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Hi, and welcome to our blog. This space is designed to share ideas and methodologies that we use to teach Turkish teenagers. In particular, there is a strong focus on ICT-ELT, which means if you like visual and technological support for your style of teaching, this blog is for you. My colleague, Brentson Ramsey, has been working alongside me for three years. He is also a big proponent of the ICT-ELT Paradigm, which means he will also be posting from his own teaching perspective on the blog.

2010 was the beginning of this new journey, and although there is no definitive ICT-ELT road map available for everyone to follow, it is exciting to explore the technological means to make teaching more fun and affective for students. Our main message is for teachers to ADOPT & ADAPT the paradigm shift for their own needs, and remember that

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Record and Report: An ICT-Supported Activity for Reported Speech

One of my own favorite grammar units that my colleague and I teach during the year is reported speech.  First and foremost, on an academic level, reported speech is a difficult, yet immensely useful grammar structure for any ESL student to learn.  It takes several hardcore classic-style taught lessons before most students even begin to get the hang of it.  However, after that, it is when the real fun of grammar teaching begins.  Reported speech, simply by being collaborative, in nature, allows for so many different kinds of group activities to get the students to practice it in a more 'authentic' situation.  In fact, we recently posted an activity for teaching the reported speech on our blog called The Ticker Tape, which we encourage you to read by clicking here.  This post, however, is about another activity we completed in class called Record and Report, where students recorded voice messages for one another, and then reported them back to the class as a whole.

The Process

Step 1: Before Class Begins

Record and Report is an ICT-supported activity, and all you need to have is any voice-recording application or program on your device.  

The first point to consider is which ICT tool(s) you are going to use. If your students have laptops or netbooks, there is certainly a 'Sound Recorder' program already on them. If you wish to use tablets or smartphones, there is without doubt many voice-recording apps to choose from.  One that I highly recommend, called Voice Record Pro, is a free application available for the IPad and IPhone.  It records voices with exceptional crispness, and is extremely user-friendly.  After recording, a menu pops up that allows the user to send the message via email or bluetooth, share to Facebook, or save it in the cloud via Dropbox, Google Drive, or SkyDrive.    


Next, you need to decide on the content that your students will talk about and record.  This is the fantastic part about this activity.  The content is totally up to you.  You simply need your students to talk about a given subject for a short time, say between 10 and 20 seconds.  We chose for our students to talk about a major part of our curriculum called the Innovation Zone. (You can read more about it by clicking here)  We focused on the questions pictured just below.

Then, as the final part of the preparation for the activity, you need to set up the pairs that will be working together. Since we have two classes, as shown below, we paired the students up with one from each classroom.  Furthermore, you should make sure that you have all of their email addresses handy, as your students will need them to send their voice recordings to their partners.

Step 2: In the Classroom

Once class begins, and you have introduced the activity to your students, the first thing to do is to get your students to write our their ideas to the question prompts that you have given them in their notebooks.  I highly recommend this step because, in my experience, students quickly lose focus of the purpose of the activity because either they get too excited about using technology, or they are already feeling self-conscious about recording their voices.  If you get them to write it down first, they think more about it, so when it comes time to record, they can simply read out what they wrote, which helps take away some of their nerves.

When you feel that the students have written out meaningful responses, you can then allow them to find a quiet place to make their recordings.  At this point, some of your students may need help finding and setting up their voice recording applications or programs, so be prepared for that.  Once recorded, the students then send their recordings to their partners, who have also done the same.

The students then return to their seats and wait for their partners to send their recordings.  When they receive them, as pictured above, students should listen to the recordings carefully and write down what their partner has said into their device.  After that, they should transpose what was said into reported speech. 
Finally, once everyone has finished, get your students to report to you and the rest of the class what their partner said.

All in all, most of the students really enjoyed doing the activity.  It was collaborative and the students who had IPhones or IPads were excited about downloading and using a new application just for this activity.  However, I purposefully wrote that "most students" enjoyed it because there were a few who were very self-conscious and nervous about recording their own voice.  Nonetheless, in the end, the activity helped show our students the importance of learning reported speech well.  Many of them made several grammar mistakes when reporting to the class, but that is the whole point of the activity.  They will make mistakes now, but they will definitely earn from the experience.

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