This past Thursday one of the four questions of #langchat was about iPad apps that are enhancing our communicative classroom. My favorite app to use is Educreations, an interactive whiteboard app, particularly with student retells of class stories. I thought I’d share my process for anyone who wants to test it out.
Step One: Sign up for your free teacher account at educreations.com. Create a class, and then have your students sign-up free with the class code. When students join your class, you should see their names on your class page, and when you click on them you are able to see their finished products. Take the time to play around on an iPad before, and I think you’ll find it to be super user-friendly! Educreations is also really good about answering e-mail and supporting you.
Step Two: What are your requirements for what students say and draw? Personally, I require one slide per location in the story, but students can add more if they want. They are required to narrate in Spanish on each slide and every person must speak, but I don’t give specifics because I want output to be natural, and with TPRS they normally use the target structures since we just did a whole story with them. I always do this as partner work or groups of 3 so that they can communicate in TL while they draw…plus I don’t have enough iPads for everyone…
Step Three: Give students time to create and challenge them to stay in TL. I tell them to tell each other the story as they draw in TL and then record their narrations when they have finished the drawings. I monitor closely but find that even novice students have the vocabulary they need to work on the drawings in the TL.
Step Four: Watch the finished products! They are now all conveniently located on your class page. We watch all of them as a class and students get a kick out of seeing how their peers interpreted the same story. Plus, they are hearing those target structures yet again!
Step Five: Repeat Step 4, kind of. Students can rewatch their own and watch others’ outside of class if you’d like. Just be careful on which videos you select for students to rewatch since student creations of course contain errors in the TL, and we certainly don’t want them repeatedly listening to the wrong structure! Have a plan for how you and students should respond to these errors.
How do you use Educreations in your classroom? What would you change to make this work for you? Who has used it for teacher-given input rather than student output? Comment below or tweet at me (@rlgrandis)!