Asking and Answering Questions about a Picture Oral Testing

Steven Smith describes the talking about Photo card questions oral testing which is one of the three parts of the oral testing for the GCSE (General Certification of Secondary Education) in the UK. He describes the activity in which a student sees a picture, the student asks three questions about it and the teacher asks the student two surprise questions about it.. The pictures are based on common topics/themes. The same picture can be used at all levels of the language but the language sophistication increases. This type of testing eliminates pre-learned conversations/ presentations.

I have used a variation on these for many years, both when I taught public school and now that I teach college beginning Spanish. I have my students, in pairs, look a topical or thematic picture that they have never seen before. Without any preparation, they alternate asking and answering questions. For example, Student A asks a question, Student B answers it and asks Student A a different question, then Student A answers it and asks a different question. They talk for three minutes. I grade them on a combination on the total number of questions/answers times the number of different questions as long as their answers/questions are comprehensible and appropriate (answers the question). For example, if Student A asks four different questions and answers four questions, the score is (4 questions + 4 answers) x (4 different questions) = 8 x 4 = 32. If Student A asked variations on the same question such as How is the father? How is the mother? How is the son? and How is the daughter?, the score is (4 questions + 4 answers) x (1 question) = 8 x 1  = 8. Students learn that to do well in the question asking picture activity, they need to ask a wide variety of different questions just as they do in a real life conversation.

http://bit.ly/mlcomcult  contains many communication activities for beginning to advanced students; they have high structure to help students. These activities are for all world languages and specifically for Spanish.   90 Mobile Learning Modern Language Activities contains many speaking activities for beginning students.
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Modern Language Mobile Activities for Pair or Small Groups

Many modern language teachers do not use mobile learning in their class because they worry that not every student has a mobile device. However, the modern language classroom is a cooperative environment. As long as at least half of the students have a mobile device (and they do according to Pew 2012),  then students can work in pairs. Even if only a third of the students have mobile devices, then students can work in small groups of three.

For example, in pairs or triads, the modern language student who has a mobile device finds a picture of a family member or friend on the mobile device. The other people in his/her group ask questions in the target language about the person in the photo.  When the partner has a turn, that partner looks at a different picture of a person and tells information about the person.The person with the photo confirms or negates the information.

In pairs or traids, world language students can take a series of five pictures that tell a story by using one student’s mobile device.Then, they combine with another group. The other group narrates the first group’s story and the first group adds any other information to the story. Then they switch roles.

Additionally, in their pair or triad, they look at an Internet image search of a city or town in the target language area.They say a sentence in the target language for the first fifteen different pictures. Each sentence proves unique information. Beginning students can say basic sentences  such as “It is tall.”

How do you use mobile devices in your class to promote student speaking?

I have 30+ activities (about 24 for Spanish and 6 for all Modern Language) to develop student speaking at http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle.
The following ebooks are available at http://bit.ly/tsmash

90 Mobile Learning Modern Language Activities by Harry Grover Tuttle

90 Mobile Learning Modern Language Activities by Harry Grover Tuttle

 

 

Modern Language Proficiencies: Can-Do Strategies

Modern Language Proficiencies: Can-Do Strategies

9 Myths about Mobile Learning in Modern Languages

Many modern language  teachers have heard of mobile learning and yet they are hesitant to try it.  Here are some common myths.

1) I need tons of mobile learning professional development.  Traditionally, professional development focused on learning the technology.  If you have a smartphone or tablet and can do the basic functions, you have enough of your own professional development to start using mobile learning in your class. If you do not have a mobile device, take 2-3 minutes of class to ask your students what app they would use to do a certain task such as audio recording or creating a video.  Students are the expert in the use of the mobile devices; we just have to harness those uses for modern languages.

2)  I do not have a curriculum for mobile learning.  Mobile learning is only a tool to help you in the modern language classroom so the only curriculum you need is your modern language one.  Once you know what language learning task you want, you  can have the students help you find an appropriate app for it.

3) Every student does not have a mobile device so I cannot do mobile learning in my modern language class.  Have students work in pairs or in groups of three so that at least one person has a mobile device.

4) I do not have the money to purchase apps for  my students.  Many common apps such as video recording apps are free.  Only use the free version of the apps. You can do a year’s worth of activities without having to purchase any  paid apps.

5) I do not have a 1,000 apps like another modern  teacher has.  Mobile learning is not about collecting a multitude of apps; it is about helping your students to improving in their language skills. You can do a whole year’s worth of mobile learning with a few common tools natively found on the mobile device such as picture taking, audio recording,  and video recording. Instead of having your student learn many different apps, find a few apps like video recording app that can be used for many different things such as interviews, telling a story,  making a movie about an event, etc.

6) I do not have the time to find  drill and practice apps. Save your time and focus on developing  your students’ speaking communication through the common mobile tool apps. They can take a picture of a friend or family member and describe that person to their partner.

7)  I already have too much to do  so I cannot do mobile learning.  Mobile learning replaces many classroom activities.  Instead of students looking at one  textbook picture of a city in your target language, they can do a quick  google image search on their mobile device  for the city and see many diverse images of the city. The students probably can find a google image quicker on a mobile device than they can open the textbook to the right page. Mobile learning with QR (quick response) codes can take students instantly  to a video, sound file, web page, or picture.

8)  I have no way to collect what they do on their mobile device  If the students have taken a picture, done an audio recording, done a video recording, etc, they can email it to you.  Students do the task,  click on a share icon and email it to you as an attachment. Students can show you their picture or even project it for the whole class using a document camera.

9) I do not know where to start so I won’t start.  Start simple with students talking about family or friend pictures on their mobile devices. You can do many diverse speaking activities based on pictures on their devices or pictures you ask them to take such as of their living room.

When will you start to use mobile learning for more language communication in your class?

90 Mobile Learning Modern Language Activities by Harry Grover Tuttle
90 Mobile Learning Modern Language Activities by Harry Grover Tuttle

My ebook, 90 Mobile Learning Modern Language Activities, is available at http://bit.ly/90mlact.You can instantly use these many communication activities in your classroom with even beginning students when only half the class has mobile devices. It can be downloaded as a pdf.

I have developed 5 Visual activities/games  for any modern language (no words) and have developed 27 Spanish activities for students to begin to express themselves in the modern language and to move toward spontaneous speaking Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

My three formative assessment books, Improving Foreign Language Speaking Through Formative Assessment, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students and Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, are available at  http://bit.ly/tuttlebks

90 Mobile Learning Modern Language Activities ebook

90 Mobile Learning Modern Language Activities by Harry Grover Tuttle

90 Mobile Learning Modern Language Activities by Harry Grover Tuttle

Improve your students’ modern language communication and culture awareness through mobile learning tools and apps. Engage your students in these easy to integrate in-class and out-of-class learning in fourteen different mobile categories.  Have them participate in authentic culture.

http://bit.ly/90mlact

 

 

 

 

 

My structured Spanish spontaneous speaking activities (24+) includes Structured Speaking (Students substitute in or select words to communicate in pairs), Speaking Mats ( Student can talk using a wide variety of nouns, verbs and adjectives to express their ideas in pairs or small group), Modified Speed Dating (Students ask their  partners one question from a card-whole class), Role Playing (Students talk as people in pictures or drawings from 2-4 people), Spontaneous Speaking (based on visuals or topics in pairs), and Grammar speaking games (pairs or small group). Available for a nominal fee at Teacherspayteachers: http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle.

At the same site, I have a series of activities for any modern language  such as visual stories with no words (the beach, the city, school, etc.) for two students to role play; the restaurant role play involves four students.

My book, Improving Foreign Language Speaking Through Formative Assessment, and my book, Formative Assessment, Responding to Students, are available at http://is.gd/tbook

Improving Students’ Modern Language Skills Through Mobile Learning

Recently, I was honored to have a chapter, “Improving Students’ Modern Language Skills through Mobile Learning” published in the Handbook of Mobile Learning. The Handbook covers these major categories: Foundations and Future: Learning and Learning Support; Teaching and Instructional Design; Policies, Administration and Management; and Cases and Perspectives.  While most of the 53 chapters have a review of the literature or are a research study, I selected a different approach. My article suggests a wide variety of  classroom mobile activities  to improve students’ modern language speaking. I focus on speaking since the essence of language learning is to be able to speak the language. I believe that often teachers do not use a new technology such as mobile learning since they cannot envision how the technology will help their students.

After doing that chapter, I expanded my activities into an e-book, 90 Mobile Learning Mobile Learning Activities.

My Spanish spontaneous speaking activities (24+) includes Structured Speaking (Students substitute in or select words to communicate in pairs), Speaking Mats ( Student can talk using a wide variety of nouns, verbs and adjectives to express their ideas in pairs or small group), Modified Speed Dating (Students ask their  partners one question from a card-whole class), Role Playing (Students talk as people in pictures or drawings from 2-4 people), Spontaneous Speaking (based on visuals or topics in pairs), and Grammar speaking games (pairs or small group). Available for a nominal fee at Teacherspayteachers: http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle.

At the same site, I have a series of modern language visual stories with no words (the beach, the city, school, etc.) for two students to role play; the restaurant role play involves four students.  These can be used in any language since there are just visuals, no words.

My book, Improving Foreign Language Speaking Through Formative Assessment, and my book, Formative Assessment, Responding to Students, are available at http://is.gd/tbook

Your Feedback on 90 Mobile Learning Modern Language Activities ebook

Dear colleagues,

I am writing an  ebook, 90 Mobile Learning Modern Language Activities, with the anticipated publication date of May 2013 and I would appreciate your feedback.   I have the following categories and  numerous classroom examples of each category in the book:

Introduction (Why? What is it? How to implement? Why focus on communication?)
Speaking Activities
Mobile images
Internet searching
Internet image searching
Timer
Survey /Polls
QR code
Voice and video recording
Phone
Video chat
Apps for media
Texting
Twitter
Facebook
Writing to a blog Wiki or website
Listening activities
Reading activities
Listening activities
Culture (is integrated into the activities)
Assessment activities

Are there any other categories of mobile learning activities that you feel need to be included in a book on mobile learning? If so, would you please add a comment  to this blog that includes that particular mobile learning category with a phrase of definition or explanation of the term.  Thank you very much.  With your help, this book will better help modern language teachers as they begin mobile learning to improve their students modern language communication skills.

Also, if you would please answer a question about what you would be willing to pay for such an ebook https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1v1jFzrtGHApRxGaf6kcwYY9DKYYm-nrzDm0mXr7R_sI/viewform#start=invite

Please forward to any other modern language  teacher who uses mobile learning for his/her reaction.

My Spanish spontaneous speaking activities (24+) includes Structured Speaking (Students substitute in or select words to communicate in pairs), Speaking Mats ( Student can talk using a wide variety of nouns, verbs and adjectives to express their ideas in pairs or small group), Modified Speed Dating (Students ask their  partners one question from a card-whole class), Role Playing (Students talk as people in pictures or drawings from 2-4 people), Spontaneous Speaking (based on visuals or topics in pairs), and Grammar speaking games (pairs or small group). Available for a nominal fee at Teacherspayteachers: http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle.

At the same site, I have a series of modern language visual stories with no words (the beach, the city, school, etc.) for two students to role play; the restaurant role play involves four students.  These can be used in any language since there are just visuals, no words.

My book, Improving Foreign Language Speaking Through Formative Assessment, and my book, Formative Assessment, Responding to Students, are available at http://is.gd/tbook

Different types of Modern Language Apps and Questions

At my sister  technology blog, I posted a blog about the various types of modern language apps.  My greatest fear about mobile learning  is that we will turn mobile learning devices into drill and kill machines instead of using them to engage the student in communicating and  reacting to culturally authentic material.
If you do use mobile learning, which different apps do you use? How does each help your students to communicate better?  Do your students spend more time communicating in the target language when using mobile learning  or in creating something that has very little actual communication? Do your apps involve your students in the current culture of the language area?

My Spanish spontaneous speaking activities (29+) includes Structured Speaking (Students substitute in or select words to communicate in pairs), Speaking Mats ( Student can talk using a wide variety of nouns, verbs and adjectives to express their ideas in pairs or small group), Modified Speed Dating (Students ask their  partners one question from a card-whole class), Role Playing (Students talk as people in pictures or drawings from 2-4 people), Spontaneous Speaking (based on visuals or topics in pairs), and Grammar speaking games (pairs or small group). Available for a nominal fee at Teacherspayteachers: http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle.

At the same site, I have a series of modern language visual stories with no words (the beach, the city, school, etc.) for two students to role play; the restaurant role play involves four students.  These can use in any language since there are just visuals, no words.

My book, Improving Foreign Language Speaking Through Formative Assessment, and my book, Formative Assessment, Responding to Students, are available at http://is.gd/tbook