Schoolshape Support and Feedback

"Thank you for maintaining Schoolshape during this whole situation. My students were very familiar with Schoolshape before we left the classroom, so the transition to home learning has been less stressful for all of us... They have been able to do speaking, reading, writing and listening tasks so I know they are practicing all their skills. I'm a BIG Schoolshape fan for many reasons, and your support during Distance Learning is just another bonus!".......... We are always most grateful for the feedback from teachers. It provides invaluable information on how to make the language laboratory as user-friendly as possible, enabling us to 'tweak' the software to the mutual benefit of our language teachers and learners worldwide. But that's not all. Users' words of appreciation are immensely motivational for the Schoolshape team, particularly in these difficult times. This apt and timely example of this came yesterday from Lynda Whiston, Spanish teacher at Garden Grove High School, California.

Every worksheet should have a speaking element!!

I'm as guilty as anyone for forgetting to do this. All those years of giving listening, reading and writing exercises for homework! But now there is no reason why every worksheet should not have a speaking exercise. When completing a Schoolshape worksheet just click 'Speaking' under 'Activities' and tell them to say some words based on the listening, reading or writing exercises on your worksheet. The icing on the cake is of course to require them to record a conversation with someone else - another 'Teacher'. (Examples of teachers could be 1: students in your school’s twinned classes 2: a student in your school (better at French than you) 3: a French speaking family member)

Student Connections: Adding a social element to your resources.

If ever there was a need for students to make connections, it is now. Schoolshape allows you to add a social element to any of your resources. Every student task has a button entitled 'Add Teacher'. This allows the student to collaborate on that specific task, whether it be speaking, listening, reading or writing. A 'teacher' could be another teacher, a family member, a classmate, a penfriend or any other helper deemed appropriate by you, the teacher. You will be able to monitor the conversations and give feedback with text or audio ... All on the same worksheet.

Time for reflection in lockdown: The Rise of Cooperative Learning

Although the lockdown period has been busier than usual at Schoolshape due to an increase in online learning, it is also a time for reflection on the last few years. A section of an article in 2014 entitled The Rise of Cooperative Learning came to mind. "Through such structured online interactions, students will grasp the importance of taking responsibility for their own learning and feel empowered to do so, while respecting the opinions and work of online partners. Detractors may cite security issues, cyber bullying, and the superiority of real face-to-face relationships, but network-based collaboration is indeed deemed to provide more equality than face-to-face group work (as discussed by Johnson, Johnson, and Holubec, among others), and the tools required for building the necessary relationships are now well established, secure and student-friendly." At this time, it is nice to reflect on some distinct advantages of online learning!

Sharing Resources

I have had a few questions from teachers asking about sharing resources with other teachers in the same school. When creating new resource, you will be asked to choose an album (folder) for storage. If you choose '...... School Worksheets' (where .... is the name of your school, eg 'Hogwarts School Worksheets') the worksheet will be shared with all your language teacher colleagues. If you choose a differenr album, such as 'Spanish 2 worksheets', click the 'edit' button in that album and make sure that it is also shared with '...... School Worksheets'