Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Screencasting & language learning



I've been checking out Capture Fox - a Firefox add-on that I originally came across thanks to the the Ed Tech Crew Podcast. Capture Fox allows you to very easily make a screencast in Mozilla (though only in Windows XP & Vista). Once installed, you're only a couple of clicks away from recording (with voice if you choose) what you are doing in the firefox screen or in the whole window - at this stage you can't reduce the size of the area. The only problem I've found so far is the size of the screencast files, though you can choose to lower the quality and reduce the size.

Anyway, today's brainwave centred around using the add-on to help engage my students in a bit of language learning through some "Virtual ordering at a restaurant". The plan at this stage goes a little like this ...

After installing the add-on in firefox and learning how to use it we will:

  1. Go to the McDonalds website in Japan to have a look at the menu - practising some katakana script while we are there.
    • On second thoughts, I will use 3 or 4 different restaurant / food outlet sites rather than all using the same site. My personal favourite Mister Donuts will no doubt make it onto the list.
  2. Students will write down what they'd like to order, again ensuring they use the correct script. They will need to order more than 1 of each item to practice using the correct counter (our latest grammar point).
  3. Finally students will use capture fox to create a screencast of themselves ordering their chosen food and drink (in Japanese of course). We will then share our creations.
I may need to refine the plan a little but it's a start. Could screencasts like this one day constitute a speaking assessment, or am I taking things too far with that idea? Short of skyping a restaurant in Japan (hmmm... maybe one day), this seems to be the next best thing. On face value it seems like a reasonable attempt to make Japanese more relevant to the students by showing them how they can use their knowledge to order food from a real menu, but we shall see...

Check out my attempt at the task below:

1 comment:

Lucy Lou said...

Wow, that is *awesome* Andrew! I don't speak Japanese but think I caught the words "mega mac" and "coca cola" ;) I have not seen Capture Fox - thank you very much for the tip. Also, whilst I use screen recording software to assist teachers with ICT PD, I have not heard of students using it to show their skills and understanding. Fantastic work - thank you!
Lucy :)