The Linguist

The Linguist 57,4 - August/September 2018

The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

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18 The Linguist Vol/57 No/4 2018 FEATURES An app way to learn How apps have revolutionised Chinese teaching at Manchester University's Confucius Institute. By Zhang Weizhi and Luxi Yang On the outline page, the teacher can upload the lesson plans and create an information page, so students can easily find each lesson and access its Quizlet link, the materials used in the classroom and any audio files. It is simple to send a copy of the course to another instructor, who can start using it immediately with their own students, editing it as needed. It is also possible to transfer ownership of the course to another instructor without disruption to the students. Showbie is a paperless classroom that provides various methods for teachers to give feedback. They can set up tasks for the whole academic year in advance, giving students access to each one at the appropriate time. Perhaps the most helpful function for language teachers is the ability to give verbal feedback (a function that is only available on the paid version). The image opposite shows an interaction in which a student has added I n recent years, a multitude of apps have been developed to help with learning foreign languages, including Duolingo and Rosetta Stone. Online learning tools, such as iTunes U and Kahoot, are now widely used in schools to create and manage courses, improve student engagement, and make learning interesting and enjoyable. As the uptake of Mandarin Chinese gradually increases in UK schools from Key Stage 2 (KS2; ages 7-11) to GCSE and A level, and more professionals choose to learn the language in order to improve their career prospects, there is a need to incorporate technology into the pedagogy of Chinese to ensure learning is fun and effective. Through research and extensive practice, the Confucius Institute (CI) at the University of Manchester has identified the useful functions of some popular apps and widely available online learning tools, and applied them in our daily teaching and learning, both at secondary- school level and in adult education. In the secondary classroom Zhang Weizhi was seconded to Bolton School, Greater Manchester by the CI. After researching the apps available, he chose three (iTunes U, Showbie and Plickers) to use in his Mandarin classroom. iTunes U is an efficient and easy-to-use app to build up a course and organise materials in a logical and useful way. Zhang uses it to organise all his courses and teaching materials, including PowerPoint presentations, revision guidelines and wordlists (compiled on the online learning forum Quizlet). In this way, his students can find all the lessons they have learnt, are learning and will learn on iTunes U. It is very easy to set up a personal course, and add a compelling course image and description that sets the course expectations. © SHUTTERSTOCK

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