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ICT and languages

At our boys' comprehensive we have spent the past couple of years really focusing on motivating our pupils in languages - not traditionally seen as a "boys' subject".

One method we have found to be particularly effective with pupils of all abilities is the use of ICT.

When we found that there was a lack of suitable ICT material matching our French, German and Spanish courses, we embarked on creating our own bank of resources for use in ICT rooms.

We used an authoring package to create interactive games and exercises, many of which follow formats with which the boys are already familiar: Space Invaders, Pac Man, Asteroids, 3 in a Row, Pelmanism, Multiple Choice, Gap-Fill, Re-ordering words and blocks of text.

The package allows us to make games and exercises based on text, images and sounds, and we can tailor the exercises to match the needs and abilities of our various pupils.

The reaction of the boys to this software is brilliant. They love the fact that they can play games in class.

We usually keep a running record on the board of highest scores and quickest times during an ICT session and the competition among pupils is fierce.

And all the time, they are practising their languages and reinforcing the work we have already done with them in the languages classroom.

The software is called TaskMaster and is available from www.mdlsoft.co.uk.

Martin Lapworth, head of languages at William Parker School, Hastings, East Sussex

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