Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Creative Commons Images

Fotonauts must be one of the most attractive photo sharing websites I've seen for a long time and it is especially good because of the focus on using creative commons licensed images.

There are some beautiful images from all over the world and each album has information about the topic and links to Google maps so you can see where the image comes from.

The site is beautifully designed with a really nice interface and slide show feature. You can also create widgets of the slide shows to embed into web pages (I couldn't actually get this to work on mine though).
If there's a problem with the site then it's the lack of a search tool, which seems a strange omission on a site aimed at organising and sharing images! Fotonauts is still in beta though, so perhaps this will soon be resolved.

This is a site that must be worth keeping an eye on if you use images regularly in your teaching.

Hope you enjoy it.

Related links:

Nik Peachey

Second Earth | Life

Just spotted this very interesting video about a mash up between Second Life and Google Earth. Best to watch and listen to the video to find out more.

This is a really nice development and is going to make those geography field trips from the classroom so much more interesting. I found the video on the Hackshaven Youtube channel, where you can find quite a few more videos if your interested in Second Life and its educational potential. Hackshaven also has a pretty interesting blog about Second Life called Hack's Haven. Some interesting articles there and also some pretty interesting Education related Delicious links too.

So if you have some spare time and want to keep up with what' happening in Second Life, it's well worth a look.

Related links:

Nik Peachey

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Create Flashcard Packs

I've been trying out Muchobeets (strange name) free flashcard creator, and apart from a few hiccups, it looks like a useful tool.

You can choose from three different types:
  • Regular - Topic related notes that should help you to remember facts and figures etc.
  • Vocabulary - These are for recording and revising vocabulary using a word with an example and definition.
  • Picture - These enable you to upload images, which user then click on to find the word / sentence associated with the image. The students then see the images and click on them to find the word / text.

I tried creating some image ones, but my images were much too large, so be sure to use small image files if you choose to create these.

They are very quick and easy to create (you do have to register first though) and once you've created a pack of flashcards you can either email them to yourself or your students.

There are actually quite a lot of packs already there including the 'Hot SAT List' which students might find pretty useful.
This looks like a pretty simple but useful free tool for vocabulary revision or revision of any sort. I particularly like that you can email the revision packs to students.

I hope you can use it.

Related links:

Nik Peachey

Merging and Filtering Information Feeds

I've just been having a look at a tool called Grazer which can help you to stream line your RSS subscriptions and filter the results. This can be really helpful if you are looking for information on a specific topic and drawing on a wide range of sources.

Here' an example I created which searches all three of my own blogs and delivers results of postings which include information or resources on video. You can then create a widget like the one below which can be imported into your blog, homepage or social network profile.

Grazer has some free options as well as paid for ones. Basically paid for will give you a lot more storage of what it refers to as reading lists (a collections of feeds) and streams. The streams can be filtered around specific topics and then used to create widgets.

It sounds much more complicated than it is, so it's worth watching some of their video tutorials to find out how easy it is. You can find them in the section called 'Tour'.

You'll have to part worth an email to register and start creating your lists and streams, but they seem to be taking care of people's privacy and information, so that's good.

On the whole this is a pretty handy tool, Shame you have to pay for the premium services, but I guess that's life.

Hope you find it useful.

Related links:

Nik Peachey

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Teachers' Stories

I've just noticed a really nice new feature on the British Council | BBC TeachingEnglish website. It's called Teachers' Stories and has a small collection of video interviews with teachers talking about how they became interested in English language and language teaching.

You can find the Teachers' stories within the 'Transform' section and at the moment there are 4 videos, two from teachers in Ethiopia, one from India and another from Czech Republic.

Nice features of these videos are that you can leave comments for the teacher, there are a couple of reflection tasks for teachers to do and best of all teachers are also invited to start their own blog on the site and share their experiences and stories. There are even some tips on how to write a good blog posting from your truly!

Hope you enjoy these.

Related links:

Nik Peachey

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Recording Skype Calls

I haven't had a chance to try this yet as there isn't a MAC version available at present, but it does look like a very useful addition for anyone who uses Skype on a PC and wants to record calls. If you're wondering why anyone might want to do this I did write a posting for teachers on why this might be handy (See: Skype Part 1 Recording Audio) for creating your own audio materials etc.

Anyway, the Skype Call Recorder is free and at least according to their website blurb seems pretty good. It can record more than one stream at a time into separate files, which might be handy and then saves them as mp3.

There are some good installation instructions on the site too. You can download the whole thing as a zip file and at only 1.4 Mb, it seems like it may well be worth checking out.

Let's hope there's soon something like this for MAC users too.

Related links:


Nik Peachey

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Plagiarism Checker

Ever suspect that your students work might not be all their own work? Ever feel that someone is copying your work and then publishing it online?

Well now you have a way of checking. The Plagiarism Checker is a handy online tool that you can use to check out who is copying who. Just cut and paste some of the suspect text into the text field and click on the 'Check the paper' button.

Very simple, free and quick. I hope it's useful.

Related links:

Nik Peachey

Resources for Continuing Professional Development

It's great to see that Teachers TV has released a series of video and support materials for for CPD leaders | Teacher Trainers. There's a good collection of quite varied material for the development of both primary and secondary teachers.

Some of the clips look quite long (up to 30 mins) for web delivery, but you can download them if you register and log in. There are also a range of support materials to go with each of the topics explored in the videos.

There are some interesting ones there now on assessment and next month they will be uploading videos and presentations on ICT and modern foreign languages, all of which sound pretty interesting.

There is also a group for CPD leaders which you might think of joining if you'd like to get advice or do some networking with other training professionals.

You can find more information at:

This is a useful resource. It's a shame they don't offer an embed code so these could be embedded in other materials, but I guess you can't have everything for free.

Hope you find these useful

Related links:

Nik Peachey

Thursday, 11 December 2008

US Culture Blog from VOA

I've just been having a look an interesting blog from Voice of America journalist Ted Landphair.

The blog has a good collection of well written articles with some really nice images, that go behind the stereotyped view of the USA.

The postings are quite long and the English is quite challenging so they are probably best used with higher level EFL ESL students, though they are nicely chunked into sections with good clear paragraph headings, and the way the images are used with good captions, supports the overall understanding of the text.

You could divide the text up for split reading and get different students to read each chunk and then share what they have learned in groups.

Ted also includes a 'wild words' section which gives definitions of some of the more challenging words in the text, so they have made some provision for people whose first language isn't English.
I have to say that I found the blog pretty interesting (but I am in my 40s) and really liked the images. I created this activity, Where in America?, based around it for my Daily English Activities Blog.

Hope you like and enjoy reading Ted Landphair's America.

Related links:

Nik Peachey

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Coffee With Kim Anubis

This Sunday 14th December (GMT 18.00 = 10.00 PST) will see the third in our series of 'Coffee With ..' educational chat shows on Edunation III in Second Life, so please do come along, join our audience and meet other people interested in developing education and learning within Second Life.

In this show I'll be interviewing Kim Anubis (aka: Kimberly Rufer-Bach) is owner, designer & producer of The Magicians (, a 3D interactive software development company that specializes in creating innovative Second Life content.

Kim is also co-author of 'Creating Your World: The Official Guide to Advanced Content Creation for Second Life'. Some of her company's clients include:
In the show Kim will be talking about the potential of Second Life for educational development and will be helping us to understand what's involved in working with a development company and managing projects within Second Life.

This is a unique opportunity to come along an interact with one of the leading developers within Second Life.

If you would like to come along and watch the show and join in the discussion, then go along to Edunation III and click the sign-up terminals or email Gavin at: The event is free, but we are limited to 100 places. The show starts at GMT = 18.00 (GMT is 8 hours ahead of Second Life time, so that's 10.00 PST and 19.00 CET)

If you don't have a Second Life avatar but would like to know how to set one up then you can download instructions from here. Setting up a Second Life avatar

Related links:

Nik Peachey

Friday, 5 December 2008

Edublog Awards 2008 Nomination

Well wonder of wonders, my Learning Technology Blog has been nominated for an Edublog Award.
It's been nominated within the Best Resource Sharing category, which means there is some VERY stiff competition. To be honest, my money ( and actually my nomination) is on Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day/ but it's still nice that someone has seen fit to nominate one of my blogs.

If you haven't already, it's well worth checking out the list of blogs that have been nominated as there's some really excellent ones there, which makes it that much more of an honour to get one of mine in there. You can see all the categories here: Edublog Awards 2008

And you can see my nominations here: My nominations

Hope you find some interesting stuff there.

Related links:

Nik Peachey

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

ESL Information Digests

I've just been browsing through the website of the Centre for Adult English Language Acquisition (CAELA) and although it couldn't possibly be described as fun and sexy, there is a lot of potentially really useful information there especially for anyone involved in teacher training and development.

There are 72 quick Q & A digests that deal with a broad range of subjects from methodology to program design and technology.

There's also a handy Tools section that has guidance for Instructors and Program developers.

You can email in a question and get it answered at Ask CAELA and even sign up for a free newsletter.

Hope you find something useful there.

Related links:

Nik Peachey

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Are You a Celebrity Lookalike?

This is a nice site that you can use to have some fun with your students and of course to generate some language and learning activities. It's called Celebrity Matchup. All you do is choose the gender and then upload a picture of yourself or one of your students. The site then scans their image and selects a set of celebrities that they look like. Here are some of my matches!
Can't really say I'm flattered! I also tried matching myself to female celebrities (just curiosity) and got these results. Could I really be the Carmen Electra of ELT? Um! Doubt it!

Well I'm not really sure that Celebrity Matchup works, but I think you could have a lot of fun and discussion with your students deciding which is the closest match and what the differences and similarities of the facial features are. I'm sure there's a really good facial characteristics lesson in there somewhere with lots of vocabulary.

Anyway, if you or your students really like the matches you get you can even get a widget to add your results to your blog or website.
Just by clicking on the image you see above once you've matched up and pasting the code into your blog.

Well I hope you enjoy that and match up to some flattering celebrities, but do watch out for the advertising.

Related links:

Nik Peachey

Monday, 1 December 2008

Monty Python on YouTube

This is great news. Monty Python team at last have their own Monty Python channel on YouTube. For as long as video has been used in the ELT classroom, I'm sure that Monty Python videos have been part of that and they can now be found at legitimate and stable locations on YouTube.

Here's the team telling you a little bit more about the reasons for this development.

So far there are 24 clips on the channel. Each one is about 3 mins long and of good quality. They are also allowing access to the embed code for anyone who wants to embed them into blogs and websites. I have to admit, that not all of these are suitable for use with students, but the Job Interview is there and also Ministry of Silly Walks

For those of you with a real appatite for all things Python, you can also see lots of news and other information at Pythonline

Hope you enjoy this from the originators of SPAM.

Related links:

Nik Peachey

Rod Bolitho on TeachingEnglish

Over the last few months the BBC | British Council's TeachingEnglish website has been featuring a number of the ELT greats from the UK. These have included both Jane Willis and Dave Willis, as well as Barry Tomalin and most recently Mario Rinvolucri.

This month the guest blogger will be Rod Bolitho. Each feature includes video interviews, biography and almost daily blog postings.

Here Rod talks about the future of English language teaching and the growing relevance of CLIL

This is a great opportunity for teachers all around the world to learn from and interact with some really first rate UK ELT experts. You can see the rest of Rod's interview here: Rod Bolitho Interview

Hope you manage to get along.

Related links:


Nik Peachey