Language laboratories provide the resources for a wide range of interactive audiovisual activities. Entertaining exercises can be designed for students to expand vocabulary, practice pronunciation and encourage participation, all based on interesting issues for secondary and higher education.
We presently propose to perform the activity “Guess the character” by asking direct questions in a language laboratory equipped with Optimas, a system also present in EasyLab laboratories. The teacher of a foreign language can focus the exercise towards the following linguistic goals: the proper use of direct interrogative sentences, attributive verbs (to be, to have..) in practice, and the reinforcement of basic vocabulary on the description of people and jobs.
In order to guess an identity by asking questions, the teacher can divide the class into two groups, sending the members of each one the image of a character or celebrity they are familiar with, along with a brief description or biography. Internet sites such as Google Images or Flickr can be used to search for pictures, and the short additional text can be extracted from multiple written sources in the language of the subject. Thus, for instance, two texts are written from Wikipedia articles, then the corresponding images are inserted so the documents are sent to the monitors in each group.
The next step is perform the exercise in pairs formed by members of different groups. Taking turns, students have to guess the character of the partner only by asking direct yes/no questions.
This activity can be framed within a broader explanation of the lexical field of jobs, characters in a book or in a real historical/cultural period.
This will be the configuration of the activity at the Optimas interface:
1. Dividing the class into two groups is reflected in two different colors, arranged in columns:
2. Sending the text document with image to each group is done through the “send file” feature.
3. Then pair up students with a different image for each member:
4. Paired Students can now talk to each other, so the activity can be carried out.
A 20-question pattern for a time limit can be set depending on the difficulty required. The exercise can be oriented as a competition between groups or in pairs that the teacher will monitor by the spy and digitizing features of Optimas.