Language learning activity

This topic contains 7 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Teresa MacKinnon 6 years, 5 months ago.

  • Author
  • #18264

    Teresa MacKinnon

    This task is designed for use as part of Institution Wide Language Programme. Students are not language specialists, they may be studying for a degree in another discipline but want practical language skills in a real world context. For this reason it is important that they acquire language learning strategies. The task helps the group to support each other as they have limited face to face time (just 2 hours a week) and have to cover all skill areas (reading, writing, speaking and listening). Feel free to participate in the voice presentation that is shared here!

  • #18386


    Hi Teresa, I am so impressed with the detail and work that has gone into this. It blows mine right out of the water!

    I think the experience would clearly be deep and authentic as it appears to fit with the mode of teaching (and learning) you might ordinarily use in a language classroom- especially as this is set as a homework activity.

    I suppose on the question of technical issues- could this be possible? Especially if Java needed to be updated and the student wasn’t sure how to do this- what could an alternative activity be?

    The technology looks great to me and I like the use of collaboration in the process too. What do we do if learners default on group projects? I seem to be pondering these problems of collaboration online this week…

  • #18511

    Teresa MacKinnon

    Hi Hannah, thanks so much for your feedback 🙂

    You are right to point out the java issue, it has been a real headache of late. However, the technology works with older java installs anyway and we have a set of FAQ’s and a techsupport email address so the students are encouraged to use these. We now have very few problems fortunately but when BB Collaborate moves to an html5 version I expect life to be easier. We also have an open access area where our pcs are set up for student use with headsets etc for recording so if all else fails the back up plan would be to allow class time for the posting of the final contribution.

    I’m afraid “the tech didn’t work” is often just another “the dog ate my homework” excuse, I do expect students to get help if they run into problems, that is also a useful strategy for life. Few bosses will be happy with “I couldn’t work .ppt” as a reason for not making a presentation!  I try to foster an ethos in my classes of shared responsibility. We have small groups and generally they work well together. This would not be a formally assessed activity although the feedback in the review session would highlight the groups who had really engaged. I work on a praise basis personally, I like to accentuate the positive 🙂

    I agree with you collaboration is tricky and I have done much work on telecollaboration where it is clear that real human values matter – building trust through keeping your side of the bargain etc, this is maybe easier to establish in a blended situation.

  • #18762


    Teresa, Hannah – Hi,!

    Can I throw my task into the mix – it’s really basic, but I felt I had to do something after seeing both of your interesting tasks (Feedback coming soon on those – promise 😉




  • #19255


    Clearly a well thought out and developed activity. Having students discuss, search for, and introduce (especially with the target language in audio and written) learning resources in a ‘bank’ of online activities is an empowering activity. I agree (to a certain extent) with your reply to Hannah about tech problems being akin to an easy excuse, but there does need to be the support easily accessible for students and instructors alike: my institution has fairly good support in place, but other contexts may struggle.

    Anything that has students take some responsibility and act as peer-intsructors has my vote!

  • #19271

    Teresa MacKinnon

    Thanks Damon. I agree that technical support is important. This tool was chosen over others for several reasons not least the integration and ease of repurposing content. One of my bugbears with voice over the internet (apart from the important of easy delivery of voice without buffering which happens with these tools due to their use of a specially designed codec from the Wimba days) is that web2 tools used rarely take into account:

    -how complex it is to get learner engagement in recording themselves

    -how demanding it is for tutors to come up with good oral activities

    If you are interested in the technical side of the choice you can see my tool evaluation document which was submitted as part of my CMALT e-portfolio. I also think that we have to remember that voice is personal data too.

    For anyone interested in the voice tools work we have done, here’s a short presentation we recorded a while ago.

  • #19542

    guy saward

    Hi Teresa, sorry its taken me a while to get back to the forum to comment on this.

    My simple observations were, apart from the fact it looked really good, were:

    • I assumed the instructions on use of the resource were to be in French, based on the learning outcome for productive language of giving instructions, but it might be good to clarify
    • the 10 minutes for the task review in class strikes me as quite short, particularly if there are content as well as process issues to discuss.  Perhaps it would be good to add an online comment feature to the activity


  • #19618

    Teresa MacKinnon

    hi Guy, thanks for your comments. The timing is really just to try and fit in to the 20 mins max. which was set. In reality this would be an ongoing activity and as you can see in the tool participants can reply and add further comments to the posts, expanding the opportunities for interaction.

    The instructions for use of the tool would indeed be in French when it is presented in class in order to model the language students must produce.I produced some quick demo posts which illustrate this. The list of links (which I mentioned but didn’t share) would all be in the target language too.

    So in short, I agree but perhaps didn’t make these elements explicit enough in the example.

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