I tried my first grammar session using mobiles on Wednesday. Going through the simple future in Spanish, we sang a modified version of kumbayah to learn the different parts of the verb worked fantastically well. The kids really enjoyed feeling naughty- ap
The exciting thing is at the very bottom of that image. 10508 downloads. Wow!!! My grammar series on jellycast, odeo and i-tunes have just smashed through the magic barrier, testament to the power of podcasting! They've now passed from being a possible way to help some of my pupils understand Spanish grammar to ... well, a 10000+ downloaded piece of work! Eek. Just wish there was a way to get some feedback on them to improve future efforts and also get ideas for future bits and pieces after the main tenses are done...
I am now dramatically regretting my decision not to go to this year's Language World in OXford, 30-31 March. I took the decision a few months ago, knowing how exhasuted I would be by this stage in term. For once, I listened to the sensible parrot on my shoulder, rather than the mildly crazy one. Eek. I wouldn't actualy have been able to make it as things've turned out, but hey ho- wish I could!
Having just looked at the line-up, it is excellent- especially given my current line of investigation, in particular with wikis and mobile phones. Ewan McIntosh will no doubt end up stealing the show for many, and I look forward to seeing another wave of blogs being set up as a result! Wendy Adenji is a fantastic speaker, and the list goes on- all of which ends up creating a sense of excitement to get back into the classroom and try these things out. I remember the painful drive back from the Isle of Wight in OCtober- 5 or so hours on the way back to North Devon just wanting to sit down with my laptop and play around! And that was supposedly a small conference!
But more importantly than that in some ways, Language World is an opportunity to meet kindred spirits, to share ideas, worries, succeses. Anna-Lise Gordon, my fantastic PGCE tutor a few years ago (man I owe her so so much!)- making new contacts which far outstretch the duration of the conference itself. I'm so grateful for, amongst others, Joe Dale and Paul Harrington, cos sometimes you just need to share ideas and ask the ridiculous question. You'll meet those kind of people at Language World.
So to all those people who are wavering, have the energy, have the opportunity or are just thinking about it, save yourself the time and just do. I'll be with you in spirit, and wish I could be there in body!
If you are an NQT, or still doing your PGCE, then there may well still be some free spots up for grabs- e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to find out!!
The BBC has announced that as of March 20, its BBC Jam service will be suspended. Having worked on the 14-16 year bracket for Spanish, this comes as something of a shock, and disappointment to me- I was genuinely excited about the prospect of seeing what the software designers managed to make of all of our ideas!!
However, this is by no means to say that the project is dead- but rather under review. And in some ways this can be a good thing. Gareth Davies, in Never Mind the Technology, Where's the Learning? makes the excellent point that our world is changing- Web 2.0 tools and the use of open source software are gradually taking over from the traditional world of schools having to pay hefty licensing costs, which many departments simply cannot afford to keep paying AND to move forwards for the sake of improving their educational delivery. I recently pitched an idea to my governors for a project involving 16 local primary schools for 2007/8 building up to the European football Championships. How much would all the software that I wanted to use cost, they kept asking? Nothing. And for many people, that's in some ways more scary for some people than giving them a huge quote.
But should it be? Well, simply put, no. In an ideal world we should all be able to use whatever we want, but that's never going to happen, because a lot of people put in a lot of work to create excellent pieces of software. So sometimes we need other, complimentary, resources, which can provide an extension to the teaching and learning opportunities provided by Web 2.0 tools. In my eyes, BBC Jam SHOULD be able to offer this. It has the expertise, and it has what is a unique opportunity. To use the 14-16 Spanish example, careful research was done by Francisco Villatoro into what is already available on the market, whilst Scott Davenport and myself were also able to further this with our own classroom experience. By the end of the session we had in Jaunary, the project looked to be highly exciting. I came to the table with a head full of 2.0 ideas, but alas, for the BBC many of these would not be possible, either due to upkeep or the very stringent content limitations which are put on them. Nonetheless, if this review forces them to realise the way the world is moving, fantastic, the world is a bright place. If, however, it leads to the total abolition of BBC Jam, then we should all rue what will be a huge, huge missed opportunity.