A Review of Week Four of Teaching ESL Through iPads. Learner Independence Begins
This week was so productive week as we succeeded in work creatively through producing both teacher and student driven material in line with learner outcomes. Students were able to see the interconnectivity of one eight hour block of work, using teacher authored materials as models or points of reference when creating texts of their own. They moved between Apps of their own volition, as they are now more familiar with where they can get the type of help they needed in written or audio form. Hence, some learner worked really independently, reaching targets and showing others that they had all of the resources they needed to do so in the one compact device in their hands.
Describing People’s Appearance and Personality.
- To give students the language and vocabulary to enable them to write and talk about people they know.
- To provide students with models of people describing themselves and others.
- To provide students with a platform through which they could share their descriptions of peers.
- To make students aware of where they could find information they needed.
- To provide students with both extensive and intensive listening practice.
Key lexis lists were created in Spelling City, flashcards were made in A Pro +, and a You Tube Video link was shared. Students had access to these resources at all times and it was evident that they used them as a dictionary or, going back to them for the words they wanted. I encouraged this by sharing the following ‘where to find the resources you need ‘ Popplet mind map with students.
Initially, students were given an hour to work with these three vocabulary learning vehicles in any way they wished. Some students worked purely on line, whilst a few chose to enter words they did not know at all into paper based notebooks. No one used the British Council My Word Book App. I am not sure whether this is because they find it difficult to use, and need more training on it, or if they feel they do not need another digital resource.
The Audioboo IPhone App was used to create three short oral descriptions of People. (see the lesson plan section of this blog) My best friend Claire, was followed by a Socrative Quiz which was student paced, i.e. students decided when to move to the next question) The audio was played from Apple TV and each student had the Socrative Quiz open on their iPad. Quiz results were emailed to students, informing them of which items they answered correctly and where they had gone wrong. Students individually listened to the Audioboo again, so that they could listen specifically to erroneous items. For example, one student had confused 50 with 15, one student Rose with Rosen. This type of personalized feedback is one of the key benefits of digital programmes.
In a display what you know, team recap game, students were encouraged to reiterate the information they had just heard, encouraging input to become output,
At a later stage, students listened to other spoken descriptions of two men. They were asked to spot the differences between a written tape script and each recording.
Students were presented with a PDF worksheet downloaded from the website-Lesson Plans for English as a Foreign Language (EFL) Teachers, created by Catherine Schell . This provided them with language form focused work. Several students referred to the descriptions here, when composing their own texts. More students used the Pages document accompanying the Audioboo, as they were able to copy paste and make changes to it. How much is this a danger of the purely softcopy issuing of materials? Fortunately, the soft copy version was in first person singular and so students needed to transform all of the verbs, giving them practice in subject verb agreement.
Converting the Written Word into the Spoken Word
Using the Speak Selection function in Pages students were able to listen to a spoken version of the text they had written about their friend. This is activated by tapping on, Settings, General, Accessibility, Speak Selection, choose a slow pace. When iPaders select all and highlight a text, the Speaker option appears. Tapping this option initiates a spoken rendition of their written word. Some students were able to identify errors in their writing as they are more accustomed to hearing language. For example, one student asked why the auto voice read out Live ( adjective form pronounced like alive) and not live (verb form). I asked if his verb and subject agreed and he immediately realized that it did not and corrected ‘He live’ to ‘He lives’. Students listened to the rendition of their work several times, shadowing it, i.e. repeating the sentence in the same manner as the computer read it out. Afterwards they recorded the text on Audioboo and shared it with the class via email.I was able to leave a comment on each students work, directly on Audioboo. Students will then add this work to their spoken portfolio in Creative Book Builder, adding their Audioboo as a link.
Providing Students with Extensive Listening Practice.
It is difficult to find extensive listening practice at the correct level for beginner students. As yet, our institution has not been able to purchase audio tracks that accompany a digital book. Hence, I used iMovies to record myself reading an elementary graded reader. I read through the video camera screen, stopping after each page do that the movie could be emailed to students easily. I gave each email a clear title, so that students were able to open up each audio attachment and save it to camera roll. They created an album in camera roll, by using the edit button. They saved the graded reader iMovies into the Album labeled with the graded reader’s name. When they tapped in slideshow, they were able to listen to graded reader being read aloud for as long as they wanted to. Our teaching team is planning to record several readers in this way, so that students have no shortage of audio books at their level. In addition, we are planning to allocate one page of a graded reader to each student. They will rehearse reading the page aloud and then record it via iMovies and send it to the class email. I need to experiment with putting the iMovies into iBooks.