language

Train your Phrases Verbs

DiScoro writes about inquiry-based learning, digital resources, and ways to encourage higher-order thinking. We focus on STEM education and the use of technology.

This time we write about an App that may be useful for learners of English as a second language. The App The Phrasal Verbs Machine (Cambridge University Press) enables non-native speakers to learn and train the use of Phrasal verbs. Phrasal verbs are two part verbs. They consist of a verb + an article and or preposition. The article/preposition often changes the meaning of the verb. Read more on the Brititsh Council website and on wikipedia.
The latest version supports 17 different languages, which means that the phrase is translated and the explanation is given in that particular language. The App has a strong visual component with a short animation showing the meaning of the phrasal verb. A disadvantage is that more advanced students of the English language will quickly master all the 100 phrasal verbs.

Examples:

  • run into
  • look after
  • dress down
  • hand in
  • look forward to

Screendump of the viewing part
 Purchase  Free
 Hardware  iPhone, iPad, Android tablet and smartphone
 Requirements  iOS 6 or later (latest version iOS 10),  Android 

Effective talk in the classroom

The Edutopia.org website offers great examples on pedagogy and didactics that build on concepts like growth mindset, ownership, effective learning, social and emotional learning, collaboration.

One topic is on Strategies for Effective Talk in the Classroom. This is not about the teacher talking, but about pupils/students talking and communicating. The approach supports learning in all subjects. It shows clearly how important it is that all pupils learn to communicate and express themselves clearly in different settings. The guidelines provided can be applied by any teacher.

Curious App

curious1curious-iconThe Curious App combines life-long learning with personalised learning. Thus aiming at adults. You get a daily learning workout with facts and information presented through texts, videos, pictures, stories etc. Before you start, your profile is created based on what interests you, on what you wish to learn and on how much time you wish to spend daily.

You can try out the App 7 days for free, thereafter you have to pay. This gives you a good idea about what to expect when you buy the App for use during a longer period. It is claimed that with the daily workouts, you grow your CQ, Curiosity Quotient. Curious is supported by Prof. Carol Dweck known for research on the importance of a Growth Mindset for success in learning.

The Curious App reminded me of the Who, What, Why books I read as a child. Facts and information on whatever topic you can think of.

Curious areas of interest

Curious areas of interest

 Purchase  $ 9.99 (a months !)
 Hardware  iPhone, iPad
 Requirements  iOS 9.0 or higher

Tall Ships Race: Signal Flags

Every month DiScoro writes about resources that can be used in schools and about inspirational issues. See Services in the Menu for workshops, training etc.

logo TSRSee Tall Ships Race for an introduction and links.

SIGNAL FLAGS is the second activitiy within the theme Tall Ships Race.

Introduction:
Language can be spoken and written, but there are many other forms of language and communication. Many of them make use of universal codes:

  • Morse
  • Maritime Signal Flags
  • Braille
  • Buoys at sea

We will focus on the maritime signal flags. Every letter in the alphabet and evey number 0-9 has a flag. This way you can create and spell words using these flags. However, out at sea it would be too cumbersome and time consuming to send messages to other ships while spelling whole words or even sentences with flags. Therefore, every flag also respresents a signal or in other words a message. For example if the crew on a ship hoists the T-flag they send out the signal  “Keep Clear”.
The combination of two flags gives another set of messages. See BoatSafe.com or SailorsChoice.com.
Additionally. the flags are being used in regattas to signal the start and to signal a fault.

Task 1: Make the words ‘Tall Ships Race’ with the (maritime signal) flags below.

vlaggen TSR

  • Before you look up  which letter the flags represent, you can group the flags into two groups. What are the two groups?
  • Use the internet to find out which letter the flags represent.

Task 2: Make your own name using the nautical flags.

Task 3: Design your own signaling flag using the rules given on the website BoatSafe.com

  • Explain the choices you have made in the design.
  • Add a signal/message to your flag.

Task 4: (Work in pairs) Make a short conversation using the flags. For example a question and reaction.

Alpha Bravo

Introduction: 
When spelling words and thus using the letters of the alphabet in communication on board, at sea, in the air and in the army, people use the phonetic alphabet. The phonetic alphabet can be found on the pages on flags: BoatSafe.com and SailorsChoice.com.

Task 5: Spell your name using the phonetic alphabet.

Task 6: Explain why this alphabet has been developed and why it is being used?

Task 7: (Group task)

Spell the name of someone in your group without looking at that person. If the person hears his/her name he/she takes over and starts spelling the name of someone else. If nobody reacts, you spell another name from someone in your group.

Aternatively: Spell a difficult word and let others react by saying or writing the word you spelled.

 

Download:

Lingua.ly

Lingua.ly is an App and a web application which helps you to learn a new/second language. The application offers more than the usual Language Apps. Lingua.ly provides namely much more than the vocabulary and sentences enough to get around in another country as a tourist.

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In order to master a language, at least four different language skills should be trained:
  1. reading (and understanding)
  2. writing
  3. listening
  4. speaking and conversation
In addition the knowledge about vocabulary, grammar, idiom, pronunciation, and culture is required.

You will find many programs which assist in training vocabulary. It is hard to find a program that you can use to train the expressive language skills: writing and speaking/conversation.

Lingua.ly mainly offers training in reading and vocabulary. Lingua.ly does this in a creative and motivating way aiming at adult students. The motivational aspects lie in the fact that Lingua.ly  selects texts based on the words the user has entered. The texts come from recent newspaper articles and magazine clippings, often from the countries where the target language is used. This implies that the information you read is based on your level, your interests, it is up-to-date, about current events, and  rovides insight in the culture of the country.

The program does not yet offer ample material for all languages you can choose. However, when your mother tongue is English you can choose many target languages that contain and generate enough learning material.

The PC version offers more functionality than the App!

 Purchase  Free
 Hardware  iPad, iPod touch, iPhone, Android tablet, PC
 Requirements   iOS 6 /browser

 

Critical Thinking

Think-O-Meter is the name of Pearson’s Critical Thinking App. Pearson uses the RED-model for critical thinking. The App provides texts with multiple-choice questions. Answering the questions requires close reading, thinking and reasoning. The App provides useful feedback.

The texts and questions can certainly be discussed in pairs or small groups, which will make it more valuable as students have to argument with each other.

The level of the texts and the questions are at a high level. I would say pre-university or university level.

The App is difficult to find in the App Store. Go to Pearson’s website to get to the App in the App Store.

 Purchase  Free
 Hardware  iPad, iPhone
 Requirements  iOS 3.1 or higher

Dictionary App

Merriam Webster logo

We, and definitely our students, live in the 21st Century. They constantly use digital resources and equipment. We will loose them if we only offer them the good, old,  paper-based Dictionary. Teach them how to use Google Translate properly. Besides, there are very good (FREE of charge) dictionaries available for smartphones and tablets. In my opinion, Merriam Webster English Dictionary is one of the best.

Functionalities of the Merriam Webster App:

  • example sentences
  • thesaurus : synonyms and antonyms
  • audio pronunciation
  • voice search
  • when you type in the ´search field´ the App offers alternative suggestions

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 Price  Free
 Hardware  iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android
 Compatability  iOS 6.0 or higher