New content: Designed for tablets – Key exam and Technical English material

April 11th, 2015

We have recently been asked by a client in the Middle East to design tablet-friendly supplementary material for Key exam preparation and Technical English courses at A1 and A2 level to be used in class in conjunction with the print books (Cambridge Objective Key, Pearson Technical English 1 and 2). The students will all have iPads on which they can access the material in class.

We have now published this material and made it available to all English360 members.

Designed for tablet use
There are many different task or activity types on English360. Many of these are suitable for tablet use as they make use of a tablets features such as dragging items, tapping, and zooming.

  • Dragging and dropping tokens: ordering words to make sentences, categorising words into groups, gap-fill
  • Tapping: matching, multiple choice, multiple answer, or highlight activities
  • Zooming: We used a lot of images, not only to make the activities look nice (and thus hopefully increase motivation), but also because learners can double-tab or zoom in an out of images to see more details if necessary.

There are also some short writing activities. Long texts can be challenging to write on a tablet. However, at this level, students only have to write short texts (words, phrases, short notes or email messages). Being able to write such short texts on tablets is a real-life skill, which the students might need in their jobs.

Each activity fits on one screen with no or minimal scrolling.

What does the material consist of?
Each unit is designed to last at least 60 minutes. Most practice activities are self-scoring and students work individually on these, which gives the teacher time to monitor and help where it is needed.

There is one short “public” writing task on each practice page. Similar to blog comments, these writings can be seen by the whole class, so that the students can read what the others have written, and the teacher can use easily monitor these and use them for extra activities.
The speaking tasks are mostly done in pairs, occasionally in small groups. They consists of information gap activities, role-plays and discussions.

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The purpose of the supplementary material is to:

  • consolidate what has been learned / covered in each unit of the coursebook
  • motivate students to participate in class and thus hopefully learn better
  • help prepare students for the KEY exam (by mirroring KEY tasks / Papers).

The materials are also designed to make integration of them into the lessons easy for teachers who are busy or who don’t have much experience with using technology in class. Everything the teacher needs is in the same folder as the course material. There are no Teacher’s Notes for each unit but one Teacher’s Guide for all the material (downloadable as PDF), which explains the purpose and the rationale of the tasks and using tablets, and provides practical help and tips on, for example, how to integrate the material and how to extend some of the tasks if there are early finishers or there is more time available for the whole class.

Rationale for using tablets
A little bit about the rationale of using tablets in class (There is more information on this in the Teacher’s Guide):

  • They allow for more variety in the lesson and thus hopefully motivate students to participate.
  • Teachers don’t need to book a computer lab.
  • Easier to integrate technology and the tasks into the lesson.
  • It gives teachers flexibility to choose when to use the materials: either integrate at different stages of the lesson (referring the reference table), or before starting a new unit, or even integrate some activities and have students do some at the end or at home.

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  • It allows for the integration of information gap activities, which are difficult to do in a computer lab, where students often sit side by side and can see each other’s screens.
  • It allows for mobility. Students can easily be reshuffled and allowed to work with different partners; they simply take their tablets with them.

Don’t have tablets?
You can still use the material in the computer lab, on regular computers or laptops, or students can complete some of the tasks at home.

Don’t use any of the course books above?
The materials can also be used without the print books or in conjunction with any other course book, the only limitation being that you cannot to refer to the reference table  to integrate the tasks in the lessons but would have to create your own table.

Want to find out more?
You can find the courses, including the Teacher’s Guide and Reference Tables here (in Resources):

Key (KET) exam preparation: Supplementary material [PART A]
Technical English A1: Supplementary material
Technical English A2: Supplementary material

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