( Click here if you are looking for a quicklink to the powerpoint tricks used in various inset / courses to download )

ICT is a tool, not an end in itself and can be used to great effect to facilitate teaching, providing motivation and more indivualised learning opportunities for students. All of the following are tried & tested in the classroom by non-ICT teachers so they are easy to use and practical - honest!
Please do contact the Languages team if you would like support with any and DO feel welcome to add ideas or suggestions of your own that you have used in your classroom.
(Warning - ICT is taught from KS1 so don't expect Yr 9 to be blown away by using a voice recorder if they were using digiblues back in primary, however there are some amazing but very simple online tools freely available so do try these out and let the kids believe you are a techie even when you are not!)


Firstly, here is a list of people who you might want to direct questions at:
  • Joe Dale, who publishes the blog Integrating ICT into the MFL classroom - with friendly, detailed instructions and support on just about everything from podcasting and blogging to the latest uses of technology in language teaching. Joe is based on the Isle of Wight and teaches at Nodehill.
  • Chris Fuller, SSAT Practitioner, blogging and podcasting evangelist. Knows lots about Podcasting & Slidecasting. Teaches from KS2-5 and has a great School blog and separate personal blog.
  • Isabelle Jones, Head of Languages, Teacher of French and Spanish and ed-tech enthusiast-particularly interested in the use of the Interactive Whiteboard, blogging and developing mfl teachers' ICT skills and creativity through online networking.
  • Oscar Stringer, runs animation workshops in schools and other educational settings. Makes animation very simple using free software and just a cheap webcam. Also has a ning support group - Animation for Education- for people wanting to find out more and/or blog about what they've tried with their classes.
  • Helena Butterfield. MFL teacher (French, German and Spanish) very keen on using ICT in teaching and for personal and staff development, particularly like podcasts, Vokis and blogs. Have a school blog and personal blog. Check out our eTwinning Blog too!
  • Mark Purves, ex Secondary MFL teacher, now working as a Primary MFL consultant with an interest in language learning, creativity and (hopefully!) one or two ICT ideas that prove to be a bit of fun. He blogs and shares these here.

PLEASE DON'T BE SHY - ADD YOUR NAME TO THE ABOVE LIST IF YOU ARE WILLING TO SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCE!



There are some fantastic tools available to use in Language teaching. Here are some of the best:

  • Voicethread - Simple to use with fantastic results, you and/or your class can upload pictures and/or video, then ask the children to add written or spoken comments and annotate the images. Use it to create stories, present projects, label pictures, follow directions etc. but as it is online (and you make it 'Private' so only your class can see it) you also have the option to 'invite' selected people to view/comment in their own time; so use it to share with a partner school and communicate creatively at leisure. Talkabout Voicethread example.
  • Photostory 3- Like 'Voicethread' above, with the facility to easily edit and add music, and this tool is completely free to download and use offline, so no privacy / security worries for your ICT technician.
  • Voki - an animated avatar (character) that allows you to also record sound. Great for showing off student's spoken skills on a website but still hiding their identity. Also very motivational, particularly for boys though girls like them too and the promise on choosing a voki to add their recordings to has proved a great incentive with classes who might otherwise not be so keen. Simple on screen instructions to create a very impressive-looking speaking character, in under 5 mins maximum and you can even 'dress' your avatar as a class by getting students to call out descriptions in the target language.
  • Audacity- download this free program to your classroom computer and plug in a cheap microphone. You now have a brilliantly simple way to then record and edit anything - from children speaking individually to classes singing together. The children will figure out how to use the program faster than you - but basically you just click the buttons that are shaped in the usual icons for play (green triangle), stop (red square) etc - and they are labelled as you move your mouse over them anyway. Later have a play around and try highlighting the sounds (just like highlighting text in word) and applying edit effects. Add music and create podcasts. Turn your students into DJ's and get them podcasting. Make sure you download the lame file too so you can save files (the program says 'export') as mp3 files which will be playable on just about anything! If in doubt check out Joe Dale's walkthrough instructions...and the Audacity tutorial wiki.
  • Podcasting- maybe you've heard of this and are not too sure what it is and/or how/why you might try it with your class. I too was VERY dubious until, with a little help from Joe Dale & Paul Harrington, I had a go, using audacity (see above) and podomatic. It took a few minutes and the children in my whole KS2 (that's years 3 to 6 in the same class) loved it. Go on - have a go because if we can do it anyone can!
  • Wikis - these are very quick and simple to edit webpages which enable you to publish on the internet without lots of technical expertese. Great for showing off your class' work, collaborating with other classes/teachers/a partner school or just explore and join someone else's space. Here is a blogpost explaining how to get a free, secure wiki of your own with no advertisements, especially for those working in education (look out for the K12 labels on sites which is American speak for education).
  • GoogleMaps - Simon Howells has uploaded a simple video tutorial showing you how to use Google Maps' new feature, "Street View", to spice up your languages lessons here on the TES website. However you can use ready made maps and tours too, watch and be inspired.

Looking for hardware? The following are recommended:


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  • For recording in class, the best recorders by far are TTS Easy Speak microphone/recorders, particularly the yellow ones (kids tend not to 'borrow' these whereas the black ones go walkabout). They are very robust and plug straight into a laptop to download the soundfiles - no converting software needed. Also you can use them as memory sticks and upload powerpoints and documents for groups to work on.
  • Secondary phase teachers might prefer the latest 'upgrade' versions of these in smart silver & black with extra functions to explore but just as robust.

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The USB 2.0 High Definition Hue Skype webcam with mic for Windows XP VISTA or Apple MAC OSX (red)- approx £20 from Amazon. Actually you do not need the inbuilt microphone nor for it necessarily to be red, but if you are about to have a go at Stop Motion Animation (and it is unbelievably simple to do and great for getting students to plan and organise work for presentation) this is a very handly little camera that plugs into the computer. Download Stop Motion animator software(free), check Oscar's Animation for Educationsite for free tips and instruction and away you go. Want some help? Feel welcome to ring me!

Tools that you might find useful for eTwinning (contacting partner schools using email and internet rather than 'snail mail'!):

  • Wikis - these are very quick and simple to edit webpages which enable you to publish on the internet without lots of technical expertese. Great for showing off your class' work, collaborating with other classes/teachers/a partner school or just explore and join someone else's space. Here is a blogpost explaining how to get a free, secure wiki of your own with no advertisements, especially for those working in primary (or K-12) education.
  • ning - create your own social network for your class (if they are over 13 years of age) or a network of classes represented by their teachers (children can be any age as long as it is the teacher who is the member) simply and quickly by folling online instructions. Or join a ready-made international project on ning - Sharon Tonner's Voices of the World for example, or the Alternative Eurovision Contest for Schools (reboots next eurovision time)