Looking for a way to boost your students’ confidence in speaking and raise their awareness of intonation and sentence stress? Or perhaps a student-generated listening activity? Morfo, a fun, innovative and completely free app available for iOS and Windows, could be the tool for you:
Like many other apps that feature on this blog, Morfo isn’t designed with language learning, or even learning in mind. However, by repurposing it – and thinking about learning aims – we can use Morfo to design highly purposeful, language-focused tasks for learners of all ages.
First, my teenage students worked in groups of four and used Popplet to brainstorm things they felt strongly about. In this example, each colour represents a different emotion:
In pairs, they then created a new Popplet about one of the feelings they had chosen – in this case, an abiding fear of spiders brought on by an incident during childhood:
For the next stage, students used a specific function of Morfo – the selection of emotions that allow you to change the generic Morfo avatar’s expression:
In each pair, one student delivered her presentation – focusing on stressing key words to show different emotions – while the other used Morfo to change the emotions in the avatar’s face:
Once finished, each pair uploaded the videos to our class wiki for their classmates to watch. Being able to record and store the recordings not only allowed me to assess them, but it also served as a student-generated resource for comprehension and matching questions about each person.
The value of Morfo is that it gives students the opportunity for repetition as they practise their presentation before laying down the final version. By using avatars instead of their own faces, Morfo also helps draw shyer students out of themselves and gives them a new means of expression. Finally, by requiring students to listen carefully to their partners and classmates, it can help develop communication skills and improve students’ ability to listen for specific information.
This is just one way of using Morfo in the ELT classroom. Have you tried anything else?