Last month at BETT 2017 we were lucky enough to meet literally thousands of educators, school leaders, students, and those who are involved in education in countless ways. It's such a great opportunity for us to hear about the different ways in which teachers are making the most of the available technology to connect with learners and drive their practice forwards. One such person we met is Cyprein Marie - a language teacher and developer from Bristol, who has contributed the following blog.
Windows 10 for Education is gaining momentum and schools are upgrading their computer systems in numbers. Gone are the days of Windows 7 in schools’ computer rooms; we now have a brand new ecosystem, live tiles and universal apps!
As a teacher of French and German in a large Bristol secondary school, I've had a burning desire to give students the tools they need for their language revision. This is what led me to learn programming for Windows recently. What a journey! C# and XAML are no longer foreign languages to me.
Students, I find, rely too much on their teachers and can easily get stuck when working on their own. The language apps I've created are based from my first-hand experience as a teacher. They are designed specifically to meet the needs of secondary school language students. I believe they need particular help with: pronunciation, memory techniques and vocab learning.
So, last year, I decided to start theLanguageApp project and created the following free Windows 10 apps:
Hear it first!
Hear it first! is a text-to-speech app to help students with pronunciation (in 11 different languages). This app comes in handy when revising for a speaking test: copy and paste the text you want to hear, specify the language and press play. You can also save your work and export it as an audio file for extra convenience.
Memorize it! is an app to help you learn your text off by heart. The idea came from seeing pupils use mini-whiteboards for their revision in class. They’d create a jumbled-up version of a learnt-paragraph and test each other orally. ‘Memorize it!’ serves this very purpose: enter the text you want to memorise, select a memorising technique from a range of options and press ‘OK’. Your text now appears scrambled-up on screen and it’s over to you to practise out loud. If you need a ‘hint’, pressing and holding will fill the blanks.
My French Exam
My French Exam is your complete and interactive vocab list, all in one app! Students can learn vocab as they go along, take a quiz and get an estimated grade. Vocab learning is an essential part of exam revision and this app is here to help students get ready for their listening and reading comprehension exam.
The apps are in constant evolution. Users can leave reviews, send feedback and suggestions; meaning students themselves are playing a big part in shaping the project.
I really like the speech capabilities of Windows 10 and I am currently exploring ways to include a "pronunciation coaching" feature. Other languages will also be added in future updates and the concept will be tailored to suit students in other European countries.
If, like me, you are excited about the direction Windows 10 is taking, please visit www.thelanguageapp.uk for more information. I would love your feedback!
Happy language learning on Windows 10!
Language teacher / Windows developer