Category Archives: Young learners

Using technology with young learners of English- Recommendations

Please read the introductory post and the task posts about the project.

Based on my experiences on the planning and implementation processes of this project, I have the following recommendations for the teachers who would be interested in using technology in the young learners classroom:

1- It is very important to guide the students for both the task and technology use. In our project, the English teacher introduced the task in the classroom and demonstrated the use of the accompanying tool on the Whiteboard. For each task, two handouts, one in English to introduce the task and one in Turkish, to give step-by-step guidance on the use of the tool, were prepared.

2- Young learners, as digital natives, are very motivated to use technology. By creating meaningful and enjoyable tasks for them, we can benefit from their high motivation.

3- It is important to check the availability of technology for each student. During the project, some students used the teacher’s computer for the tasks requiring voice recording.  We should be ready to give such support when needed.

4- The English proficiency level of the students in the project was low. Therefore, for each task, we created a sample product. Students saw the sample before they created their own product. For the tasks requiring writing, we also provided students with some prompts to facilitate the writing process.

5- For the project, we created a blog page. Sharing students’ products is very important for such a project. As their responses in the interview revealed, students loved seeing their products on the blog and shared them with their families.

 

6- When students completed their products and when the products were uploaded on the blog, each week, the teacher spent one class hour to go over the products and give feedback. The feedback of the teacher mostly focused on meaning.

7- During the study, some students failed to complete the tasks on time. The teacher followed them very closely and contacted the parents for late and/or missing assignments.

8- At the end of the study, the students perceived an increase in their English proficiency. Their teacher had the same perception for the students’ improved language ability.

I hope this project inspires you to use technology mediated tasks in your own teaching context. Please feel free to contact me for any questions.

 

Using technology with young learners of English: Task 6- creating a story

Please read the introductory post about the project.

The final task of the project asked students to create a story using the prompts below.

Title:……………………………………………..

One day, a/an ………………………. (character 1) and a/an ……………………………… (character 2) meet ……………………. (write the setting).

(Character 1) says: “…………………………………………………”(introduces himself/herself). (Character 2) says: “………………………………….”(introduces himself/herself). (Character 1) says: “………………………………..” (He/she talks about his/her problem)

(Character 2) says: “…………………………………..” (He/she gives advice to Character 1).

In the end, …………………………………………………. (what happens at the end of the story).

To publish their stories, students used Storybird. Storybird lets users make visual stories by using the artwork available on the website. Longform or pictures books and poems can be created on the website. The students were instructed to use Longform Book format to write their stories. When ready, the students copied the embed code of their stories and e-mailed it to their teacher.  Here are some examples:



Using technology with young learners of English: Task 5- Creating a poem

Please read the introductory post about the project.

For the task, students created a “Who I am” poem for a character from their favourite story, tale or a book (for example, Cinderella, Robin Hood, or the Wolf in the Little Red Riding hood!). They used the following  prompts to write their poems.

I am …………………… (write character’s name)

I am ……………(1)., ………………(2), and ……………(3) (write three adjectives to describe your character)

I am wearing…………….. (write what the character is wearing)

I love…………………………… (write what you character loves doing/eating/saying, etc.)

I fear ……………………… (1) and ……………… (2)… (write what you character fears)

I can …………………(1) and (2) ………………. (Write what the character can do)

When their poem was ready, they searched for the picture of their character on the web and by using the Blabberize website they made their character tell the poem. Blabberize is a free website which lets you upload a photo/picture and animate its mouth to make it talk. You can record your voice up to 30 seconds. The final product can be embedded to a blog/web page. Here are some of the poems created by the students:

Using technology with young learners of English: Task 4- Describing a hero

Please read the introductory post about the project.

The fourth task asked students to create their own heroes and describe it.  To draw their heroes, students used artpad. Artpad is very similar to Paint. It lets users to draw a picture and add a text. It does not require registration and the final product can be printed or e-mailed.

Here is the hero created by one of the students:

Figure 3

 

 

Using technology with young learners of English- Task 3: Giving advice for healthy diet

Please read the introductory post about the project.

For this task, students created a comic strip and gave feedback for healthy food. To create their comics, they used the makebeliefscomix website. It is a website which lets the users create their comic strips using a range of characters with different moods. It is free and not difficult to use.

Here are some example comic strips created by the students in the project:

1

2

3

4

 

Using technology with young learners of English- Task 2- Talking about daily routine.

Please see the introductory post about the project.

The second task designed for the project was about daily routines. Students were supposed to take photos of themselves showing their daily routine and create a timeline with those photos and their descriptions. To create their timeline, they used the timeline page produced by readwritethink. It is free and very easy to use.  When ready, students e-mailed their timelines to the teacher and we uploaded them on their blog.

The following is an example timeline created by one of the students. It is intentionally pixelated for privacy reasons.

Figure 4

 

Using technology with young learners of English- Task 1: Describing people

Please see the introductory post about the project.

In the first task, students chose a character (an avatar) from Voki, a free podcast creating service, and described it recording their own voices. They answered the following questions for their descriptions.

  1. What is the name of the character?
  2. What is she/he/it like? (hair colour, eyes, etc.)
  3. What is she/he/it wearing?
  4. What can she/he/it do?
  5. What does she/he/it like doing?
  6. What does she/he/it do everyday?

The handout in Turkish  (Vokikullanımı) gave step by step instruction to use Voki.  The following products were created by the students, individually, and shared on their classroom blog- which we created for this study.

Using technology with young learners of English- Introduction

After a long break, in this post I am going to write about the project I conducted in a young learners classroom last term. Using technology-mediated tasks with young learners of English has always been in my mind. I contacted my former student from the MA program and shared my idea with her. She agreed to participate and we implemented the project collaboratively in her Grade 4 classroom in a private primary school in Istanbul. For 6 weeks, we created tasks to be completed by using various technological tools. The tasks were related to the topics covered in the English lessons. For each task, two handouts were prepared. One in English- to introduce the task and give the task instructions; one in Turkish- to instruct students on how to use the technological tool to be used for the task completion. I wrote a chapter about this study for the upcoming book, “Encyclopedia of Foreign Language Education in the Digital Age.” I will share it with you when it is published.  In the next few posts, I will write about the tasks we used with young learners of English  and share some of their products with you. You can also create and implement similar tasks in your own context.

Task 1

Task 2

Task 3

Task 4

Task 5

Task 6

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