ICT Tip: Smore allows students to create on-line posters

January 29, 2013

This ICT tip could be best applied to the following subjects:

Link: www.smore.com

Quick overview: English, Literacy, or FSL language students can use Smore to create on-line posters to announce a community event, advertise an mock product, create a class newsletter, and more! What I like best about Smore is that students can quickly choose the poster’s look from a choice of templates, which helps keep the main focus on writing (i.e. – learning a language) rather than fiddling with the design.

How can it be used in the classroom? As an example, if you have students who are in the process of learning what’s involved in renting an apartment or organizing a community event, this tool could help them put new vocabulary they’ve learned into practice by creating a digital poster. Furthermore, if students present their finalized posters to the class, you could use the opportunity to address common mistakes (grammar, vocabulary, content, etc..) that may be present across the various groups. Since the poster is all digital, students can correct errors as they go along. YouTube videos can be embedded too. Last but not least, as the posters often don’t contain too much text, you may want to ask your students to create a series of small posters around a single theme. A free account sign-up required. (Source: 60in60 with Brandon Lutz, San Diego ISTE 2012, tutorial video from Theresa Quilici‘s YouTube channel.)


ICT Tip: Google Chrome Language Immersion extension for FSL students

October 23, 2012

This ICT tip could be best applied to the following subjects:

Link: Google Language Immersion Extension for Google Chrome.

Quick overview: An amazing tool for FSL students (or students learning any other language) that are already somewhat fluent in English. The Google Chrome extension only translates certain key phrases on a webpage so that the translated passages are interspersed next to words the student is already familiar with in English. Want to see an example? Please see the official Google Chrome Language Immersion promo video.

How can this be used in the classroom: Instead of simply translating an entire webpage from one language to another, this Google Chrome extension allows the student to choose how comfortable they are in the language they are learning, and in-turn, the extension will only translate certain passages of the original webpage. Even if the student is not familiar with a new word or a phrase, it’s possible for them to deduce the correct meaning as the passage will be surrounded by English words the student is already familiar with. As your student becomes more confident, they can control the difficulty (i.e. – amount translated) by adjusting a slider. Simple, yet brilliant! (Source: Understanding & Using Web 2.0 Tools to Create Personal Learning Networks @ ISTE 2012, San Diego)

Technical stuff: Requires Google Chrome. If you’d like to know more about Chrome Extensions before installing them in your web browser, please follow this link.


Mobile Monday: Using the iPad with ESL/FSL students and the ComicBook! app

November 21, 2011

This ICT tip is for the mobile devices category:

Info: ComicBook! for the iPhone, iPod, iPad.

Cost: 1.99$

Quick overview: Using the ComicBook app in a literacy (ESL) classroom to help students develop basic writing and communication competencies.

How can the app be used in the classroom? Sharon Meehan teaches a literacy level “Building Foundations” course at ACCESS Riverside in Brossard, Quebec. Using the ComicBook app in conjunction with the iPad’s built-in camera, Sharon’s students took pictures of each other to create a simple comic. Students used the iPads to insert written captions to simulate real life situations, such as ordering at a restaurant. At the end of the exercise, the iPads were  connected to a digital projector so students could collaboratively edit grammar and spelling, or rearrange the placement of the written captions.

What advantages did the mobile technology bring to the classroom? The app’s easy to navigate interface (symbols and pictograms) helped students focus on the activity, rather than getting bogged down by a complicated computer interface. It was surprisingly easy for the students to create the comics, even if they didn’t have a strong grasp of the English language. The limited length of written “comic bubble” style captions also ensured that the students wrote short, concise interactions. 

Interested? The activity was closely linked to the prescribed elements of Sharon’s ENG-B122-4 course and it mainly focused on developing writing competencies. Would you like to do a similar activity in your Literacy or French second language classroom? We have enough iPads to accommodate your class and we are booking now for January 2012 and beyond. Contact us to discuss how we can adapt this activity for your classroom!

Video: To see a 2 minute in-class video demonstrating how Sharon’s students used the app in the classroom, click the play button below:


Teacher Feature: Marie-Christine Kovacs (ETSB, New Horizons)

May 6, 2010

Starting this month, I am starting a “teacher feature” to spotlight individual FGA teachers who have created exemplary ICT materials that they’ve used successfully in their own classrooms. With the teacher’s permission, these ICT materials will be shared on the blog and made available for my readers to download.

Teacher: Marie-Christine Kovacs (Level 4 French)

School Board and Centre: Eastern Townships School Board, New Horizons Adult Education Centre in Sherbrooke, Quebec.

What is the material? Marie-Christine created a SMART Notebook presentation for her level 4 French class. Her presentation was a review of one of the chapters she worked on with her students in her class. The main subjects were: The subjonctive, movement prepositions, the interrogative pronoun “Quel”, directions, questions, pronoun “en vs y” and a review of vocabulary seen in the chapter they were working on.

How did it help her students? Marie-Christine explained to me that because the presentation was so visual and hands-on, it helped her students more easily grasp the concepts they were reviewing. Marie-Christine also found that her students were more interested, focused, and enjoyed learning in a fun and different way. They were also more successful with the test that followed the presentation!

Download: Click below to download a copy of Marie-Christine’s SMART Notebook presentation “revision.notebook” from the ICT Blog. Believe it or not, this is Marie-Christine’s first SMARTBoard presentation! If you’d like to contact her, please let me know and I’ll put you in touch.

Click on image below to download a copy of Marie’s presentation:


ICT Tip: A well organized and comprehensive FSL website for on-line interactive exercises

December 3, 2008

This ICT tip could be best applied to the following subjects:

repsitQuick overview: The REPSIT site (http://www.ucalgary.ca/repsit) is a well organized FSL website containing a significant amount of on-line interactive FSL activities that have been carefully indexed and sorted by activity type and difficulty level. The on-line activities are intended to be explored by your students on individual computers with an Internet connection.

What does it do? The REPSIT site is a University of Calgary project. In their own words they describe the REPSIT project as “on-line grammar exercises, music, virtual tours: everything to make your class awesomely high tech in record time!

How can it be used in the classroom? The on-line grammar exercises on the REPSIT site are divided into four main categories: “Grammaire”, “Vocabulaire”, “Compréhension, culture, phonétique”, and “Rhétorique”.

In each category you will find activities labeled either “QCM” (choix multiple) “V/F” (vrai ou faux) “EPR” (exercices précédés de la règle grammaticale) “COR” (correspondance/matching), “ET” (exercices à trous) “CE” (cartes-éclair/flash-cards), “MM” (mots mêlés) or “JM” (jeu de mémoire).

So for example, in the section “grammaire”, we’ll find :

Place des adjectifs qualificatifs: 10 QCM (facile)

This means the “place des adjectifs qualificatifs” activity has 10 questions that are multiple choice (QCM = choix multiple) and the difficulty level is easy.

Like any other on-line resource, I would suggest that you first explore the REPSIT grammar exercises in advance of your class (by yourself!) so that during your actual class you will be prepared to highlight the most relevant exercises with your students.

When you’re done exploring the on-line grammar exercises, be sure to explore the rest of the REPSIT site at (http://www.ucalgary.ca/repsit) which contains a plethora of other FSL links and resources! (Source: Lise Chartrand, Wakeham Adult Ed. Eastern Shores School Board)

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ICT Tip: The CCDMD site provides FSL resources you can use without an Internet connection

November 16, 2008

This ICT tip could be best applied to the following subjects:

ccdmdQuick overview: Professionally developed FSL materials that you can download, print, and use without an internet connection in a traditional classroom. Materials on the site have been created for the Quebec classroom with funding from the Ministry of Education, Leisure, and Sports (MELS).

How can it be used in the classroom? The CCDMD site (www.ccdmd.qc.ca/fr) features dozens of extensive FSL exercises that focus on pronunciation, verb conjugation, culture, songs, literature, etc. This site is particularly useful for FSL teachers who do not have reliable access to the Internet in their centre or classroom, but wish to explore FSL ICT resources. In other words, as the CCDMD exercises are intended to be downloaded and distributed printed on paper, they do not require an Internet connection to be used in your classroom. The CCDMD exercises can be utilized in addition to your regular FSL textbooks or even entirely by themselves. (Source: Lise Chartrand, Wakeham Adult Ed. Eastern Shores School Board)

Where do I click? The resources recommended by Lise Chartrand are found in the “allophone” section, see below screenshot:

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More information: If you explore the site further, the CCDMD site also contains lots of great materials in “MATÉRIEL INTERACTIF” which will require an Internet connection to use in your classroom. The CCDMD is an acronym for Centre Collégial de Développement de Matériel Didactique. The printable exercises on the allophone section of the CCDMD site are provided in PDF format. If you’d like to know more about working with PDF files, please click here to visit my section on ICT Terminology.

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ICT Tip: BonPatron identifies French spelling errors and common grammatical problems

October 31, 2008

This ICT tip could be best applied to the following subjects:

Quick overview: The BonPatron website (http://www.bonpatron.com/en) is designed to assist FSL students write in French by identifying spelling errors and grammatical problems in their written French texts.

What does it do? Using BonPatron, students type (or copy and paste) written French text into the website. However, as the BonPatron site is designed to be used in an educational context, it does NOT simply find French spelling and grammatical mistakes and spit out the correct answer. Instead, it will detect mistakes and offer suggestions how to fix them. This allows the student to know there is a problem but provides them with the “know-how” to fix the mistake themselves. For example if I write the following French sentence (see below) the BonPatron website will analyze the text, highlight the error, and offer a suggestion:

How can this be used in the classroom: The BonPatron site could be used to help your students become more autonomous in correcting their own mistakes when writing in French. (Source: Bob Thomas NFSB and Tom Stenzel RSB, ALDI Workshop)


Note: The site is free to use, however without paying for a yearly subscription for the “pro” version of the site, the students will encounter some small limitations and ads will be seen. Regardless, teachers have reported that they often use the free version of the site without any problems in their class.


ICT Tip: Francais Interactif – Ready to use FSL materials in your classroom

October 7, 2008

This ICT tip could be best applied to the following subjects:

Quick overview: A must visit for FSL teachers! The Francais Interactif (http://laits.utexas.edu/fi) site contains 13 highly polished modules (the city, my studies, my health, my house, etc) that relate to using French in your students’ every day life. The site contains a variety of “ready to use” FSL materials for English speaking secondary level students…Think of this site as a course in a box!

How can it be used in the classroom: While Francais Interactif is a University of Texas project, this site offers lots of “new curriculum” minded materials that you can use in your Quebec FGA classroom. If you have access to a computer lab in your centre, your students can either work individually or you could cover a specific module with the entire class at once. Each module focuses on a different topic and contains spoken French examples of vocabulary, phonics, grammar, and videos. To guide your students (and help cut down your course prep!) each module contains a printable workbook that you can download, print, and use in conjunction with the site.

(Source: Daniel Bonzil, FSL Teacher, Western Quebec School Board)


ICT Tip: Discover France – Spoken examples of typical French phrases for FSL students

August 6, 2008

This ICT tip could be best applied to the following subjects:

Quick overview: A website that contains examples of actual spoken French phrases.

What does it do? The Discover France site is great FSL site for students with an English mother tongue. On this site, there are TONS of French phrases for your students to click on and hear a pre-recorded example of the pronunciation. Each phrase is accompanied by a written English translation. Don’t worry about the France part, this site works great for Quebec students too!

How can it be used in the classroom? The Discover France site can be used for oral and written comprehension. There’s also a written English translation for every spoken French phrase. Here are some links for you to try out with your students:


ICT Tip: Babbel – Vocabulary exercises for FSL classes

July 29, 2008

This ICT tip could be best applied to the following subjects:

Quick overview: Babbel is a website (http://www.babbel.com) which contains spoken vocabulary exercises for a variety of everyday topics.

What does it do? The Babbel site is designed for people learning a second language, such as French. The Babbel site is free to use but your MUST register and sign up for an account before using the site. This can be accomplished be clicking on the large “Register for Free!” button on the homepage. When you create your account, you can specify your mother tongue and what language you are learning. For example if English is your mother tongue and you want to learn French, the website interface would appear in English with French language exercises.

How can I use it in my classroom? There are many activities that contain images and spoken phrases for your students to try out. Great for FSL classes.


ICT Tip: The “Ma France” website features a multitude of media rich FSL activities

June 25, 2008

This ICT tip could be best applied to the following subjects:

Quick overview: The BBC site Ma France is a website that contains many media rich FSL activities and exercises related to every day life.

What does it do? Don’t be deceived by the “France” in the website name. Most of the exercises and activities on the Ma France (http://tinyurl.com/2tr9dk) website can be used by our Quebec FGA students too. There are sections on Shopping, Dating, News, etc.. One of the features that I really like is that in certain topics, your students can play a video (see screenshot below) with a “live” simultaneous written translation in English and French.

How can I use it in the classroom? As I mentioned, there are many activities that can help with French oral and reading comprehension. In terms of practicing oral conversations, the Ma France website also provides a “simulated conversation” with character named Stéphane who will speak typical phrases for particular topic. While the website cannot hear your student’s answer, it may help you gauge your student’s oral comprehension. The “simulated conversation” can be a little hard to explain with words, so here’s a link to an actual example: (http://tinyurl.com/6yhbhk)


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