I have been an English teacher for about 30 years. During this period, in addition to working in the classroom, both in the public and private sectors, I have also been working with training, education and development of English language teachers at Troika – in continuing and initial education. At the moment, I coordinate an English program in Rio de Janeiro with teachers from kindergarten to high school, and I guide undergraduate interns that will be English teachers.
Students are very fond of Lyrics Training. I’ve had experiences with students from elementary school to high school, each one has its specificity, its degree of difficulty and requirement. For example, high school students are very fond of challenges. For example, they really enjoy it when they select a more challenging level where they need to be quicker with answers. And even more so when they decide to organize themselves into groups and compete with each other singing songs.
Youglish is very interesting for vocabulary reinforcement in context, when we are exploring a particular word, which offers greater difficulty in understanding, contextualization and use. In addition to the pronunciation, it manages to bring, through videos and other resources, the context of use of that term. Sometimes teaching only the meaning of a word can give the wrong impression that it can be used in different contexts, but there are subtle meanings that need a more concrete communicative element so that the student can perceive its use.
Wordwall offers a bank with different game format options for the same content. One can create an activity, for example, with specific vocabulary of farm animals, and the website offers game possibilities based on that vocabulary list, such as memory game, train, cards, pac man, spin the wheel. The activities are geared towards secondary education. With the older ones, from the moment they are more used to the platform, we can open up for them to choose the type of game they prefer to do that activity.
I use Mentimeter for preparing presentations. It’s like PowerPoint, only interactive. It is a presentation tool filled with interactive elements with viewers. For example, if I have a question about the subject of the class, I present it on the slide and a code will appear. Then, by cell phone, students access and respond. And those answers can create a word cloud instantly, in real time. From there, we can move towards a discussion. I like to use the tool for warm up activities. For example, I ask “What did you have for breakfast today?”; and, based on the answers (milk, tea), we warm up with a discussion and then move on to the content of the class.
ISLCollective is very good for creating class material. It is an activity repository that is organized into interactive video sessions, PowerPoint and vocabulary or grammar worksheets. We teachers create content and feed the platform. You can search and use ready-made materials, or do something more customized, as it allows us to change and adapt these materials. It makes a copy of the original content with all rights reserved and assigned, but one can customize, delete or add something to the activity.
It is an educational game bank, which allows us to create very simple games, and whose platform is similar to mobile and video games. It has more gamification elements than many others we use, such as elements of the dynamics, mechanics and components that are part of the gamification process (difficulty level progression, challenges and rewards), with a well-described narrative.
One of the possibilities for creation is a mountain bike competition. As the runner walks the race path, golden boxes with questions (multiple choice) appear that must be answered in order for the player to win prizes. It is a competition like a video game, with great appeal for our students.
It is possible to create games for all levels, from kindergarten on, and it can be used both on computer and mobile. The games can be created individually or collaboratively – there is the ability to add collaborators, so that students can organize themselves into groups, each one at home, develop a game and present it to the class. They can send the link of the game they have created and everyone plays.
Live Worksheets website also makes it possible to create interactive exercises. We can create, for example, an exercise of connecting (matching), which can be done on the screen of the computer or cell phne itself, which makes it easier for the student as well.
These platforms are all free and students don’t need to have an account, we can just use the link. The only thing is that, if I want to create some activity that can be measured later, I need everyone to be registered and to log in to the platform. Gamilab, ISLCollective and Live Worksheets, for example, generate a report and I can find out which students participated and what difficulties were encountered in relation to the score generated by each one of them.