3 e-ffective ICT tools to boost speaking

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Teachers are often overwhelmed by the wealth of choices provided by the digital world so when trying to apply technology in their classes, they are often understandably confused about which tools might work and which might not.

It is tough job, I know, so today I will show you 3 tried and tested digital resources that will foster your students’ speaking skills. In addition, I will illustrate a few e-ffective tasks that will surely engage and improve your learners’ outcomes.

The following activities might be more or less appropriate for a specific age group but most of them are easily adaptable to any sector you are teaching.

  1. Funny Movie Maker (iOS) or Verbalizer Lite (Android). With these apps, you can put a voice to any picture. The app creates a video and replaces the picture’s mouth with your own.

Activity: students choose a famous person and write / think of who they are (nationality, hobbies, food, family, nationality, etc.). Then they create their videos and use the app to give the character a voice.

Check out an example I created around Darth Vader here.

Later, students show their characters to each other. After they’ve watched a few videos, students can explain what their characters have in common, whether there is anything surprising or if there’s anything else they would like to know about them. Finally, students can either write about who they’ve met or role play their meeting at a party.

  1. Voicethread (iOS, Android, web)

With this app, students can give voice to a series of pictures. The app creates a video with the presenter flipping through the slides (registration required).

Activity: Students find and save pictures of a place they would like to visit and learn about it. With the app, they describe their place but can’t say its name. Then they share their threads with other people / teams who have to guess the place, explain what they liked the most, whether they’d like to know more about those places, etc. (NB. The tool allows you to make comments to the threads others have shared with you).

See an example here. Which city is it?

Finally, students can role-play a real situation in the country they’ve explored (buying tickets for a sports game, interviewing a local) or write about it (suggest ideas for improving the city, create a brochure, recommend this place).

  1. Writereader (iOS, web)

With this app, students can create a book and add pictures, voice and text to it. The tool also incorporates an optional keyboard which sounds out the letters as you are typing (alphabet or phonics). Registration required (NB. create a teacher account, create a class and enroll your students).

Activity: The students create a digital book explaining their daily routines. The book can be given to the pupils’ parents for a special occasion (book day, Mother’s / Father’s Day, birthday). First, students create a picture file with real or fake photographs illustrating their daily routine (making their bed, brushing their teeth, etc.). Then, they add those pictures and add audio explaining what the picture represents (Optional: adding text).

Here’s an example from the website’s library (there’s no sound in this case). NB. It only works with Google Chrome).

Finally, they show their books to each other and find similarities / differences in their daily routine.

You can do this task at the end of this course / term and have them do it again at the beginning of the next one. How has their life changed?

Concluding remarks

Before planning any task, remember to set up your learning objectives first, see what is it that you want to improve / change in your students’ learning and whether the task is feasible.

Remember:

S– Select authentic tasks
P– Personalize the tasks
E– Ensure learning and production
A-Add value with technology
K-Know your limitations
I-Involve your students
N– Negotiate with your students
G-Give feedback

I – Include the learning objectives
C – Cooperate with other teachers and share ideas
T– Try the tools beforehand

Think of the course you are teaching. How would you use the previous resources in your class?

You might also be interested in…

“Describe the pictures”: phenomenal teaching ideas for the B2 test and beyond

CLIL and ICT, a perfect marriage

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About Elena Merino

Teacher Trainer for Pearson. I lived 1 year in Ireland and 3 years in the USA, where I fell in love with the English language. I’ve worked as a teacher for twelve years in different contexts and with different age groups. PhD in Communication and Multilingual Education, I’m concerned about meaningful real-world tasks that get students to communicate, in other words, how can teachers facilitate learning and engage students in the English classroom?

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