Article

Parlez-vous avec la technologie?

Florence Lyons believes technology could have been invented for language teachers and uses it as much as she can.

When I first came to New Zealand in 2006, I was surprised to see how much teachers were using IT in their classrooms (and that everybody was given a laptop!). Previously, the only training I’d received was how to create basic PowerPoint presentations. However, it seems that technology has been invented for us languages teachers – and this has led me to use ICT in almost every lesson!

I personally use Twitter, where I have learnt so much. To me, it is a place of exchange where teachers can share, discuss and meet. If it wasn’t for Twitter, I would not have met Toni Theisen, Teacher of French at Loveland, Colorado. Because we are teaching the same novel, Le Petit Prince, we have created a common Wikispace. Here discussions (in

French, of course) take place, and it’s a place where our respective students can express themselves by recording videos and sound files. Students have become more engaged and enthusiastic towards their work as they have true audiences.

VousTube?

I use YouTube a lot, for one simple reason: France is so far away that it feels almost unreal for students. The site provides authentic materials, like songs and video clips, which students love. Videos I have used include:

Also, I get students to produce and listen to podcasts. For example, they can describe their town to tourists coming to Matamata, or host a radio show, etc.

I’m always on the lookout for software that can help me plan my lessons and that utilises my laptop and projector. This is why I use the Smartboard Notebook software (http://shuurl.com/T5748) although I do not have an interactive whiteboard. Its ‘magic mouse’ helps students work together. That way, you end up having all the advantages of an IWB even if you don’t have one.

My favourite online resources

There are plenty of resources online. All students have access to Language Perfect (www.languageperfect.co.nz).

Other engaging and interactive activities we use include: Le jeu de l’oie (http://jeudeloie.free.fr) – ‘The goose game’ requires players to answer questions about the French language to help the goose get home – but beware the traps where it can fall in!

Transparent language (http://shuurl.com/B5749) – offers several language-related activities based on familiar games, such as Word Seek and Unscramble.

Le jeu des chiffres et des lettres (http://shuurl.com/A5750) – The game of ‘figures and letters’ is based on a TV gameshow. There are two games: one where players

choose nine letters (selecting vowels or consonants) and then creating the longest word; the other uses six numbers and players have to calculate the largest, using each number only once.

Others I like include:

When I started to incorporate technology in my lessons, I thought I would depend on it to be a good teacher. But, while technology is only a helpful tool, it does not make you a good teacher. A skilled teacher can teach with any tools, even a piece of chalk, whereas an unenthusiastic teacher equipped with all the available ICT resources, would still fail to engage and motivate his students.

Florence Lyons teaches at Matamata College.

© INTERFACE Magazine, August 2009

Comments

valerie mcintyre   Posted: 17/08/2009 10:25 PM

Really useful article Flo and I will investigate the package you say to see if I can overcome my lack of whiteboard too. I think you are dead right about the ICT tools being part of the toolbox of a good teacher – but it won’t save an unskilled one! However i think the ICT stuff per se may help at times with pupil motivation – “fling the teacher” is a good case in point! Thank you for your ideas.
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