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.
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For some time now we’ve been using a vocabulary-testing application on some of our French courses. It’s particularly useful for medical French courses, given the amount of terminology there is to memorise. The app we’ve been using isn’t the sexiest, but it does the job at displaying vocab pairs and then test you on them. The main downside has been that it’s a Windows-only app (sorry, “programme”) and a good number of our students now use mobile devices or Macs. Quite a shame, I should think, as learning vocab is perfect for bite-size, on-the-go learning in public transports.
So yesterday I asked around (meaning, I posted a tweet with a question mark in it) if anyone knew something a bit more modern, sexier, and that could run on a phone. Within minutes, the ever-helpful @simonjhowells suggested I had a look at Quizlet. Well, thank you, Simon, I think Quizlet will do the job just right, and here’s why in 5 short points.
… and the new!
- High performance. Quizlet lets you import your own vocab lists and is quite smart about recognising the format. I imported around 800 entries in 37 lists in a couple of hours, with tagging and assigning them to classes. Assign a language to a column and Quizlet will read out the words for you in a variety of languages. It’s generally highly customisable.
- Fun. You can learn and test your vocab in a number of rather fun ways. I found myself practising cardiology vocab playing Space Race!
- Fresh-looking. A nice design can go a long way when you’re looking for motivation to learn about infectious diseases typology.
- Embeddable! I was so excited about this. Students will no longer need to download an .exe file onto their computer to run it. Neither will they need to go and search for the right vocab list on the website: any individual list of exercise can be embedded right there in your VLE.
- Social. Quizlet has everything you would expect from a web 2.0 learning platform. You can invite your friends, compare scores, chat about a task, add to it, and of course you can share your content! There are currently 181 entires under ‘Medical French’. Our entries are available here.
Anyway, I’ll see how my students find it this coming semester. A nice bit of change to look forward to!