#DHTM – Easy Tech Tools

The first Teach Meet of the term was well attended by teachers keen to see what technology could do for their lessons.  The goal was to keep it simple and look at tools that were easily accessible by all.

First up was @plickers which is an excellent assessment tool that helps teachers gauge how well their students have understood the work covered.  It enables teachers to plan the next steps with an accurate knowledge of the levels their students have attained.  A quick demonstration was given and it was clear to everyone that this is a tool that should be explored more.  It does require one iPad per classroom.  For more information on how to set up your class using plickers click here.

For those who do not have access to an iPad another option  is @GetKahoot .

This is an excellent online tool for use in a language lab or students can get the student version of the tool (kahoot.it) on their lap top. This tool allows you to assess your students’ knowledge in much the same way as plickers with four possible answers to choose from. The difference with this tool is that once the four choices are displayed for all to see on the screen there is a limit on the amount of time that students have to answer the question. The background music adds to the intensity and the leader board posted on screen after each round brings an element of competition to this assessment tool. GetKahoot also saves the data about students’ responses in the same way as Plickers. So another tool that is definitely worth exploring.

Next under the spotlight was linoit. Linoit is just one of a number of online walls or pin-boards where students can collaborate and share ideas. Some of the others are linoit – “colourful collaboration” or padlet – “the easiest way to share and collaborate in the world”. It is easy to set up and you can invite your students to join in advance. Once you have started a sharing wall and set it up with your students you really can take it anywhere; grammar work, diagrams, feedback about a particular topic in biology, character analyses for a set text, or, as the example here, research about a particular, French comedian.

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Once students start adding their thoughts, ideas, answers and so on the path is set for peer assessment, critical checks by critical friends and your feedback and advice.

Talking about giving advice @shampoozil then talked about how she uses podcasts to give advice on how to answer exam questions effectively. Setting up such a podcast is so easy and requires only the ability to record on a mobile phone or computer and the recording is then very easily
accessible by all students. The obvious advantage of recording such guidelines in this way is that students can access the information at their own pace and can access it as many times as they wish. Lesson time can then be freed up for dealing with individual questions and issues. Using podcasts or voice annotated feedback is certainly an area that needs further investigation and with such apps as educreations and notability oral feedback should become increasingly easy.

The final tool to come under scrutiny was shared by @DiEvans18. She talked to us all about memrise an online site and app @memrise that provides a fun way to learn new vocabulary. This tool has a place not just in the language classroom but in many areas across the school curriculum. @DiEvans18 uses it in her Business Studies classroom. This is a flexible tool that allows teachers to input key vocabulary or lets you choose from a bank of vocabulary that is already there. As a teacher it is possible to follow your students progress and, of course, for students they can create their own lists of vocabulary.

As ever, lots of great ideas were shared at this Teach Meet and I am sure that this will be the first of many more great Teach Meets this year. I hope to see you there.

If you have experience of the tools talked about here (or similar ones) then please let us know in the comment box below. We look forward to hearing from you.

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