Related to the last post, I thought I’d add one about the potential of Sketchcast. I know I discussed this a while back with some of you in the faculty, but it’s worth giving it a wider audience. This web-based application lets you draw a freehand picture of whatever you like, with lines available in a range of colours. It records your drawing, which – when saved – then plays back in the order you drew it. Tremendous fun. But what use is it to language teaching?
Well, my thought was it can be a supplement to what we teachers often do on the whiteboard when we go into Rolf Harris can-you-see-what-it-is-yet mode and sketch something on the board, hoping the kids will produce the appropriate response in the target language. We will never stop doing that – it’s too much fun for all concerned – but the advantage of this version is that your artistry can be preserved for future generations, or at least lessons, and can be linked to your Moodle site for use outside the lesson.
You can immediately spot the problem here. You need to possess some drawing ability. I clearly don’t. Still, my Second Year Germanists derived much glee from my shortcomings in this skill area, and I just had to comfort myself with the perhaps misplaced belief that they had benefited from the language practice.
You can draw using a mouse or plug in a graphics pad via a usb port. I did the latter, believe it or not! I asked one my Lower Sixth, who is an artist, to recreate the sketches for me, but he has never got round to it. However, I suspect that it the way forward for us of lesser talent – you have the idea, then get someone competent to do the drawing.
Do try it. It will make you, and your pupils, laugh. And, you never know, they might learn something too.