French virtual classroom: exploring the heritage of sports in Europe (LS-FI-117)

In this learning scenario, we are in a virtual, but interactive classroom: the teacher is working in a studio in the center of Helsinki, while the students are studying in front of their own laptops in other parts of Finland, including Lapland. This is a French class for second-year-students. Distance learning works perfectly when schools do not have resources. For example, small language groups. There are sometimes slight problems with the internet connections, but the concept fits for both extrovert and more introvert students, because they are in peace and quiet at their own laptops wherever they choose to be, normally in their own rooms.

Virtual classroom: a comfortable way to remotely learn French

In the virtual classroom naturally only virtual material is used, so the Europeana portal will be a nice acquaintance for the students. The lesson plan proceeds like a game, where all the sections are scheduled with a timer. When the time is out each participant/student tell how far he or she got and tells his or her points. The correct answers will be discussed together. Since French classes are quite small, this kind of method is easily applicable. Then the students go on with the next section. The activities include a lot of listening:  reading comprehension is tested by listening comprehension because the sentences are recorded. This is something paper books cannot offer.

The heritage of sports in Europe

Before to start working with the Europeana platform, I introduce my students to the theme of the lesson: the Olympic Games. For that, they watch three videos in French:

  • Who invented the Olympic Games?
  • What do the Winter Olympics mean?
  • What do Paraolympics mean?

The videos are divided between different students who summarize the contents

Then, using learningApps, students have to read some texts in French and then they test themselves how well they understand the text. After this first activity, students practice the vocabulary they found in the texts by pairing words with their synonyms or definitions. In another activity, pupils have to combine the pictures of each European sport with a recorded definition. Finally, the last part is the most traditional way of practising reading comprehension, but the looks in the learnings app exercise make the doing worthwhile. Students summarize some main points in the text into their mother tongue.

Working in a virtual classroom is efficient and smooth because everything is carefully prepared. The Europeana exhibition on sports heritage in French served as a good source of material for the purpose of this course of mine. It is always a pleasure for the teacher to find interesting texts that you can apply in various ways.

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