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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Launch Grant 2012-2013: LS French and Spanish Web 2.0 Tools

            This year, the Lower School Spanish and French classes (4-6) experimented with several different Web 2.0 tools. We were looking for inexpensive software that was creative, easy to use, and engaged students vocabulary and grammar skills both written and spoken.  Web 2.0 tools seemed to be the way to go specifically because most websites were free or less than $40.00. Many of the tools offered education specific webpages that provided classroom lists and rubric creators as well as the ability to make the content private to the classroom only with options of sharing it to the public. The following is a brief introduction to each web 2.0 tool, the link to each website, and examples from both French and Spanish classes. In addition, we added QR codes to our multimedia projects. To view them, use any smart device with a QR code scanner (most apps. are free to download) to see and/or hear the projects displayed.

A)  Sound Cloud
B)  QR Code Creator
C)  Animoto
D)  Pixton
E)  Glogster


            Sound cloud is a "social sound platform" that lets anyone share sounds publically or privately on any smart device and computers.  Students in the Spanish classes used Sound Cloud to record paragraphs describing themselves using adjectives. Later we turned their audio into QR codes. Students were able to use ipads to individually record and upload their audio simultaneously.  

Pros:                                                                                             Cons:

Easy to use                                                                                    Registration
Good sound quality                                                                      Another password and user name
Ability to make sounds private
Website for QR codes
Sign in to multiple devices on one account
Easy to share


     With QR, QR codes were created for Spanish student's Animoto and sound cloud activities. Students could scan their smart devices and watch their web 2.0 tool projects come to life. The QR codes could be created with different colors, printed and emailed. The QR codes were a fun way to display students work and keep an element of surprise when presenting projects. Students liked the idea of creating scavenger hunts using QR codes in our future language classes.

Pros:                                                                        Cons:

Easy to use                                                               Takes time to add each webpage
Easy to print
No registration

C) ANIMOTO:                                           

            In the French and Spanish classes we experimented with Animoto. Animoto is a creative website to make quick and easy videos. Students created video flashcards to practice new vocabulary and verbs. We liked the user friendliness of being able to log on to one account on several computers or iPads to create videos, and students were able to create Animotos in one class period. There were limitations  Students were engaged and expressed their enjoyment with the project. The videos were fun to watch and they asked to use Animoto again for additional projects.

 Pros                                                                         Cons:                                            
Easy to use                                                               Computer and iPad Animoto different
Many users on one account                                      Another registration
QR code friendly                                                      Pay for upgrade
Easy to share with others                                          Difficult to find songs without English
Ability to make private and public                            Photo bank limited
Good online tutorials

D) Pixton:

            Students in French and Spanish explored Pixton. Pixton is a website that creates fun and easy comics for a small fee. What we liked about Pixton was it allowed us to create class lists, rubrics and projects for students. We could track each student on a private school account as well as grade and comment on each of their projects. Students made comics using new vocabulary and grammar for basic conversations. When students first used Pixton, it took a class period to familiarize themselves with the program and several class periods to complete. For the first project we let them explore, but quickly realized that they were distracted making their avatars rather than focusing on the assignment. The second time around, we found more productive to create the comic and have them fill in the conversations. Students enjoyed Pixton and expressed that they didn't want to stop using it.

Pros:                                                                                 Cons:

inexpensive                                                                        Not free
QR code friendly                                                               Accent marks difficult to use
Can make private                                                               Takes some time to set up
Class list creator                                                                 Another registration/password
track student homework/work                                    
Rubric creator
comment on student work
students can comment on students work
Make private
Access to all accounts
Can create accounts for students on one main account
Access to edit
Easy to share
Easy to use
Easy to contact support via email or phone
Great online tutorials

E) Glogster:

Spanish and French students explored Glogster to create virtual posters for their MFA Projects, and in French, to create personal narratives to describe themselves. Students in both classes created Glogs to write and to illustrate information about their French or Spanish artists for their MFA Action projects (collabration between Art, Culture and Technology for MFA Day.) We liked that students were able to make posters without the mess, it was easy to use, and students could add illustrations, videos and music to support their research in one place. It was not easy to add accent marks and students demonstrated frustration. The only way we could add them was to use one specific font in a word document then copy and past the accents to the Glog.  Students expressed that they liked sing glogs and wanted to use them again.

Pros:                                                                                Cons:

inexpensive                                                                      Not free
QR code friendly                                                             Accent marks difficult to use
Can make private                                                             Takes some time to set up
Class list creator                                                               Another registration/password
track student homework/work
Make private
Access to all accounts
Can create accounts for students on one main account
Access to edit
Easy to share
Easy to use
Good online tutorials

            Overall, we found these web 2.0 tools to be a fun way to present old material and make it new and fresh. Each tool was easy to use with plenty of tutorials to help along the way. Becoming familiar with the programs varied in time. We were often frustrated about registration and remembering different username and passwords. In addition, we had to actively make content private for websites we did not purchase and made specifically for the classroom. We enjoyed discovering new tools and watching students engaged in displaying their different language skills.

-Cristina Carrion Murphy and Soizick Munir

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