Monday, 7 December 2009

4 Similar Tools to Wordle

Wordle, a very simple tool for creating graphic word clouds of texts, has rocked the Edtech world and inspired a huge number of blog posts and teaching ideas, including my own back in September of 2008. That's why I decided to use it as the basis for the first task in a web based 1 week open free workshop on Web 2.0 Tools for Teachers that I'm moderating for SEETA.

As so many people are already familiar with Wordle, I thought I'd also share a few similar tools that can be used instead of or alongside Wordle with other web based resources to create useful learning materials for students. I've also added these here for anyone who doesn't make it along to the workshop.

  • Wordnik (no connection to the Nik in my name) is a great tool for helping students find out more information about word and create lists or related words to help them remember the words. It provides lots of great examples of the words being used and draws on social media sites for the examples, so you can see how the word is used in Twitter, see what images are tagged with the word in Flickr and lots more.
  • I wrote about Wordnik about a year ago when it was still Wordie, so look at this review if you want a bit more information. Creating word lists
  • I also created an activity for students to help them use the tool to work autonomously to develop their vocabulary. It needs a bit of updating now that the site has changed to Wordnik, but should give you some ideas about how it can be used I hope. List Your Favourite Words
  • Wordsift does a similar thing to Wordle, in that it produces a word cloud of words from a text, but it is far less visual and more functional. Once your students have produced the word cloud they can start actually clicking on the words and exploring their meanings and getting examples.
  • I wrote a review of WordSift here which shows a bit more about how to use it.Analysing Vocabulary in Texts
  • Here’s an example of how I’ve tried to integrate it with other web based tools and resources to create an activity for students to work on independently. Find Out More About Texts


  • Vocab Grabber is another tool that can be used to get more information about the words from a text. Vocab Grabber is more of a Dictionary / Thesaurus tool that pulls in information about words in a text, gives examples and also shows related words and word families.
  • I wrote this activity which exploits some marketing videos that have scripts along with WordGrabber and another tool called Future Me. I tried to use the combination of these tools to show how students could build good habits to enable them to learn, remember and revise new vocabulary. Develop Your Marketing Vocabulary

  • Easy define is a new tool that I just spotted this morning. It is a bit like a dictionary - word list creation tool. You simply type in a list of words ( or even paste in a complete text) and it will generate dictionary entries for all the words. You can then download these as a doc file or copy and past them. It will also produce a list of synonyms.
  • This is a great tool for creating paper based vocabulary worksheets. Once you’ve typed in your list or text and generated the definitions, you can simply download it and edit to create vocabulary records or matching activities. Should be a big time saver. You could get students to create word lists from their Wordle images.
I hope these tools are useful and if you know of other similar tools that you think are useful, please do post a link to them below, especially if you can include links to any materials you've created with them that you would like to share.

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Best

Nik Peachey

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

The Web 2.0 School of the Present

I was recently invited to participate in a really interesting workshop organised by Richard Johnson, Director of ELI Seville. The focus of the workshop was 'The Language School of the Future' and it produced a number of scenarios for the possible development of private language schools, which varied from the 'business as normal' model to a total shift away from scheduled classroom lessons. I'll post more about those scenarios later in the month, but it did occur to me that before we look to the future we could pull language schools and language departments into the present.
The 'Web 2.0' age has brought us more than a bunch of social networking apps and free web tools, it has also brought about a fundamental shift in the way many web based companies do business. I started to wonder if that change could be mirrored in the physical market place by moving towards a new approach to the language school and the way technology is used in it and how it fits into the face to face business model.

What follows are some suggestions for what I feel could bring about a shift in the way language schools market themselves and integrate technology, not just into the classroom, but to the whole school environment.

How to make your school a Web 2.0 school of the present

1. Ubiquitous open wireless access
This is probably the most basic and fundamental change that you could introduce in your school and the one thing that could have the biggest long term impact.

Make wireless Internet access freely available from anywhere in the school, without restriction, to anyone who wants to walk through your door, regardless of whether they pay for a course and regardless of how they use the access (within the bounds of the law and socially acceptable norms etc). Don’t password protect the access make it easily available to anyone and everyone.
  • In doing this you have removed one of the most significant obstacles to the exploitation of web enabled technology within your school. Teachers will have FAR fewer problems using Internet in classroom and will feel more confident about trying things out new things and experimenting in a more spontaneous manner.
  • They will have far fewer problems accessing online professional development materials and web based teaching materials and they will be in a much better position to start developing themselves and joining the numerous online communities of teachers globally that support and develop each other.
  • You will soon find more students and teachers coming to your school with laptops and other mobile devices to use the free Internet access and staying longer. You will have succeeded in making your school 'sticky'.
2. Make your whole school into a learning zone
Once you have open access wireless connectivity in your school, the whole school can become a learning zone, not just the classroom. Help students to exploit this.
  • Make room for people to come and hang out in your school, a kind of relax cafe area where they can bring in a laptop or other portable device. Make it friendly and sociable (don’t provide computers for them or computer booths where they sit facing the wall, make it open where people can wander around and see what others are doing etc.
  • Have member(s) of your teaching staff on hand in this area to provide free assistance to anyone who wants to come in and learn. It could be anything from a bit of help with their pronunciation or advice in pointing them towards the best online materials available to help them learn autonomously, or giving advice to parents on how to help their kids learn online.
  • Make sure you have plenty of visible information about good learning tools and freely available resources and where online learners and teachers can find and try them all over your school.
All of this might seem like you are giving away your 'product' but if your teachers are good and people are learning informally in your school, they may soon find that they want to learn more and take more formalised classes.
3. Get teachers developing online materials and sharing in the benefits
Lots of schools try to get teachers creating and sharing materials but there is seldom any reward or acknowledgement of the amount of time and care this takes. Get your teachers together and start training them to use blogs and wikis and get them producing and publishing their teaching materials online. Try to get them to pool these materials into one easily searchable wiki type site or a group of interconnected blog sites.
  • Make sure that they know that they will retain copyright and ownership of all the materials they produce and that they will continue to own these materials even if they leave your school. The materials will become part of their professional portfolio.
  • Make the materials your teachers produce freely available and open to the whole world to use, comment on and feedback on. This will help to make your teachers more aware of the quality of the materials they are publishing and get feedback to create and improve their materials. They will also find out how their materials are being used.
  • Plug in revenue generating tools such as GoogleAdsense etc, look for sponsorship and advertising and make it clear that all teachers who contribute will get their share of any revenue that is generated. Make it clear that the school will not take a percentage of any of the revenue generated, but will only benefit through the links, branding and reputation it develops through displaying the quality of its teachers / materials and teaching.
In the early days any revenue generated through advertising will be small, but as the scale of the resources grow, so will the revenue.

4. Getting technology into your classrooms
A lot has been said about the pros and cons of interactive whiteboards (IWBs), but whether you like them or hate them, they are part of the natural evolution that is taking place within the classroom and most schools will soon have them. One criticism of IWBs is the price, but they don't have to cost a lot as there are low cost hardware systems available and free software which is every bit as good and in some cases better than the software that would come with a commercially purchased board.

So here is what you can do to get your school equipped with low cost IWBs. Find your techiest geekiest teacher (the one who talks about things like Ubuntu and Linux) give him or her a budget and some free time and ask that he or she provides you with a home made interactive whiteboard installed and ready to demo. Tell him or her that if it works they can have an extra time to produce more.
  • If your teacher is successful you will then be able to put interactive white boards in every classroom for less that 100 euros a room (you will still need to have a computer and data projector for each classroom too, but this will have saved you significant amount of money)
  • The best place to start researching about how to create a low cost IWB is Johnny Lee's website. Also get your nominated teacher to have a look at the Wiimote Project site.
  • Here are 3 sites which produce free or low cost web based apps that can be used to replace the commercially produced IWB software.
    Dabbleboard

    Scriblink
    Twiddla
Having IWBs in class isn't a magic bullet, but it does at least get live Internet into your classes and increase the chances that your teachers will start using a more diverse range of multimedia materials than they would normally find in a course book.
5. Get your teachers connected from anywhere
One of the best ways to get your teachers trained and web savvy is to make sure they have web access wherever they are. Subsidize your teachers' purchase of an i-Pod touch (even better an i-Phone if possible) and train them how to use it to download materials from i-Tunes, get free apps, view YouTube video, download free audio and video podcasts etc etc etc etc etc.
  • Train them to use it in class (well before they actually need to) to show images, video get information etc. Within the next year the i-Pod touch is likely to include a camera for video too and this will enable teachers to start producing video projects with their classes too.
6. Provide multimedia capable computers
It's amazing how many schools I visit that provide computers that don't have speakers. microphone or webcams! These are fundamental necessities for exploiting the true range of web based resources available and for transforming computers from passive information display devices into dynamic creative communication tools.
  • Make sure every computer that you provide for the classroom, media lab or staffroom has a built in webcam and microphone as well as speakers or that these things are available.
  • WebCams can enable teachers to bring the world into their classroom and take their classroom to the world in a very powerful way and for free.
  • Make sure these computers are fitted with video, image and audio editing software. All of this can be accessed or downloaded free from the Internet. This can make a whole range of video and audio based activities possible.
Of course the success of all of these measures is really dependent on training and motivating your staff, but by providing easily accessible wireless connectivity you are greatly increasing opportunities for staff to start developing themselves and each other and promoting in atmosphere in which learning can take place at anytime and anywhere in your school, not just in the classroom.

I hope you find these ideas interesting, useful and at least a little bit provocative. By all means leave comments criticisms or suggestions.

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Best

Nik Peachey

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

How to Sheets

I've just been creating some training tasks and materials which I'll be using later this week. As part of that I've created a few easy 'How to' sheets showing some basic functions a four Web 2.0 type apps and have published these on Scribd.
There will be more of these to come later, along with the exploratory tasks that go with them, but for now here are four how to sheets that you can either use online or download / photocopy to use with students or trainee teachers.
I hope these are useful and look out next week for a few more and for some learning tasks for trainee teachers too.

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Nik Peachey

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

My New Favourite YouTube Tool

This is something that I spotted on Twitter a couple of days ago and have been playing with ever since. It's not actually a piece of software an app or even a site, it's a simple piece of code that you can use to change the URL of a YouTube video that transforms your page into a visual search tool that maps topics and relationships between videos.

So what it does, is it changes this dull YouTube page:



into this. A visual map of relayed videos. Each time you hover the mouse over one of the circles another set of related videos pop out and the you just click on a circle to play the video.



To appreciate the difference you really have to experience it, so here's the link to the original YouTube page with a video about Marrakesh
And now here's the 'warp'ed link with all the related videos which will start to show as you hover your mouse over them.

So how is it done?
Very simple, just replace the 'watch' in the URL to warp.swf

Example:
My Marrakesh video was at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-FUM74WsQo
So I change that to http://www.youtube.com/warp.swf?v=e-FUM74WsQo

This should work with any YouTube video.

So what's so great about this?
Well taking my original video on Marrakesh, it now enables my students to search for related video information around the same topic very quickly and simply.

As you move from video to video you create a kind of breadcrumb trail of dots which you can then click on to navigate back through the video you have watched.
You can also click on the videos to play them full screen in your browser (nice feature IWB users)

This is a great way to get students researching information around a topic you want to discuss in class or just creating and exploring conceptual associations. You could do this in class if you have data projector and try to get students to explain the connections, like six degrees of seperations. For example, how did I start with avideo of Marrakesh and end up with one of Shakira dancing?

I really enjoy this tool. It's also really handy for finding new music that's connected to the music you already like. Just 'warp' a music video from YouTube that you like and start exploring the connections.

This tool will though access all and any YouTube videos, so keep that in mind when you consider using it with your students, especially younger ones.

Hope you enjoy this.

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Nik Peachey

Friday, 23 October 2009

Finding a Language Exchange Partner

I've just spotted another language exchange website to add to a rapidly growing list of these sites. Scrabbin is distinctive however, because it is one of the simplest I've seen and because it also offers people the chance to arrange face 2 face events and meetings.


It's very simple and free, you just create a profile, log in and then search for a suitable partner to exchange languages with.

When you create your profile you specify the kind of exchange you want to have, i.e. voice, email and / or face to face.


You then browse the profiles of the people who speak the language you want to learn and leave them a message to see if they want to partner you.

All very simple stuff. Does it work in terms of language learning? Well I guess that depeds on you and the partner you find, but at least it's a simple free way to find someone to practice using the language you want to learn with.

There doesn't seem to be any age restriction on the site and they do seem to take privacy quite seriously, but if you recommend this to your students I would still be very careful to make sure they know not to share personal information regarding their address etc and would caution against any one to one face to face meetings.

Hope you find Scrabbin useful.

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Nik Peachey

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Create Quick Online Polls

Vorbeo must be one of the quickest and easiest poll creators I've ever seen. All you need to do is to go to there website at: http://vorbeo.com/

Type in your question add different answers each one on a new line, choose your colour and size etc. As you do that, a code is generated lower down on the page.

When you are ready you simply copy the code into your web page or blog and publish it.


Users simply click on their answer and click vote and they are taken to a new page to see the results. try this one to see how it works:

Do you use technology in your classroom?
Yes - every day
Yes - sometimes
No - never
No - not very often
No but I get my students to use it outside the classroom


This is really no frills stuff, but it is simple, quick and easy and also free. You don't even need to register or part with your email address. All user responses are anonymous.

This is a great tool to use with students
  • All responses are anonymous so you can use this to get some honest feedback on your teaching if you are doing action research.
  • You can create opinion polls based on videos from YouTube (just embed the video and poll questions in your blog page) or text.
  • You can get students to create their own research polls for their peers and then discuss the results in class.
  • You can use it to get some feedback on your blog.
  • Students who write blogs can use it to get quick responses from readers.
  • You could even use it as a comprehension check for online text audio or video activities that you create for your students.
You can create a number of questions and embed the code for each one in the page, so you aren't limited to just one question, but you are limited in terms of giving students some response to their answer. They will only see how other people have responded so they won't know whether they are right or wrong.

I think this is a great simple tool that is really easy to use. I hope you find a good use for it. So what do you think?

Will you use Vorbeo
Yes
No
Maybe



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Nik Peachey

Friday, 9 October 2009

Using Movie Soundtracks in the EFL ESL Classroom

Using films and movies in class is a great way to encourage students to learn more language, so if you use them a lot then this site will be handy for you.


It's called MoMupl and it searches a database of movie sound tracks to help you find all the songs and music from films. You just type in the title of the movie and then click on the results to get a full list of the music tracks from that movie


You can then just play any of the tracks you want to hear in the browser.

This is a great tool that you can combine with the work you do on movies. Music is a very strong aid to memory, so you can use the music to prompt students to remember or it can just enhance the atmosphere of your lesson.

You can use this with students in a number of ways.
  • Find the sound track for a movie your students have been studying and play different tracks, then ask if they can remember what was happening in the part of the movie when this music was playing.
  • Use sounds tracks before the students watch the movie. Play them various clips and see what they can predict about the movie from the music. Get the students to create their own movie scenario from the different tracks.
  • Get students to find a sound clip from their favourite movie and tell others about it in class.
  • Use sound tracks from movies as the back ground for story telling.
  • Give students some exerts from movie scripts (download scripts from Drew's Script-O-Rama). Get them to read 4 or 5 short dialogues then play them a short exert from a sound track and see if they can match the sound track to the movie script.
I like MoMupl because it combines couple of my passions (music and film) and even if you don't use it with your students, it's still useful for finding out who it was that wrote the music you liked in the film that you watched.

I hope you find it useful.


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Nik Peachey

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Crazy Comparatives & Superlatives

I have to say that I used to dread teaching comparatives and superlatives and always found it really hard to think of something original to get my students interested, so when I saw this site I was really delighted. It's not only quite funny, but has some excellent materials for covering what can be a really dull language point.


The site is called the Universal Record Database and it is a collection of user generated and very unofficial world records. Anyone can go on the site and create their own world record. As proof they simply add an image or a video of themselves creating the record.

Here's a few examples:

Most People Simultaneously Drinking Out Of A Pineapple



The widest tongue


Most Handshakes Elicted From A Dog In 30 Seconds


Most Women Named Wendy To Eat At A Wendy's



There are lots of ways to use the Universal Record Database with students.
  • Show them some images and videos and see if they can guess what the record was.
  • Tell them the type of record and see if the can guess the number or amount (e.g. how wide is the widest tongue)
  • Get students to think of their own crazy records and create a picture or video to upload to the site.
  • Create your own class records and try to get each students to have a record.
  • Get students to try to break one of the records from the site.
  • Get students to find their favourite record on the site or the one they think is funniest and share it with the class, or blog about it.
The Universal Record Database certainly wasn't made for educational purposes, so be careful to check for appropriacy according to your students, but I think it's a wonderful example of the kind of bizare things you can use from the web. I know my daughter was always fascinated by the Guinness Book of World Records, so I'm pretty sure students will enjoy this and it will liven up those dull comparatives and superlatives class.

Anyway, here's my favourite record, Tallest Tower Of Humans Wearing One Sock Each, Brushing Teeth And Listening To 'Thriller'.



I hope you find this useful and have a lot of fun with your students.

Here you can find more than 100 online activities for EFL and ESL students

Related links:

Best

Nik Peachey

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Find Easy to Read Text for Lower Levels

I sometimes wonder why companies continue developing search engines when Google's dominance seems so complete, but every now and then I spot one that has a nice twist and that's the case with Twurdy.
Twurdy is actually based on Google, but it analyses Google results for readability, so it can help you to find more lower level texts for learners without you having to read through every result from Google to see if it's simple enough.


Just type in the topic of the text you need and click on your Twurdy type. You have a choice of three different Twurdy types. The differences are mainly speed (how fast you want your results) vs complexity (how thoroughly you want the results analysed) I would recommend choosing Twurdy with Pop as this will analyse the number of word on the page, length of sentences, number of syllables per word and also the popularity of the words in the text.

Getting more accurate results will save you time in the long run and even using Twurdy Pop isn't so slow.

The results will then be shown colour / shade coded and with a rating. Darker results are more complex texts and the lighter ones are easier. Then you just have to find one that your students will enjoy (or get them to find their own).


Twurdy is a great tool that can save you a lot of time if you are looking for authentic texts to use with lower level students. You could even let them find their own texts to replace the ones in your course book.

I hope it's useful for you.
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Nik Peachey

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Translate Shakespeare 2 Text Lingo 4 Twitter??

If like me you struggle with text and SMS or even Twitter lingo then transL8it will surely be a handy tool for you.

Simply type the text you want to translate into the field and then click on translate it. Your text will then appear translated in the filed next to it.

Or should I say?

Simply typ d txt U wnt 2 transl8 in2 d feLd & thN clik on transl8 it. yor txt wiL thN apEr transL8d n d filed NXT 2 it.


The translation works both ways so you can also feed in text messages and then translate them back to 'standard' English.

I couldn't resist trying this out with some Shakespeare so I took a short snippet of text from Tamming of the Shrew and translated it to text lingo

  • Here's what I put in:

    See, how they kiss and court! Signior Lucentio,
    Here is my hand, and here I firmly vow
    Never to woo her no more, but do forswear her,
    As one unworthy all the former favours
    That I have fondly flatter'd her withal.
  • And this is what I got:

    c, how dey :-* & court! Signior Lucentio,
    hEr iz my h&, & hEr I firmly vow
    nevr 2 woo her n mo, bt do forswear her,
    az 1 unworthy aL d formR favRz
    dat I hav fondly flatterd her withal.
I think this is a great tool to use with students to make short texts or dialogue a bit more interesting.
  • You could have them try to figure out the code and rules of translation being applied, then translate some of their own statements.
  • You could prepare some of your own lingo texts for students to translate back.
  • You could translate headlines from the news.
  • You could Tweet them text using Twitter and get them to translate and Tweet you back
This is a fun tool that you can use so easily in so many ways to make dealing with text a bit more entertaining and engaging for students.

I hope you enjoy it.
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Nik Peachey

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Comparing Texts to Aid Noticing

QuickDiff is an interesting tool that analyses differences in two very similar texts. It was actually developed for examining programming code, but could be a really useful tool to use with students to get them to look more closely at the texts they write and notice the mistakes and corrections and differences in the text.


You simply copy and paste your text into the two fields. Then make any changes in the left hand field.


Then you click on the compare button and the differences will be highlighted below.


  • You could use this as a simple marking tool to show students where their errors are, just by printing up the results, or you could try to get students spotting their own errors.
  • When your students submit their texts to you for correction you can make another copy of their work without any errors and then ask them to compare and find where you have made changes. Ask them to highlight any differences they find between the texts. Then ask them to paste their original text and your corrected text into the text fields in QuickDiff and see if they found all the differences.
  • You could also cut and paste a text from a news site or wikipedia and add some errors for students to find, then give them the source of the article and they can cut and paste into QuickDiff to see if they have found them all.

Remember though that the corrected text has to go in the left-hand field and the original in the right and you need to select 'Inline' before you click 'Compare'.

This is an interesting tool to get students looking more closely at their work and finding their own errors rather than just looking at their marks and moving on, and will help train them to 'notice' more about written text.

I hope you find it useful.

Here you can find more writing activities for EFL and ESL students

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Nik Peachey

Monday, 28 September 2009

Animated Music Videos for EFL

I came across these videos today while I was trawling through YouTube and was instantly struck by what great materials they would be for EFL ESL students.



I found two sets the first produced by musicANDmuffins and the second SereneRhapsody. There are five videos in each collection and they all use songs with quite clear simple lyrics. The animation is marvelous and clever, though very simple and clearly illustrates the meaning of the songs while showing the lyrics.


It really wouldn't take much work to turn each of these into a short language lesson, or you could use one as an example for your students and get them to draw simple illustrations for a song and create their own video.

These are fantastic authentic materials. Be sure to subscribe to their channel to find out when any new ones come along.

You can find video activities for EFL ESL students here.

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Best

Nik Peachey

Friday, 25 September 2009

A Speed Reader with a Library

I'm never really sure what the value of being able to read quickly is and whether this effects the amount of information you actually retain when you read, but I do know that getting EFL and ESL students to read in chunks and getting them to read as much as possible can be very beneficial to their language development.
I've come across quite a few online speed reading sites, but so far I think ReadSpeeder is the best. The interface is quite simply designed and easy to use. It looks just like the kind of controls you would find on a cassette or CD player. ReadSpeeder chunks the text and you can change the speed at which you see the chunks of the text or pause it and just click to got to the next phrase as you read.

The things that make ReadSpeeder special though are:
  • It has its own built in library, so there are loads of classic books that students can get started with straight away.


  • There is also a neat bookmarklet. You drag it to your toolbar, then whenever you get to a web page you want to speed read, you can just click on it and it will be played through ReadSpeeder.
  • If you register you can start adding and saving your own texts simply by cutting and pasting.
  • Perhaps best of all though is that you can access a dedicated mobile site (http://m.readspeeder.com) on i-phone or i-Pod Touch and access your saved books. This is a great feature as students can work alone at home or anywhere else on improving their reading. It's also quite a good way to read on an i-phone as it makes the text bigger.
As I said, I'm not sure if being able to read faster is such a great skill, but this is still a good way to get your students working through texts and trying to understand 'gist' without them stopping to check every word and also a good way to get them seeing text in chunks.
  • You could use it as I said above to get students to read for gist and just see how much of the text they understand after reading through one time.
  • You could use it as a way to get students to revise a text.
  • You could even get students to recite the text as they speed read it and gradually try to improve the speed. You might well have to start very slowly.
  • Some students can find this kind of time challenge motivating and it can encourage them to repeatedly read the same text to improve their speed.
Well, I hope your students enjoy trying ReadSpeeder. It may not be the best tool for every text they read, but it's a good way to add a bit of variety to your reading activities and to give students access to a tool they can use outside of class (if they have an i-Pod or i-Phone).

You can find 35 + online reading activities for EFL ESL students here.

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Nik Peachey

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Multimedia Travel Activities

What'sOnWhen is really useful travel site that allows students to find out about cultural events and places all around the world. You can either search by city or country, enter keywords and search or browse destination or the collection of videos related to specific events.

The content is really simple to access and is well organised and the video clips are small and short - not really appropriate for a single computer classroom, but great for students doing research or activities work in alone or in pairs on their computer.

There are a number of tasks you could set students using this material.
  • Get each student to think of a country or city they would like to visit, send them away to research an event that is happening in that city / country then they can come back to class tell other students about the event and try to persuade them to come to the event with them.
  • You could get students to browse through the video section watch some of the videos and decide which place they would most like to go to.
  • You could get students to research their own country, find out what events are being advertised and see if the information is accurate. They could then create their own content based around any events that happen in their country that have been missed, using the website entries as a model.
I really like the site because the information comes in different media and is very much split into the kinds of small digestible chunks that lend themselves to online study and language development.

This isn't a site that was designed for education so their is quite a bit of advertising, but your students will need to get used to noticing and ignoring that.

I hope you find it useful and your students enjoy it.

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Nik Peachey

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Web 2.0 Tools for EFL ESL Teachers

This has been a pretty busy week for me, mainly because I delivered my first online technology training presentation (8th September 2009) using the Adobe Connect Pro platform. I have to thank Jürgen Wagner and Verena Heckmann, e-learning specialists at the Landesinstitut für Pädagogik and Medien in Saarbrücken Germany, for offering me this opportunity to get online and promote and share some of the technological tools and activities I believe can be so helpful to EFL and ESL teachers.


The complete two hour session was recorded and can be viewed online (warts and all), so if you would like to hear me talking and displaying some of these tools then you can go to:
My advice is to jump the first 20 mins (Me defining Web 2.0) and get straight into the good stuff (the tools and how to use them).
  • I also prepared a 53 page booklet to go with presentation. and you can look over it below or you can download your own copy here: Web 2.0 Tools for Teachers (8Mb PDF)
Web 2.0 Tools for Teachers
Feel free to print and share the booklet or sections of it if you find it useful and by all means leave a comment if you have any suggestions for the next edition.

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Nik Peachey

Friday, 4 September 2009

Flashcards for ESL and EFL

Free ESL Flashcards is a simple site that delivers a very simple but really useful product for free. Flashcards! One of the most useful classroom tools every invented for language teaching!

There are loads of them on this site and they are really nicely drawn, easy print and quick to download. Most of all, like it says on the box, they are free.

The sets are listed alphabetically and hovering the mouse over the set title will show you what images are in the set.

Simply click on a set title to see the complete collection.

Then simply download the set at the size you want them.

This is a really handy resource put together by Eric. It does have some advertisements, well quite a lot, but then everyone has to eat, even Eric, and if you want to assist him in making a living you can leave a donation for him.

Great stuff Eric. Hope you are making a reasonable living from this.
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Nik Peachey

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