The modern language tutors in the Sussex Centre for Language Studies are great at exploring opportunities to use technology to enhance their students’ learning – and sharing what they are doing with each other.
Anne Hole, the liaison learning technologist for Arts and Humanities was pleased to be involved in a recent ‘Show and TEL’ workshop organised by Belinda Hackney.
Three inspiring tutors showed colleagues what they have been doing with learning technologies and discussed where technology might be able to take their classes in future.
Using images in the classroom
Most disciplines use images in some way in teaching, though for languages they play a particularly important role. Silvia Lopez Cepero explains that ‘the use of images in the class allows the teacher to explore new activities and create varied lessons to help students learn vocabulary efficiently and develop their spoken language skills’. For the Show and TEL session Silvia demonstrated how she created collages using the Fotor photo editor. Her short presentation showed how easy it was to create professional-looking collections of images and soon everyone was online creating their own collages (like the one above). There was some discussion about where to find suitable images and links to the Technology Enhanced Learning web page and blog post on using Creative Commons licensed images were shared.
Using games in language learning
Games and gamification has been identified as one of the ‘important developments in educational technology for Higher Education’ by the NMC Horizon Report 2014 so it was with great interest that we heard how Andrea Vitali has been using online games in his teaching.
He uses Languages Online where he can choose from ready-made games or create his own. The games can then be uploaded or linked to in Study Direct for students to play and learn out of contact hours.
Andrea says that the vast majority of his students, of all ages, ‘love games, especially when they realize that they are learning while having fun’. The appeal of games is shown by the fact that some students have found the language game app DuoLingo for themselves and are playing it in their own time to develop their language skills. If you want to know more about this app read our review of DuoLingo.
Ideas for the future
The session concluded with Andrea Dalton presenting ideas on ways that the internet can help language tutors to gather ‘authentic’ teaching materials. She also had some exciting ideas for ways that technology might be used in future as she says that: ‘Future technologies have begun to alter the learning space and as an educator it fills me with excitement about what the future may hold.’
In the workshop Andrea demonstrated Padlet, the online virtual wall. Padlet provides a virtual space where people can post comments, documents, images, weblinks, YouTube videos and audio. It is great for capturing key points from an event, brainstorming, sharing resources, collaborating on projects and anything else you could do on a huge blank virtual wall!