Our Educational Message

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

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

A Holiday Voice Recording Activity

My colleague and I absolutely love our IPhones.  We constantly use them in and out of the classroom to stay connected with each other, as well as with the students. (Check out David's recent post on making a What'sApp group for your students) We also take photos or shoot videos of our students in action several times a week.  Yet, when it comes to students using their mobile phones in class, we can still be a bit conservative.

The primary reason for this is that we are extremely lucky this year in terms of technology in the classroom.  All of our students either have a Macbook Pro or MacBook Air.  Therefore, most of the technology time in our curriculum is based on getting the students more skilled at using them.  Secondly, though, is the fact many students get so easily distracted when it comes to having their mobile phones in class.  Since they are continuously getting instant messages from their friends and families, students can quickly lose focus when doing a M-learning activity.

Nonetheless, we are not totally against using smartphones for a classroom activity from time to time. We know how much our students enjoy using them.  Plus, there is an abundance of apps that are available for smartphones, yet not available for the Macbooks.  One such app that we occasionally use is called Voice Record Pro, and we used it just last week for a speaking and listening activity about the upcoming holiday here in Turkey.

What Are You Doing During the Holiday?
This activity starts off with this simple question, and the students write down a short paragraph in their notebooks as the first step.  It doesn't need to be very long in length, just somewhere around four to five sentences.

When they have finished, we tell the students to get their mobile phones and open Voice Record Pro. We then have them go off to find a quiet place outside of the classroom to record the paragraphs that they have just written about their upcoming holiday.  If they have written four or five sentences, their recordings should be around 30 seconds long.  With that in mind, we tell them that they have a maximum of five minutes to get their paragraphs recorded and come back to the classroom.  Even though that is more than enough time, many students can be shy or embarrassed about recording their voices, and thus, often make three or four recordings to get something they are happy with.

While the students are away making their recordings, I organize the students into pairs.  You can do this manually, or by using the brilliant teacher resource, Triptico.  Once the students come back, you display their pairs on the board.  Their task now is to send their voice recording to their partner (and vice versa), then make notes in their notebooks of what his / her partner is doing during the holiday while listening to it.  Finally, once everyone is finished, we then have each person share his / her findings as a whole class.

It is a simple and fun activity to do, yet there is definitely an academic objective to it.  There are various English skills practiced while doing it, as listed below...

GRAMMAR: The students practice using the present continuous tense to talk about the future.

WRITING: The students practice writing the present continuous in paragraph form.

SPEAKING: They have to speak calmly and clearly while recording so that their partners can understand it.

LISTENING and NOTETAKING: They have to listen carefully to the recordings, and take notes of what was said.

Give a try next time you are close to having a holiday, and let us know how it goes, or if you have your own variation of the activity.  We would love to hear it!


  1. Hi Brent! Hi David!
    Thanks for the post.
    I'll for sure use this idea in my class. I have worked with listening and transcribing, doing listening/reading with their own texts and it is much more engaging for them. Last week I did something similar. I have been trying to use M-learning activities but with my younger teens I never seem to get past my own fear of them getting distracted to complete the task. Thanks for the post. I'll start with your idea now that they are used to me doing the recording.

  2. Thank you admin for sharing such a wonderful piece of information . It almost has all the features mentioned above also the cost is relatively less as said above. I have been using a <a href="http://www.panasonic.com/in/business/security-systems/accessories-others/video-intercom/vl-sv30bx.html><b>Voice recorder</b></a>from last two months . . I appreciate the blogger for the knowledge shared

  3. Thanks Rose for your continued interest in the blog. We believe it is important to keep sharing, and supporting colleagues who genuinely care. Our teens are on both cusps of 14, and it is tiring and difficult. But if you get them into it, the feeling is seriously good. This week has been particularly nice.

  4. Thank you Nisha for your kind words. We love experimenting with technology that is mostly free. Why NOT? The great way to get even better apps that cost is to follow the link we have above this: GIVEAWAY OF THE DAY, and/or APPSGONEFREE fro your iphone (there is also a similar one for androids). Cheers again, and thanks for the comment.

  5. I'm following the blog with much interest. This post inspired me to add the recording to the lesson. I plan to use more of mobiles in the future. Here is an extract of the blogpost I wrote about it.
    "Before the Game: Discovery stage

    The book suggests working with the hot seat. I did it just once in each group with a student that either volunteered or had the highest level of English. I recorded the interview and saved the audio for later. Then, right after the interview I elicited the information the student gave focusing on a particular day. I wrote each contribution/modified their utterances needed on the board (Oral stage with a focus on listening). As they listened and read the sentences/information on the board we focused on the language. I erased the board. After that in pairs, they had to write as many questions as they could remember from the interview. They wrote them on their notebooks. I elicited once more and instructed them to compare the sentences (correction stage) and add the ones they hadn’t written yet. All contributions were accepted. Then, I played the recording. They listened and checked the ones that were actually asked. Before erasing the board, I drew their attention to the past tense."

    1. Thanks so much Rose! We also are trying to think of more ways to use mobile phones during the lessons. I really like the idea that you have shared. David and I should try that as well!

  6. Having a great time reading your blog post. you know what your readers want. Keep posting.