Tuesday 20 March 2012

GoEd digital teaching resources review

As most of you know, as well as being a mum and blogger, I'm also a secondary school teacher. Since moving into our new school buildings last year, we've gone very hi-tech. Each classroom is now equipped with an interactive whiteboard, digital textbooks and internet, which is fabulous for both the kids and the teachers but it does mean I've had to completely rework all my lesson plans. When the option came up to write a review for GoEd Online digital teaching resources, I therefore didn't hesitate for a second.

Most of their teaching resources are designed for native speakers of English but I had a look through and found a few that looked like they could be worked into my English lessons for French pupils. I was sent through the links to download the resources and within literally a few minutes, they were all installed and ready for me to play - oops, I mean work - with !

First up was the Reflections: 35 Guided Essays in English ESL eBook. It also exists for writing lessons in French, Spanish and German. Now this is absolutely fantastic and just what I need with my low-ability classes who struggle to put together more than a couple of sentences. Each page of the book can be put on the whiteboard or printed out and photocopied for each pupil to work with. Focusing on simple topics close to their heart - food, pets, hobbies, TV, etc - each worksheet asks a long series of simple questions. By answering each question in order, it will give you a complete, well-structured essay - how fabulous is that ? It's really motivating for the pupils to see that they have managed to produce a long, coherent essay and it provokes some great answers too. Top marks ! I'll be using lots of these in class.

Next up was Civil Rights Movement Presentation. Now this is such a timesaver for teachers. It provides a mixture of texts, photos, audio segments and videos to totally bring alive a lesson and provide a lot of authentic primary source materials to use in class. I usually spend ages, sometimes in vain, clicking around online hunting out youtube videos and copyright free photos that I can pinch and put on the class blog so this takes all the effort out, as well as throwing up some things I'm sure I never would have found by myself. It's totally interactive so you can work at your own pace, and it's a lot more inspiring for kids than looking at a page in a textbook. I'm going to try to get the kids to create their own multimedia presentation on a topic of their choice, using this one as a model.

The final resource I tried out was Audio Flashcards: Fast Food. This tied in perfectly with the American Diners theme in the textbook and was really useful for showing realistic, authentic photos of some of the American foods they were unfamiliar with. Each photo is accompanied by the word which you can read and listen to by clicking on it, in English, French, German and Spanish. The kids found it really motivating and fun and loved trying to copy the pronunciation and also remember the words, in the quiz at the end (showing the photos without the words). There were a couple of issues - the German audio segments are much much quieter than the other languages and there were also a couple of French translations that we had never heard of (notably "longuets" for breadsticks, which we'd never heard of but which actually does exist, it just seems to be a very localised word that few people would understand, and "le gros sandwich de baguette" which is comprehensible but approximative !). Overall, it's still a good resource though as the kids loved it and were motivated to discover and repeat the vocabulary, as well as learn about certain foods, such as corn dogs, burritos and coleslaw, that they had never heard of.

If you're just starting out as a teacher or if you want to inject some new life into old lesson plans, these are ideal resources. They'd also be brilliant for home-schooling. They take all the hard work out of lesson planning and are really motivating and enjoyable for the kids. I'll definitely be looking through the catalogue to see what else could be incorporated into my lesson plans.

star rating : 4.5/5

RRP : $9.99 audio flash cards, civil rights presentation $4.99, guided essays ebook $9.99

for more information : http://www.goedonline.com

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