Have you been trying to find ways to get your kids talking in class? Are you interested in using technology with your students?
Find out how to use the Photo Dice app to get your students talking in meaningful ways in class.
So our students are obsessed with their devices, there’s no denying that! So why not use them to get our kids talking in class, instead of trying to fight it all of the time?
Why use technology in the classroom?
This was one of the reasons I started using technology in my classroom, however now that I have fully embraced it, I can see A TON of others reasons why the integration of technology is so powerful, especially for language teachers.
- It improves assessment and evaluation
- It improves the way we can give students feedback
- Assists with gather evidence of the student learning process
- Provides opportunities for students to think metacognitively
- It’s engaging
- Students can become creators of content
- It reinforces the 6 C’s of 21st century learning
The Photo Dice app
I specifically use iPads with my students and one of the apps that I have found extremely useful is Photo Dice by MachWerx. If you are reading this on an iPad, you can download the app here.
While this app is specific to iOS devices, I am sure there are similar apps for different operating systems as well.
I am lucky to have 12 of my own iPads in my classroom, but students still bring their own devices into class to use as well. I realize that not every teacher has this same access. However, using technology is still beneficial!
There are many ways to incorporate the technology still if you don’t have any of your own devices. Here are a few I can think of off the top of my head:
- Book out shared carts to use in your class.
- Inquire about and apply for grants offered by your school board, ministry, businesses.
- Use 1 or a few iPads as a centre.
- Have students bring their own devices and download the appropriate app.
However you make it work for you, trust me, there will be trials and tribulations, but it will be worth it in the end.
Why do I love Photo Dice?
- The dice can be shared via email (and therefore saved to Google Drive for the following year).
- Since they can be saved this way, I can also post dice for students to access on Google Classroom.
- Other teachers or students can make dice too and send them to me
- Making dice is super easy.
- You can add more than 1 di to the screen to create more interactive activities.
- It increases student talk time in my class.
How I use Photo Dice
I use Photo Dice at the beginning of a learning concept to practice and learn new words & expressions. I also use it to practice a certain language structures and promote spontaneous conversation.
Introducing & Learning New Words & Expressions
Students work in partners (or small groups). The die will have 6 different images on it (related to your unit). One of our unit focuses on ordering food in a restaurant.
When I introduce this, I narrow the restaurants to those that offer breakfast foods. The examples will revolve around this unit.
At the beginning of the unit we would be learning the necessary words.
Student 1 rolls the die and asks a question to Student 2 (i.e. Qu’est-ce que c’est?)
Student 2 must answer in a complete sentence (i.e. C’est un oeuf.)
They then switch roles. This can be done with family members, directions and buildings in a city, anything that you can find an image to represent the word or idea.
Practicing language structures
Then, we would begin working on the language structure that is the focus. For the particular unit above, my students learn how to express their likes and dislikes and eventually how to order food.
We would move from “Qu’est-ce que c’est?” to questions that relate to this. For example, students would work in partners or small groups again.
They would pull up a die with the 6 different images as they relate to the unit (for example: an egg, bacon, ham, toast, milk, orange juice).
Promoting spontaneous conversation
Once students are successful at talking about and asking questions related to their preferences, I would add in new words and expressions and language structures.
This is to build their capacity in the language. We would also work on extending their thinking by giving more detail.
For example, in the breakfast example, add a second die to the screen with images of sides/condiments (i.e. peanut butter, butter, jam, ketchup, salt, pepper).
The conversation would begin the same, but Student 2, when answering, could extend his/her thinking by including: avec ____.
Students could also progress to open ended questions after, such as: “Qu’est-ce que tu voudrais avec le bacon?” or “Est-ce que tu préfères manger du bacon ou boire du café?”
Student 1 would roll the die. Whatever image appears, Student 1 would then ask: Est-ce que tu aimes manger du bacon?
Student 2 must respond, depending on his/her preferences. Students would then switch roles and this would continue for 5-7 minutes.
At the beginning students might need written prompts on the board or in their notebooks, but eventually with much practice, they will be able to do it as if it were second nature.
Then have student work on how much something costs.
Student 1: Combien coûte le lait?
Student 2: Le lait coûte 6 dollars 75.
Tips and tricks
- When possible have students help with making dice.
- Use the same images that you use in class on the dice.
- Give your dice a detailed title so they are easy to find in the future.
- Save your dice so you can use them in the future.
Are you curious to know how to make a Photo Dice? This video explains it all!
To put it as a nut shell, here are some examples and directions to use Photo Dice!
Hope your students enjoy the activity!