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Using Google Home in the MFL Classroom

We bought a Google home a few months ago and up until now I’ve mostly been using it for creating shopping lists and asking silly jokes! I had a brainwave this morning, why not switch the language and it use it in my Spanish lessons?

So, I switched the language and started playing around with it. It’s incredible and it’s a great interactive listening tool to use in the classroom, the possibilities are endless!

In this blog post I’ll show you how to set it up and suggest a few ways in which you can incorporate it into your teaching.

Adding a second language

You will already have the Google home app installed. Go to settings, scroll down to more settings and then select assistant. From here click languages and then add a second language.

So now that you’re set up. How can we use it in the classroom?

1. Ask it a question – There are endless possibilities here. From asking for weather updates, to who won the football game last night to what can you do in Madrid in the TL. There’s so much scope here to utilise it in your lessons. It’s a ready-made listening tool. And what’s more the students can interact with it. Work on their role play skills by getting them to come up with the questions. Select a hotel in Spain, get students to ask questions like ‘is there a pool?’ how much is the room?’ what is the telephone number?’.

2. Interview the assistant – did you know you can ask the google assistant personal questions. You can ask if they have any siblings? What was their childhood like? Do you like playing sports? Again, get the students to come up with the questions in the TL

3. Hear the latest news updates – If you go to services in settings you can select which news channels it uses. I’ve set mine to El País. You just need to ask in the TL ‘listen to the news’ and it will read you the latest bulletins. Great for A Level students.

4. Discover more about famous people, festivals, traditions etc – Let’s say you’re covering the festivals part of the GCSE. Get the students to learn about these festivals through the assistant. What is …? When is … celebrated? What happens during …? This would also be great for A Level.

5. Translations – if a student is stuck get them to ask google. They then have to listen for the answer.

6. Spellings & Pronunciation – Use it to practice the alphabet. Ask google in the TL ‘ how do you spell…?’ Get students to write down the spellings. You can also ask Google for correct pronunciation of words.

7. Use it to set a timer - ask Google the time or set an alarm in 10 minutes. All is possible. This way, students have a certain amount of time to complete an activity before reviewing it.

8. Do something fun – You can ask Google for a joke or even play a game with the assistant. Could be a nice reward for the class at the end of the lesson.

These are just a few suggestions but why not have a play around with it and see how it can work for you and your classes. The only snag is that it works on voice detection – so students will have to tell you the questions and you will have to ask the assistant.

For Spanish teachers I’ve found a great article with lots of suggestions and lists of questions you can ask the assistant.

I only have a Google Home so I’m not sure about other devices such as the Amazon echo, but I imagine it would have similar functions.

Don’t forget to look at our new CPD page and book yourself onto one of our T & L Webinars.

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