This week ELA hosted one of the most powerful courses for the new generations of students. Participants from Hungary, Iceland and Belgium were attending the course “Teaching languages in the digital era: the best apps, web platforms and ICT solutions for learning languages” in Bologna. These 7 language teachers from different countries, were discussing from the beginning of the course the needs of their, and they were looking for the bests tools to make the most of them for their classes.
Their main expectation form the course was to explore websites and learning apps to promote students’ motivation and participation in the language class.
In order to learn how to create a visual whiteboards and get the attention of the students in their lessons, they explored Google Jamboard. Working with this tool, they were able to create a presentation about theirselves in a digital way.
Talking about creation of multimedia or videos, we tested some different tools and discussed about the benefits of each one. We started with Powtoon: teachers found it extremely engaging for creating grammar presentations and videos to recap the content. Instead using Canva we agreed that it is a user-friendly interface to create the best worksheet and explainer videos in a easy way.
In the following days, the course was focused in useful platforms to start using game-based learning in language classes. We are talking about Quizlet. Quizlet was the most valuated tool according to our students for making use of flashcards and to practice vocabulary and grammar.
Nowadays, tools for creating online classes are very handy. Then we explored Ed-puzzle which is a tool that allow teachers to turn videos into real listening comprehension tasks. Students created their own video, editing it with many different options as adding notes, questions, discussion prompts…
In order not to spend too much time in the classroom we wanted to propose a fun activity with the participants to congratulate them for their hard work. We planned a treasure hunt in the city centre of Bologna. In this way we got participant´s attention and motivation to do an activity to learn about curiosities and historical information of Bologna. For this activity, we used Action Bound which is a tool that help teacher to create an interactive activity for their students when doing a day trip.
Other useful web platforms which we were working with were Socrative to test students and get immediate feedback from them and Mentimiter for brainstorming vocabulary and for creating interactive presentations.
The main reflexion after the course when discussing about these tools, was the idea of getting students attention in a visual, controlled and adapted version of education for the new generations needs. Tools like these are a great way to engage the students in the contents of the lessons and creating effective teaching methods.