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Friday, 19 June 2009

Moblogging in Zaragoza

Well, the Zaragoza blog this week has just had its 1000th hit! Angel Lopez, who runs our Spanish blog here at Woldingham, done made a fantastic job of uploading slideshows, audio interviews with the students and of course photos, resulting in a colourful and engaging blog. Back at school we have had some problems ensuring the students can access every aspect of the site, including being able to comment, but they have now been ironed out and we look forward to increasing our readership and more active participation next week when our students are in Bondues.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Moblogging again

Summer term and time for a couple of moblogs. We started moblog experiments last year with our Montpellier trip, and tried out some cross-curricular blogging with St. Petersburg in the Spring. Now we are branching out with two moblogs operating at once, one from Bondues one from Zaragoza, thanks to the Spanish Department's purchase of an additional camera phone.

Last year we used gabcast and podcast pickle together to publish some audio as well as photos from the phone. This year, thanks to Adam Taha's's very clear video featured on Joe Dale's blog recently, we are going for including audio via divshare and a tiny mp3 recorder.

Tomorrow I brief a group of students and accompanying staff on the basics of moblogging. Having set up blogs in blogger for both parties and linked their camera phone to the blog to post directly, once they are abroad our mobloggers just need to take pics, add an accompanying text, and click on "send to blog". In addition internet access in the evenings from host families/hotels gives an opportunity to add further photos from other devices or simply more cheaply. I'm hoping the students will also be able to make recordings of reports in the Target Language of their day's experiences, which can then be posted in a divshare player directly onto the blog.
I'm looking forward to seeing (and hearing) what they have been up to and hope we will have good interest and participation from parents and friends. Watch this space for an update on how they are getting on.

Friday, 5 June 2009

Revising for the orals with Photostory 3

It's a bit late for Year 11, I know. My Year 10s are preparing for end of year orals and have been using a multimedia approach to drum those conversation topics in.

The first stage was very conventional: write answers to questions on school, hand in, then type up the corrected version. Next, choose images from the net to reflect each of your answers. Drop these into Photostory 3 and add the questions as subtitles.

Now the more unusual bit: upload your answers to readthewords, choose one of the available French-speaking voices, and listen to your own answers. For students lacking in confidence this breaks the back of any pronunciation problems without the need for an unrealistic amount of time practising with the teacher. After a final rehearsal with me, the students then record their answers in Photostory, making a great resource to share with other students, mail home, or download onto a smartphone etc...

This took two 55 minutes lessons and two homeworks, and I'm looking forward to hearing the impact on their oral performances next week. The students certainly enjoyed making their short videos, and using speech simunlation as pronunciation support was excellent for boosting the independance of a bottom set.

Nice to feel new technologies can help us meet the old expectations of learning a certain amount of language by rote.