November 2023Technology

LingoTeach AI Simplifies Resource Creation

By Sharon Cashen, Hunter Valley Grammar School, Australia

Sharon Cashen is an AI (artificial intelligence) tool created by language teachers for language teachers that gives you an easy way to create language teaching resources. It is very intuitive and an excellent classroom resource. 

Name of tool
Primary purpose/use of tool  To create original, target language texts from prompts that can be used for reading comprehension, listening comprehension, understanding parts of speech, or text analysis. Available for English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish.
Cost  £12/month (approximately $15) including a 20% discount for the first 200 subscribers. Annual subscriptions also get a bonus one month free. Department subscriptions are available.
Ease of use It’s very simple to use. To create a resource, you fill out a set of boxes and add your prompt.

To get started creating a new resource, you make several choices: text type (story / dialogue with 2 people / dialogue with 3 people), language, grade of target audience, approximate word count, and linguistic structures and tenses that you would want included. You also provide LingoTeach with a prompt, instructing it further on what kind of text you would like it to create, and you can optionally provide a list of vocabulary that you would like it to include.

Picture 1 - Linguistic structures that can be included in the created resource - Any details, opinions, justifications (e.g. because), negatives, time phrases, third person, third person plural, do not include modal verbs
Picture 1 – Linguistic structures that can be included in the created resource

Then you get the chance to modify the text if you wish, add an audio track, record your voice, or upload an .mp3 file. 

Picture 2 - Editing the created resource - Target language - review and edit your text. If you change the target language resource, please change the native language resource accordingly.; Native language - Button that says Tap here to add special characters
Picture 2 – Editing the created resource

You can also specify which types of activities you would like LingoTeach to create.

Picture 3 - Types of questions that can be created - Click to select the types of questions to include in your resource (leave blank and we'll do it automatically) - Select one or multiple question types. We'll create 5 questions for each category - identify chunks, find the phrase, true or false or not in text, comprehension questions, identify key vocabulary
Picture 3 – Types of questions that can be created

Then LingoTeach creates a set of questions based on the text that you can modify if desired.

Picture 4 - “Identify Chunks” activity type - for tangled translations, highlight chunks and other activities - Instructions: prepare your resource for tangled translations and other sentence chunking activities as follows: 1. Double click inside a phrase or sentence to split it into two separate chunks. 2. Double click on the red | character to merge two chunks back into one phrase. 3. Repeat these steps in both columns until phrases align in meaning and match in number.
Picture 4 – “Identify Chunks” activity type

To create a text for my Year 9 French class, I provided LingoTeach with the following prompt: 

Write a story about the past two weeks of holidays, keeping the language simple. Use the passé compose and lots of adjectives. The 5 family members stayed at home for the holidays but did things together and with their friends. Make the activities simple things like bike riding, picnics at the beach, going to the movies with friends, etc. Include going to the restaurant as a family, with what they ate, and describe the food and how much it cost. Include some negatives in the story and make it interesting. 

The screenshot below shows what LingoTeach produced in about a minute. 

Picture 5 - French text with English translation. On the top is an audio player. On the right it says "find phrase, vocab, true/false, questions". On the bottom it says French, English, Highlighter POS, Whiteboard, Show chunks, tangled translations, reset. On the bottom right are various settings
Picture 5 – French text with English translation

The exciting part is what you can do once the text is created. Firstly, there is the listening component. The voices sound authentic, and you can set the speed at which they speak. You can use the generated questions as a class group activity or print them for individual work, formative, or summative assessment. I had my lower level class listen while they followed the text, or you can hide the text. The English is also provided, and can be revealed line by line or hidden. Or you can go between languages: from French to German or Spanish to French, etc. 

Of course, this can also be used as a reading activity, either as a class group or for individual work. I printed a copy of the text and also used it to have students identify parts of speech. A simple click of the mouse then highlights the part of speech you had the students highlight for instant checking. There are tangled translations, and the text can be chunked as well. 

One of the most exciting features for me is the ability to differentiate the activities very easily. This one text can have differentiated worksheets produced in minutes so classes with a wide range of abilities can be easily catered to. When I print this as a worksheet, I print different versions for different groups of students in my class. For example, students who need a lot of support get both the French and English, and multiple choice and true/false questions. My higher level students get just the French text without translation, and questions all in French, which I ask them to answer in French. For other students I add matched vocabulary, some get unmatched vocabulary and are asked to match it. Some get their questions in English to answer in English. The possibilities are many and varied. This is my favorite feature, since differentiation is very important at our school. Of course, could also just create the text for you and then you can write your own questions.

The team behind this excellent resource is very approachable and happy to troubleshoot with you. The platform is developing and improving regularly, and the future looks exciting. Teachers can benefit from the ease that it brings to their teaching.

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