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ICT Advice: Modern Languages

John Simkin

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Focus on... Modern Foreign Languages

ICT Advice in Secondary Magazine

November 2005

In the winter term issue:

Using writing frames with drop-down menus: A useful technique for developing creative writing.

A writing frame with fill-in fields: Providing structure for language learners.

Reviews: Create your own word games and whiteboard materials, have a French breakfast and travel in outer space.

Events: Creativity, whiteboards and the effective use of ICT.

Focus on... MFL: ICT Advice in Secondary magazine is only available to view online, but you can download or print a copy by clicking on the Print Friendly button at the bottom of the web page. (Please see Becta ICT Advice copyright statement.)

Focus on... MFL: ICT Advice in Secondary online: http://www.ictadvice.org.uk/index.php?sect...subsectionid=93

Becta ICT Advice copyright statement: http://www.ictadvice.org.uk/index.php?sect...tcode=copyright

Email ICT Advice e-publications: ictadvice-epublications@becta.org.uk

ICT Advice subscriptions: http://www.ictadvice.org.uk/subscribe

Becta's privacy and data protection statement: http://www.becta.org.uk/corporate/corporat...ction=1&id=1201

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Thanks, John, some very useful material here. I'm particularly interested in using MS Office applications in MFL teaching and learning, so the idea of drop down menus and fill-in fields facilitating writing tasks is a welcome example of a generic package being exploited to differentiate lesson delivery so that the needs of all learners are met.

Three earlier issues of BECTa's ICT in Secondary Focus on Modern Foreign Languages are archived online:

May 2005


February 2005


November 2004


The latest Focus also contains a reminder that the 2006 BETT Exhibition is coming up in January at its usual venue in London's Olympia. It's good to see that there's at least one MFL seminar on the Saturday when no teacher has to ask permission to attend. In the past, the Saturday seminars have never looked as tempting as the ones on the previous three days.

David Wilson


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  • 2 months later...

The February 2006 issue of the Becta ICT in Secondary Magazine is now available online on the ICT Advice website. The Focus on MFL section can be accessed using the following link:


The following items are in this month's edition:

Made in Scotland

The new Modern Foreign Languages Environment for Scottish languages teachers.

The VerbCast

An innovative form of verbal delivery.

Recommended resources for MFL teaching and learning

Create comic strips, contrast life in the UK and Germany, and take to the football field.

Days to remember

A conference, a workshop and a distance learning ICT course.

Focus on... is part of the ICT in Secondary Magazine, aimed at subject teachers in secondary schools, and offers feature articles, reviews and events to provide guidance, support and inspiration for using and embedding ICT in the curriculum.

David Wilson


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  • 1 month later...

BECTA's ICT Advice site at http://www.ictadvice.org.uk/ has been decommissioned. It's gone the same way as the National Grid for Learning and Virtual Teacher Centre sites, i.e. it has been integrated into BECTA's main site. ICT Advice is incorporated into the subsection http://schools.becta.org.uk/

I find it difficult to navigate the BECTA site. It's just too big and labyrinthine. There is some useful stuff there if you are prepared to look for it. It appears, however, that the first port of CALL for most MFL teachers is a website that focuses on their own subject area, e.g. ICT4LT, Languages ICT (a subset of the CILT site) or one of the fora that focuses on MFL, e.g. the Linguanet Forum. MFL is not a strong area at the BECTA site, and several of the useful documents that I had at one time located at the BECTA site have moved or disappeared. SEN seems to be better organised. Interestingly, if you search the BECTA site for "Fun with Texts", a program that I wrote for teaching Modern Foreign Languages, it comes up in the SEN section rather than MFL. It can, of course, be used effectively with SEN children, but it seems strange that BECTA have missed its main focus. Search for ICT4LT at the BECTA site and you will get a zero return - in spite of the fact that the site gets over 1000 visits per day, mainly from UK-based MFL teachers or teacher trainees.

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  • 3 weeks later...

There's a new MFL-specific "Ask an Expert" session running throughout May on the BECTa Schools website, entitled "ICT activities, resources and approaches for inclusive MFL teaching", at:


I'm delighted to say that Graham Davies' excellent ICT4LT website has finally got a mention on the BECTa site! It's listed among the resources and in one of the answers to questions.

Do come and ask a question if you have an interest in the use of ICT with "included" foreign language learners, e.g. those with special educational needs, the gifted and talented, speakers of English as an additional language.

David Wilson


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David writes:

"I'm delighted to say that Graham Davies' excellent ICT4LT website has finally got a mention on the BECTa site! It's listed among the resources and in one of the answers to questions."

At last! The project was funded by the EC from 1999 to 2000. BECTA was actually designated as one of the original partners, but they backed out at the last minute just before the final bid went to the EC, although they did promise to promote it in the secondary education sector. For some reason or other they never did, however. I think it may have been because NOF got under way at the same time and everybody was after NOF money and possibly saw the ICT4LT training materials as competition - so best not to mention them, eh?

I am delighted to say that the ICT4LT site gets quite a few referrals via the clickable link at the top of the page of this forum. Thanks!

Here's the link again: http://www.ict4lt.org

I notice that the mention of ICT4LT in one of the answers to the questions relates to Module 4.1 on Computer Aided Assessment. I updated this module recently, adding in a link to Linguanet Europa, which has focused in its second phase on adult and independent learners. It offers important advice on assessing one's own ability, with links to various self-assessment sites and lots of useful resources:


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