Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Digital Ideas to support the ESOL student

Many of our students come from different language backgrounds and as teachers we are constantly finding ways to support them. Many of us have completed the English in the Mainstream Classes which focused on pedagogy and have lots of practical skills. The digital tools which are also available offer students more support and can help them learn more effectively in classes. This post will cover a series of basic tools that can be used with all students but especially those who are developing their English skills.

Text Handling Skills - Safari
  • Using the Reader button in Safari allows you to strip away the distractions from a piece of text
  • You can right click/secondary click on any piece of text within an Apple product to access some special services: Dictionary, Speech to Text. 
  • Other options can be customised and added added through the menu bar - Safari -> Services then Services Preferences. Nice services to add might be Add to iTunes as a Spoken Track



Text Handling Skills - Preview

From within most applications including Safari, Pages and MS Word you can "print" these as in PDF format. Choose the Print Menu and choose to Open PDF in Preview.


Once you have opened the document in Preview you have a rich array of functions under the Annotation button. This allows you to highlight pieces of text, add your own ideas, and comments. You can also turn on the Services within Preview to highlight and send snippets of text to Sticky Notes. These annotation functions should be easier to use in the Lion Update.


Presentation Skills - using Keynote
Presenting information back to the class or teacher is one of the hardest aspects of being an ESOL student, and the final Interactive Presentation assessment can be very daunting. Using Keynote and the recording functions is a nice way scaffold students towards the final assessment. The essential point of using Keynote rather than iMovie is how the students are being assessed. If the focus is on the oral presentation skills and ability of communicate a message, then Keynote is ideal. If you want to assess the product and a polished movie then you would need to use a more advanced tool.
  1. The basic task is to make a Keynote presentation
  2. Student develop slides with a mixture of media to support the speaking part of the presentation. 
  3. They can use words and animations to develop the presentation.
  4. Finally they can use the Play menu and Record Slideshow tool to record audio over the presentation. Whilst the audio is recording the student can step through the slide and exit once they have completed this.  
  5. Students can use the inspector button to remove the audio, to adjust the volume or to add a soundtrack.