Tag Archives: vocabulary

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!

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5 things I like about the vocab app Quizlet

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.

Vocab testing app

The old…

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.

Quizlet screenshot

… and the new!

  1. 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.
  2. Fun. You can learn and test your vocab in a number of rather fun ways. I found myself practising cardiology vocab playing Space Race!
  3. Fresh-looking. A nice design can go a long way when you’re looking for motivation to learn about infectious diseases typology.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!