Friday, 29 August 2008

Training Teachers to Use Blogger

I've written about Russell Stannard's Teacher Training Videos site before, and as ever it continues to be a fantastic resource. I'm now glad to say that Russell has published a series of videos on how to use Blogger and set up your own blog.

Click to enlarge the image
The series of videos is divided into 16 clips in all and takes you from registering with the site all the way through to adding different page elements and importing video.

My favourite clip in the series though has to be number 2 where he talks about my Learning Technology blog!



The rest of the site is also well worth checking out too as there are a lot of other videos on useful topics.

If you have used blogs or wikis with students, I'd be interested to know which you find most effective., so please leave a comment.

Related postings:
Hope you enjoy the videos

Best

Nik Peachey


Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Ready Made Authentic Video materials For ESL EFL

If you like using authentic video materials with your students but don't have the time to put together the materials then this could be the site for you.

Yolango has a huge collection of short video clips from a whole range of sources and they come complete with transcription and a range of language learning activities for each clip.

Anybody visiting the site can watch the clips and read the transcriptions, but if you register and log in you can also get access to 'fill in the blank', comprehension questions and vocabulary definition type exercises. Students are graded on these exercises and get the results on a scoreboard.

This is a great way to set motivating homework for your EFL ESL students and make sure that they do it and see how well they do it.

The collection of clips available is very varied and there are many that would be ideal for Business English students too.


When I first checked this site out a few months back there were some clips that were of a more adult nature, but I can't see these anymore. All the same be careful with less mature students. Certainly a great site for adult learners though.

Related postings:


Best

Nik Peachey

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

A Virtual World for Facebook Users

Do you want to show your virtual EFL ESL students images, videos from YouTube or just chat with them all within a 3D environment that runs in your web browser. Well now you can.

I've just been playing with Vivaty a new 3D virtual world that runs from within your web browser with only a minimal download (4.5Mb).



The strange thing about it though is that it runs from within Facebook!

Despite this it's quite good and quite easy to set up and customise. You can also easily add pictures or videos to your own personal room. Within a few mins I had managed to add a TV screen to my room and configure it to play a video from my YouTube channel.

Here's my avatar watching me doing a video presentation!

Once you've downloaded the 4.5Mb program and installed it, you simply log into your face book account and your room appears at the bottom of your profile page and you just click to enter the room.

There are also a selection of other rooms that you can visit if you want to meet other people to chat with.
Vivaty certainly doesn't have the rich graphics and degree of customisation that you can get from something like Second Life, but it is a much smaller download, runs in your browser (Internet Explorer only - Sorry MAC only users!) and or use with EFL ESL students, it is much safer (that's if you trust Facebook to protect your privacy!).

For me though, the strongest thing in its favour is the potential to watch, share and chat about videos whilst in a simple online environment.

Related links:
Best

Nik Peachey

Monday, 25 August 2008

Another Great New Karaoke Site

Getting ESL EFL students singing songs is a great way to improve their pronunciation, so here's another great karaoke site (the 3rd in a month) that has been brought to my attention.

This one is called Karaoke Party and is a little different, for a couple of reasons, the main one being that if you register, you can actually get a score for your singing when you hit the right notes.

This could make the whole activity more motivating for learners as the site is giving them some feedback on their performance. If you got a whole class logged in they could learn their songs at home and compete for the highest score.

I also like that the site has embedded YouTube videos of the original singers for many of the songs, so students can listen to the original and look at the lyrics ( They usually appear under the video clip) before they try to sing themselves.

The site doesn't have servers available in every country yet, but even if you can't register and get a score the lyrics, video and audio to sing along with are still available.

So, no more excuses. Get singing!

Related postings:
Transcribed Videos for EFL ESL
Karaoke with a Social Network
Great New Karaoke Site

Best

Nik Peachey

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Social Networks and the Web 2.0 Revolution: Part 2

Back in July08 I published a presentation on my YouTube channel called 'Social Networks and the Web 2.0 Revolution'.

The presentation attracted quite a lot of attention and comments, one of the main one being a request for the links to the sites I mentioned in the presentation.



So here are links a a quick summary of the sites I mentioned. Inclusion in this list doesn't necessarily imply an endorsement of these sites. The presentation was intended to be informative of what is happening in the world of Web 2.0 and language learning and what is becoming possible. When exploring these sites I still recommend that you be aware of the cautions which I mentioned at the end of the presentation.

Anyway, hope you find these interesting.
  • Big Think is a video debating website that allows users to exchange opinions on some of the major issues of our time. To get tips and teaching suggestions for this site go to:
  • http://nikpeachey.blogspot.com/2008/01/video-debating-website.html
  • Flickr is an image hosting and sharing website that allows you to create an account upload your images. You can also search the huge database of images. The creative commons section is particularly useful for teachers looking for images to use in online media or teaching materials.
  • Games With a Purpose (GWAP) is a fantastic gaming website that has a variety of different ‘intelligent’ games which can be played collaboratively or competitively with online partners. To find out more see:
  • http://nikpeachey.blogspot.com/2008/05/games-with-purpose-and-social-network.html
  • Teacher Tube is a video sharing website dedicated to teachers. It allows teachers to upload video and accompanying materials. It provides a ‘safe’ and friendly environment for educational sharing.
  • http://nikpeachey.blogspot.com/2007/04/teachertube.html
  • Sound transit is a wonderful site that allows users from around the world to share the sounds of their culture and environment. To get tips and teaching suggestions for this site go to:
  • http://nikpeachey.blogspot.com/2008/03/soundscapes-from-soundtransit.html
  • MonkeySee is a video sharing website for people who want to visually show how to do something. It contains a wide variety of tutorial and lesson videos from teaching dance, how to play musical instruments, through to developing business skills or even how to build a sandcastle. To get tips and teaching suggestions for this site go to:
  • http://nikpeachey.blogspot.com/2008/01/using-how-to-videos.html
  • Podomatic is a site that enables anyone to produce and record their own podcast show. The site also hosts the audio or video media.
  • 280 Slides is an online presentation tool which enables you to develop quite complex slide show presentations and either download them or host and play deliver them online.
  • Voice thread is a unique site that allows you to post images and add accompanying audio. User are then able to add audio and text comments to the presentation. To get tips and teaching suggestions for this site go to:
  • http://nikpeachey.blogspot.com/2007/09/interactive-presentations.html
  • Babbel is a vocabulary building site that enables users to develop their vocabulary through multimedia image recognition. The site also has a social network perspective.
  • Voxswap is a simple social networking site that allows users to log in and teach each other languages.
  • Guardian Languages is a site that puts language learners in touch with native speakers so that they can get help with their language development. It uses VOIP and video conferencing. Potential teachers can charge learners for lessons.
  • Palabea allows any speaker of any language to become a teacher and learner. Teachers can set up their own online classrooms and import multimedia materials to share with their students.
  • CourseLab provides free software which teachers / materials writers and developers can download to create their own multimedia course materials. The software provides a range of interactive activity types. Tasks are easy to construct and no programming knowledge is required.
Related links:
Best

Nik Peachey

News Videos for EFL ESL Materials Design

Great new for those of you who like developing authentic EFL ESL materials around news clips.

CNN is now making available an embed code from each of it's video news clips, so we can now embed these into blog pages or online multimedia materials and develop great authentic and up to date EFL ESL learning materials for our students.

Here's a nice example of what the embedded player looks like.


Any ideas about how you would use this? By all means send in suggestions.

For those of you who aren't sure how to embed a video, have a look at my learning technology blog at:Tutorial: Using Videos from YouTube

The tutorial refers to YouTube, but it works pretty much in the same way.

Related postings:
Best

Nik Peachey

Friday, 22 August 2008

Fantastic Free E-Books for EFL and ELT

Wow! This is like having a complete ELT library at your finger tips and it's all free! PDF Geni is search site that gives you free access to PDF e-books all of which are freely available on the web.

It isn't limited to ELT and can be used to search for any subject. I had a look for a few things which might be useful for EFL / ESL teachers and found loads of free materials.

Check out these searches:
This is really useful stuff and all free.

Visit PDF Geni

Best

Nik Peachey

Great New Karaoke Site

I was really pleased to be offered a sneak preview of the fantastic new Lucky Voice Karaoke website which is still in private beta.

Karaoke can be really motivating for some students and as we all know, song is a great way to improve our EFL / ESL students' pronunciation.

The site itself has a really easy to use interface. Once you select a song to sing along with it comes up in a big pop up window which you could display full screen on an interactive whiteboard if you are brave enough to work with a whole class on a song. The words of the song change colour as you should sing them.

You get a bit of help on the chorus, when the original singers join in. If you are using this with students it might be a good idea to play the complete song by the original singer before starting to get them to work on the songs on the site. That way they'll get a better sense of the timing and when to start singing.

You can find more ideas for using karaoke with EFL / ESL students on my Learning Technology blog posted under the title of 'Karaoke with a Social Network'

The selection of songs is also quite broad with quite a lot of up to date songs as well as some older classics. They also have some ready created playlists which are quite handy.

This will certainly be a useful site once it goes public and is one of the best designed Karaoke sites I've seen.

I hope you and your students are able to enjoy it soon.

Related postings:
Transcribed Videos for EFL ESL
Karaoke with a Social Network

Best

Nik Peachey

Transcribed Videos for EFL ESL

EFL / ESL students really enjoy watching video clips but often find authentic materials difficult to cope with due to the variety of accents and the speed with which native speakers communicate.

Yappr offers a good solution to this problem with a huge collection of transcribed video clips. As students watch the clip, they see the script appearing in a window alongside.

The videos are separated by level; easy - medium - hard and are also categorised by theme, such as sport, cartoons, nature etc. There is a 'sexy' category too, but this is mainly made up of music videos and commercials and I don't think there is anything particularly 'adult' about it.

You can watch all the movie clips without registering, but if you do register there is a social networking element to the site and you can also get involved with uploading and transcribing videos for the site.

This is a really useful tool for students and teachers. It would be nice if you could turn off the transcription and try to get students to work it out for themselves first, but if you wanted to do this, you could just find the same clip on YouTube and then send the students to Yappr to check their transcription.

Hope you enjoy this.

Related postings:
Best

Nik Peachey

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Wonderland Virtual World and MMORPG

Wonderland looks like a great free online role playing game for younger students. The game is based around the story of some travelers who become shipwrecked and have to survive by doing various tasks, quests and challenges. The graphics look like the typical Japanese manga cartoons which are so popular with kids and teens.


What I really like about this is that the 'things to do' type quests and challenges are already there and built in so , unlike virtual worlds like Second Life and There.com you and your students don't have to think up things to do.

I think this is really good motivating game to get students using English to solve problems and work collaboratively. If you can get your students hooked on a game like this they'll do the learning for themselves.

On the negative side, they will need to download the software and that's over 500Mb, so they'll need broadband and a reasonably up to date computer. The game is also quite complex and I can't find any information regarding minimum ages for registration.

That said, if your students are keen gamers and have an intermediate level of English or higher and you want to motivate them to work on their own, this could be a wonderful tool for getting them to do that.

Best

Nik Peachey

Related postings

My eBooks & Lesson Plans