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What apps and tools for listening practice?

With so many apps and technological tools out there it can be difficult to know where to start.  With my MFL hat on I thought it would be good to take a moment and list a few useful apps and tools that I like to use.

For listening you would do well to start with Edmodo.  Sound files or video clips can be easily uploaded and quizzes and tasks assigned through the online classroom.  The added benefit of course is the immediate feedback that the students will get.  Such benefit is well documented and is essential if it is to impact positively on student learning.  

This is Language will offer similar instant feedback which is all too the good but in this instance the sound files are provided for you and are in the form of short video clips.  Local people answer typical GCSE questions in French, German, Spanish and Arabic and these are already categorised into the classic topic areas of My Area, Education & Work, Holidays & Travel and so on.  There are varying degrees of question level and the responses also differ in level providing something for everyone.  Unlike Edmodo, which is web based and available as an app and free, This is Language is web based only and requires a subscription. However, it is well worth it as it has been created with a particular market in mind by a former teacher who knows what is required at this level.  Furthermore, new features are regularly added and subscribers can be involved in this process as there is frequent consultation (recent additions include a set of GCSE vocabulary games). Videos have transcripts and worksheets can be created and printed out of each video at the click of a button.  The website allows for competition too as you can set up your classes and see how they fare against each other and against other schools - simply check out the leaderboard.  The ability to set them a video or two for completion out of class is a real bonus especially as it is easy to see how your students have coped and check out their scores.  Setting a listening task has never been so easy.

If it is authenticity you require but at a higher level then of course you could look at the wonderful
collection on Frenchteacher.net. Yes, there is a subscription to pay for all the resources (every skill is considered and all levels too) however it is a worth every penny!  @spsmith45 has done and continues to do, a very thorough job and provides brilliant resources for some very lucky French teachers. 

Frenchplease.com is a web-based application that has a wide selection of grammar quizzes to complete online and an ever growing collection of listening exercises (some as videos, some as sound-files) that are fabulously varied. A quick glance reveals items as varied as Les Bidonvilles de Nanterre, L'affaire Dreyfus and Le Pouvoir d'Achat.  There really is something there for everyone and it's free!

News in Slow French, German, Italian, Spanish and Spanish (Latino) does exactly what it says and more for a variety of levels.  There is a subscription for this but would be worth the money for a few students each year and comes at a discounted rate for those in education.  There are useful quizzes,
grammar exercises, pronunciation exercises and of course the obvious news reports to listen to with
transcripts and a translation feature. There is a tortoise and hare feature which allows, at a click of a button, to change the pace of the news report.   This is an a web based tool with an app that allows you to log on and listen to the weekly news report.  It is a tool which is well worth looking into and seems to have some potential.

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