Thursday, 11 December 2008

Web 2.0 Tools that worked in 08

Recently I've been trying to reflect a little on the year that has just passed (school has now finished for the year for me) and was thinking about what worked and what didn't. So, keeping in line with the internet's fascination with lists, I thought I'd put together my list of web2.0 tools that have given me the most success in the language classroom this year.

1. Quizlet was without doubt the most successful. Boys were motivated to use it, create new lists and outdo each other in the vocab games. Students were even using it in other subjects to help learn definitions, etc. I suggested that they share this fact with their teachers.
2. Voki - again, this motivated students to create and use the language we had learnt. This also proved successful in getting others in the department inspired to use ICT in their language classroom. The languages department went a little "Voki mad" in the last weeks of school - kids loved it.
3. Wikispaces - This has been great for Year 7 & 8 students. One central place they can go to for vocab, grammar review, activities, links and a place to view each other's creations. Simple to use & can be private as well as ad free for educators.
4. My StuDIYo - Students can create their own quizzes, which can then be embedded in other pages (ie. wikispace). Good for mixing culture and language. Worked well with engaging some of the more reluctant students; in mixing culture and language they were able to make questions that matched up with their interests. I learnt a lot about French Rugby Union through this exercise.
5. Making comic strips with the students at Make Belief Comix. There are many sites to do this sort of activity and some that I aim to try out in the holidays but this one did the job well this year.

These are my top 5. Below are some sites I aim to check out during the holidays ...

What worked for you? Any other suggestions???

PS: A note on Ask500 (thanks to Lucy Barrow for the tip)

As I was going over programmes for next year & considering the "old ways" and possible "new ways" of doing things, it occurred to me that we often use little surveys in the language class. "What's your favourite food?", etc. So, as an experiment, I went to the survey site Ask500 to type in my question.
  • Firstly, very happy that it accepted the Japanese script!
  • Secondly, even happier when I went back a few hours later to see that I had about 35 responses to my "好きなかもくはなんですか" (What's your favoutite subject?) question.
  • Even had a comment!
Now, if I was impressed by the world's response to my little question, I guess the students would also be happy. They could then report back to the class in the target language, summarising the responses received. "The favourite subject for .. people was ..." OR "...% like history"

The ability to comment on questions is both a positive and a potential negative. Some of the discussions in the comment are interesting and could be well worth discussing in some classrooms. Unhelpful or inappropriate comments can be "downvoted", meaning that (if enough people subtract points from the comment) the comment will disappear from the default view. Here's mine here ...