Talking about Quizlet at #LLASconf14

So the 7th LLAS biennal conference took place last week in Southampton, and just like last time it was a really good opportunity to meet people I knew and people I didn’t, all working in, near or around languages in HE. I can’t get bored of attending LLAS events as they really help putting my job in perspective: I get to see the national picture, discover what other practitioners are up to, get feedback on my own practice through the stuff I present. If you work in languages and have never attended one of these, I urge you to register for the next one. It’s the second best medium for professional development I have found (second only to Twitter, of course).

So this year again I talked about the work that the French team at @UoMLangCentre have been doing with Quizlet on our general and medical French courses. I should really give credit to @simonjhowells77 for pointing us in the direction of Quizlet in the first place. If you have read my previous blog post, Quizlet is an vocabulary app which we’ve been using for collaborative work in the classroom.

The slides are below. If you’ve any questions or comments, please use the box below.

 

Bring your own vocab’

Hi! – Thanks for reading! Apologies for being so quiet over the past few months. This first year in my new job (well, not so new anymore) has been keeping me very busy. That’s something I should reflect on in a future blog post.

For now, I just want to talk about last Friday’s conference. I attended and presented at the “Innovative Language Teaching and Learning at University: Enhancing the Learning Experience through Student Engagement” conference, organised by the University of Manchester on Friday 28th June 2013.

First, I want to say a big thanks to my colleagues Catherine France, Annie Morton, Susana Lorenzo-Zamorano and Noelia Alcarazo for organising such a great and fruitful day. Also, I’m very happy that I was invited to present what I’ve been working on this past semester.

The conference (programme here) was a great opportunity to discover what colleagues around the country have been doing, to discuss the state of the language teaching sector under the new fee regime (and the tragedies it’s brought about) and on a lighter note to catch up with colleagues (and by the way, I re-iterate my congratulations to the great @AngloFLE for his new job!). I also got to meet, and briefly chat with, the very inspiring @jwyburd, whom I’d heard so much about here at Manchester.

My contribution to the day was a presentation reporting on how I used the vocabulary app Quizlet with 3 of my classes during this past semester. I’ve expressed my love for Quizlet in a previous post, and if you’re a language teacher, I really recommend you give it a go.

Anyway, if you’re interested, I suggest you have a look at my abstract and check the slides below.

Thanks again for reading!

Giving screencasting a thought

Following a session I gave on Friday on Using video in language teaching, I had an interesting conversation with some colleagues about screencasting.

As most of you probably know, screencasting (which I insist on writing in one word, despite my spellcheck’s best efforts) consists of recording what is happening on your computer screen into a video document. People will frequently add voice-over or captions to create tutorials and informative videos.

During Friday’s session, I mentioned a couple of screencasting solutions that may be of interest to tutors: Camtasia (Mac/PC, £73 to £220), Blueberry Flashback (PC, £59 to £132) and Quicktime X (Mac, free with OS X 10.7 or greater), although I had to admit not knowing much about other (and cheaper) solutions. So, better late then never, I went out and looked at what’s available.

I found that PC World has a very nice page summarising what’s available. If you’re looking for cheaper solutions than the ones mentioned above, try this page. Some of the software presented even allows to record your screen without software installation (provided you can get the Java applet to work).

I also realised that I had been using yet another screencasting solution myself, but hadn’t thought of including it in my session: Fraps (free to £25). Fraps is mostly popular among PC gamers due to its light CPU footprint and benchmarking ability. But on thinking about it, it is also an affordable, easy-to-use screen capture software package that can very well be used for educational purposes.

Examples

So, what would you use screencasting for in education?

I’ve given it a try myself a couple of times, to:

As you can see, I haven’t used screencasting in my language teaching practice yet. If any of you do, I’d be delighted to hear about it – feel free to comment in the box below. Thanks for reading.