Title: Improving pronunciation, intonation and confidence in speaking in the Modern Languages Author: Tom Rispoli Institution: Reigate College Academic Year: 2009-2010 Keywords: Accessibility, Flexibility, Authenticity, Listening, Speaking Technologies: iPod Touch Main Subject Area: Modern Languages Main Level: Level 3 Introduction and Overview: The case study involved 32 learners spread between Spanish and German. The students were completing a Level 3, AS level qualification. The students were using their iPod touches to improve their listening and speaking skills. Aims: The aim was to use the iPod touches to improve the studentâ€™s range of language, to increase their confidence when speaking and to increase the opportunities for authentic listening and speaking. Prior to the Molenet project, without a common platform and personal voice recorders it was difficult for the students to regularly practise their speaking and listening skills. It was particularly difficult for students to combine listening with speaking without being sat in front of computer. This led to lack of authentic speaking listening practise i.e. practise based on listening to native speakers. Furthermore, although the languages departments had significant amounts of material available on the VLE it was a laborious process for students accessing. Addressing the challenge: The college set up a podcast server which allowed the students to subscribe to the departments audio and visual materials via iTunes. This was the crucial step as it immediately gave all students access to the materials within the department via their devices, as well as seamlessly updating with any new material. Students were then set listening and speaking homework which also required them to record their responses on their iPods. These recording could then be played in class or emailed to the teacher via the devices for assessment. Students were also encouraged to use the free apps recommended by teachers to provide further opportunities for speaking and listening.
Outcomes and Challenge: •
Impact on teaching and learning The main impact on learning is that students have continuous access to audio and visual materials which can be used to inform their own speaking which they're also able to continuously practise using the voice recorder on their ipods. Accessing the materials and creating their own materials is now a very easy seamless activity which the students have immediately warmed to. This has increased student motivation and activity outside the classroom, as well as improving their confidence in speaking and listening activities. From a teaching perspective it has allowed staff to effectively plan speaking and listening activities outside the classroom on regular basis, as well as giving opportunities for easy assessment of those activities.
Learner’s reaction The students are much more positive and are displaying increased confidence in speaking and listening. There is also a clear desire to use devices to improve their skills. The students have started researching the free apps therefore engaging in their own independent learning activity.
Teacher’s reaction Improved universal accessibility gives students no excuses. It has improved oral confidence amongst most students. All students now have access to a greater range of resources. Using the devices makes it very easy for students to record themselves practising their material - removing one of the key barriers to practising speaking and listening. Also, as the devices can be used in private it reduces the embarrassment factor of speaking and listening in class.
Managers reaction See above section regarding teachers' reactions.
Lesson learned: The main issue relating to the devices is how to facilitate the purchase of the more advanced apps which are more appropriate for level 3 study. At this stage we've not found a solution to the problem of students buying applications. Next steps: The next step is to increase the opportunities for assessment with students sending materials via email to staff. The students have everything necessary within he iPod touch, along with colleges wireless network, to send material via email for assessment and feedback. Links: Open university materials via iTunesU.