Posted: April 8, 2012 in Listening, Speaking
Tags: , , , ,

Voxopop is basically a discussion forum website with the distinction of being a spoken word discussion forum. What it allows a user to do is to add spoken comments to a discussion thread, as well as setting up your own groups for targetted discussion. Within a discussion group you can set up your own threads for specific questions or themes.

I have only just started exploring how this site can be used, but it strikes me as being a very good tool to enable pupils to do more speaking practise outside of the classroom, which is obviously a Great Thing. Not only will it be good for your own pupils, but it could also be an excellent collaborative tool enabling communicating between different schools, throughout the world, and it seems that this is the kind of thing it is already being used for.

So far, I have set up a group for my Lower 6th and Upper 6th sets. When you set a group up it can either be public (allowing anyone to contribute), restricted (anyone can listen, but must apply to be able to participate) and private (by invitation only). I have made both my groups private. Within the discussion groups I have set up subtopic areas for the various topics in the WJEC syllabus (alcohol, drugs, tourism, leisure etc). I have set up a few starter questions in a few of these subtopics and so far one of my pupils has braved this new technology and left some responses! Hopefully more will join in with the discussion, listening to what others have answered and getting ideas for what they can say in the lead up to their speaking exams. I can obviously hear what they are saying and can correct them and add new comments and questions to the continuing thread.

It strikes me that every year group can benefit from this. Pupils could create a bank of speaking answers to various questions within a topic that could help them when revising for a GCSE exam for instance. Role plays could be done between various people (though this could be a slow process if done outside the classroom). It is a way of communicating with penpals or exchange groups, and I love the idea of collaborating with schools abroad with English/Spanish exchanges of answers.

Following a discussion on Twitter yesterday there is now a MFL Twitterati discussion group that I have set up with @Chapeluser @bellaale and @spanishsam. Please do look this up if you want to join – at the moment we have set it up as a way of trialing how it works with the idea of a future collaboration between schools, but it could become a forum for discussion as well. Please contact me on Twitter (@pedroelprofesor) or through here, or the other twitter users as well.

Russell Stannard has done a very good video series on how Voxopop is used, so the best way to get an ideas is perhaps to watch this.



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