Tech for Teach

Quizlet.Live: Classroom based social vocabulary game

quizletlivemadness

Quizlet Live is a website-based classroom vocabulary game where teams of three or four students work together to be first to match vocabulary terms with their correct definitions. Quizlet Live is a new feature of Quizlet, an excellent digital flashcard website and smartphone application already popular with many teachers. It is free and easy to use, allowing teachers to create customized flash cards with text, images and audio, as well as share with and borrow from other users.

To use Quizlet Live in the classroom, the teacher and students will each need to have an Internet connected computer or mobile device. It is important to understand that this is a website-based game (NOT the Quizlet smartphone application) and is designed to work on any device, even older mobile phones. Students do not need to download any programs or applications nor register/sign up for anything. While not necessary, it is very helpful to be able to project the computer or device display onto a large screen so students can see the appropriate websites and track their teams progress during game play. 

 

Before introducing Quizlet Live

First, teachers must create a free account on the Quizlet website: Quizlet.com.  Next, create your own deck of flashcards or search through any of the thousands of sets created by other teachers. To see a good English/Japanese example, here is a link to a deck of flashcards about “Vacations” that I have used successfully. (https://quizlet.com/30856965/vacations-flash-cards/)

 

Introducing Quizlet Live in class

While logged into Quizlet.com, chose a deck and click on the blue box labeled “Live” at the top right of the website page.” This will open the Quizlet Live page where it is possible to create a game, watch an instructional video, or try a demonstration version of the game.

live button

Clicking on “Create Game” leads to a new page with instructions for students to go to the URL “quizlet.live” (https://quizlet.com/live) and enter the six-digit “Join Code.”  Write the website (quizlet.live) and the game code on the blackboard (If you have already taught the class how to use the Quizlet website and/or app, which I normally do, it can cause confusion. Be sure to let them know this is not the Quizlet app, but a website they need to access with their browser.)

code

If possible, project this website screen from the teacher computer or device onto a large screen so the students know where they are supposed to go. It is also a good idea to log into this website on a mobile device to carry around the room and show students what webpage they should find. There are two common problems at this point:

  1. Students go to “quizlet.com”. 
  2. Students open the Quizlet smartphone application if already downloaded.

In a few cases, my students have been unable to enter the code number using the Japanese “flick” style smartphone keyboard. A possible solution for this type of situation is to change the keyboard to the traditional QWERTY keyboard. If there is no QWERTY keyboard, try having the student switch back and forth between the English flick keyboard and their native language flick keyboard after entering each number. Quizlet has already been alerted about this potential problem, so it may be fixed soon.

Once students enter the code and push the “Join Class” button, they will be prompted to enter their first name. If another student has already taken that name, they will be asked to enter their last initial. If a student makes a mistake and it is necessary to change the name, click on that name on the teacher screen and delete it, and the student will be prompted to enter a new name.

At this point, their display will say “Waiting for your teacher to start.” Their name will also appear on the the teacher game screen, as well as the number of students who have logged in. When first introducing Quizlet Live, during this logging in process, it will probably be necessary to circle around the room, troubleshooting problems. It is recommended to become familiar with the process beforehand to quickly get everyone logged into the game.

waiting

When all the students have logged in, click the “Start Game” button to go to the next stage.  If students fail to login correctly before the game starts, they can be added after the current game is over. If at any point students who were correctly logged in lose Internet connection, return to a previous web page, or close the webpage, the game will give them the option to “Refresh” or  “Re-join the game I was in.”

At this point, Quizlet will create random animal named teams of three or four students depending on the total number.  The students’ screens will display their animal team name and image, as well as the names of other teams members.  Instruct the students to stand up, find the other members of their team, and sit together. This is where the beauty of this game really shows, students must physically stand up and move around the room to form groups and work together. 

Once everyone is ready, select “Start Game”, and students will begin to work together to match the vocabulary term with the correction definition. Each member of the team will have the same vocabulary term at the top of the screen. Below that term will be three or four definitions from the total of 12 questions. Only one of the definitions on one team member’s screen will be correct. The team must work together to identify the correct definition.  If successful, the definition will turn green and disappear and the next vocabulary term will appear. If the choice is incorrect, the definition will turn red and all screens will then show the correct answer before starting the team over from the beginning. The first team to correctly answer all 12 questions in a row is the winner.

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The teacher can then choose to exit the game, play the game again, shuffle teams and play again, or review the cards with the class. For an alternative idea, try using trivia sets such as this “Sports Trivia” set. Or, search for sets which use images instead of definitions. Great for certain types of vocabulary like “kitchen tools“.

waiting

 

Practical Teaching Ideas

Teaching Digital Literacy with Inanimate Alice

2015-12-05

An extremely useful and engaging resource for teaching and learning about digital literacy, ICT, and language, is the interactive multimodal fiction series Inanimate Alice. Some have declared that, “there is nothing else like it on the net,” and I tend to agree.

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The main Inanimate Alice website <www.inanimatealice.com> allows students to interact with each of the multimodal episodes where user interaction is required to advance each story. The website also contains:

  • A gallery of student and teacher created content, which students are encouraged to contribute to.
  • A series of interactive travel journals which follow Alice, aged 18, during her gap year in Indonesia and Japan. The journals contain a mix of audio, visuals, films and interactive word games.
  • Links to associated sites where students can download templates, images and sound effects in order to create their own Alice adventures, for example: http://www.inanimatealice.edu.au/assets.html
  • A link to the development blog for the latest Alice episode so that students can provide input and ask questions.

2015-12-05 (2)

Most educators are extremely familiar with the teaching and learning goals of language and ICT. However, many are not as confident when it comes to the idea of ‘digital literacy’. Digital literacy does not replace traditional forms of literacy, “it builds upon the foundation of traditional forms of literacy”. It is much more than just the combination of the terms, digital and literacy. A digitally literate person possess a range of digital skills, they have the ability to engage in online communities and social networks, they possess critical thinking skills, and perhaps most important of all, they are able to find, capture, evaluate, and interpret information. To follow is a short practical guide for how to use Inanimate Alice in an EFL or ESL context.

Some important things to keep in mind before teaching with Inanimate Alice include:

  • Most episodes have been translated into Japanese, Indonesia, Italian, Spanish, French, and German. These translations are easily accessed and give teachers and students the opportunity to move between the student’s first language and the one which is being learnt.
  • There is plenty of support for teachers that wish to use Inanimate Alice which includes a Facebook page, various classroom blogs, various teachers’ wiki sites, and educator packs which are available from the official Inanimate Alice website. Examples of these links include: Facebook, university sites (here, and here), ICT and educational reviews, and school blogs.
  • There are currently five episodes completed, with a sixth in production, and a plan to make a further four. The episodes span Alice’s life from the age of eight through to her early twenties. The stories become more complex and more interactive as the episodes progress.
  • There are many approaches that can be taken with this resource, which include: literature and narrative study, developing English language skills, development of reading skills, creative writing, group discussion and collaboration, digital literacy, social studies, and personal development.

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One approach that I have employed is to use Alice as a way of introducing students to digital literacy, while at the same time developing their English language skills, reading skills and discussion skills. Whenever possible, I try to use a class blog or wiki as the means by which students complete work during a teaching sequence involving Alice. My teaching sequence usually follows the following plan, with each session being between one to five lessons long.

Session 1: Introduce the print version of Inanimate Alice.

  • Discuss the title of the story – Inanimate Alice. What does the title mean? Do students recognize any words, or parts of words? What information can we obtain from the dictionary? What do we think the story will be about?
  • Read one-third of the print version as a whole class. Have the students generate questions and ideas (T-chart) about the story as each part is read. Model questions and ideas as necessary (think aloud).
  • Have students read the remaining two-thirds of the story in groups and allow them to discuss and share their ideas. Groups are asked to write down three important questions and three important ideas from the remaining two-thirds and post these on the class blog.
  • Reflect on the work produced. Discuss inference and ‘reading between the lines’.

tertiary

Session 2: Introduce the digital version of Inanimate Alice.

  • Watch Episode 1 of Inanimate Alice using a Smartboard or data projector with the whole. I generally prefer to watch it first with no sound, and then a second time with sound. This enables me to discuss the different elements, and how the visuals and audio add/create different ideas and feelings.
  • As a whole class compare and contrast the print version and the digital version.(T-chart, or through blog entries)
  • Have students reflect on the various strategies they used to make sense of the two different versions.

2015-12-05 (8)From here, depending on how much time I have, I usually continue with sessions such as; Session 3: Narratives and the structure of stories, Session 4: Inference and reading between the lines, Session 5: Creative writing and writing an episode of Inanimate Alice, and Session 6: Making our episode digital. For ideas about how to expand these latter sessions, or for other approaches to Alice, I would strongly suggest looking at the two educator packs that are available for Inanimate Alice: Pack 1and Pack 2 These packs will aid you if you seek to use Inanimate Alice to teach digital literacy, character development, making connections, building schema, to teach critical thinking and evaluation.

The first pack contains resources and lesson plans, focusing on the development of digital literacy. There are four lesson plans in this resource, addressing:

  1. Connections between story and medium
  2. Linking narration and autobiography with sound effects and music
  3. Multimodality and autobiography
  4. Character development and progression

Each of these plans is supported by a number of ready-to-use student resources.

The second pack contains a additional four lesson plans supported by ready-to-use student resources. These cover:

  1. Exploring character development and paragraph structure
  2. Appreciating difference; cultural differences, oral stories and podcasting
  3. Adolescent and young adult issues, for example: peer pressure, friends and school
  4. Life skills; focus on transportation

I strongly recommend that you and your students take the time to interact with Inanimate Alice by visiting

www.inanimatealice.com