My focus this week is…..

….EasiSpeak microphones.

Tomorrow and Wednesday I plan to finish off a unit of work with my Year 8 class. They are mixed ability, and it is only their first year of Spanish, so the activity plans to show off the skills that they have learnt so far which include basic personal descriptions including personality, age, name, birthdays etc and classroom language.

The task will be to record their own descriptions using the EasiSpeak microphones, and then we will upload the audio to use with a Voki. They will have to design their own characters, and we will display them in our class blog and give individual feedback.

What I need to do now, before the lesson, is to create a pupil sheet explaining what we are going to do and how we are going to do it.
I then need to actually create a blog for the group that will be accessible in school as well as ensure that Voki.com is unblocked, and make sure I know how to use the EasiSpeak mikes properly, so that I can demonstrate.

This activity should challenge them to be creative and to use all the language they know so far, it is relevant to the pupils as they will be talking about themselves and using current technology, they have an audience because the whole class will get to see it, it is personal to each pupil and there is an incentive to do well  as the top three of the group will earn merits. This activity is also open ended as it allows a variety of responses, thus differentiating the task by outcome.

Later this week I will update my blog with some feedback on the task and how the pupils do on it.

Here are the resources I have made so far:

Recording with EasiSpeak

Instrucciones para hacer un Voki

NB – Voki states in its terms of service that users must be aged 13 or over. As I am using this with Year 8 (who are between 12 and 13 years of age), only the pupils who have turned 13  (‘Challenge Leaders’) will access the site, therefore pupils will work in small groups and the Challenge Leader will create the Voki for their group. Thanks to @amandasalt for the heads up!

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ActivExpressions

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?