Bryn Hafren Comprehensive School – Digital Technologies in the MFL Classroom

Context and background

Several policies highlight the use of technology in learning and teaching: Global Futures, the Digital Competence Framework (DCF) and Successful Futures to name a few. An increasing number of schools within Central South Consortium are developing the use of digital technologies in MFL. However, this was often at an exploratory stage and there was a general view that there was a need to identify how to maximise the potential of technology in learning and teaching.

We facilitated an enquiry-led programme focusing on the use of technology in the MFL classroom. The programme offered training in the use of iPads but also other software that would develop Digital Competence. A Digital Competence toolkit for MFL has been produced as a result of the training, acting as an aide memoire to teachers of languages giving them practical tips on how to use iPads in the classroom. All practitioners contributed to the creation of the toolkit and it is now placed on the Hwb for teachers’ reference.

Nature of strategy or activity

The enquiry-led programme was made up of three sessions, each with a particular structure. I used some of our funding to invite guest speakers (Joe Dale, Sian Brooks and Frank Gusset) to share useful apps and software. The first session focused on apps to enhance speaking and listening skills; this is much more in line with the newly introduced DCF, where it is the pupil’s ability to manipulate the technology for their own use. Joe Dale introduced us to useful apps, such as Opinion, Bossjock Jr and Chirp QR.

During the second session Sian Brooks highlighted the potential of Google headsets to do virtual tours of France and Spain and the third session focused on Google Classroom. The toolkit includes these apps and it is intended to be a working document in which new apps and useful websites can be added and shared amongst teachers across the Consortium.

The use of iPads has been successful at all key stages and has led to greater autonomy, especially through the use of QR codes. Practitioners report that the strategies and tools that they developed collaboratively as a result of this programme has led to greater pupil autonomy.

Impact on provision, learning and teaching and/or leadership

Pupils have been much more engaged when using online games such as Kahoot and Quizlet. Students are encouraged to create their own Quizlet lists, and there are examples of students of all ages doing this independently of the teacher. The level of autonomy it has brought to the classroom has created a real sense of excitement. Using apps such as Opinion, teachers have been able to record listening activities and then upload them as podcasts. A QR code is produced so pupils can access listening material independently. Furthermore, apps such as Quizlet have brought about a change in learning and teaching. Traditionally, teachers would spend more time drilling new vocabulary but pupils can now learn vocabulary in a style that suits them. It has the added bonus of pupils being able to practise their pronunciation.

We are receiving positive feedback from within Consortium regarding the impact of the training; teachers are more confident using ICT and pupils are more engaged and even behaving better.