Digital Tools For The Virtual (and real!) Classroom – Miss E Wood

Staff Guest Blog by Miss E Wood – Teacher of MFL and Welsh at MACS.

I recently attended a virtual conference for language teaching (SALT 2020) which left me feeling really inspired by some of the innovative tools and resources that can be used in teaching and learning, both in the classroom and online. After trying a few of them out, I selected the ones I felt could be most useful and thought I’d share them with you!

Virtual Classrooms and Escape Rooms

My greatest creation so far; a virtual classroom! It takes a while to put together but once you’ve done it, it’s easy to edit and can be used endlessly. The idea is that you can use it as a home page with interactive links to other websites, videos, quizzes, assignments and apps.

My Interactive Virtual Classroom – Hosted on G Suite

If you want to have a go at making your own, you will find instructions here.

If you don’t fancy making your own from scratch, then there are plenty of ready-made ones out there that you can put your personal stamp on. Just join the Bitmoji Craze for Educators or Virtual Bitmoji for Teaching groups on Facebook or search for the hashtag #bitmojiclassroom on Twitter.

Genially is a fantastic website where it’s easy to create Escape Room style activities and interactive challenges that can be then put on Google Classroom for pupils to access. An example of one that I have used can be found here. However, I can’t take full credit for it! One of the advantages of Genially is that there is a bank of resources that users have already created to share, which can be easily adapted. Just sign in and search for your subject/topic in the ‘Search for Creations’ toolbar to discover a myriad of amazing interactive resources!

Sharing Ideas with Virtual ‘Pin Boards’

Padlet has been one of my favourite digital tools for a few years. I’ve mainly used it for photocard practice, sharing research on cultural projects and even posting competition entries for European Day of Languages. However, it can be used for a variety of both group and individual tasks, such as collating opinions and even giving feedback if pupils were to upload a photo or video of their work to the Padlet.

Share and Collaborate with Padlet

Some MFL teachers have even shared ideas on about online learning and activities that are safe for the Covid classroom on Padlet for CPD purposes. They act as a form of pin board to share and collaborate ideas and resources.

If you are interested in using it more then instructions on how to use Padlet can be found in the tutroial video here.

A similar site is called Linoit which is basically like an online board of post-it notes. The upside is that pupils don’t need to login so they can access it quickly. The downside is that work can’t be saved like it can on Padlet.

Audio Based Feedback

QWIQR is one of the simplest ways of providing feedback on work. You simply record your feedback to the app, generate a QR code and then share the QR code with the pupil who can then listen to what you have to say about their work by scanning the code using a camera on their device.

Similarly you could add audio to Google Slides or set video tasks on Flipgrid to create a clear dialogue with pupils about their work. Flipgrid does take some getting used to, but seeing what pupils can do with it is hugely satisfying!

AFL and Questioning

The mini whiteboard dilemma…

Having to move around to teach as a nomadic teacher during the Covid-19 pandemic has meant that my usual regular use of mini whiteboards for quick assessment had to stop in many ways…but then I heard about which is essentially digital mini whiteboards.

This would be perfect if you were delivering ‘live’ lessons and wanted to check for understanding. A video with full instructions on how to use it can be found on the website and it is compatible with any device.

Another AfL tool is Flippity which uses Google Sheets to create spin wheels, scavenger hunts, flashcards, board games and loads of other tools. So far I’ve only experimented using it for translations using the Flippity Randomiser tool but this website has so much to offer, it’s definitely worth playing around with to see what you can create.

An example of a randomiser on Flippity.

So there are my current top digital tools! If you have any questions or would even like to share some of your own discoveries, please do get in touch and send me an email or tweet me @MlleWood_MFL. Thanks for reading!

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