We interviewed Foreign Language teacher, Ms. Elena Baker, who uses TeacherMade in her classroom. Some key ways she uses TeacherMade in her teaching practice include creating listening activities students can complete online, assessing her students’ speaking abilities through making recordings, and creating writing-based activities.
How do you use TeacherMade in your world language class?
TeacherMade is an incredibly useful tool for teaching world languages. I am a French as a Second Language teacher in southern Ontario, and I have used TeacherMade frequently over the past two years, especially during online learning. I have continued to use it even after returning in person since it is a great way to engage my students in their learning, and it helps me reduce my photocopying.
How do you make online listening activities for your foreign language class?
TeacherMade makes it incredibly easy to create online listening activities for my students. In a world languages class, it is common to listen to an audio clip of someone speaking and then respond to questions about what you hear. Usually, I will upload a PDF of a worksheet with listening questions to TeacherMade, and then I will turn it into an interactive webpage using the tools at the top of the editing page. The app simplifies this process, and it typically only takes me a few minutes.
Then, I upload whichever audio file I want my students to hear while answering their questions. I can embed MP3 files directly onto the worksheet, so all my students need to do is click ‘play.’ Alternatively, I also can record my voice by clicking the microphone button if I would rather read a script.
This feature on TeacherMade gives me the ability to assign listening activities as homework assignments, as in-class independent work with headphones, or as part of a lesson during online learning.
How do you do online speaking activities and assessments for your foreign language students?
Another way I use TeacherMade is to assess my students’ speaking abilities. TeacherMade has a fantastic feature where students can record themselves reading out loud, and then the audio file automatically attaches to their work. This makes it simple for even my youngest students to record themselves independently. Students enjoy the novelty of speaking into a device, and recording on their own is often less stressful for shy students than speaking in front of the class.
For this type of assignment, I can have students record themselves at home or send students to record themselves in a quiet space while the rest of the class is working. When conducting an assessment, I can listen to the audio files my students create multiple times so that I can give rich feedback on pronunciation, pacing, and volume.
How do you convert your paper vocabulary worksheets into digital worksheets?
Finally, I use TeacherMade for vocabulary, grammar, and writing-based activities. It is so simple to convert my pre-existing grammar worksheets into fillable web pages on the app. I can insert text boxes where my students can type, I can use the ‘Hotspot’ tool to create bubbles for students to click, or I can insert Drop-Down bars where students can choose from more than one answer.
What type of TeacherMade tools can you use to make text-enhanced items (TEIs)?
I like using TeacherMade’s ‘Matching’ tool for vocabulary-based worksheets. Students can draw lines between vocabulary terms and corresponding English words or pictures with their cursor. For more complex written tasks, I insert an Open Answer question box on TeacherMade where students can type a response. I am even able to add a prompt or starting sentence into the box to help to spur my students’ creativity. Recently, TeacherMade has also added the ability for students to type special characters such as accents (à, é, è) through a pop-up toolbar. This is a lifesaver for students who do not have a bilingual keyboard.
What tools would you recommend to world language teachers?
TeacherMade is a fantastic tool for world language teachers like me who want to engage learners in today’s 21st-century classrooms. Teaching a language is a complicated job, as we need to teach learners to understand spoken language, speak with confidence, understand written text, and express themselves through writing. TeacherMade helps to make our job easier with built-in features created with teachers like me in mind.
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