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Learning languages

e-Learning presents a range of opportunities that support the teaching and learning of languages through:

  • making connections – students exploring new learning environments, overcoming barriers of distance and time
  • shared learning – linking communities of learners that extend well beyond the classroom
  • supportive learning environments valuing individual, cultural, or developmental differences
  • enhancing learning opportunities through virtual experiences and time-saving tools.

Learning languages | ICT and e-learning

St Hilda's Collegiate e-learning leader, Carla Joint talks about the benefits of technology in learning languages. e-Learning has enabled students to work at their own pace, direct their learning, use authentic material, and communicate with overseas students.

Planning to use ICTs – questions to think about

Consider how you can use digital technologies to enable students to:

  • work at their own pace and direct their own learning
  • review and re-listen to language activities
  • access up-to-date resources online such as videos, online newspaper articles, and magazines
  • connect with overseas schools to practice language in authentic contexts
  • share, revise, and improve their work for an authentic audience.

Using the teaching section of the e-Learning Planning Framework , consider in your own school context:

  • as a teacher, where you are at now
  • your next steps for building your capability to effectively teach and support your language learners with digital technologies.
students working

Developing a range of e-learning opportunities in the language classroom allows students to be more self-directed in their learning. As new technologies and approaches are introduced, the language classroom can become more about independent and collaborative learning that meets student needs.

Rehearse, record, and edit spoken work digitally

Videoing or just using audio recordings enables students to practise and review their learning as many times as they need to. They can work at their own pace to:

  • improve their pronunciation
  • extend their vocabulary
  • build confidence.
Online tools for creating recordings

Students can work individually or collaboratively to develop a script on a Google doc.

By importing the text into an online teleprompter like Cue Prompter  or the Visioprompt app , they can record their audio while it scrolls up the screen using tools such as Audacity or Voice Record Pro .

With the scripts they have created, students can:

  • produce short films in the target language
  • create animations using apps such as Puppet Pals , and Powtoon
  • peer assess each other's work.

Using games for learning

Games are effective as they create motivation, lower students’ stress, and give language learners the opportunity for real communication. Students can revisit and play games as often as they need to. Games provide an interactive experience of discovery and exploration, which can be designed to meet students' level of learning.

Games:

  • help students to make and sustain the effort of learning
  • encourage students to interact and communicate
  • create a meaningful context for language use
  • lower anxiety especially when played in small groups
  • can involve all the basic language skills – listening, speaking, reading, and writing
  • improve retention, decision-making skills, and comprehension of general principles.
Online game tools
  • Kahoot  – students and teachers can create language games and quizzes using this free tool.
  • Quizlet  – teachers can create their own study set of flash cards and quiz questions, set up a class and invite students to access quiz sets. It is free to sign-up for a basic account.
  • Duolingo for schools  – access games and practice activities for students learning a wide variety of languages using this free tool. The online guide  provides instructions for use.
  • Digistore resources  – The TKI digistore has a range of language learning resources and games.
  • Linguascope  – tools, games, and activities in a range of languages for students to develop vocabulary and build fluency. This website requires schools to pay to access resources.

Students create reading materials

Students can create their own reading materials by combining text, images, audio, and video to create books, tutorials, and presentations in any language.

Online content creation tools

Using online news and communication tools

Watching or listening to the news in another language provides students with the opportunity to engage with a second language in an authentic context. 

Online news and communication tools
  • Deutsche Welle  – provides news in 30 languages, including English.
  • BBC  – contains slowly-spoken news and supplementary activities specifically for English language learners.
  • Facebook – start a Facebook group for your class, making it a place where they can have casual conversations with each other in the language they are learning.
  • FluentU  – teaches language using authentic materials such as newsmusic videos  and movie  trailers. The site has a free trial for educators, then requires users to pay.

"Learning opportunities should have explicit, genuine communicative purposes and include explicit comparisons between cultures and languages, leading to reflection and exploration of different perspectives."

New Zealand Curriculum guides: Senior secondary – learning languages

Connecting to classrooms in other parts of the world offers students access to conversation and cultural awareness in authentic contexts. It needs careful planning for success.

Consider:

  • your purpose, this will provide direction as you plan
  • timing of connections, particularly when you are in different hemispheres – consider using blogs, videos, and other asynchronous tools to communicate
  • how you will facilitate connections when groups on both sides do not know each other and have no shared history of working together – this may include supporting introductions and conversations about shared interests or working on collaborative projects
  • whether you need to access online translation tools to support communication, such as Skype translator  or WordReference  – a translation app for Android  and iOS .

French teacher Sarah Collett and two of her students, from Hillcrest High School, describe the usefulness of using a wiki to create and enhance authentic language learning experiences. They connect with a class in New Caledonia through the wiki and students have discussions through the forum tool.

Online conversation tools
  • PenPal schools  – Teachers join for free, and select an online project for students to work on – languages is an option. Students are matched with PenPals from around the world who are their own age. They can collaborate on a variety of online activities.
  • ePals  – Teachers register for free, use filters to connect with a specific country, age range, subject choice – including learning languages – to select from a range of connections.
  • Skype in the classroom  – Free virtual field trips, collaborations, and guest speakers. Search by subject, age group, and location.
  • Schools online  – Teachers register and find partner schools to connect with.
  • Busuu  – Students register for free and work through a series of practice activities. The premium version provides a wider range of features including conversations with native speakers.
  • QuadBlogging  – Teachers register their class for free and are assigned a group of four classes to work with. This provides a genuine audience for authentic feedback. 

I-expand horizons

French language teacher, Florence Lyons claims that too many teachers stop at the "e" in e-learning. She describes how she provides a window to the outside world using technology to expand her students’ horizons in this EDtalk video. 

"Effective communication is the central aim and the basis for all assessment. This means that developing the skills to become an effective intercultural communicator is more important than attaining native-speaker-like accuracy."

New Zealand Curriculum guides: Senior secondary – learning languages

Assessment and e-learning

Lafi Peters, a Samoan language teacher at Auckland Girls' Grammar School, explains how she combines e-learning tools in her assessments to allow her students to achieve to their potential through the use of YouTube channels to film oral language assessments. This means that students are able to film their assessments without the time pressure or time constraints of timetabled classes.

Using online tools and storing content in the cloud enables students to access their work anywhere, anytime, and embed their work into e-portfolios. 

Exemplars

e-language exemplars  – This wiki explores e-learning and languages, and includes examples of student work and teacher support material.

Online tools

Tools for generating e-portfolios and submitting homework.

  • Edmodo  – Edmodo is integrated with Google Apps for Education and Microsoft OneNote & Office. Teachers, students, and parents can create free accounts.
  • Showbie  – The basic edition is free to use.

Videos can be stored in the cloud in a YouTube or Vimeo account, which have a range of privacy settings.

For students wanting to learn a language not offered at your school, connect students into an online classroom. 

Lalaosalafai Tu’ua describes his experience of using video conferencing to teach Samoan at NCEA Level 3 at Southern Cross Campus in Mangere.

Students working at levels 1 and 2 of learning languages are focused on: 

  • understanding and using familiar expressions and everyday vocabulary
  • interacting in a simple way in supported situations 

Teachers from Pegasus Bay School describe how they use digital technology to support the teaching of te reo Māori. They demonstrate using the apps TellagamiExplain Everything , and Kahoot!  with students to learn simple phrases and to ask and answer questions.

More classroom examples »

Online tools for teaching and learning
Enabling e-Learning Teaching

Classroom teaching resources

Online resources to support te reo Māori language learning – including interactive games, books, and waiata.

Key resources

Learning languages

The TKI learning languages community contains key information for teaching languages and supporting learning with ICTs.

Filter by: Primary Secondary

Photo Booth

Students at Firth Primary School in Matamata developed fluency and confidence in te reo Māori using Photo Booth.

Tags: Learning languages, Multimedia – video, Middle primary, Primary, Upper primary

Collaborating using Blogger

Students from Melville Intermediate School used Blogger to share their development of te reo Māori and receive feedback.

Tags: English, Learning languages, Blogging, Social media, Primary, Upper primary

Movie Maker

Students from Melville Intermediate prepared and learnt their individual mihi in te reo Māori, then created videos to share their learning using Movie Maker.

Tags: English, Learning languages, Multimedia – video, Primary, Upper primary

Skype

Students from Melville Intermediate helped students from neighbouring Broadlands Primary School prepare and learn a short mihi using Skype.

Tags: English, Learning languages, Collaborative tools, Communication, Primary, Upper primary

Raising student achievement

Polyfest provided Mangere College with the opportunity to re-think curriculum planning and design to improve student achievement results for NCEA.

Tags: English, Learning languages, Science, Social sciences, The Arts, Visual arts, Multimedia – graphics/animation, Multimedia – video, Secondary, Upper secondary

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MASAM supported by technology

MASAM supported by technology

Students and teachers at Motu School describe how the VLN Learning Exchange and digital technologies support Māori achieving success as Māori.

Language learning supported by technology

Language learning supported by technology

St Hilda's Collegiate e-learning leader, Carla Joint talks about the benefits of technology in learning languages.

Teaching Samoan via video conference

Teaching Samoan via video conference

Lalaosalafai Tu’ua describes his experience of using video conferencing to teach Samoan at NCEA Level 3 at Southern Cross Campus in Mangere.

Using digital technologies to support the teaching of te reo Māori

Using digital technologies to support the teaching of te reo Māori

Teachers from Pegasus Bay School describe how they use digital technology to support the teaching of te reo Māori.

Te reo Māori in the classroom

Te reo Māori in the classroom

Teachers from Pegasus Bay School share how they incorporate te reo Māori into the classroom.

Authentic learning experiences facilitated through a wiki

Authentic learning experiences facilitated through a wiki

French teacher Sarah Collett and two of her students, describe the usefulness of using a wiki to create and enhance authentic language learning experiences.

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Key resources

Learning languages

The TKI learning languages community contains key information for teaching languages and supporting learning with ICTs.

Digistore resources

The TKI digistore has a range of language learning resources. 

Pasifika resources

Links to resources and information about e-learning relating to Pasifika to use in your classroom teaching and learning programme. The information includes a summary of the resource, videos showing examples of how it can be used in the classroom, and links to any relevant discussion groups in the Enabling e-Learning communities.

Māori resources

Links to resources and information about e-learning relating to te reo Māori to use in your classroom teaching and learning programme. The information includes a summary of the resource, videos showing examples of how it can be used in the classroom, and links to any relevant discussion groups in the Enabling e-Learning communities.

e-language exemplars

This wiki explores e-learning and languages, and includes examples of student work and teacher support material.

The New Zealand Sign Language dictionary

New Zealand Sign Language in English and Māori, with illustrations and video clips.

wordreference

WordReference

A translation app, available for both Android and iOS .

Tellagami

A mobile app for creating short videos.

Powtoon

Teachers and students can use this simple animation tool to create presentations. Powtoon education version is free for students and teachers.

Educreations

Teachers can create and join classes, record and share lessons, and use basic whiteboard tools. The basic package is free.

Book Creator

It is available as Book Creator for iPads  or Book Creator for Chrome . Students can use images or create comics. Teachers can create one library with up to 40 books for free with their students. There are further pricing options for expanding your library size.

Kahoot

Students and teachers can create language games and quizzes using this free tool.

Quizlet

Teachers can create their own study set of flash cards and quiz questions, set up a class, and invite students to access quiz sets. It is free to sign-up for a basic account.

Duolingo for schools

Access games and practice activities for students learning a wide variety of languages using this free tool. The online guide  provides instructions for use.

Linguascope

Tools, games, and activities in a range of languages for students to develop practice vocabulary and build fluency. This website requires schools to pay to access resources.

Deutsche Welle   

Provides news in 30 languages, including English.

FluentU   

Contains newsmusic videos , and movie  trailers. The site has a free trial for educators, then requires users to pay.

PenPal schools

Teachers join for free, and select an online project for students to work on – languages is an option. Students are matched with PenPals from around the world who are their own age. They can collaborate on a variety of online activities.

ePals

Teachers register for free, use filters to connect with a specific country, age range, subject choice – including learning languages – to select from a range of connections.

Skype in the classroom

Free virtual field trips, collaborations, and guest speakers. Search by subject, age group, and location.

Schools online

Teachers register and find partner schools to connect with.

QuadBlogging  

Sign up for free. Teachers are allocated a Quad containing four classes including their own. Each Quad has a Quad Co-ordinator attached to it. Once contact is made between the four teachers and dates set, one class blog is the "focus class" and for the week, the other three classes visit that class' blog and leave comments on the content. The next week, one of the other classes is the "focus class" with the other three visiting and leaving comments. This process is repeated until all four classes have had their week as the "focus class". This cycle can repeat for as long as the participants want it to. Once finished, teachers can sign up again to be allocated another Quad.

NetNZ   

NetNZ is a community of secondary and area schools from across most of the South Island who work together to provide online learning opportunities for their students based on the New Zealand Curriculum. It offers a wide range of language courses .

Virtual Learning Network

The Virtual Learning Network Community (VLNC) is a group of clusters and individual schools who choose to operate as a collaborative network, utilising digital technologies in order to enhance the learning outcomes and opportunities for learners. Online classes are brokered through the Ministry of Education Learning Exchange and NetNZ courses are advertised on their website.

Online community discussions

e-Learning community discussions

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