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Teaching Writing with Socrative

Teaching Writing with Socrative

Teaching writing in a foreign language is an interesting challenge, especially if it’s the focus of a particular course. Last semester I taught an advanced German writing and conversation course. The communicative aspect during class sessions is clear. But how do you have students write in class? On the surface, it is often perceived as a solitary activity. How do […]


Storybird Writing Projects, Part 2

Storybird Writing Projects, Part 2

My experiences with Storybird this semester were great. I wrote part one of this a few weeks ago, and now that the projects are in, I’d like to write a few lines about the final results. First of all, we did not have any technical glitches, and the administrative side of Storybird allowed me to quickly […]


Storybird Writing Projects, Part 1

Storybird Writing Projects, Part 1

I have been using Storybird this semester with my German introductory and advanced writing courses this semester. the browser-based software provides a very large amount of artwork as prompts and allows writers to add text to their stories. You cannot use your own images, you have to rely on the provided ones. I really like this approach, which […]


Konkrete Poesie with Tagxedo

Konkrete Poesie with Tagxedo

Wordcloud creators are very popular tools for educators. I have long been a fan of wordle and have used in many times to create pre-reading images, brainstorming activities and various student projects. Another service, Tagxedo, adds an interesting feature: using shapes for your word clouds. It’s really easy, and you can simply download your creations. I recently read some […]


Padlet

Padlet

Padlet (formerly called Wallwisher) is a shared virtual space which can be used  and shared  in a variety of ways (moodle, blog, e-mail, facebook, twitter, etc.). Accounts are not necessary, but it helps to get a free account if you want more control over the site and use it frequently.  It’s been around for several […]


Quizlet Revisited

Quizlet Revisited

I’ve been using Quizlet for my courses for a number of hers now. Last year I purchased a teacher license ($25 for one year), and I am glad I did. It’s been really easy to monitor progress, avoid ads for my students, and see which vocabulary items are more difficult than other. I can then […]


Interactive Fiction

Interactive Fiction

I recently found out that I will be able to teach the advanced writing seminar (in German) in the fall again. A course that is supposed to be filled with constant writing exercises and grammar reviews does not sound to be the most exciting thing in the world. But I have been wanting to write […]


A small game for teaching two-way prepositions

A small game for teaching two-way prepositions

Teaching grammatical concepts like two-way prepositions can be difficult, especially translating the theoretical concept into meaningful and possibly even interesting or motivating exercises and tasks. I’ve always liked using small browser games in my classes to have students do something concrete and see the outcomes. Papert called these little helping tools “objects to think with,” […]


20 Questions Game

20 Questions Game

  The 20 Questions game is a great game for language students. A person thinks about an object, say a table, and the other players (or player) have to ask questions that can be answered with yes or no, or a few select answers such as probably, rather not, or irrelevant. The team has to […]


Quizlet

Quizlet

I and many of my students have used Quizlet for a while, and since many of them like it so much I thought it would warrant a blog post. Quizlet is a free study system (think digital flashcards) for computers and mobile devices. It’s particularly good for vocabulary, but can be used for other purposes as […]


Socrative

Socrative

Socrative is an enhanced real-time student response system that works on a number of devices. There are others (e.g. Poll Everywhere or Piazza), but I like Socrative because of its ease of use, reliability (at least so far), and its cost (it’s free). With Socrative, students connect to a instructor created account by entering a unique […]


German 101 Book Publishing Project

Computers set up for collaboration

This coming fall semester (2012) I’m trying something new with my German 101 class: we’re going to publish a book. I’ve helped other courses publish their work as magazines (e.g. Conexiones), and therefore have an established workflow in the language center for such print and epublication projects. One the student workers does all the layout and […]


Teaching with Images

Teaching with Images

I use a lot of images in my language classes. An unusual picture is a great way to start a class, and photos can convey a more authentic impression of another country than many traditional textbooks can. They can be used for descriptions in the L2, or as vocabulary props. They also are instantly accessible, which is […]


Backchanneling

Backchanneling

One reason why I like teaching in our new language center is the ability to set up a backchannel. If you’re not familiar with the term, it is a deliberate setup of a chat-like environment that allows students (and the instructor) to post information in realtime. There are numerous reasons, uses and advantages of providing […]


Turnitin for L2 Writing

Turnitin for L2 Writing

Turnitin is mostly known for its plagiarism detection software (a feature that can actually be turned off if you only want to use the features discussed below). For me, the real advantage of the program are the peer editing features, the quick commenting, and the rubric grading feature. First of all, the software is not […]


VoiceThread in a First Semester Class

I’ve been using VoiceThread throughout the semester. I use this tool for a number of reason with my beginning German class: It’s easy, free, and allows the students to express themselves despite their level of language competence. I introduced the tool by making new vocabulary items from the book available to them. Students told me […]


How do you pronounce that?

How do you pronounce that?

  A question we hear as language educators all the time: “How do you pronounce that?” But what if we’re not around? One good web 2.0 solution is Forvo, a collection of several hundred thousand words and pronunciations in many languages. It’s social software at its finest: native speakers add the content, and even the […]


VoiceThread to be used by Teachers

We often talk about how to have our students use communicative technologies. I do that all the time, and I think it should be a big part of every class. But today I thought I’d share how I use VoiceThread in my German for Beginners class. As an important part in the first days of […]