Creating an interactive and dynamic teaching environment in the classroom can be a challenge that all teachers face from time to time. Whilst there are many strategies, teachers are now more than ever able to turn to technology to bring language learning to life for students. One such teacher is Min Qiao, Mandarin teacher at Hove Park School, who has been using tablets as a learning tool in her classes since 2014.
In the typical class at Hove Park School, each child has access to a tablet inside and outside of the classroom. Whilst this might not be practical for all schools, Min believes it has some clear practical benefits which she shares below:
1. Saves time
Tablets can be a very convenient and efficient aid to teaching. With many apps and resources readily accessible using tablets, time can be saved in preparing activities, meaning my time can be better spent in supporting students in other areas.
Apps like Firefly can be used as a good way to set and track homework, whilst iDoceo is a great app that can help you set seating plans, record grades and collate resources
2. Encourages student self-study and independent learning
The interactive element of using tablets promotes self-study as students can work independently in a fun way. Students can access materials easily outside of class, offering opportunities for students to self-assess their own work, revise key content and take part in extended study.
3. Ever-growing range of resources
At Hove Park School we use a huge range of apps and websites that are now available for Chinese learners that cover all four skills. I particularly recommend Notability, Quizlet-Live, Names Selector, Pleco, IDoceo, Firefly, Du Chinese, Chinese 3D and Kahoot! as good teaching resources.
4. Allows for student collaboration
Many of the apps used at Hove Park allow for student collaboration inside and outside of the classroom. Apps like Notability, WeChat, Firefly and Kahoot can all be used in different ways to encourage student collaboration.
5. Student appeal
Students are really enthusiastic about using this type of technology. Daisy, a Mandarin Excellence Programme (MEP) student likes learning through tablets because, “It lets us interact with our classmates in a fun and encouraging way. We learn from our mistakes and grow more in our education”.
Nancy, also an MEP student, is a particular fan of Quizlet, saying “Quizlet-live is a fun way of learning Chinese. It is interactive and everyone in my class loves it. It is all about teamwork and it is really enjoyable.”
Overall, I am a really positive about using tablet technology as a resource in the classroom, and believe it is a great way of encouraging active learning in the classroom.