the C for
information. big problem for language teachers, Communication is, in my view, the
My pupils may well not be which helps to explain, in my view, next logical step and would allow
consciously aware of this or why they have traditionally been us to bring the learning online and
f a m i l i a r w i t h t h e w o rd t h a t early adopters of new to blend the use of traditional tools
describes the activity in which they technologies: first tapes and such as textbooks or dictionaries
love to engage: microblogging. overhead projectors, then CDs, with more up-to-date, relevant and
However, they are extremely well DVDs and digital data projectors. authentic multimedia materials
versed with the concept the word More recently, widely available from the web. Microblogging
microblogging encapsulates: brief internet access has heralded the would provide teachers and
updates, photo and video sharing, arrival of the next logical stage in students with a platform in which
tagging and poking. the evolution of the language they could interact beyond the
teacher: the connected teacher. constraints of the school walls, and

Technology in Modern Foreign Languages

with which the teacher could use of Facebook for educational convenient service. Convenience,
provide further personalised purposes as an intrusion into their rather than ease of use, turned out
feedback and support. privacy, therefore negating any to be the key to the adoption of
Effective use of ICT in education is, possible benefits obtained by using Edmodo by my students as their
in my view, the key to personalised this medium. I got the distinct preferred means of keeping track
learning: it increases learners’ feeling that our students wanted to of assignment deadlines and
access to resources and support keep work and play separate. communication with their teacher.
and helps to motivate the most Edmodo, on the other hand, was Students, by and large, embraced
reluctant learners to practise clearly for school work, an aspect Edmodo as a useful, time saving
complex skills and achieve more which appealed greatly to my tool which helped them keep on
than they would have done students. However, it still looked top of their work and communicate
through other, more traditional and felt like their beloved with teachers when their help was
means, thus benefiting those who Facebook. Upon signing up to the most needed, that is, when they
do not generally do well in formal service students and teachers are were away from the classroom and
contexts. told what the purpose of Edmodo were attempting to put the theory
Being able to contact the teacher is: ‘A private social platform for learnt in the lessons into practice in
electronically and in private to ask teachers and students to share their homework. In fact, being able
for help or clarification without fear i d e a s , fi l e s , e v e n t s a n d to assess their work and answer
of peer pressure or ridicule would assignments’. their questions informally
help engage the hard-to-reach A distinction is also made upon demonstrably increased their
students and leaves the door wide signing up between students and confidence in the subject and
open to new ways of personalising teachers. Teachers are able to set helped to secure their knowledge.
and differentiating tuition. On the up classes and groups (for which Two further aspects I would like to
other hand, those students who Edmodo generates a unique alpha- mention are the democratisation
are engaged and doing well would numerical code) set and collect and personalisation of the learning
relish the opportunity to obtain assignments, send alerts, link to experience. Firstly, through the use
extension materials, designed to online resources, attach of a microblogging platform such
stretch the more able, delivered documents and embed audio as Edmodo, all students are given
directly to their own social network visual material. When students log the opportunity to interact with the
wall in their computer screen. on to Edmodo for the first time, teacher outside any perceived
After having considered using they are prompted to enter the pressures and constraints which
Facebook groups and Twitter, I unique code generated for their may be present in the classroom.
opted for a specialist class and thus both teacher and This levelled the playing field for
microblogging service named student accounts become linked those students who were less
Edmodo, which had been and the can begin communication ready to shout out in lessons,
designed to be used specifically in privately and safely. feared ridicule or were, simply, less
an educational context. Twitter was My students immediately willing to participate in the open
discarded on the grounds that it understood the purpose of forum of a classroom.
offered a very limited service of 140 Edmodo and embraced its Secondly, using microblogging in
character long messages sent to a simplicity, and ease of use. As it is this way resulted in a more
group of users, called tweets, or often pointed out, a website should personalised experience for
direct messages of equal length not make the user think as far as students, who felt individually
sent to individual users. Facebook usability is concerned. However, supported by their teacher and, on
was rejected after consulting our the feedback we kept receiving occasion, also their peers.
students and arriving at the again and again from students was Personalisation also came in the
conclusion that they might see our that Edmodo was just such a form of being able to receive

Technology in Modern Foreign Languages

updates, reminders and notices knowledge, does go some way to our students being one step ahead
from the classroom in their own explain why our generation of of us. Perhaps we fear that we
computers or mobile devices students struggle to write essays would not be able to control them
which could be addressed to the under controlled conditions using in their territory: online.
group or to individual students. pens and paper. It simply is not Yet we cannot deny that the
Te a c h i n g a n d l e a r n i n g t h u s how they do things anymore, yet internet has undergone a revolution
became connected beyond the we still insist on assessing their in terms of the services and
constrains of the school timetable. work as ours was assessed and possibilities it offers. It is no longer
Despite these apparent teaching them how we were a static repository of information, in
advantages, I often detect a strong taught. Understanding this might which information flowed one way
sense of scepticism among some l e a d t o t h e re a l i s a t i o n t h a t from the source to the recipient.
of my colleagues who see the classroom pedagogy needs to be Information nowadays flows both
implementation of tools such as transformed and that we cannot ways, as more and more websites
Edmodo as a capitulation to what continue teaching the way we want encourage or even rely on two-way
t h e y p e rc e i v e a s a l a c k o f to teach, but rather the way our communication and the creation
discipline, absence of self-control students want to learn. and sharing of content.
and preference for immediacy My own view is that educators It is clear that better
among the current generation of need to wake up to the needs and communication between school
students. Students want expectations of our students and and home, between teachers and
everything now, instantly. reach a mutually acceptable students is, not only desirable, but
Upon further consideration, compromise which would exploit also essential in a world in which
however, this appears hardly the skills our students already technology is continually
surprising, particularly given that on possess whilst safeguarding our discovering and developing new,
the internet, for better or for worse, pedagogical principles, without exciting and useful ways of
everything is just a click away, caving into a teenager’s natural improving communication between
allowing them to follow links where propensity to instant gratification people. In a sense, our students
their interest takes them, pursuing and superficiality. These are traits, have tasted the proverbial honey
m u l t i d i m e n s i o n a l t h re a d s o f lest we forget, that have been and the move towards this type of
information, often leading to found in teenagers since time social interaction in the field of
learning outcomes that bear little immemorial, and not just among e d u c a t i o n i s , i n m y v i e w,
resemblance to the original the current, often unfavourably inexorable. Educators would be
objectives, that is, the reason for portrayed and unfairly unwise not to take advantage of
the first click. misrepresented generation. their students’ willingness to
This, which is often perceived as a Perhaps what is familiar to our communicate and their desire to
lack of focus rather than a new, students feels threatening to participate via this medium.
perhaps better way to synthesise teachers, given that we prefer to
information and therefore acquire stay in control and we do not like

Technology in Modern Foreign Languages

Looking back and moving forward

by Amanda Salt

I suppose it is normal to reflect establishing my own Personal It proved extremely easy to set up
back on the year as Christmas Learning Network (PLN) primarily an account for myself at
approaches and the new year through contacts I had made at, and equally so
looms, and even more so when it said conferences, as well as Twitter to establish group accounts for
comes to writing a guest post. I and the MFL Resources Yahoo each of my classes. Pupils were
feel that I am often a ‘Jack of all group. given the group code and told to
trades, master of none’, yet I There is so much I could talk about set up an account. My tip to
suppose that I am hard on myself, but the main aim of this blog is to encourage this would be to set a
given how far I have progressed in share practical examples, so I am homework on Edmodo and tell
a relatively short space of time. going to focus on Edmodo and our them it is only available there!
And it leads me to consider: how departmental wiki. It was José Within Edmodo, there is a poll
did I get to this point? Well, it all Picardo who first mentioned facility which is useful, as well as
started with a trip to the Building Edmodo, and this interested me as the possibility of posting
Learning Communities conference I had issues with the current   VLE comments and replies. I use
in Boston, in the summer of 2008, in school and plans to change it Edmodo to set assignments for
closely followed by a jaunt to the were slow to come to fruition. pupils of all ages; they like it as
Isle of Wight to an MFL conference Edmodo is free and has an they can access the site at home
organised by Joe Dale. I came appealing style, similar to and download any relevant files I
away from both conferences totally Facebook which many pupils are have uploaded, as well as see the
inspired, and set about obviously familiar with. due date. They can also submit

Technology in Modern Foreign Languages
the work electronically, which had, and where they come from. language, through a medium they
saves a lot of time in class, instead Each class has their own page, understand and value.
of using memory sticks, and it is and those who are confident in ICT There is no doubt in my mind that
more contained than email. You or keen to learn are encouraged to my teaching has changed
can grade the work on Edmodo or upload or embed their work dramatically for the better. At this
download it to Word and use track themselves, otherwise they can stage, the results are not
changes before uploading it again. email the code or file to me and I necessarily different, but the buzz
I also set optional ICT tasks such do it for them, at this stage. in our department and the uptake
as creative websites like Image So far this year, we have Toondoo, figures tell their own tale. Teachers
Chef or Toondoo, whereby pupils Go!Animate and puppet dialogues in other departments come to us
gain stars for the star chart if they recorded using our new   FLIP for advice and to borrow some of
choose to complete the task. camera. This encourages peer the equipment pupils have told
Pupils are embracing the assessment on a formal or informal them we are using in lessons.
opportunity to use their language in basis, and pupils are enthusiastic And, as a department, we are keen
a more creative way and are keen about this display of their work. to share and learn from others, and
to show their end product off to a Other pages include a list of useful go into 2010 with an enthusiasm
wider audience. websites, study skills and audio for the benefits technology brings
And this leads me on to my files, amongst others. I find the wiki to our pupils and ourselves.
second focus: our departmental so handy from this regard, as
wiki.  I set up the wiki primarily as a pupils invariably lost the pages Photo credit:
means of displaying the pupils’ produced in the past with this kind
work and they love looking at the of information, or paid no attention 2318269286/

Clustrmap on the home page to to them. Putting them on the wiki

see how many visitors we have means that we are talking their

Technology in Modern Foreign Languages

Really understanding culture

by Clare Seccombe
Va n c o u v e r a n d o n g o i n g
preparations for London 2012.
When I started along the road of
international education in 1997, the
internet was really still in its infancy.
There was some information out
there, but it was hard to find, and
then we did not have the facility to
view it in the classroom. No
i n t e r a c t i v e w h i t e b o a rd s , n o
computer suites. And, if one ICT
class was using the internet in
those days, it became intolerably
slow for everyone else. So the
cultural input relied on the FLAs,
photographs that I had taken on
holiday, brochures, magazines, and
I’m sure that quite a few of my and ways of life are the essence of of course the huge piles of realia
students over the years have our work. We deal with other which I collected while abroad and
thought that French and Spanish countries on a daily basis. By which are the scourge of the
are languages that I have made up bringing aspects of culture into our spouses of MFL teachers
deliberately to confuse and lessons we not only enrich and everywhere.
bewilder them. Their immediate enliven them, but we also enable Bringing the world into your
reaction to the hard work and our students to see and classroom these days is so easy,
thinking involved in the subject is understand that their culture and thanks to technology. If you’re
often “Everyone should speak way of life are not the only ones studying weather, bring it alive by
English”, “France is stupid” or “I’m and are not necessarily the right looking at some webcams.  If
never going to Spain”. I’ve needed ones. It is imperative that students you’re teaching “school”, have a
to have in my repertoire something understand that foreign is not look at the websites of some
else to tempt them with, synonymous with wrong or bad. schools in one of the countries
something else that will help them We are very fortunate in 2010 that where the language is spoken. For
to have a deeper understanding of we have the KS2 Framework with example, have a look at the
what the languages they are its Intercultural Understanding subjects that the students at this
studying are all about. strand, of which I am a big fan, Spanish school learn. Do your
Community cohesion is one of the and the new KS3 Framework , students know all the vocabulary ?
big things at the moment, and the which also has an Intercultural What is  Euskara?
Global Dimension is now an Understanding strand, to point us If it’s French you’re doing, you
integral part of the KS3 curriculum. in the right direction. It is also the could show them pictures of
As teachers of MFL we are ideally year when we have the World Cup schools in France, but Martinique
placed to address these issues; we in South Africa to facilitate work of is much more interesting! There are
are fortunate to be teaching a an intercultural nature, not to some superb video clips available
subject where different cultures mention the Winter Olympics in now.

Technology in Modern Foreign Languages

There are also countless video of France and the French. We all etwinning, where schools can find
clips, audio recordings and have a good laugh at it. Then I European partners and then work
photographs which are readily s h o w  t h i s o n e , t h e E n g l i s h and correspond with them within a
available to MFL teachers via the equivalent. We know that this is secure environment. And the
internet, not to mention the not an accurate depiction of correspondence is almost instant –
numerous websites themselves England and being English, so we no waiting three weeks for replies
with which it is easy to supplement have to ask how accurate the to letters to arrive – thus
the driest text book. French one is. maintaining the impetus and
The internet is omnipresent in the Modern technology allows us easy, interest.
lives of today’s young people. They quick and, most importantly, free Audio and video recordings, which
are able to access all kinds of access to materials which will help are so much easier to make these
things, things which will help them us in our endeavours to increase days, can be shared via email, or
to form their opinions. Some of our students’ tolerance and on shared spaces such as wikis
these things will touch on other understanding of other countries and blogs, as well as the more
cultures, on other peoples, and the and cultures. But nothing will traditional methods. And there are
opinions that they begin to form achieve that aim more than the numerous online authoring
may not be those of tolerance, personal contact between our tools which are well-documented
understanding and interest that we students and their counterparts in Box of Tricks and which can be
w o u l d h o p e f o r. C u l t u r a l overseas. In “the olden days” of used to great effect in
stereotypes are everywhere in their the late 1990s, all we could communication with partner
lives: in the toys that they play with, manage was hand-written letters, schools and friends in other
the books that they read, the some cassette recordings of countries.
television programmes that they students speaking, and, if we were So the ball is in our court. We have
watch and the music that they really lucky, some videos that we the ways and the means. Let’s use
listen to. What we need to do is to had made using a camera the size technology to ensure that our
try to prod them in the right of a small suitcase. And of course students really understand culture.
direction, to show them the it all had to be sent via snail mail or
difference between stereotype and faxed. Photo credit:
reality. While we can still not
Again, technology comes to our underestimate the impact of a 2906131566/

rescue and enables us to do this personal letter arriving in the post,

with ease. I love showing   this there are so many other ways to
video clip from YouTube, which correspond and work
gives us some stereotypical views collaboratively now. There is 

Technology in Modern Foreign Languages

Enhancing learning in the MFL

Classroom by Lisa Stevens

I love technology. I haven’t always

loved it but over the last few years
I’ve fallen in love with all things
geekie and become a bit of a
technochick, as I’m called at
school. It’s true that ‘shiny things’
appeal to me but it’s more than
that. I’ve become increasingly
convinced of the importance of
using technology in everyday life
and, as an educator, that means in
my job too.
I have many roles: mother (very
important!), Spanish teacher in a So, what did we do and what did involved in their learning and
primary school, Language Coach we use? engaged from the start. Plus
for my local authority,  eTwinning Websites – The unit was based there was much singing along. I
A m b a s s a d o r f o r t h e  B r i t i s h on / inspired by Saint-Saens’ use YouTube all the time and we
Council, Apple Distinguished Carnival of the Animals, and I are fortunate that it is not
Educator, consultant and speaker found a wonderful Spanish website blocked in our LA – however,
– and in all of these I have seen the which featured clips of each of the there was a time when it was,
power of technology to make my animals’ themes and also gave and then I just downloaded the
job easier, better and more fun! For information about Saint Saens, the clips using Zamzar or the widget
me, it’s not about using technology piece and the musical instruments on my Firefox browser for use in
for the sake of it – there has to be used. This meant that I was the classroom.
a good reason. informed as the teacher but the • Sound recording – Linking with
As I was thinking about this, I pupils could also have a look, the cross curricular element of
thought back to a blog post I wrote surprising themselves as to how the topic, we made a
last year about one unit of the Key much they understood despite it ‘symphony’ – some may say
Stage 2 Spanish  QCA scheme of being in Spanish! ‘cacophony’ – using the rhythm
work and how we’d done it in our • YouTube - One lesson was of the animal names in Spanish
classroom. You can read the based on the sounds animals and clapping. We recorded
original post here. make, and this I introduced with ourselves using Audacity on the
In a six week period we used a clip from YouTube of a classroom PC. This enabled us
technology every week to enhance traditional Spanish song,  Los to listen back and assess our
our learning. Without it we’d have pollitos dicen. This captured work. It also gave me evidence
met the objectives of the Unit – attention and set the pupils a of what we’d been doing. And
that’s true. However, it wouldn’t challenge. What was our learning the pupils loved it! We used
have been the same and I doubt objective for the lesson? I might sound recording later in the unit
that the pupils would have gained have just written it on the board too, with individual pupils
as much as they did from using all and got on with the lesson but in recording themselves personal
the tools we utilised. this way, pupils were actively

Technology in Modern Foreign Languages

information as if they were spangly tools and hardware, it’s Stringer, I decided to try some
animals. On that occasion we about using what you’ve been animation. Brave as I had 30 kids
used Audacity on a laptop and a given effectively. And using your in the class and no support you
headset microphone. interactive whiteboard is one way might think, but using technology
Nowadays – how time flies!- we of using technology all the time. in my experience brings out the
use Easispeak microphones Flipcharts allow pupils to be best in pupils who revel in the
about which I could rave for active in the lesson – rather than responsibility you give them to
hours and frequently do. These passively looking at the board, look after equipment and work
are much easier to use in terms they can move items, group together sensibly. Good job as
of portability, background noise them, play games, find out if they we used my 3 day old MacBook
and storage. Recording are right or wrong using graphics about which I was extremely
themselves was a novelty for the and so much more. And using precious! I split the group into
pupils (less so now that we do it Powerpoint animations is another pairs, gave them a couple of
often in Spanish) and had the way of engaging interest. I used farm animals and tasked them
benefit of allowing pupils privacy it in telling the story Querido Zoo with getting their animals from
to speak without an audience to – much easier to see than a one side of the ‘stage’ to
intimidate them, and also of book, with the animations another.
motivating the more reluctant replacing the flaps in the book. The resulting footage was then
learners to have a go. They had • Build your Wild Self / Avatars – put into iMovie and each pair
pride in their achievement that I Build your Wild Self is a voiced their animals. The
would suggest they would not wonderful site from the Bronx resulting film may not be the best
have felt if I had simply asked Zoo that allows you to make an animation ever – it’s very dark as
them questions in class. avatar that is a hybrid animal. I’d we used the iSight camera on
• Podomatic – Recording the discovered it before, but it really the MacBook and was filmed
pupils proved to be not only came into its own here. Pupils over two weeks so the scenery
practical but motivational . And made their avatars then shifts half way through. However,
we took it a step further. Using described them. They had the the pupils were pleased with
Podomatic, a free podcasting possibility of talking about body their efforts. Everyone
site, I made a school podcast parts, animals, giving participated. They’d cooperated,
channel – WCPS Spanish – on descriptions, talking about the spoken Spanish and shown
which we published the resultant noise their animal might make, creativity as well as learned a
s o u n d fi l e s . H e r e ’s t h e where it might live and what it new skill. And they’d done it with
‘symphony’ and some of the might like to eat. The pupils’ minimal input from me. Posting it
sound files – you can scroll were less complicated!! Again, to YouTube made them even
forwards for more examples, all we might have drawn the happier, and they still check now
entitled Soy un animal (name). animals by hand but this is time for the number of times their
Using Podomatic meant we consuming and the objective of work has been hit.
could publish on the school the lesson was description and
website and also meant that we links to adaption and habitat, so So, that was just one unit – six
had a presence on iTunes – a big the tool allowed us to have fun weeks of work. For me, the use of
thrill for the pupils who were full whilst getting on to the crux of technology made perfect sense on
of it and wanted to check on the task. each occasion. It made sense to
downloads! • Animation – Each unit of the the pupils too. From feedback I
• Interactive Whiteboards / QCA schemes of work ends with received informally as I welcomed
Animated Powerpoint – Using a ‘celebration of learning’ and for and dismissed classes, it was
technology isn’t just using this unit, inspired by Oscar

Technology in Modern Foreign Languages

welcomed by parents who had know what we’d been doing as the activities, or make Voki, or use
heard about and seen what we’d pupils had been enthusing about Voicethread or Wallwisher to
done from their excited children. their tasks. collaborate and show what we’ve
And, although it took time, it Perhaps we don’t use technology learned. And so it should be.
provoked questions from other that often in every unit but it is now
members of staff who wanted to quite normal to record speaking

Technology in Modern Foreign Languages

Alice Ayel teaches Spanish and French at Thuringia recognised expert on technology and language
International school in Weimar, Germany. learning.
Alice blogs at Joe blogs at
Twitter:  @aliceayel Twitter:  @joedale

Suzi Bewell is a secondary teacher of French and Saira Ghani is Head of French at Chiltern Edge
German at All Saints Language College in York.  School, near Reading.
She also works for the  SSAT as a Lead Practitioner Saira blogs at
for Languages.
Suzi blogs at http:// Twitter:  @sghani
Twitter:  @suzibewell Andrea Henderson teaches French at Elkins High
School in Missouri City (a suburb of Houston),
Alex Blagona is Head of Language College at Texas at Fort Bend Independent School District.
Northgate High School in Ipswich, where he Andrea blogs at
teaches French and German. and
His websites are
and francophile/
Twitter:  @blagona Twitter:  @mme_henderson

Helena Butterfield is International Schools Co- Simon Howells is Modern Foreign Languages ICT
ordinator and an MFL Teacher at Ian Ramsey C of E Coordinator at Cheadle Hulme School in Cheshire,
School in Stockton-on-Tees, where she teaches where he teaches French, German and Italian.
French, German, Spanish and ICT. Simon blogs at
Helena blogs at
Twitter:  @langwitch Twitter:  @simonhowells

Mary Cooch has taught Languages and Isabelle Jones is a qualified translator/ interpreter
Geography at Our Lady’s Catholic High School in with 16 years of experience teaching French and
Preston. Mary is the author of Moodle 1.9 for Spanish. Head of MFL since 2002 and involved in
Teaching 7-14 Year Olds, as well as a VLE trainer PMFL since 2003.
specialising in Moodle. Isabelle is a keen ed-tech enthusiast who blogs at
Mary’s websites are listed at Twitter  @icpjones
Twitter:  @moodlefairy
Samantha Lunn is Head of Modern Foreign
Joe Dale is a CILT Language Teaching Adviser, Languages at Arnold School in Blackpool, where
BBC Languages consultant, Links into Languages she teaches Spanish and French. Samantha runs
trainer, eTwinning Ambassador, host of the TES the website.
MFL forum, former SSAT Languages Lead Samantha blogs at
Practitioner, regular conference speaker and
Twitter:  @spanishsam

Technology in Modern Foreign Languages

Dominic McGladdery is Head of Modern Foreign Amanda Salt is Head of Spanish at Grosvenor
Languages at Roseberry Sports College in Chester Grammar School in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
le Street, where he teaches French and German. Amanda blogs at
He blogs at Twitter:  @amandasalt
Twitter:  @dominic_mcg Clare Seccombe is Sunderland Local Authority
Support Teacher for Primary Languages and the
Marie-France Perkins is Head of MFL at the International Dimension.
Oldfield School in Bath, where she teaches mostly Clare has an MFL website http://
French and some German.
Marie-France blogs at  and blogs at Twitter:  @valleseco
Twitter:  @MarieFrance
Lisa Stevens is a primary teacher and PLL and
José Picardo is Head of Modern Foreign International Coordinator at Whitehouse Common
Languages at Nottingham High School. He is also a Primary School, eTwinning Ambassador, Apple
consultant and speaker on the effective use of Distinguished Educator, Language Coach for her
technology in education. Local Authority, consultant and speaker.
José blogs at Lisa blogs at
Twitter: @josepicardo Twitter:  @lisibo

Technology in Modern Foreign Languages

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