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ICT for KS3 MFL

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by rosannawalton, Jun 15, 2011.

  1. Dear MFL teachers,

    I am currently a masters in publishing student at Oxford Brookes and I am writing my dissertation about the advances in ICT and digital resources in secondary schools and how this is having an effect on learning/teaching KS3 modern foreign languages in the classroom and from home. I was wondering if you'd be able to aid my research by answering a few questions?

    I am most interested in how ICT is becoming a major part of teaching/learning languages in classrooms (and at home). I would like to know what published resources are the most popular, which are the best, if any have been formally reviewed by teachers (other than the ones on the publishers' websites) and how they are improving class life, the quality of lessons and the student's abilty to learn a language.

    Do you have any current statistics about ICT and language learning in UK secondary schools?

    I am specifically interested in what interactive resources (like Boardworks/Pearson products) that schools are buying as opposed to using for free (like TES resources and BBC Bitesize etc...). Does information like this exist for public viewing?

    I would also be interested to know anything about how and why schools select certain teaching resources from publishers. Why for example do they choose Pearson over Boardworks? Is it purely to do with marketing or is it to do with habit or the needs of the schools?

    Also, I would be interested to find out about the different exam boards that are available to secondary schools and why schools choose to follow certain exam boards. Are there any statistics or research/data that elaborates on that? Should I contact the local council for information?

    I would really appreciate your help.

    Thank you so much.

    Kind regards,

    Rosanna
     
  2. Dear Rosanna
    I am writing wearing two distinctly different hats:
    1. As a retired Professor of Computer Assisted Language Learning, who embarked upon using ICT in language learning and teaching way back in 1976. I still take an active interest in what is going on and edit the ICT4LT website at http://www.ict4lt.org. Have you had a look at the site? This section in particular may be of interest to you:
    Section 3, Module 1.4
    How effective are new technologies in promoting language learning?
    http://www.ict4lt.org/en/en_mod1-1.htm#effectiveness
    2. As a partner in Camsoft, a software production and retailing business that was set up in 1982:
    http://www.camsoftpartners.co.uk/
    Our best-seller used to be the Fun with Texts authoring package:
    http://www.camsoftpartners.co.uk/fwt.htm
    At one time in the late 1990s over 3000 UK schools were using this package. Sadly, those days are over. Schools hardly ever buy any kind of software from us for teaching and learning modern languages nowadays. Many other producers and retailers appear to be in the same boat. Some have pulled in their horns and others have gone into liquidation, two prominent examples being Talkfast and AVP. We continue to tick over because both senior partners are now over 65 and living comfortably off the pensions that you nice young people are paying for. Thank you! Software sales began to take a nosedive when free materials became widely available on the Web from the early 2000s – and then languages ceased to be compulsory after KS3, which had a huge negative effect on sales. Now Web 2.0 is king, and the emphasis has shifted towards using a range of free Web 2.0 applications rather than buying software. See Section 2.1.3 of Module 1.5 at the ICT4LT site for examples of the Web 2.0 applications that language teachers are using:
    http://www.ict4lt.org/en/en_mod1-5.htm#web2apps
    You can get a good idea of what is going on by looking at blogs written by and for language teachers. See the list in Section 12.2.2 of Module 1.5 at the ICT4LT site:
    http://www.ict4lt.org/en/en_mod1-5.htm#ltblogs
    Take a good look especially at the blogs maintained by Joe Dale and José Picardo.
    Regards
    Graham Davies
     
  3. FrauSue

    FrauSue New commenter

    Hi there,
    There are a lot of questions here! Personally I think that the main advantage of ICT is not the published resources, but the fact that pupils can access real-life foreign language use without leaving the classroom.
    I use www.wetter.de when teaching the weather, for example, or http://www.bayerische.staatsoper.de/data/kinder_flash/ to teach musical instruments.
    I think this use of authentic websites is especially powerful for older students who want to indulge in independent study (I give them a list of useful websites) but also for younger students who may never have been to the country where the target language is spoken. Other posters on here have talked about using Google streetview to teach directions, for example.
    As far as the published material goes, it's all fine but nothing that can't be done with an overhead projector if you have to. It's the access to the real world that fascinates me with ICT and is something I think I should maybe exploit more.
    Have a look at the box of tricks blog too (http://www.boxoftricks.net/) as this looks specifically at using ICT in MFL - again, using a range of widely available programmes rather than MFL-specific ones.
    I hope that helps. I know it doesn't fully relate to your questions but I think it's a fair reflection of how I use ICT in the classroom.


     
  4. spsmith45

    spsmith45 New commenter

    One observation: cost is a major factor in making decisions on ICT. The publishers are charging annual fees for online resourecs such as Kerboodle (Nelson-Thornes). This bites into the annual budget and means there is little left to buy other ICT products.
    I wanted to get into Taskmagic this year, but I'm afraid (sorry Martin) that I can't afford it.
    So we make good use of free resources such as languagesonline.org.uk.
    The Atantot online interactive whiteboard product by Esther Mercier, at only £40 per year, is quite attractive. Boardworks is too expensive for us.
     
  5. The Ashcombe School's Language College website will give you a good idea of the types of software and Web apps that are used in teaching MFL: lots of materials, advice, software evaluations, worksheets, exercises for different languages, etc:
    http://www.ashcombe.surrey.sch.uk/Curriculum/modlang
    Regards
    Graham Davies
     
  6. mlapworth

    mlapworth Occasional commenter

    What a shame! I'm sure you'd love it if you tried it. So useful at all levels (even if I say so myself :0)
    (BTW it's a one-off, not a subscription...)
     

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