I was presented with a gift before leaving school today. Well, actually its not a personal gift! I was given a class set of ActivExpressions handsets to start using in the classroom. I was trained on how to use them yesterday, and I am very intrigued by the technology, although I can honestly say, thatfor the first time in my MFL/ICT relationship I am not convinced that this particular tool will be a worthy addition to the classroom.

Has anyone used these things before? For those of you that haven’t, they are a handheld unit, as small as a mobile phone, with a keypad like one, in order to input answers. Answers to questions can be given as true/talse , multiple choice or ordering, or pupils can input a number or text. The unit is able to do accents (so worth using for vocabulary in MFL), and it is relatively easy to create a FlipChart with preprepared questions, or just to pull up a poll without having pre-prepared anything.

I guess I need to really have a think about what type of activities would be suited to this device and as a school and a department we need to consider the classroom management side of things (when in the lesson do we use them – beginning or end?, counting them in/out etc) and create some sort of ‘good practice’ guide. So far the ideas I have for using the handsets are as follows:

1. Spelling test at the beginning of the lesson

2. Going through the answers to a listening or reading paper after having completed it (it is the exam season after all)

3. As part of a Who Wants to be a Millionaire style game (although will need to convert my nice PowerPoints intoFlipCharts for this to work properly)

4. …

And now I am out of ideas. I will think on this further and come back with some more ideas soon. Anyone else think of any?