Archive for the ‘Exercise creation website’ Category

Mentormob is a nice site which enables you to create playlists for your pupils. With it, you can set up a playlist composed of internet links, uploaded files, multiple choice or true/false quizzes and written articles that will guide your pupils along towards some piece of work. I discovered this a year ago I think, and I can’t remember who from, and filed it away into the ‘must explore fully another day’ category. I remembered it when having a meeting with some pupils for whom I am supervising their IB Extended Essay, and when I was promising to set them up with various links to help them begin their study, and Mentormob seemed to be a great option to help them get started.

Mentormob homepage

The URL is http://www.mentormob.com and you will see the homepage as above. To join, click ‘Sign up’ in the top right hand corner and fill in your various details. You can link your Facebook or Google accounts to it, but if you have a Facebook account, I would be tempted to keep it ‘away’ from school pupils and set up an ‘independent’ account. Once you have signed up, you will be directed to your dashboard, from where you can browse previously created playlists, create your own, and eventually see and edit playlists that you have already created. It will look something like this below:

Mentormob dashboard

When you are ready to start, click ‘Create’ at the top of the screen, and the follow screen will be viewed:

Mentormob create new

 

Give your playlist a name, write a short description, decide on Recreational or Academic, choose a category and then add tags to help it be searchable should you want it to be. Crucially, are the privacy settings on the right hand side. For school purposes, unless you are going to subscribe to the Mentormob University option (there are various price plans for this), it is probably worth clicking the ‘Unlisted’ option for privacy so only those you send the link to can view your playlist and then click the option that only you can edit your playlist, so that it can’t be changed. Then click ‘Save and Add Content’.

Here is a short 5 minute Jing video showing this starting process.

Mentormob demo

The process is very simple. Click the + button to add content, choose from the 4 options, either a link to an internet site, upload a file of a variety of types, write an assignment or create a pop quiz, involving true or false or multiple choice activities. Challenges can be created for various steps to ensure that pupils are thinking about what they are seeing.

Once you have created your playlist, click ‘Done Editing’ and that will save your playlist as it is. You can go back to it from your home page to edit, add and remove content at a later date. To do this, once you have clicked on the playlist, click on the pencil icon on the top green bar.

In order to share your playlist with your pupils, you simply copy the URL of your playlist and email it to your pupils. Your pupils will be able to do any pop quizzes that you have set from them, and click the arrows at the top of the page to go from stage to stage of the playlist.

There are plenty of ways that Mentormob can be used. Here are some quick ideas:

1) Coursework preparation: you can set mini tests on crucial elements such as verb endings, spellings, common mistakes, upload specific word documents that pupils could refer to, upload powerpoints and tagxedo / wordle clouds of useful vocabulary, perhaps podcasts or videos, and maybe use the assignments section to show sample courseworks.

2) Create a research list for projects such as Extended Essays, courseworks and projects, that start pupils off for their bibliography.

3) Create a practice pathway for the progression of a topic, grammar point or unit, involving different skills.

4) Get pupils to create playlists for each other on certain topics

5) Use it as a presentation tool

6) Pupils could create their own revision playlists under your supervision, bringing together key resources for holiday work or independent learning

Here are a few other links to help you get to grips with Mentormob

http://www.mentormob.com/learn/i/how-to-use-mentormob/what-is-mentormob-7

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLB8A7824F8240814B – a series of 4 videos on Mentormob by the wonderful Emilia Carrillo, who deals with Browsing and creating

http://growingbrainstemporarysite.wordpress.com/2013/01/20/resource-for-teachers-and-parents-mentormob-allows-sharing-content-playlists-edchat-teachingresources/

iPad users: Be aware that currently (this is March 2013), you can’t create Mentormob presentations on your iPad or do pop quizzes, but having spoken to some of the guys behind Mentormob, this is on their roadmap as they develop the tool. Who knows, maybe an iPad app is also in their plans.

All in all, I really like Mentormob as a way of helping to organise your pupils for projects with a defined outcome, helping to structure their process and bringing together resources that they can respond to constructively. It is something I will be using a great deal with my Spanish IB extended essays and written assignments, and probably interactive orals as well. I’ll also be using it with the A level speaking exams as pupils prepare their presentation topics and discussion answers, and also towards coursework. I hope you find it useful as well.

Today I’m going to blog about Lingt. Lingt is a worksheet creation site, which enables you to embed videos onto the worksheet, as well as spoken questions for pupils to answer orally or in written form. Therefore, it is possible to assess all four language skills, reading, writing, speaking and listening on one document, which is a nifty premise, a real interactive worksheet. The best thing about it at first glance is that you can really get pupils practising the vocabulary or grammar in every way outside the classroom, hence promoting the ‘classroom outside the classroom’ idea.

To use Lingt, go to the following URL: http://lingtlanguage.com and click on Signup. After signing up, you will be taken to your homepage. As a free user of Lingt you can only create a certain number of assignments (6)which is a bit of a shame. To be able to do more, you will need to extend your membership (click on upgrade your account). The price does not seem too exorbitant if you want to upgrade to say 50 exercises (currently $39 a year), but I’m not really sure I would need to upgrade to have all the features for a $79 per year subscription. This is just something you will have to decide for yourself based on how effective you feel Lingt is for what you need it for.

I would suggest the best step now is to watch the Lingt tutorial video. Click ‘Help’ from your home screen (or click HERE to watch the tutorial to get an idea what you can do.) This is a well made Screencapture video explaining how to do everything and I strongly recommend watching it and making notes. The video goes through how to create a class, and then how to create an assignment for the classes you have created. There are a number of other useful questions answered for you on the help page.

When creating a class, you do not need to input anything apart from the class name. There is no need to input all your pupils, or even for them to signup to Lingt, as when you have created an assignment, the pupils will simply just go to your Lingt page (more of this later) and click on the relevant assignment for them. They will do the assignment online (on the web browser, before filling in their name and their email address at the end which will alert you to the fact that they have completed the assignment.

When you create your assignment you have a variety of tool buttons to create the texts. You have Voice, Text, Image and Video  (YouTube only) options for teacher prompts, and text and voice buttons for when you want pupils to answer. I have created a Prepositions and Furniture work sheet for my 3rd form. I have a video from Youtube going through the prepositions to start with, with questions in English underneath. Then I have uploaded an image of a bedroom with questions in Spanish again underneath, and then I have finally recorded some questions requiring spoken answers, before leaving one final question for a longer written response, describing their bedroom.

I have yet to test this out with the 3rd form but there appear to be a couple of risks involved with Lingt. Firstly, many schools have blocked Youtube (in my school only the 6th form can go onto Youtube) and I don’t know whether by ’embedding’ a Youtube video into your worksheet on Lingt it will allow the 3rd-5th formers to watch it, or if it will be blocked still. Secondly, pupils will need to have the ability to record their own voice (necessitating a microphone) and not all school computers or pupils will have one, and it could mean them being excluded from a task, or being able to complete it properly. Hopefully they can upload / save their recordings on Lingt – I have experienced problems with Voki and GoAnimate with uploading recordings on a browser, and I don’t know if this would be a problem with this website as well.

Hopefully these problems can be overcome without too many difficulties as the IT technicians in schools become more aware of the potential uses of Web 2.0 tools and other sites for the classroom and education generally, and unblock and allow full or timed use of them. There are of course risks with using Youtube, but the benefits are huge as well, and this should mean that a more sensible policy regarding its use can be found.

I do feel that Lingt has much to recommend it, and after the exam period I will investigate it further and see if I and the pupils experience any problems with its use. It does seem particularly useful for speaking and listening practise outside the classroom, and providing a really interactive worksheet, something I feel would appeal to a lot of students of all ages.

I would be really interested to hear from anyone who already uses Lingt regularly or who has tried it out to see what you think and if it has worked well or not. Please leave a comment below or tweet me @pedroelprofesor.

There are so many exercise creation tools out there on the internet, and there are so many excellent sites available where your pupils can practise their language skills now, that it may be that you can get by without creating your own resources and exercises. I guess that most of us teachers enjoy creating our own stuff though, and from what I can see via twitter and so on, are more than happy to share them too. Hot Potatoes was one of the first tools or software applications that I used and it remains one of the best to use. I became aware of it via using the excellent Languages Online website and then again with Asi Se Hace, and since finding out it was free to download and pretty easy to set up exercises, I have used it regulary and put a number of exercises on to my own school’s department VLE website.

To use Hot Potatoes, you need to download it from the website (Click here). Just make sure you download the correct version for your computer, and then follow the various instructions to install it onto your computer. Hot Potatoes allows you to create a variety of activities, namely crosswords, cloze tests, matching exercises, quizzes and  jumbled sentences.

When you have opened up the programme you will see the above options, simply click on the type of exercise that you wish to create. I have done a lot of vocabulary exercises using the match tool, which is probably the easiest one to start with. Mostly I have used it as a way for pupils to revise vocabulary that has come up in a text from a book or article, or possibly over a week. If you click on the JMatch button then you will get the template below to fill in:

All you then do is type in the words on the left hand side, with their answers on the right. You also can insert pictures as well for a visual stimulus to vocabulary test. To input more than five questions, use the arrow buttons on the left hand side of the template. When you have finished you have to customise your exercise. Do this by clicking on the icon to the left hand side of the question mark along the top bar. This opens a box where you can change the colours of the various parts of the exercise (title, background, heading, etc) give prompts and feedback to help pupils, set a time limit and so on. Click on Save As to save your test.

The next step is to publish your exercise. You can publish your quiz onto a blog or onto a Website. My school uses Contribute currently to construct our VLE but it can be added to a blog as well. To create a URL version of your exercise, click on the little blue spider web icon with a 6 on it, save it, and then view the exercise in your browser. If you are happy with it, you can then obviously copy the URL and link to it on your blog or website.

The best thing to probably do is to follow the tutorial (in the help section of the menu option when you have opened the Hot Potatoes to learn how to do things properly. Here are some examples of exercises that I have already made. (It is posible these might not load up as they are published on my school’s VLE)

Example 1 – Matching exercise

Example 2: Crossword

Example 3: Cloze test

Example 4: Quiz

Voki is a really good little tool to get your pupils speaking with a bit more confidence. It basically allows your pupils to create an amusing cartoony avatar which will speak a piece of typed, recorded, or pre-recorded language. The result animation can be either saved, emailed, embedded onto a blog or webpage or saved as a link to be accessed later. The one slight restriction is that the recording will last for a maximum of a minute, which is at least long enough for GCSE speaking presentations for instance.

I’ve used it a fair amount in lessons, firstly as a way of doing some listening practises and then I’ve had pupils preparing their own speeches. First I got my 5th form (year 11) to write out past tense presentations on free time activities, and having corrected them we recorded them onto a voice recorder. The pupils then made their avatars and then uploaded their recordings. The second stage was to get them to copy and paste a pre-written and corrected text in the future tense to the ‘text to voice’ option, and then hearing how it should be pronounced. This was in the lead up to one of the controlled assessments we were doing, and it worked very well as a practise strategy.

Ideally I think it is best to have pupils using a microphone in class or on their own laptops if they have them, as the uploading bit can take a while. There were a few mini problems with the uploading, I think due to our school firewalls, but we got there in the end!

Here is a voki made as a Spanish listening exercise on tv opinions (it was recorded in the dining hall, so please excuse the background noise!)

TV Voki

To create a Voki, go to the website here, and then click ‘Create’ on the top menu bar. You first can customise your avatar by choosing from the various creatures and figures available, and you can also choose a background. Once you have customised your character, click on ‘Give it a voice’ and then either type your words in, record yourself, or upload a premade recording. If you select the text to voice option, make sure you select which language you want it read in – most languages are available with male and female voices.  Having saved your recording, click publish and then you have the choice of how to save or share your newly created animation. You need to signup to save your voki in your account, but this is free. If you don’t signup, then you just have to save the html or embed code so you don’t lose it.

This is a widely used site as far as I know, and the pupils I have used it with have really enjoyed it and benefitted.  If you have any problems using it, please let me know.

Edmodo is a social network site that is geared up for teachers to set work for pupils. I am a huge fan of this site, given that one of my main aims as a Spanish teacher is to create a ‘Classroom beyond the classroom’ mentality in which pupils are enthused and empowered to do more constructive revision and practise on a regular basis. It has really worked since I started using it about a month ago, and so far I have introduced it to my Lower 6th and Upper 6th AS and A2 groups (Years 12 and 13) and also to my 4th form (year 10). Given that in appearance it looks a lot like facebook, it immediately feels familiar to the pupils, and therefore it is very easy to use.

Basically, the concept is that you create a group that your pupils join and then you create various assignments, quizzes and polls for them. With each assignment, quiz or poll, you can set a time limit for its completion, collect a mark for your gradebook and thus monitor your pupils’ progress. You can also send notes and alerts to pupils and create a library of useful links and resources that pupils can use.

Best of all, it is a free resource. Simply go the website and click on ‘I’m a teacher’ and follow the instructions to create your username and login details. When you then have the option to create a group it will give you a join code, and this is what your pupils will need to know to join the group you have created. When they logon, they will be asked for this code as well as to create their logon details, and they will then join your group.

To create a quiz could not be easier. You have a variety of options to choose from (True/False, Multiple Choice, Short Answer and Fill in the Blank) and then design your questions as you want. You can set due dates for test completion and time limits as well once the quiz is started. So far I have been doing vocabulary revision questions, grammar multiple choice questions and various quizzes on the films my class is studying for their WJEC SN4 exam and my pupils are finding them really useful. Most of the quizzes are corrected as your pupils do them, but you do need to correct short answer quizzes yourself.

Another fun thing is the awarding badges option for good work. I have created a few of my own and things are already getting competitive amongst the pupils to gain as many badges as possible.

All in all, I strongly recommend Edmodo. It can also be downloaded as a free app for your iPhone (don’t know about its availability on other smartphones) and should have a real impact on pupils practising and improving their language use.