Sarah’s Reflection: Three New Apps

A response to the I’m an Experimenter! Activity
created by Sarah Darling (@SDarling)

Number of views: 139

Reflection: I’m an Experimenter!

1. Activities I chose

  1. A Quizlet with frequency expressions. In a listening class I teach, students are often required to recognize and use new academic vocabulary. Quizlet seems like a good way to practice new terms because it demands increasing competence from the students in terms of their ability to use the words: first, it’s a flip card. Then, it moves on to multiple choice. Later, students need to write the words from the definitions.
  2. A Giphy with a for the long E sound. In the pronunciation class I teach, I try to come up with catchy or pneumonic ways of remembering different sounds. For the long E, it’s associated with a wide smile, just like the mouth position for a long E. For the gif, I added a measuring tape to my smile, to remind students of the wide mouth position.
  3. A Google Site-Seeing tour of Venice. Really, any famous city will do, but I chose Venice because of how iconic it is. As a final project, students present on a city they know and love. As students brainstorm activities to do in the city, or during the presentation itself, they could use Google Arts and Culture Street View to showcase their city.

2. Three Overall Lessons Learned from Experimenting

  1. There are so many apps out there! I keep looking for apps to support my pronunciation classes, but have only found limited ones so far. In a way, the best apps are the ones that I have repurposed for my classes, such as the ‘dictation’ feature in word processors that let students know if the computer can understand them. These are far from infallible, however, as even native speakers frequently have trouble with the dictation function of word processors.
  2. The apps are really fun, but the important part is how to apply them. I think I could be easy to get caught up in the wrong perspective with using new apps – namely, How can I use this (cool new) app in my teaching? – as opposed to the more appropriate question which is Which app supports the students’ learning?
  3. New, free apps are constantly being developed, so it’s important to stay on top of new trends and releases. It feels like every time I do a search or read a new article, I am discovering new apps. I think it’s beneficial to find a few resources you trust and some connections with colleagues so that you do not have to constantly be finding new apps on your own.

3. Smartphone Activity

  1. I completed the activity that directed us to make a GIF using Giphy on my smartphone. I used my Android smartphone for it.
  2. One huge advantage that I see of using my phone to create learning materials is that I see what many of my students will see. I’m testing its mobile-friendliness in real time. A disadvantage of course that I can only use one small screen with more limited functionality. I believe it took significantly longer to complete the activity because of the smaller screen size and because of the clunkiness of moving between apps (photos, browser, and Giphy app).
  3. Where I teach, it’s a program requirement to use a laptop or desktop for all classes. I can’t imagine demanding the use of a smartphone in my class. Having said that, students frequently use their phones to take and send pictures and videos in the courses I teach.
  4. Currently, it’s a program requirement for students to have access to a laptop. Before the pandemic, a survey at my college indicated that on average, students had two connected devices with them at school. When we did activities in class requiring connectedness, we used computer labs. There were some optional activities that I pair up students for, as I found there were usually two or three students in my class without a smart phone, pre-pandemic.

4. Future Uses

Finally, you can see a reflection video and me talking about these apps in YouTube video: Sarah’s Three New Apps.

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One Response to “Sarah’s Reflection: Three New Apps”

  1. Alissa Bigelow

    Love the use of Zoom & screen share Sarah! Super helpful to see the activities as you’re speaking to them! What great detail about your learning!


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