10 Strategies for iPods and Language Acquisition

  1. Vocabulary Microblogs: Students can use Posterous or Tumblr to make sense out of their vocabulary words. This allows students to use multimedia representations for the words (video for a total physical response, a picture, an audio pronunciation), labels (according to subjects, types of words, parts of speech) and sharing / commenting. Plus, it's portable, because it's a webtool and an app.
  2. Blogging with Sentence Stems: Students can practice their grammatical structures in meaningful ways through blogging. We use sentence stems that they can copy and paste, both in the post itself and in the comments. 
  3. Grammer Slideshows: This is a great chance to practice a particular verb tense sequentially. Students can annotate each page sequentially, so that they see how a verb tense changes through the past, present and teacher. Or they can find various parts of speech in their world. 
  4. Math Discourse Podcasts: Teachers help students engage in math discourse by providing sample question stems. Students practice asking follow-up, clarifying and critical thinking questions. Afterward, they rate themselves on both the conversation and on the math problem-solving. This is a great way to compare and contrast strategies or hash out connections between concepts. 
  5. Verbs in Context: Students use programs such as Comic Touch Lite to take pictures of their world and then apply the particular verbs within that context. 
  6. Critical Thinking Slideshows: Teachers ask students to practice a particular structure in a way that encourages critical thinking, so that students do a topical slideshow while practicing a grammatical skill.
  7. Reading Fluency: Students use the audio recording devices to practice fluency and Google Forms to rate themselves on their own rubric.
  8. Summary Videos: Summary videos are a quick, lower-tech method of summarizing information in a way that practices both writing and speaking. Students create a picture for each main idea and then explain it in the video.
  9. Reflective Blogs: While this sounds simple, I have found that students thrive when they are able to reflect upon a particular skill or concept they have learned through blogging. This becomes a part of their portfolio. We also use blogs for critical thinking questions, for the writer's workshop, for visual prompts and for vocabulary. 
  10. Self-Assessment with Forms: Students engage in self-assessment with Google Forms. It's a faster, more permanent method of doing exit slips - and it allows for more customization.
Bonus: Four More that Aren't on the Presentation (because they tend to work better on full-sized computers rather than mobile devices)
  1. Semantic Concept Maps: Students use concept mapping programs to connect words, concepts and systems to one another. This can range from content to academic language. Afterward, they blog about the connections in language. More advanced students can analyze the semantic environment according to types of language (economic, political, informal, etc.)
  2. Annotation on Google Docs: Students often use Google Docs for little more than word processing. However, with shared documents, they can annotate a text, add comments, pose questions, and link to vocabulary words. The text become interactive. 
  3. Writers's Workshops: Students Google Docs and Blogger to go through the writing process in a writer's workshop.
  4. Blogging Literature Circles: Students use a shared blog as a quasi-wiki, where they interact with literature. It becomes the hub where they can post podcasts, videos, and written reflections.

John Spencer

John Spencer is a teacher, author, speaker, and incessant doodler. He is the co-author of Wendell the World's Worst Wizard and the co-founder of Write About. He is passionate about helping students develop into better writers and deeper thinkers.

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  1. Great resource! Thanks for sharing this! One question, could you provide a listing of the apps illustrated in this presentation - some were familiar, but others were not!

    1. I'll e-mail you the apps we use. I didn't post them, because I'm worried that one or two of them might not be free anymore.

  2. Hi can you email me the app names too? Thanks! My email is katdel@hotmail.com


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