Group Work


Group Work and

ICT in the

Languages Classroom

Group work is a great way of creating a student centred classroom - if the group tasks are set up in a way that encourages students to work independently of the teacher and make choices that interest them. Using lots of technology is one way of helping to make group work activities more motivating for students because they enjoy using it and gives them lots of chances to work in a way that suits them.

Different types of group work:

Independent contract work - teacher has developed a set of possible activities to be completed by the student, often in negotiation with the student
Rotational tasks - set of tasks undertaken by all students on a rotational basis
Multiple choice tasks - offer a number of prepared activities at one time and students choose which they will complete, knowing they can't complete them all, and possibly working towards and agreed goal.
Point system tasks - where students complete activities worth a specific value in order to reach an agreed target.

These introductory recordings offer a bit of information about how to structure group work activities in your classroom. Lots of the information for these recordings and the descriptions above comes from a book by Robyn English and Jeni Wilson called How To Succeed With Learning Centres.

Preparing students for learning centres
What is the teacher's role?
What is the students' role?
How do I manage learning centres

The following pages have ideas on how to use each of these technologies in the classroom and can be easily adapted to the group work situation. I would often set my classroom up with these 4 groups, sometimes 5 if we were using phones as well.






The following tables were created for another group work session I ran and just give ideas of what sorts of equipment might be available in schools. The idea was it was part of a rotational group session and each group would add their own information to the table.


Ideas for how to use it in your classroom
Other things to consider
Video cameras
  • students can create instructional videos for the class on how to say certain things
  • students can film role plays
  • teacher can film student oral work for assessment
  • how many video cameras are available
  • do they need video tapes?
  • how can we design the activity so that all students in the group are part of the video?
Interactive whiteboard
develpo the listening skills and matching the correct vocabulary
sometimes it doesn't work, we need a backup for the lesson.
for watching clips, listening
how many ipods?
Mobile phones
recording, practicing conversations.

typing chinese characters and pinyin, doing a project, powerpoint presentation
poster making, etc.
A projector for the teacher to connect the laptop so that the students can follow along and enjoy the lessons.
  • introduce students to Chinese cultures
  • relevance to curriculum
Click View
  • record videos from TV shows, documentary
  • accompanied by worksheet resources
  • budget for subjscription (high)
  • time efficient
  • teach directions, angles, animations, animals, colours
  • budget for subscription (high)
  • time consuming
  • video editing software
  • budget for subscription (high)
  • time consuming
  • sound creation program
  • speaking

This section look at Web 2.0 tools that are available to you. Each person in the group is to briefly explore a Web 2.0 tool and then fill in the table about that particular tool. I've done three for you as examples. You can add a Web 2.0 tool that you already know of and have used in your classroom, or if you would like to find a new one, then check out this fantastic wiki - Cool Tools for Schoolsi - it is a great resource for finding useful Web 2.0 tools.


Tool name and link
Description - what does this tool do?
Ideas for how to use it in your classroom
  • Cartoon strip creator
  • Publish, share discuss
  • Writing and creating
  • Similar to you tube- viewing other peoples toondoos
  • Could use it as a writing activity to make a cartoon strip or reading others toondoos.
  • Students could make a comic based on the topic they are studying - like a comic of a day at school, or their morning routine.
  • Allows you to video chat with up to 20 people at a time
  • Video messaging
  • Web-based, does not require application
  • Requires access to internet and webcam
  • As with most applications, basic level is free other functions must be paid for
  • Students can live chat for free e.g. set up regular video chats
  • Networks can be set up between students of target language - with other schools here or overseas for real world interaction
  • Storybird is used as a classroom storytelling tool. It is shared in a public library, it is screened to weed out inappropriate stuff. They are working on a teacher account so kids don’t need emails to log on. You can embed it in blogs and wikispace pages.
  • Storybird would be great to make Indonesian stories to share with the whole school.
  • You could start a story and get students to complete it – students can also invite others to collaborate with them on the story.
  • Great for all different levels. Varying artwork and themes available.
  • Good for uppers to make books for juniors.

hot potatoos

google docs

ning wiki space

Image: 'Circle of love' from