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Use of Taskmagic

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by hola33, Jan 21, 2012.

  1. hola33

    hola33 New commenter

    Hi everyone,
    I´m currently in the process of trialling taskmagic in school. I´m hoping that I can try and convince SLT that if would be a useful piece of software for use in MFL lessons and beyond (as money is very tight and it is very expensive - they will need some serious convincing!) I used it yesterday with my Year 9 spanish and they loved it - if anything they got over excited! In terms of using it with an IWB, I can see potential pitfuls in that those students who are not involved at the front have the potential to be become disruptive once the novelty wears off. Im interested to hear ways of involving the whole class in what is going on at the front. Any ideas? Does anyone use it to help students to learn their controlled assessment pieces on individual computers? Thanks hola33
  2. mlapworth

    mlapworth Occasional commenter

    Since nobody else has replied...
    Have a look at the pages on the TaskMagic website for some simple ideas for using TM with a whiteboard or projector. Almost every activity type has an "IWB Options" bit (if you scroll down the page). See the following:
    Text Match
    Mix and Gap
    TaskMagic was originally designed for use on individual computers, and this is where it works best, although most of the activities can also be used with an IWB or data projector.
  3. BrightonEarly

    BrightonEarly Occasional commenter

    Love TaskMagic - I agree with mlapworth - best on individual computers or as part of a carousel of activities if you want to use the IWB.
  4. mlapworth

    mlapworth Occasional commenter

    Yes, there is a free home user version of TaskMagic Play. I would tend not to set compulsory homework in this way, though, as not all pupils will have a windows computer at home. But you can certainly create exercises that can be used as an optional extra, to improve learning / aid retention etc.
    I think this is a great use for TaskMagic. Although the vocab games seem to be all that anyone thinks about when hear TaskMagic mentioned, I think the text-based resources - Mix&Gap and Dialogues - offer so much more in terms of engagement with a text, its meaning, its grammar etc. There are so many activities that work on a single text in so many different way, making it a great tool for helping students to memorise key phrases or indeed their whole text. (They can even add a recording of their text, either by recording themselves or by using text-to-speech tools.)
    I never used TM with an IWB as a teacher, although I've had a go with it on a smartboard at conferences etc, and it works great. I know a lot of teachers don't have access to IT rooms, though, and only really use TM with an IWB. Personally, I think it's the text-based stuff, rather than the vocab game stuff, that works better with a whole class situation on the IWB. (See those links above).
    I think a lot of people like the worksheets. I make loads of them to give away on the TaskMagic blog, just to show people the sorts of things it is capable of. http://taskmagic.posterous.com/ (Some people actually buy TaskMagic just for the worksheets...)
    I really would encourage anyone looking at TaskMagic to look beyond the vocab games and see what the possibilities are with texts and dialogues. There are LOADS of examples of exploiting texts on the TaskMagic blog: http://taskmagic.posterous.com/tag/exploitingtexts (and loads more on the TaskMagic yahoo group, attachments section).

  5. rosaespanola

    rosaespanola New commenter

    I get pupils to create their own games on TaskMagic that the rest of the class can play - they're a lot more likely to do this at home than play anything I've created! My lower sets in particular are absolutely nuts about doing this (I have to doctor the end result to correct mistakes though!) - I have a bottom set Y8 who are VERY difficult and disruptive, and I've seen them utterly engrossed for the whole time it takes them to create a game, and they're much more focused and enthusiastic when we play to games in class. I usually give them a topic and they make a picture match game, so they have to find relevant pictures & add the vocab to the game they're making. We also use the game creators on Linguascope to make their own games.
    Another way I use Task Magic goes down an absolute storm with every group I've done it with - whatever topic we're doing, I give each pupil a phrase and practise pronunciation with them, then I record them all saying their phrase and use the sound files to create a sound match game. It's easy enough to do and the kids go WILD for it - it's a great confidence builder and they think it's fantastic to hear themselves speaking French on a computer game, plus they remember their phrases really well. I was surprised how much effort they put into pronouncing it correctly so it's a really good way to develop speaking skills.
  6. kittylion

    kittylion Senior commenter

    I don't know if I have a very old version of TaskMagic but I have never been able to work out how to insert pictures, so I have only ever used the text match ups. Can anyone help?
  7. mlapworth

    mlapworth Occasional commenter

    One problem [I have] is that TaskMagic has actually been around for a LONG time (about 10 years) and there are so many schools still using older versions of TaskMagic. Loads of teachers are using or have used TM2 or even TM1, and they are not aware of just how much better TM3 is than previous versions - more exercise types, easier to use, looks much better, better functionality etc., so whenever they hear someone mention TaskMagic, they immediately think of the version that they've seen...

    are lots of additions, improvements and extra features in
    page on the TaskMagic website lists them all, with some links to blog posts with
    examples etc: http://www.mdlsoft.co.uk/TMUpdate.htm#TM3

    pdf document on the TaskMagic blog lists all of the improvements and additions
    in categories, and it can be printed on one side of A4: http://taskmagic.posterous.com/whats-new-in-taskmagic3
    To answer your question (about inserting pictures) - and this applies to all versions - open the Picture Match edit screen, click on one of the blank picture boxes, browse to the location of your image file. You need to have the image file itself - you can't drag images from a web page or word doc etc. If you want to use an image from the web, save it to your computer first.
  8. mlapworth

    mlapworth Occasional commenter

    How did you get on?
  9. kittylion

    kittylion Senior commenter

    Thanks for this MLapworth - sorry it has taken me so long to thank you but I must have missed your reply. I do have TM2 and cannot believe I have had it for so many years and not been able to input pictures - I guess I just forgot about it. Has been particularly useful as our Linguascope "rent" has just expired lol.
    Would love to try the newer programmes but am afraid that the school budget won't wear it - in fact I daren't even ask.
  10. mlapworth

    mlapworth Occasional commenter

    I know times are hard, but note that upgrading to the latest version costs less than 1 year's 'rent', as you put it ;-)
  11. kittylion

    kittylion Senior commenter

    Oh is that so? I have nothing to do with the budget you see, apart from being told when there isn't anything left for photocopying or "rent" etc.
    I will mention it then - but will read up your link on what the advantages of upgrading are first.
    Thanks again for the advice.
  12. I may well introduce my pupils to the create side of the programme and get them to "practise" using it as part of Stage One - in fact, they could create TM activities for each other.....

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