Let the fun begin! A little technology goes a long way.
Updated: Feb 16
Uncomfortable using technology in your teaching? Keep reading and find out about a great, easy-to-use tool that allows you to customise both content and the way your students engage with it, depending on their needs. By simply choosing a template and adding content to it, you can add elements of play and competitiveness to vocabulary work, grammar, revisions and even homework!
Stick with us!
You've heard of or used word walls, right? Post-it notes or pieces of card with high-frequency lexis or language chunks displayed on walls that can be periodically replaced with new content to provide specific support during learning situations.
Word walls can be used for chants and guessing games and to help students with spelling. And in a broad sense, word walls are also interactive, as students can manipulate the content displayed on them. For example, in a CLIL science lesson, students might categorise and/or sequence a group of words from largest to smallest (cell - tissue - organ - system), or describe a process like digestion.
Great! But what if you don't have your own classroom or your school frowns upon you "decorating" the walls (not to mention the difficulty of getting students to make their own word walls at home)?
That's where our mystery App comes in!
And it's called ... Wordwall.
How Wordwall works
Wordwall is a web-based tool that offers teachers an easy way to provide fun, interactive vocabulary consolidation and extension and grammar practice activities.
A paid account allows you to access a wealth of activity templates (see below), but even if you start with a free account, you'll get access to five of these.
Once you've subscribed to Wordwall, simply choose an appropriate activity template, enter your content and voilà: you're ready to roll!
Student-centred and teacher-led activities
Wordwall activities can be used in class either as student- or teacher-led tasks. In the first instance, students engage with the activities on their mobile devices (tablets or phones) individually. When this is not possible, however, either due to poor internet connection or school policy on the use of mobile devices, students can take turns on an interactive whiteboard: a fantastic, feel-good way to finish off a lesson!
And you can save even more time by using unseen sentences or questions from the course workbook or even from a different course. What's more, the activity you design can then either be done in class or set as homework, taking learning beyond the classroom walls and making homework fun!
The Random Wheel
Let's take the Random wheel as an example. Simply create a the Random wheel template, add written or visual prompts and watch as a group discussion or personal responses ensue!
Setting up Wordwall
First, register for a free account (your students don't need to register).
Then click on Create activity. You’ll get a screen with all possible templates (see above).
Choose your activity template and enter your content.
Once finished, click on Done and you'll see the cover page of the activity.
Now, try the activity out for yourself.
If you need to change/correct something, click on Edit content below the cover page of the activity and you'll find timer and marking options as well as an option to allow (or not) students to see the answers when the activity is over.
To share or assign the game to students, click on Set assignment. Be sure to choose the Enter name option, otherwise you will not know who completed the game and this will affect your results. You can also set a deadline by which the activity should be completed.
And that's it: you're now ready to share your activity with your students!
Just click on Start (you now have the option to copy the link and paste it in Google Classroom, to share it via email, to embed it in Moodle or your website, or to create a QR Code which you can also share with your students)!
In My results, you can see individual students' correct and incorrect answers, average scores, top scores. As well as who replied the fastest!
Reusing an activity
You can edit an activity Edit content and change, add or delete questions. You can create several activities with the same template, too. All you need to do is duplicate your original activity, change the title and then edit the content to make a completely new activity!
Wordwall also offers the option of moving content from one type of activity to another. You can do this by using the Switch template option to the right of an activity's cover page.
Impressive, right? Whether working with flashcards, using speaking prompts or experimenting with the many possibilities Wordwall offers, we highly recommend that you give it a go.
After all, a little technology goes a long way!
Anabel has more than twenty-five years' teaching experience and an M.A. in Applied Linguistics. She has been the DoS of a language school in northern Portugal for over twelve years and is a regular speaker at conferences both in Portugal and Spain. Her experience has taught her that motivation and student engagement are key features to help in language acquisition.