Category Archives: Software and Internet EFL materials

EFL WEB EXPLORER: VOICE TOOLS

Starting up voice forums and discussions for the Foreign Language Class is now possible with a couple of new tools which have been active for the last few months.

– One of them is Vaestro. This is “the first site on the internet to intiate voice discussions in a forum format”. You can talk to your friends, host interactive podcasts, or use it like an audio blog. You can even use it on your web site for free.

This software may be valuable in education as you can use it to start Asynchronous Voice Discussions, which will leave students some time to organize their ideas and prepare the points they will explain in advance. Everybody can listen to classmates voices and arguments in class or outside. In Foreign Language Learning it is a valuable tool to practise oral tasks and share them with the rest of the class group or level.

The only thing you need in order to start a FORUM is to registre, then you can use a microphone or upload an MP3 file.  You can even set up international FORUMS without having to rearrange your schedule based on timezones .

-Another good one is Voxopop, which has already been tried for language practice. The Education, Learning and Language Forum started in February 2009 and has already more than 2,000 members. There are some other language forums such as English I Talk, Talking about 6 minute English , or BBC MB members. I will start my own language practice forum with my students next year. I hope I can talk about the results then.

These two webs add to the suite of voice resources and software that many teachers have been using in their language classes so far.

I will do a quick revision to  the most popular ones:

Audacity is some recording and sound editing software to be used off line. It is free.

Podomatic is a  podcast site where you can record or upload your podcasts and show them in your “Podcast” (a pocast blog). It includes a new tool to create slidacasts.

Blip TV, Odeo, iTunes, the Internet Archive, Wikiworks are webs where you can host language podcasts online to be heard in class or by your students at home. They are also useful to create slidescasts, since they provide you with the necesary URL link required in sites like Podomatic.

– Voicethread is also a collaborative tool to create podcast, text and image presentations. A good tool for collaborative work.

If you want some more information about the tools you can use for your Language Class, you can have a look at Web 2.0. an English Course, my content based course on the use of Web 2.0. to express yourself and communicate in English.

AUTHORING TOOLS: Language Game Makers

languages-on-line

Languages on line is a project lauched written by the Australian  Languages Online Team at the State of Victoria.

It offers  the following resources for language teachers and students:

Software to make your own interactive tasks…
Memory Game Maker 3.0
Tetris Game Maker 1.4
Matching Game Maker 1.3
Sentence Game Maker 1.2
Comprehension Task Maker 1.0
Free downloadable templates to create your own multimedia language games and activities. Use your own text, pictures or voice recordings:

VIDEO: What are Game Makers?

Ready made activities to learn French, German, Indonesian and Italian.

Over 220 engaging interactive tasks and games and 190 printable worksheets that introduce, reinforce and recycle vocabulary in these languages. They are self-paced and self-correcting and can be repeated as desired. Activities are presented in 35 topic-based sections, and include recordings by native speakers.

AGREGA

Agrega is the new Internet repository of educative objects which has been recently launched under the initiative of three Spanish public institutions: the group Red.es, the Spanish Ministry of Education and the Regional Spanish Governments.

It is meant to be a free public platform for teachers and students with an idea in mind: to spread the use of digital educative objects and content in schools.

The underlying principles of this project are:

  • To promote the use of ITC means in all schools.
  • To rely on common criteria  for cataloguing digital objets.
  • To launch a sustainable model for making digital objects and using them in the classroom.
  • To launch a new industry of digital content creation and edition.
  • To keep in mind the ease of these use for those teachers and students who are not familiarised with the use of technology.

CUT-TO-FIT DIGITAL MATERIALS FOR THE LANGUAGE CLASS

One of the most important problems which stop teachers using ICT for the English class is the lack of first-class materials to be used for group or individual work.  Cambridgeenglishonline is a site where you can contact your own designers to produce the materials your curriculum requires. You can get some good examples of their work on their web  http://cambridgeenglishonline.com/. The British Council is one of their clients.

Angeles Hernandez Polanco
Escuela Oficial de Idiomas de Santander
https://angeleshernandez.wordpress.com/