Monday, July 10, 2006

Modern Poddin' Languages

Today was spent with Ruth Wilkes (Buckinghamshire's MFL Adviser) and Geoff Roberts (MFL Consultant) and seven secondary MFL teachers on a course about Enabling Independent Learning in French - the bulk of which was using Audacity to prepare MP3 files for use in speaking and listening in French. Ruth and Geoff are launching the Primary MFL Scheme of Work this week, and it's anticipated that we'll be using a lot of the features of the main BucksGfL Moodle site to support this. As Moodle handles multimedia files really well (with the multimedia plugins filter turned on) it will be very easy to create a whole raft of resources for each part of the SoW - especially useful for non-specialist primary teachers who are having to teach aspects of MFL. Some of the staff there have used third party blogging services to create pupil blogs - with the advent of configurable blogs in 1.6 this will mean that students can have a much clearer idea of the audience their blog could potentially be seen by - just them, their group, their class, their school or the world...
Today's thing about Moodle 1.6 that I didn't know: you don't need the optional Ipodcast module in order to create podcasts in Moodle. Simply attaching a media file to a forum will deliver the file (audio and video? Now that would be nice) as a podcast in the forum's RSS feed. Ooh, I've just looked at the documentation... looks like it is true.
Tomorrow's main activity is meeting with a whole host of people - including Tony Richardson from Becta. We'll be going to Chalfonts Community College to look at some of the work under way there and then off to Disraeli School in High Wycombe in the afternoon for the first meeting of a group of primary schools in High Wycombe and Beaconsfield who will (I hope) start to use Moodle to work together in the Autumn Term. There will also be some local secondary schools there - so they'll have an idea of what's going to hit them soon (by which I mean Year 7 students who've been doing online learning for two or three years...).
My main concern about tomorrow? Not the required PowerPoint (check), nor the cakes and fruit for the meeting (check - will buy those from Tesco) - my car's a tip inside and I need to pick Tony Richardson up from High Wycombe station and drive him between the schools. Looks like a swift visit to my local "we'll hoover your car for a fiver" merchants beckons first thing tomorrow...


  1. Hi Ian,

    Are the podcasts you made in French available to download?

    Best wishes


    Integrating ICT into the MFL classroom -

  2. Hi Joe,
    No, we haven't done them yet, apologies! What we'll probably produce is a scheme of work (complete with audio files) which will be a Moodle course, which teachers could (in theory) pick up and use (once they've got their heads round it). I would hope it would be published under a Creative Commons licence, but that might depend on what we put inside it... does this help?

  3. That sounds very interesting Ian. I look forward to seeing it. I've been writing quite a lot about podcasting myself on my blog recently.

    Check out some of these posts on

    Podcasting project investigates international market

    More MFL teachers join the blogosphere

    Keen to harness new technology

    Feel like you are on top of the pods

    Languages on the move

    The 'dew player' on the left of my blog is great for playing mp3's and ensures that the file will play irrespective of which media player you have installed as it just need Flash to run. The link is

    Best wishes


  4. Dear Ian,

    I’ve just been trying out a potentially very useful voicemail service called It allows you to record a voice message by telephoning a specific number which can then be sent to your email address as a wav file. I found out about the site from the excellent website subtitled ‘Technology Integration in the Foreign Language and English Language Learner Classroom’. The site includes lots of useful information such as tutorials, a blog and downloadable podcasts. The first podcast has examples of voicemails that the webmistress, Silvia Tolisano has been sent by language teachers from all over the States. She has then edited them together using Audacity and uploaded the finished file as an mp3 to her site. One particularly good idea offered by a teacher is a song about être verbs in the passé compose. Worth a listen.

    This service could be very useful for language teachers for the following reasons:

    · exchanging ideas between colleagues
    · linking with a partner school as part of an e-Twinning project
    · setting speaking homework
    · making podcasts
    · creating a trip diary

    Silvia has kindly left a voice message on my blog for you to haven a listen. I’ve used the brilliant dew player again to play the file which is on the left of the blog under Voice Messages

    The telephone number is 0012063506411. This is a Seattle number. To telephone from the UK using BT it costs 1.25p per minute according to their website Feel free to try out the service. My plan is to upload future voicemails as they come in.

    Useful links:

    Listen to the first Langwitches podcast here
    Check out the Langwitches blog here unified messaging service

    To finish, I listened to an interesting podcast last night from The Gordon School in Aberdeenshire called 'Bienvenue'. Here is the link:

    Best wishes