Sunday, 3 February 2008

INTERACTIVE WHITEBOARD AND MFL, training session by Wendy Adeniji at Friezland Primary School, Oldham LEA, 30th January 2008.

As introduced on her website, Wendy Adeniji was a Modern Languages teacher for nine years and developed the use of interactive whiteboards and PCs for improving the teaching and learning of languages at Dixons City Technology College. She has since been a PGCE tutor for Leeds University and ICT Consultant for Comenius Yorkshire and the Humber. She now works for CILT and also delivers INSET nationally to schools and LEAs, specialising in exploiting the interactive whiteboard effectively to teach languages. She is a regular speaker at conferences such as Language World and BETT.

Some downloadable resources can also be found on Wendy's website, like a delightful story about four animals sharing a scarf, ideas to practise and teach grammar, text manipulation examples, rub out to reveal examples and more...

Before actually looking at the use of the whiteboard, the website point out important considerations to be made when using the Internet live in a classroom situation:

1. Is the connection secure? Can you rely on it to work when you need it? If not, you could take a page that you need and either copy it into your whiteboard software or a Word document or save it as an html file. However, this will only copy the page and not the links from it to other pages, so this is not suitable if you wish to use the site interactively.

2. Plug-ins: Using content from the internet can be very useful but sometimes you may need extra software to help you access content. The following are free but will need installing before you use some files on the internet:- Real Audio player. Plays sound files in the format .ram- Flash: Plays content created in macromedia Flash. This often contains drag and drop type activities and / or sound.

3. Text Size: If you are using the internet for whole-class teaching, can the website be seen from the back of the classroom? Use View > Text Size > Largest to change this.

The session at Friezland Primary School

The session was very well attended with more than 40 teachers present, most of them from Tameside Primary schools. It was also lovely to meet again with some of my Oldham colleagues. The session lasted for one hour and a half and was split into tips for Powerpoint and for using Smartboard Notebook.


Sound: sound searches can be done in a very similar way clipart searches are carried out. Sound can be used instead of a translation to reinforce the link between the new item of vocabulary and its meaning.

Colour-coding: It is worth agreeing on colour-coding across mfl Faculties to reinforce concepts like gender or number.

Generic skills are more useful than actual vocabulary items to ensure a better progression to KS3: e.g. understanding gender, the link between pronunciation and the written word, strategies for learning vocabulary…

Flash once is a great feature to encourage risk-taking by prediction e.g. guess the next item to flash…

Beat the image : Say and touch the item before it flies across the screen or predict what 5 items are going to fly across and/ or and what order .To do this put the pictures just outside the limit of the slide and animate fly out to make them fly across the screen.

Use real images/ videos : search for webcams in major cities by typing up “ webcam + name of the city” in a Google search. Search for cameras on beaches, main squares or ski resorts.

To link a picture to the webcam site: insert a picture, right-click on picture and type up the website to link up to. E.g. picture of the Eiffel Tower to click on to link to the Eiffel Tower website.

Where is the ladybird/butterfly/football going to land? Using the freeform motion path in custom animation to make the object fly and land on different places (similar to beat the image)

Use of famous quiz games like Who wants to be a millionaire-many templates available on the internet. The games can be played between two teams with team reps rotating and offering an answer with the support of their team. Some game sites and software from can be easily used with the whiteboard to introduce new language and reinforce it.

Slow reveal games can be done with numbers or full sentences to reinforce literacy and numeracy. Insert square shapes to hide parts of the numbers/ sentences and to taken out one by one to give students more clues until the result/ full sentence is discovered.

Story-telling: Although story-telling is mostly used at primary level, I feel it has a lot of potential to develop students’ listening skills and engage them emotionally. In Wendy’s example, predictions are being made after the scene has been set. A lot of cognates are being used and visual support provided to keep it easy to understand. The use of speech bubble that slow-reveal their contents is good to encourage risk-taking and the development of grammatical awareness. This is also a great way to introduce the past tense.

Music videos: Funny bear and Pigloo are very popular with younger students. E.g. Pigloo the penguin singing about hobbies and pastimes to the tune of “YMCA” (moi, j’aime skier…). The added advantages is that there are links to these resources from the TF1 website which usually allowed in school-unlike Youtube. For more music videos see

Smartboard Notebook

Spotlight : It is situated in the floating tools. Click on the edge of the circle to drag it open or shut. You can then click outside the circle to move it about. The shape of the spotlight can be changed to that of a star, for example.

Slow reveal speech bubble : customize pen to thick and white and scribble over the speech bubble. You can now use the sponge to reveal bits of the speech bubble at a time.• Gallery : It is regularly updated. Useful tools include French and Spanish speaking dice, dice with consonants or vowels-good for brainstorming: give me a word starting with a …

Spinner : it is also in the gallery and can be used with pictures around. There is also a handy search for gallery items-good to explore what could be helpful for languages.

• Weather : hyperlink pictures to real weather maps. Prediction exercises can be done to practise weather vocabulary and numbers (with temperatures). The gallery has a number of maps. Items can be sent to the front if correct and to the back of the map if incorrect. The items sent to the back will look like they disappear when go over the map.

Blind: It is an icon at the top and can be used for more slow reveal activities.

Timer: e.g. touche quelque chose qui est jaune, put the sentence in the correct order…

Insert shapes (similar to what can be done with powerpoint)This certainly was a thought-provoking session, with many ideas shared in a short length of time. What could Wendy teach us in a full day if she can do this in less than 90 minutes? I hope to be finding out for myself very soon…

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