Archive for August, 2013

So, this is the first blog entry I have done so far on a specific iPad app. I think several tools I have talked about now have iPad apps (such as Fotobabble, Popplet, Diigo etc) but Morfo is specifically for the iPad and iPhone. I have to say to start with that I have yet to use many apps actively in the classroom for anything apart from presentation  as part of the lesson since my school does not have a class set of iPads for instance as I know some schools do. Some pupils I teach do have them and I have suggested several apps for them to use and I hope they do for homework and so on. I have also used some iPad apps for adding to my department VLE and for my own work.

Morfo is a free app that can be used to take a photo and then this photo can be adapted and voices recorded onto it. You can have a look at the Morfo website here: Morfo website. With the photo you take you can make the person into various animals, superheroes, carnival characters, or into various musical styles such as disco glam, goth rock and the 60s. The end creation will also dance around amusingly!

This app is probably best used with young language learners, to help them forget any nerves they have with speaking the language and enjoy making themselves or their friends look silly or funny with the different disguises that the app offers. They can either read something they have prepared, or speak off the cuff in the target language. Topics that suggest themselves immediately for this app are personal descriptions (either what they actually look like, or what they end up looking like having been ‘dressed up’ by the app, but any type of speaking presentation can be done.

Creating a Morfo is very easy. Once you have downloaded the app from the appstore, open the application. To begin with click ‘Create a New Face’ and then either choose a photo that you have already taken or click the ‘Touch here to take a picture’ button. Either way, once you have chosen a picture, you will then have to fit the photo into the Morfo frame. Adjust the head, eyes, nose and mouth appropriately so that they fit over the photo’s head, eyes, nose and mouth. You can also adapt the light of the photo if needs be. Having then clicked ‘Finish’ you will then see your photo with the frame in place. At the bottom you have the following options: Record (click hear to record a voice onto the frame), Makeup (this is where to go to add the disguise / mask, and is probably your first stop), Morf (change the face shape to fatter, elf or hero), Dance (makes the frame headbang to a choice of music) or Share (email, facebook or save the video / picture). I will generally start with clicking ‘Makeup’, then I will click ‘Costumes’ to choose from the various mask options, and then click ‘Costume’ to flick between the various masks for that genre of costume. This is probably where the time wasting will take place in the classroom!

Having picked a suitably amusing disguise, then click ‘Record’ Click the red start button to start the recording and again to finish. You do no have an unlimited time to record (half a minute or a minute I think), so ensure your pupils know this and are prepared. The chances are that they will want to record two or three or more times until they have perfected their speech, which is obviously excellent for grooving in the target language.

Having stopped the recording, you can then listen to it by clicking ‘Play’ or ‘Share’ it. This is what you will want your pupils to do so you can see and listen to their work. I would click ‘Email a Video’ and then your video will be automatically saved and then you can send it as an MP4 file.

So Morfo is a free and fun way of getting pupils to speak the target language. You could also create homework tasks for your pupils by sending them a video of you telling them what their homework is, use it as an introduction to topics perhaps, or maybe even use it as a pronunciation guide. The finished products could also be used as a listening exercise.

Useful links to help you with using Morfo.

How to use Morfo YouTube video

Morfo forum

iPad apps

Posted: August 11, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

As a second post today, but more of a request than for giving information, I will hopefully write a few more blogs before term begins. I would be interested to know if readers would like to know about iPad / iPhone apps that may be useful for the MFL classroom (as well as other subjects as well, but with the primary focus being n the benefits for the MFL classroom), or about more internet-based tools. If you have any preferences, please do send a message or comment below!

Apps I have been starting to use for MFL education include the following:

Morfo, Audioboo, Voice Record, WordFoto, Wordsalad, Comic Life, Decide Now!, ShowMe, Skitch, Videoscribe, dotSub, BaiBoard, Voxdox, Vintagio, Puppet Pals, Vittle, Story Creator, MyStory, Socrative.

Let me know if anything interests you in particular.

After another lengthy hiatus  due to the summer term, cricket and laziness during the summer holidays, I’m getting back to blogging again. I have been fairly busy with work projects to be honest, as I’ve been occupied with populating my school’s Spanish department VLE. It is a source of pride and motivation to me that this should be a leader in the school, and the aims of it are as follows:

– to provide resources for independent study for pupils and suggestions for further study.

– to collate resources for the benefit of teachers

– to provide a framework for study for the department

– to enable the improvement of IT skills for pupils

As such, I am making use of many of the Web tools and Apps that I have blogged about (and will blog about in the future, hopefully!) and one of the web tools I am using a lot is Annotary. Annotary is a effectively a resource collection site, in which you can create ‘Collections’ for websites. This can be done on various other sites, but what I most like about Annotary is that you can download a tool for your internet browser’s toolbar that allows you to annotate texts that you have collected. This gives a lot of nice possibilities such as highlighting important vocabulary, key phrases, important parts or facts of the text, or to add questions to check understanding of the article. Pupils could also use it as a way of collating their resources towards project work (for instance IB extended essays, 6th form coursework or oral exams, other investigation work) and make notes as they go on. It is also possible to collaborate on projects, and to invite other users to these collections.

Here is a video made by Annotary to explain their product briefly.

Registering for Annotary is free. First go to the website http://annotary.com and you will see the screen below.

Annotary

 

Click on the ‘Sign up for Free’ button’ and fill in the relevant details. You can sign up with Facebook, though as a teacher, I do not use this option. As with most of these tools, I use a fairly formal username, though for Annotary I have created a Spanish Department account that all the teachers can use. The weekly newsletter comes to my email address, but the username is that of the departments. (Obviously, each member of the department has access to the password and usernam so they can add and annotate resources)

Having signed up you will need to download the toolbar app that eventually you can use most easily to add websites to your collections, though this can also be done without the tool, slightly less quickly, but still with few difficulties. You will then begin the process of creating collections and finding websites or articles to include in them. To create a collection, simply click ‘Create Collection’; then give the collection a title and if you want a short description of what the content will be, and then decide if you want to make it public or private. If you make it public then anyone can see it, if private then only people you can invite can see it, and the collection will not appear in the search function either.

Alongside my hard working Colombian speaking assistant, we have created folders for each topic within the AS and A2 syllabus (as well as the IB topics and subtopics), and our idea is to collate useful texts within each of these. These Annotary collections are linked to prominently on the relevant page on our department VLE, and hopefully they can be used by teachers and pupils alike. Teachers can quickly find a text they like, and pupils can read around the subjects and also use the texts for their preparation for their speaking lessons.

To add a webpage to a collection, find a useful page, and if you have not downloaded the toolbar app, then copy the URL address, go back to your Annotary page, click the green ‘Add Bookmark’ button, paste the URL into the relevant section, and then choose the folder to add the bookmark to. Finally click Add Bookmark again, and it will be in the folder. Alternatively, if you have downloaded the toolbar app, you will see a yellow ‘a’ in the toolbar, click on this and you will see a mini drop down menu of chain icon, a pen icon, an envelope icon, two little people icon and a home icon. To save the link click the chain button. The title will be there already but you can change it, add a note if you wish to, perhaps to be specific about what the text is about, and then choose the collection to add it to. It is worth noting that a new innovation enables you to use # hashtags and @ mentions for twitter.

You have to have saved a text before you can annotate it. To then annotate a saved text, click on the pen icon. Then highlight the area of the text you want to make notes on and a little sticky note will appear for you to type into. As mentioned earlier, various uses of this function suggest themselves such as :

– highlighting key vocabulary, such as topic words, useful phrases

– highlighting use of grammar, such as tenses (even proposing questions)

– asking questions to elicit understanding of the text

– suggest synonyms for words

– summarising key points

– highlighting most important info from the text.

When you are finished, click on the save button again. To share the text, click the envelope to send to pupils for instance or colleagues.

I hope this tool will be very useful this year with my students, and I intend to use it a great deal with my 6th form students in particular. I am very keen for them to read and listen to as much as they can to back up what is covered in class, and to facilitate that process.

Here are some other links about Annotary that may interest you.

http://howto.cnet.com/8301-11310_39-57575179-285/use-annotary-for-efficient-online-research/

http://web.appstorm.net/reviews/project-management/highlight-bookmark-and-share-web-pages-with-annotary/ 

http://lifehacker.com/5993001/annotary-marks-up-web-pages-and-saves-them-for-later-research