Graham Davies

INSET training materials for teachers of Modern Foreign Languages

Basic ICT training tasks
Multimedia training tasks

Links checked 6 May 2012

The materials on this page have been produced by Graham Davies to support training courses in ICT for language teachers.

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Basic ICT training tasks for teachers of Modern Foreign Languages

Understanding generic software

Before undertaking the following basic ICT tasks you should ensure that you are familiar with essential generic software. Such software is likely to have been supplied along with the hardware to which you have access, and it is a prerequisite for subsequent subject-specific training as many of the basic operations that you learn will be transferable.

Essential generic software includes:

See the ICT Can Do Lists document at the ICT4LT website. Download and print the pages of the document relating to the applications listed above and fill in the check boxes. This will help you assess your current level of expertise and the subsequent development of your experience and understanding of generic software.

Task 1: Evaluating a CALL software and websites

CALL (Computer Assisted Language Learning) is used to describe the use of the computer in language learning and teaching in its widest possible sense. Other abbreviations include TELL (Technology Enhanced Language Learning), CALI (Computer Assisted Language Instruction), ELL (Electronic Language Learning), CELL (Computer Enhanced Language Learning), ICT/Modern Foreign Languages (Information and Communications Technology / Modern Foreign Languages). CALL is the internationally accepted acronym and features in the name of EUROCALL and many other professional associations dedicated to promoting the use of ICT in language learning and teaching. A definition of CALL and its different manifestations can be found in Module 1.4, Section 1, at the ICT4LT site.

Evaluating CALL software and websites is dealt with in these two sections at the ICT4LT website:

There is a link from both these modules to an evaluation form that you can download, print and use to evaluate a software package and a website of your own choice. Graham Davies's Favourite Websites page contains many categorised and annotated lists of links to websites relating to Modern Foreign Languages.

Task 2: Creating an annotated list of Web links

Using Microsoft Word, create a clickable list of websites that you can use for your own reference purposes or as an electronic worksheet for your students. Such a list is known as a webliography, a jump station or a portal. Your webliography can be saved in two different formats: DOC or HTML. If you save it in DOC format it can be loaded into Microsoft Word. If you save it in HTML format it can be loaded into Microsoft Word or into a Web browser. An example of a clickable list of annotated links in HTML format is Graham Davies's Favourite Websites page.

Step-by step creation of a webliography

An alternative way of creating a list of links to websites is to use an application such as Delicious or Diigo. These are social bookmarking services that enable you to store links to your favourite websites online. You can also use these applications to see the interesting links that other people bookmark, and you can share links with them in return. Preview and evaluate websites carefully. Revisit websites regularly to ensure that links are not broken or - which has happened in a few cases - have been transformed into something undesirable. See Graham Davies's article on Dodgy links.


When downloading materials or copying from another website, it is most important that you pay attention to copyright. Above all, don't assume that just because material is publicly available on the Web you can do whatever you like with it. See the General guidelines on copyright at the ICT4LT website.

Don't paste a list of links from a website into your own documents, especially if you wish to make your documents public. If someone has assembled a list of links at their website, the list itself may constitute an original work and be subject to database right and/or copyright. The same rule applies to bibliographies, lists of films, etc.

Task 3: Using discussion lists, blogs, wikis, social networking

Many language teachers regularly exchange views via electronic discussion lists, blogs, wikis and social networking sites. These are essentially ways of sharing views with the members of a group of people with a common interest.

Task 4: Writing a lesson plan

Before you begin to plan a lesson using ICT ask yourself a few questions:

In other words, don't get carried away by the technology. I use a word processor and a Web authoring tool to create handouts like this, but I find a diary and a ball point pen much handier for noting down forthcoming engagements. Horses for courses...

A lesson plan should include the following points:

A few ideas to get you started

Using a word processor

Using PowerPoint

Using a text manipulation package

Text manipulation packages such as Storyboard and Fun with Texts have been popular with language teachers since the early 1980s and have proved their ability to promote language learning in terms of the development of reading, preparation for writing, relationships between the sound of the spoken word and the spelling of the written word. Use a text manipulation package to help your students develop memory skills and to reinforce structures. Choose an authentic text, e.g. from the Web, or a set of texts appropriate to the level of your students.

Using the Web

There are numerous ways in which materials on the Web can be exploited in language teaching. Have a look at:

Some ideas you might consider - all of which involve exploiting authentic materials:

The above activities are sometimes referred to as WebQuests. See Module 1.5, Section 7.4, at the ICT4LT website

Using CD-ROMs

See Case Study 5, The Ashcombe School, in Module 3.1 at the ICT4LT website for a detailed account of how this school integrates multimedia CD-ROMs into its language courses.

Using email

Creating interactive exercises with Hot Potatoes

Hot Potatoes is an authoring tool designed for creating Web-based exercises for Modern Foreign Languages learners. Create a set of exercises using Hot Potatoes. Download Hot Potatoes free of charge from: See Module 2.5 at the ICT4LT website, Introduction to CALL authoring programs.

Using a concordancer

Concordancers have been used in EFL teaching since the early 1980s. Curiously, they have not been used a great deal in Modern Foreign Languages teaching. A detailed description of concordancing in the Modern Foreign Languages classroom, including downloadable worksheets, can be found in Module 2.4 at the ICT4LT website.

Multimedia training tasks for teachers of Modern Foreign Languages

A definition of multimedia

The term multimedia was originally used to describe packages of learning materials that consisted of a book, a couple of audiocassettes and a videocassette. Such packages are still available, but the preferred terms to describe them are multiple media or mixed media. Nowadays the term multimedia refers to computer-based materials designed to be used on a computer that can display and print text and high-quality graphics, play pre-recorded audio and video material, and assist in the creation and editing of images and audio and video recordings.

Essentially, multimedia involves the integration of texts, images, sounds and movies - but not necessarily all four media in one package. Multimedia CD-ROMs have been on the market since the early 1990s, covering a wide range of subjects, and DVD-Video and DVD-ROM discs have appeared more recently. Nowadays the Web is also being used to deliver multimedia materials - but the materials offered on most websites have a long way to go before they catch up with CD-ROMs and DVD discs in terms of quality, speed of delivery and interactivity.

Module 2.2 at the ICT4LT website focuses on multimedia CALL. This module is aimed at teachers of Modern Foreign Languages and includes advice on essential multimedia hardware and editing tools.

Now for some "how to" advice:

Pedagogy first, technology second

First of all, you should consider why you need to use multimedia to deliver your materials. Pedagogy should always be in charge, not the technology:

Gathering your assets

A collection of texts, images, sounds and movies in digital format is normally referred to in computer jargon as assets. You need to create a special folder on your computer where you can store the different multimedia files: e.g.the assets folder of Fun with Texts Version 4.0 looks like this in Windows Explorer:


These are the basic ways of building up a collection of images:

Respect copyright! See the General guidelines on copyright at the ICT4LT website.


These are the basic ways of building up your collection of sounds:

Respect copyright! See the General guidelines on copyright at the ICT4LT website.

Editing image and sound files

The next step is to edit your image and sound files. To do this you need a software package designed specially for the purpose:

Slotting your assets into an application

Finally, you need to slot your assets into an application. This may be a generic package such as Microsoft Word or PowerPoint or an authoring tool designed specifically for Modern Foreign Languages.

Further reading

Davies G. (1997) "Lessons from the past, lessons for the future: 20 years of CALL". In Korsvold A-K. & Rüschoff B. (eds.) New technologies in language learning and teaching, Council of Europe, Strasbourg, France. The full text (revised 2010) is also on the Web at:

Davies G. (2000) ICT and Modern Languages in the National Curriculum: some personal views: Camsoft monograph. Frequently updated.

Davies G. (2002 - revised) The Internet: an introduction for language teachers. Training materials first presented at the Language World Internet Workshop, 1999.

Davies G. (2002 - revised) The Internet: write your own WWW pages: Materials first presented at the Language World Internet Workshop, 2000.

Davies G. (2002) "ICT and Modern Foreign Languages: learning opportunities and training needs", published in International Journal of English Studies 2, 1: Monograph Issue, New Trends in Computer Assisted Language Learning and Teaching, edited by Pascual Pérez Paredes & Pascual Cantos Gómez, Servicio de Publicaciones, Universidad de Murcia, Spain.

Davies G. (2003) Article on CALL in the Good Practice Guide at the website of the Subject Centre for Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies, University of Southampton. You can browse the guide by author name or subject or go straight to: This article is also available, with updated links, at:

Davies G. (2005) "Computer Assisted Language Learning: Where are we now and where are we going?" Keynote paper originally presented at the UCALL Conference, University of Ulster, Coleraine, June 2005. Regularly revised:

Davies G., Bangs P., Frisby R. & Walton E. (2005 - regularly updated) Setting up effective digital language laboratories and multimedia ICT suites for Modern Foreign Languages, London: CILT:

© Graham Davies 2012. This work is licensed under a
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