Friday, 16 April 2010

I've got a pen that talks !

Last weekend my husband and I went down to the NEC in Birmingham for the Gadget Show Live. Some people don't believe it, but Mr S is even more into gadgets than I am. In fact he's been into gadgets a lot longer than me, but I'm trying to catch up ! I already have most things that I need for my work, and so wasn't looking for anything in particular. I looked at a few things and talked to a few people (and asked the Flip Mino man a question he couldn't answer!) and then was most interested to come across the Mantra Lingua stand.

Mantra Lingua have a new product called the
RecorderPEN. You can use it to play sounds in specially prepared books, but, more interestingly for a language teacher, you can record your own sounds onto special stickers and then stick the stickers anywhere. On seeing this, my brain started ticking over and thinking of lots of ideas for how I could use such a gadget. So, dear reader, I bought one.

A few days ago I started to have a play with it. It took a few attempts to get a decent recording (start talking as soon as it tells you to, and don't put it too near your mouth) and then I set about making a resource. I printed some colours on a piece of paper and recorded seven different labels - a title and the seven colour words.

Here is a little video of my 7 year old daughter demonstrating it:

My resource is on paper at the moment, and consequently is flimsy. If I were to use it in the classroom, it wouldn't be long before the paper got dog-eared and the stickers came off. I would print the next one on card and then laminate the whole thing to make it more durable. Mantra Lingua's support team say that the stickers will still work and can still be re-recorded when they've been through a laminator.

I teach my KS1s in small groups of about 10, and have thought of some simple interactive activities that I could make for them using the RecorderPEN. There are also plenty of ideas on the company's forum. I was lucky to get the pen and the stickers for the show price of £35 all in. It is a lot more expensive on the company's website, and unfortunately I think this may put people off. Something else that has been a little annoying has been the lack of written instructions - the instructions are embedded on labels on the packaging ! - so I listened to them and wrote them down myself. All in all I think it's nifty little gadget, which gives me something else for my teaching backpack. Watch this space !

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