Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Develop language skills with cell phones - True Stories

Cross posted at the Teaching Generation Text. The blog dedicated to using mobile devices for learning.

Not only can Google Voice become a repository for oral reports, assignments, or sound bites, but teachers can also write notes on each clip, share, and post them. Not only is this an effective tool for use with auditory learners and a way to practice language skills, but English as a Second Language and Foreign Language teachers will also want to listen up too! Often there is not enough class time for oral reports, but Google Voice changes all that as we see in the story of one high school Spanish teacher's experience in the below anecdote.

Text Talk Classroom Stories: Katy Taylor
At Holmdel High School in New Jersey, students in Katy Taylor’s 
Spanish class practice their language skills on the phone. On their own time, students call her Google Voice number and  read something in Spanish or create a dialogue which is sent to her Google Voice account.  The kids respond really well to it and instead of taking up class time, they dial in to her phone number at a time that works best for their schedule. She is then able to go online to hear what they've done at a time that works best for her.  She listens to their recordings and e-mails them feedback. Many students are afraid to make mistakes in front of their peers. When they receive a recording assignment, they're more apt to take risks because they have some privacy. The end result is students are speaking more and getting feedback.

More Ideas for Using Google Voice with Students
  1. Have students do their oral reports using Google Voice. If they don't like how they sounded the first time, they don't have to send the message. They can re-record until they have something with which they are happy.
  2. Use as an assessment tool to easily capture student's reading level. Not only do you have a recording, you have a transcript and a place to keep notes. Rather than talk to a parent about how a student has progressed across a year, let them listen to it their child themselves.
  3. Have students share something interesting about themselves and post the recordings on a class page or in a blog where other students can listen or comment.

To find out how to get going with Google Voice, visit this link. For more ideas about effective ways to use cell phones for learning, including research-based strategies, lessons, and more order Teaching Generation Text.

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