The teachers who attended the course were very curious about the educational implications of new technologies to support language learning. The main goal was to explore the different functionalities of web applications to promote students’ motivation, empowerment, and learning.
The main expectations we gathered at the beginning of the course were the following:
“How to increase students’ vocabulary in a fun way”?
“How to improve students’ communicative skills”?
“How to improve autonomous work to improve language skills”?
“How to assess using ICT technologies”?
The use of Technology in language learning gives the students the opportunity to assume an active role in learning, to cooperate and to communicate with the class. The teachers explored and practiced different tools and analysed their usefulness in their classroom contexts. In fact, they discovered that some tools are perfect to wrap up lessons, to personalize learning, to assess in a formal and informal way, to break up lessons and make them more engaging, or to challenge students to produce something for the class!
The use of technology makes the students feel much more motivated and engaged on the one hand, on the other hand it’s the perfect solution to manage and monitor student progress.
In classroom we had fun competing on Quizlet “live”, and we found out how easy it is to create interactive language quizzes using this web application. In particular, the teachers found very useful Quizlet Flashcards to increase students’ vocabulary and spelling skills.
Using Mentimeter and Prezi, the participants created interactive and attractive presentations about language, and they had the opportunity to presenting their works in a safe and motivating environment, with the aim of being able to use them in the real classroom context.
Teachers found Powtoon very useful for grammar presentations, and to outline and recap contents of the lesson. Participants also appreciated Socrative for the possibility to ask students quick questions and to monitor the attention in the classroom, especially for distance learning.
Ted-Ed and Ed-puzzle are two other educational platforms which are very useful for language learning. By exploring these two sites, participants practiced adding voice notes, questions, and voiceovers to educational videos, turning them into real lessons to use in school.
Other useful web platforms which we explored are Weebly, a website that allows you to easily customize webpage designs through useful tools, Magisto, a video editing app, and Google Jamboard, a suite rich of editing and creative tools to collaborate with students.
“What have we learned?”
Learning language is a challenge for students: a technological environment, in which it is easy to share, communicate, debate, compete and play, is a way to transform something difficult in an immersive and motivating experience.
Obviously, this productive experience was enriched by the colours of the Arab-Norman Palermo, which added history and culture to this wonderful training week!