29 December 2011

Vizlingo.com

Vizlingo is a great new webtool for sending short video messages. The message consists of a short clip to represent each word in a sentence mashed up to produce one sentence long video. Sounds cool eh? It's still very new and at the moment there isn't a clip for every word, but it's still very useable in class. I've used it as a simple guessing game to review vocabulary and grammar.

Here's how:
  1. Register (so you can save the URL).
  2. Type a sentence. Click CREATE and watch the video. If you want to change the clips, click on the clip (there is a row below to see alternatives.
  3. When you are happy with your Vizlingo, click on SEND. Choose COPY (this is the only option available at the time of writing)
  4. You can either open an email and send the URL to yourself, or copy and paste the URL into your blog/website.

Classroom Ideas

Repeating the same structures will make the activity easier for lower level students - and a nice way to drill grammar. For higher levels, you can mix and match a range of structures or vocabulary to get them really thinking!

  1. For younger students, do a couple of examples with the words so that they can talk about the relationship between the clips and the words. It's worth spending time discussing why the clips are connected to the words. When the students are ready, give them a worksheet with the sentences, hide the words (zoom in your browser so that only the video shows) and they can match the video to the sentences. It's best to do this in pairs or groups.
  2. For older students, again, do a couple of examples with the words so they get the idea of what they have to do. Then, put them in groups, hide the words (zoom in your browser so that only the video shows) and they try to guess the sentences by just looking at the video.
  3. Make it more fun by playing for points.
Notes
  1. Some of the clips are quite abstract so give them clues if necessary.
  2. Sometimes there are no clips available for certain words. This will improve as the site gets bigger but for now, try to use words where there are clips (as you will see in my example activity).
  3. There is no option to hide the words at the moment, so zooming in with your browser is the workaround for hiding them.
  4. There is no facility to embed in a website at the moment, but again, the site is very new and this may be added later.

Click here for an example activity.

School Breaks

Is it that December was busier than normal or that a three and a half month term, without a long weekend or other longish break, just makes everything feel busier? Maybe it's the weather changing? Whatever the reason, the good news is the Xmas hols brings a whole two and a half weeks to switch off and relax. Well....almost.

Half way through the holidays now, and already I feel refreshed and ready to go again. December is really "pesado". The students are tired, restless and don't turn up to class half the time. The teachers are tired, short on patience and everybody is just waiting for Christmas to arrive - or, I should say, a decent break.

If only Spanish schools had a half term similar to the UK or USA. Well....I don't think this will happen any time soon because there are so many one day fiesta holidays. But I do think that students (and teachers) suffer from learning fatigue when a term lasts 3 to 4 months without a chance to switch off for a few days. What do you think?