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Monday, 17 February 2014

Zondle Workshop at ILILC4


This year I was fortunate enough to be invited to give a workshop at the Language South East Conference on the benefits of using the excellent educational teaching and learning platform Zondle. Zondle covers all subject areas but this workshop looked specifically at various ways to use it effectively with MFL. 

One of the main themes of the session was the motivation of boys. Delegates were engaged in  discussions as to whether boys are motivated differently and how we can encourage and engage them in the MFL classroom. The need to provide good role models and tap into their competitive side was highlighted as a strategy to hook boys into modern foreign language learning.

Comparisons were made between famous sports stars who play or have played abroad. These included icons such as Gareth Bale, Jonny Wilkinson, Gary Lineker, Ian Rush, Pepe Guardiola, Paul Gascoigne and David Beckham. Those who became fluent in another language and who failed to to do so was pondered. What were the reasons for linguistic success? What were the barriers to success? The inspirational idea that ‘where there is a will there is a way' was promoted as a means to engender self belief and increase confidence among young people, many of whom may struggle with and fail to see the value of learning a foreign language.

Delegates were then shown how to create their own topics which they could set as home learning tasks, as formative or summative assessments or use for team play in lessons. The high score nature of the global gaming culture taps into boys' competitiveness and here is where Zondle,-with its wide variety of games and the fact that students can compete with each other-  works wonders. The fact that the leaderboard can be updated every 30 seconds only adds to the intense levels of competition between pupils and classes.

Here is the presentation:


Saturday, 15 February 2014

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Zondle

I have often thought about starting a blog but to be totally honest, having read so many wonderfully creative and insightful ones over the last year or so, I could not see how my meagre musings would be of benefit. That said, I have now decided to jump in and try my hand. Wish me luck fellow bloggers :)

So what made me change my mind?  There are a plethora of reasons but the main ones are the genuine desire to share my love of:  languages, education, lifelong learning, creativity, fresh ideas, and new technology. As an advocate of the 'sharing is caring' philosophy, the positive influence & encouragement of good friends and peers needs to be highlighted as to why I am now dipping my toes in the MFL Blog-ocean.  I can only hope that some of my reflections & musings may trickle down & have the occasional splash.

By this stage you may have worked out - depending on your age & national location- the tagline regarding 'Da warta in Majawka'. I have unwittingly made a few references to water here. All are unintentional as I'm not that clever! If you haven't then sorry, you'll have to work it out as a HOTS :)

So to some pedagogical content. Today my year seven Spanish class worked in the ICT room preparing Zondle topics as a revision aid for each other. The topics were taken from the work done in Mira 1 module 2 (textbook). This was stage five of the Zondle journey for them.


Stage one involved them being given a tour of the site and some of its key features as a whole class in my classroom. Usernames and passwords were also handed out. A caveat here, make sure you keep a copy of all their login details as pupils often forget or lose them. The excellent support team at Zondle with provide these for you if you send them copies of your classes via excel This can be done
by converting the sims class list to an excel workbook.

Stage two was the hands on playing of topics set by the teacher in the ICT room. This allows them to get a feel for the wide variety of games and encourages intense competitiveness. Who has got the most Zollars in the class, who is top of the leaderboard. The fact that this can be refreshed every 30 seconds creates a wonderful buzz as pupils try to out score each other whilst learning and revising topics set by the teacher. Other topics were then set as homework.

The pupils do nothing but talk about Zondle and who is top. Typical year sevens I hear you cry, alas, au contraire, year nine and ten are excited by it also. Many so -called disengaged pupils are the ones who play the most.

Back to year seven, stage three entailed my explaining how they could create topics for not only fellow classmates to play but pupils and students from all over the world. The idea that someone in New Zealand or the USA could play their topic grabbed their global gaming attention.  I thought this was best shown to the whole class in my classroom. They took notes about the necessary steps: labelling and tagging of the topics and the variety of question formats. We went to the ICT room and they created topics. Those who finished were allowed to play their own and their peers' topics too.

Stage four was back in the classroom,  'sir can we go to the ICT room again?' they asked. Yes, of course when we have completed our reflective stage. Pupils discussed why they enjoyed Zondle and extended their deeper thinking skills when employing a number of Bloom's categories, the ability to evaluate. to analyse The asked each other how did playing games on Zondle help them learn. When a student gave a short response he or she (with some guidance from moi) was encouraged to elaborate as to the how do you know you are learning. Where is the evidence? Pupils then wrote their findings down in their books.  The final session of stage four was a whole class game of Zondle Team Play. This can be done using mobile devices but since only a few had G3 and it was vey slow it became more of a hindrance to the flow of the lesson. The three rows competed against each other. Answers were written on the mini whiteboards. Pupils were really engaged and desperate for their row to win.

Today's stage five started in the classroom with clear instructions about what they were to do when they logged on.  They were to start with a reflective analysis of the topic they had created ( self assessment) for word order, spelling mistakes or missing accents. This was followed by peer assessment in which they checked a peer's topic for any possible errors. This promoted attention to detail and activated more higher order thinking skills. What is wrong with this question? Why is wrong? How do you know?  Once completed pupils were then able to create new topics from Mira 1 module 2. I informed that should they wish for their topic to be used in class- our's or any classroom around the world-as Zondle Team Play then all questions would have to be multiple choice.

Well, that's all folks! I hope you find some of this useful. If you have any queries or questions I'd be more than happy to help if I can :)

Here are a few pictures of Zondle in action.
Creating a topic
Labelling and tagging the topic

Selecting format and adding questions


Playing one of the pupil created topics