Someone came to me the other day for help: they wanted to download a YouTube clip, remove the vocals but keep the music, record their learners singing the same song, splice the new vocals on to the YouTube clip, lip-synch it and upload it back on to YouTube… Could I help?
I said "No" (don't you just hate the guys in Technical Support, sometimes?), on the grounds that it was going to take so much time for so little return (in terms of language learning), and that I'd be using the technology to do the work (or the teacher would be), not the learners (which is how I believe it should be).
Instead, I suggested, how about something like what follows, which is creative and collaborative, requires little or no technical intervention from the teacher, and will lead to much more involvement of the learners?
Four sets of pairs each collaborate to tell (and record) 25% of a coherent story
I regret that my colleague went away unconvinced but curiously that same day I came across the quotation that starts this post: "Never invest in an idea you can't illustrate with a crayon".
In the Google Docs presentation here, I've attempted to illustrate the idea with a crayon, and would paraphrase the quotation: never plan a class you couldn't also do with a piece of chalk.
You could do this task with no more than chalk, pens and paper: before technology came along, I did! What technology enables us (i.e. our learners) to do is create things, share them, comment on them, discuss them… But I think we want it like this, in our learners' hands, not ours, and minimally invasive.
The idea also works well if your learners are all with their own laptops.
Shared, creative, collaborative writing