Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Website of the Week: Trouble Getting Students to Listen? Use Oddcast!

Struggling to get students quiet and listenting is a daily battle for most new teachers. You've tried counting down, you've threatened detentions, you've even wrote the work on the board to see if they will start without verbal prompting and yet you are still being ignored. What to do?

A colleague of mine noticed that students listened to recorded instruction -- even when it was of her own voice -- much better than they would listen to her in person. Using an old tape-recorder stolen from the Languages department she would tape instructions and play them on a cassette player. It worked! At least until the novely wore off....

Recently I came across Photoface Oddcasts. This software easily injects novelty into recorded instructions. Simply upload a photo of a face (I used mine in the trial but I expect celebrities would go down well with students), write what you would like it to say and 'send' to yourself. The result is a photo that 'speaks'.

In the example below I am reading Benjamin Zephaniah's poem "The British". This was used as a word-gap exercise. Students had a sheet with the poem on and had to write in the missing word from the recorded instructions. (Again, this idea is thanks to Catriona). Try it and see what you think!

PS - Yes, it does make your face look scary - but that's half the fun!