Tuesday 28 April 2020

Ready to Run with authentic video lessons that are classroom-ready for levels A1 - B2

Over the last decade, video has become one of the key drivers of online learning and nowhere more so than in language learning. It has the power to reach beyond words and sounds and show students a range of non-verbal communication features as well as taking them to places and peoples around the world that they may never be able to access physically.
Despite the power of video, one of the greatest difficulties of using authentic video with language students has always been level. Authentic video has often been seen as too challenging for lower-level students, and much of the graded, made for language teaching material is so cringingly inauthentic that it is almost too embarrassing to use, especially for teenagers and young adults.

Finally, though it looks like Digital Learning Associates (DLA) have solved the problem with their award-winning Ready to Run series of videos and learning materials.

The Ready to Run Videos
If you check out the Ready to Run catalogue you’ll see that they have a great range of really diverse, inclusive and most importantly interesting videos that cover a really broad range of geographies, topics, cultures and lifestyles.
The videos have been categorised using the CEFR so it’s really easy to find the ones that are appropriate for the level of your students and there is a range of video at each level from A1 up to B2.

The videos are professionally produced with really high-quality camera work and audio and as I mentioned earlier they are engaging enough to hold the attention of a native speaker solely on the interest level of the content.

The Teaching and Learning Materials
The series is entitled Ready to Run and it is exactly that. Most of the videos have PDF materials that you can download and use immediately with your students as well as a teachers guide and copies of transcripts.

Another of the great things about the videos is that it’s also possible to open the captions so that students can read the transcript as the watch and for students who are really struggling the settings allow you to slow the video down.
Here’s an example video from a South African Vlogger. The video is about what she’s doing to pass the time during the lockdown.

Ready to Run is a subscription service with a range of subscription packages.
  • Video Star - Which is free and gives you access to 10 videos with lesson materials from a range of levels. These are updated with new content every month.
  • Video Pro - Which gives you access to 35 units of material ranging A1 to B2. At present, you can also get the Video Pro package for free for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Video School - This gives you and the teachers at your school unlimited access to the complete catalogue for £79 a month.

Finally, if you check out the Ready to Run blog you’ll also see some interesting postings about how to use the materials online for virtual teaching as well as some posts about new and upcoming content.

So whether you are teaching online or looking forward to getting back into the classroom now is a great time to sign up and get some really interesting and engaging materials that can save you hours of preparation.

More Teache Resources
You can find links to many more resources like this and activities for the digital classroom in my ebooks at: https://payhip.com/peacheypublications
To sign up for my free newsletter and get a free copy of Digital Tools for Teachers go to: http://eepurl.com/dtgL79
Check Out My Books:
Nik Peachey

Friday 24 April 2020

Using the bulb digital portfolio to keep up with qualitative assessment of student work online

In the rapid shift to online learning that’s taking place at present, there’s one thing that can easily get overlooked - the value of qualitative evaluation. What better tool to do that with than a digital portfolio tool like bulb?

bulb is simple to use, works on mobile as well as in the browser and it gives your students the opportunity to collect and showcase their work using a modern and stylish design.

Creating a profile

To get started, all you need to do is create a free profile. All you need is an image and a short description of who you are.

Once you have your profile created you can start collecting together any digital assets you would like to include in your portfolio.

Collecting your work You can access your asset library by clicking on the icon in the top right of the screen. You or your students can add a wide variety of digital assets to your library. These could be an audio recording, documents, images, videos, or work they have stored on Google Drive or OneDrive. Interestingly, students can also record audio directly into the asset library, which may well be useful for collecting examples of student’s spoken work.

The asset library is a great place for students to collect their work as it’s totally private so they can wait until they are ready to publish something before they add it to a page.

Once students have their work in the asset library they can create Pages or Collections. A Collection is a number of Pages collected together, much like a folder. This makes it easier for students to collect and categorize their pages into different topics or subjects.

Creating pages Creating pages is very easy. Click to create a page, give the page a title and add a cover image. Then start typing in content. Click on ‘Enter’ to start a new line and you will get the option for adding assets from your library or uploading new media assets such as images, video, audio and more.

Apart from its simplicity, one really nice feature of the editor is the ability to create image carousels. Once you have added one image you can simply click on the image icon to add additional images. This makes the collections of images look more professional and users don’t need to scroll down a long page.

Once students have completed their page they can publish it. They can either make the page public, create a private link, or share it with specific users or groups. This makes it much easier for students to share work with peers to get feedback and comments or just their teacher or parents.
Another nice feature of the site is that you can create pages and share them as templates. This enables other users to make copies of the page and use them to add their own content. This is a great feature to enable you to create worksheets for students that they can complete or to provide a format and structure for the work that they do.

Creating groups If you are using bulb with students and particularly if you are using it with multiple classes, then the Groups feature is going to be really useful.

To create a group you go back to the menu and select groups and then ‘Create Group’. Give your group a name and description, then create a unique URL.
Once you have created a group you can add members by either entering their email or username or you can give students a code to add themselves as members of the group.

Now that students are in a group they can easily share and comment on each other's work and you can share work and templates with them as well as assessing and evaluating their work.

One last feature that I really like about bulb is once pages are published they can be used in presentation mode. This opens them as fullscreen without all the editing and navigation tools, so that students can present their work in the classroom.

If you are a Google Classroom user you will also be happy to know that bulb works alongside Classroom.

That’s about all there is to it. bulb is a really stylish tool to use with your students, that they or their parents can access in the home that enables peer to peer evaluation as well as tutor evaluation and assessment of work.

I hope you find this a really useful addition to your digital teaching toolset.

More Tools
You can find links to many more resources like this and activities for the digital classroom in my ebooks at: https://payhip.com/peacheypublications
To sign up for my free newsletter and get a free copy of Digital Tools for Teachers go to: http://eepurl.com/dtgL79

Check Out My Books:
Nik Peachey