Professional Development Services teacher trainer, Stacey Hughes, invites you to share your ideas.
In our recent travels, we’ve seen some amazing and creative uses of digital technologies in the classroom. As e-course books and educational apps become more common and as teachers begin to see the potential of online practice, they are finding innovative ways to use these tools to help motivate students and help them learn. We have started asking teachers, “How do you improve language skills with e-books, apps, iTools, iTutor and online practice?” Here are some of the responses we’ve had so far.
I love working with iTools because it allows me to make new practice activities that used to take me ages to make before the digital age. One of my favourite features is the thick white pen I can use to erase the words of a text. For example, I erase the words of a picture story, children look at the pictures only and in pairs/small groups they have to come up with a dialogue that matches the messages of the images. This can entirely the same as the original or they could add to it depending on their language level. Once they have their dialogues, they practise them in pairs and finally act it out in front of the class. As children are the ones who choose the language to be used, it motivates them immensely and it helps develop their speaking skills.
– Erika Osváth, Hungary
I like to get my students to prepare tasks for each other when they watch the video clips on their Headway iTutor. I ask students to choose one clip from the unit, watch the clip at home and prepare some simple questions/true or false statements/etc. about it. They then find a partner who has prepared a different clip to them and exchange tasks. They watch the clip at home and do the tasks. Some students like to give their partner feedback on the tasks e.g. language accuracy. This activity not only helps students to develop their listening skills but also allows them to create tasks that are the right level for their peers.
– Jules Schoenmann, UK.
A phrase a day app:
At the end of the lesson, we (teacher and students) decide on the words/phrases to learn, aka ‘words of the lesson’. For homework, students have to find a phrase based on one of the words of the lesson in their ‘phrase a day‘ app . We don’t know which phrase each student has chosen. The only thing students have to do is write it down in their notebook. Their task in the next lesson is to use the phrase naturally in the course of the lesson at any time. So, you need to make sure you offer some opportunities for speaking.
You can do it the ‘competitive way’: the student who uses their phrase first wins. You may do it the ‘responsible way’: Each student is responsible for making sure they use it during the lesson. You nod approvingly when they do so – don’t worry, students will look at you the moment they’ve used it or even let you know loudly!
You can do it the ‘hilarious way’ as an activity in itself: pick students in pairs across the table/room, or students next to each other. The situation is this for each pair: They are travelling on a train to a distant destination (tell them where). They are complete strangers and bored to tears. There is nobody else in the compartment. So they decide to start chatting. The thing is that they have to use their phrase naturally in the course of the chat. So they have to steer the conversation. Students are given no time to prepare and each pair improvises their chat in front of the class in turns. It can be slow, fast, awkward at times but always surreal and hilarious, but never embarrassing for students. Just let them improvise and allow ‘silences’. You’ll all have a jolly good laugh!
– Anna Parisi, Greece.
Let’s create a teacher’s resource!
How do you use OUP digital resources? We are interested in your ideas! Please comment below how you use OUP ebooks, apps, iTools, iTutor, iWriter, and Online Practice. Let’s use each other as a resource and see how many new ideas we can share on this blog.