Thursday, October 27, 2011
ICT a practical tool
An article written by Magdalena Bobek
ICT, a practical tool
This simple activity gets young learners in the class really motivated for an exercise that can
otherwise be quite boring. I call it ''Chain Dictation''. I'm sure you've heard of it and maybe
even tried it.
After having finished teaching a text, prepare short extracts of the text on pieces of paper. Put
the pupils in groups of five. They stand or sit one behind the other. The last pupil in the group
has one of the extracts in hand. He/she whispers the text in parts to the schoolmate in front,
who does the same thing to the schoolmate in front of him/her until the text gets to the first
pupil in the row. That pupil very diligently writes down what he has heard. Now instead of
writing, the pupil can be sitting at a computer and typing the sentences he hears. Most pupils
type quite well, so there should be no problem working with the computer for this exercise.
You must put a time limit for the exercise, so that it doesn't become redundant. Once the
pupils have finished dictating, the whole group can go to the computer and examine how well
they worked together as a group in getting all the sentences correct.
The hidden animal
In almost every language course book there is a unit
dedicated to animals. After finishing the unit, a great
follow-up activity would be to find out some facts about yet
other less known animals in the world. This may take one
or two lessons to complete.
• divide the class into groups of four/five
• each group gets an envelope in which there is a picture
puzzle and name of an unknown animal
• their first task is to put the picture puzzle together
• two pupils from the
group go to the
Search Engine) and type in the name of the animal. Eg:
• they search the Internet to find out at least three
different things about that animal (ie. Where it lives,
how it multiplies, what is eats, whether it is becoming
• after discussing this information in the group, the pupils
decide on three main things that they have learned about this new animal and a pupil from the group writes them down on a small piece of paper,
which is accompanied by the picture puzzle from the envelope
• all this information is then put on a big poster along with the information of animals from
the other groups to form the overall class project.
The biggest / The highest / The tallest
Once you have exhausted the pupils with information and exercises on the adjective, you may
want to make the grammatical point a bit more interesting by letting them do some research
on their own.
• each pupil chooses a country of interest
• using the Internet they find 5 superlatives about that country
Eg: the longest river, the highest mountain, the oldest person, the most popular singer…
• the pupils report their findings to the rest of the class
• they can bring pictures from the internet or magazines for support
• taking this one step further, they can make a webpage of their findings as a conclusion to
the topic of which they will be very proud.
Getting pupils involved in international projects can be very exciting. However, because the
situation is different from school to school, it is sometimes almost impossible to make it
happen. Some schools still do not have enough computers to make things like this work. The
curriculum is so overloaded that teachers simply do not find the time or energy to do extra
work. This is all very true. However, it may be time to do something INSTEAD OF
something else. Teachers can change the way they do things. This will create something new
and it will motivate the class. Instead of preparing work for the pupils on worksheets, ICT can
be used to do the same task. It is important to remember, however, that this is not a one-man
job. From time to time help from colleagues is very welcome.
The easiest way of getting pupils involved in international projects is by simple
correspondence with pupils from other parts of Europe and the world. Sending short e-mail
messages to peers in other countries quickly and effectively lights a spark of motivation. Once
contact has been achieved, the teacher can begin moulding it into an international project by
adding activities that the pupils can share with their newly acquired friends.
Some examples of ICT collaboration:
1. Two years ago 41 of our pupils were involved in a project with five other schools in
Europe. The project involved a survey on waste recycling, water and electricity.
Read more: (link: http://www2.arnes.si/~ospivka/springday/science1.htm ) 2. Exchanging ideas with peers from other countries can make music an experience of its
own. We collaborated with primary and secondary schools from Hungary, Ireland, Turkey
and Israel. In preparation for the activity we exchanged the words, melody and notes of songs
that we thought to be special in each country. Each school then chose one or two of the songs
for their pupils to learn. This way the pupils in each country not only learned a new song, but
also a few words of a new foreign language. Read more: (link:
3. Getting kids involved in chats and video-conferences has always proven to win them over.
Of course, these have to be well organized in advance. The topic of discussion as well as the
time of the chat or video conference have to be established and tested in advance. Video
conferences are a great way of not only hearing, but also seeing the person you are talking to.
They motivate everyone involved. Read more: (link:
Have a look at more of our projects and activites:
So, there are quite a few ways of getting your pupils involved and making your job more
interesting for you. Have fun creating with your pupils.
I read this article and found it very interesting.
Thanks to Magdalena Bobek.