Friday, 31 July 2009

How to Create Bomomo Art

Bomomo is a fantastic online tool for creating colourful abstract images in just a few seconds.

Bomomo looks like an online Paint program, and it is very similar, but it has a very interesting collection of tools for drawing, which make it hard to control but also very creative.

You simply select your tool and then click on the canvas. Try moving the mouse around before and after you click and then try clicking and holding down the mouse keeping it in a single position and then dragging it. This will create different effects with each of the different tools.

I felt I got my best results by creating a colourful background first using this tool (see below) if you click on the screen and hold down then drag you will get wide bands of vertical colour. If you then repeat that you'll get wide bands of horizontal colour. This makes a good background for some of the other tools and the patterns they can create.

This one creates nice circles if you click and hold the mouse at a static point.

Another of my favourites is this one which creates vertical and horizontal shapes where ever you click. Try holding the mouse down and dragging it too.

You can also get some interesting bubble effects with this tool.

The best thing to do is experiment withe the various tools and see what they do and which effects work best together.

If you don't like what you get just click and get a new canvas. If do like what you've got then just click and save your work as jpg file or a png.

It's really that easy. Once you have created your images you can either use them as backgrounds for banners or just to liven up dull pages.

So how can we use this tool in the EFL classroom?
  • Well you could create some images for your students and see if they can associate them with words or feelings.
  • They could discuss which ones they like.
  • They could create there own to express different feelings or link them to abstract concepts like fear, love, independence etc and so create a graphic vocabulary.
  • They could try to write a short poem or haiku and link it to an image.
  • You could also just use it to decorate the classroom or a class website or blog.
I hope you enjoy playing with this tool.

Here you can find more image based activities for EFL ESL students

Related links:

Nik Peachey

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Create an ESL EFL Video Quiz is a great free site that enables you to create your own quizzes based on video clips from popular sharing sites like YouTube or BlipTV.

You have to register and log in and then you just grab embed codes for the video you want to build you quiz around. The site is multilingual so it doesn't just have to be an English language video.

Then you just add your questions and then embed the finished quiz into your blog or site. There are instructions here telling you how to create your own video quiz

As well as this the site has a huge collection of quizzes that have already been created by users and you can grab the code for these and add them to your blog. As users create quizzes they also classify and level them so it makes it very easy to choose something for your class even if you are in a hurry.

Here's an example one.

You can also register and create your own 'class' on the site. which you can then invite your students to, so that you control which quizzes they do.

This is a great and simple way to create motivating online tasks for your students and it's totally free. It also allows you to produce materials at home that your students can watch at home in schools where YouTube is blocked.

The only problem I had with it was that some of the video clips are restricted geographically by YouTube, but if you are creating your own for students in your country then you'll soon realise what is and isn't available.

I hope you enjoy this site and create lots of great quizzes.

Related links:

Nik Peachey

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

How to Make a Word Search Puzzle for your Blog

If your students like doing Word Searches, then The Ultimate Word Search Maker could be just the thing for you.

It enables you to quickly and easily create your own Word Search Puzzles and embed them into your blog.

Here's an example I created for you to try out. Just click on the first and last letters of the words when you find them.

The puzzles are very easy to make. You simply go to the Word Search Maker site type in the words you want and the site will produce the puzzle grid for you with the words underneath it.

You then simply copy either a link or an embed code and add it to your site.

This is a really simple tool to use for those of you keen on Word Searches. For me the biggest problem with it is that it includes the words that students have to look for, so it is just a test of word recognition.
I would prefer to be able to produce Word Searches that don't have the words included so that students have to think a little more around the topic and mentally revise their existing vocabulary on the topic.

Well I guess you can't have everything and it is after all free, so..

Hope you find The Ultimate Word Search Maker useful.

Related links:

Nik Peachey

Monday, 27 July 2009

Writing Around a Video Clip

My Movie Moment is a tool designed for Father's day, though I'm not sure I would want one of these clips for a Father's Day gift! It enable you to put yourself into one of six famous film clips, simply by uploading an image of yourself. Here's one of me talking about my working day!

My Movie Moment is simple to use. You just select the clip you want to use and watch it, then click on 'Star in this Clip' and upload your photo.

Then size it so that your face fills the field using the tools on the right.

Once you have done this more the markers over the parts of the face. Click on 'Continue' and the movie should be ready.

To save your movie you click on 'Share' then either get the URL, or click 'Grab' to get an embed code.

How do we use this with students?
Much as I don't think these are great Father's day gifts or appropriate for younger learners you could use them with your students as prompts for creative writing.

Get your students to create a clip using their own image. Then they should write a story of the context surrounding the clip, i.e.
  • What's happening?
  • Who are the people?
  • Why are they there?
  • What happened before the clip?
  • What happens next?
  • etc
This is a good way to get students using contrasting time structures and tenses in a reasonably creative and imaginative way. This is likely to work better if they haven't seen the films as they won't try to rely on the film story.

They could upload their writing to a blog and add the the clip by embedding it in the blog or website page. As I said I think some of the clips could be a bit inappropriate for younger learners, so have a look at them all and check them for suitability before you get your students on the site.

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

Related links:

Nik Peachey

Friday, 24 July 2009

Record Online WebCam Interviews with Wetoku

I've just been trying out a great new tool called Wetoku. Wetoku is a video conferencing tool which enables one to one live communication which can easily be recorded and then saved for comment or embedded into blogs or websites.

Here's an example of what the finished product looks like. This was a quick interview I tried with Graham Stanley of the British Council in Barcelona. (The width of the player is 514 pix so it doesn't fit so well in my 400 pix content column)

You can see the compete video here on the Wetoku site

Creating an interview is really easy. You just log in to the Wetoku site (still in beta at time of writing) Click on 'Start Your Interview' add the information about who is being interviewed etc. Then click 'Next'.

You should then go to the interview interface and get a link to send to your interviewee (by email).

Once the click the link they'll appear next to you and you just need to click on the record button and start your interview.

When you are finished, stop the recording and watch it. you can then either record it again or click 'Done'. When you click 'Done' you'll see the interview and be able to share it using the URL or embed code. Visitors to the site can also leave comments on the interview.

All your video interviews are stored in your profile and it is possible to go back and edit the information on them, but not the video itself.

How can we use this with students?
This is a fantastic tool for setting homework or distance learning assignments for our students.
  • They can interview each other in pairs then post the videos and you can leave feedback for them in the comments section.
  • You can record short video tutorials with them and they can watch afterwards and review.
  • You can create interviews for them to watch and comment on them.
  • They can create their own interviews for their blogs
This ability to record and watch the interviews again / comment on them makes this a really useful teaching tool. The sound quality is pretty good so students can really hear them selves quite clearly. This is an ideal tool for getting them to reflect on and try to improve their performance.

I hope you enjoy this tool and please feel free to leave any suggestions or links to interviews you create below.

Related links:

Nik Peachey

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Create Spelling Games and Tests

Spelling City looks misleadingly simple but is really a fantastic site for creating or getting students creating their own interactive multimedia word tests, games and practice activities.

Students simply type in the words that they want to revise and then decide which of the three modes they want to use.

The three modes are:

1. Test - In test mode the students get a simple audio test. They can hear either the word in isolation or in a sentence and they have to type it into the field. This is a great test to use with words that sound similar as it can give students the opportunity to test their ability to hear the difference both in isolation or in the context of a sentence.
2. Teach - In the teach mode the students hear the word alone and in a sentence and then the word is spelled out for them.

3. Play - In the game mode the students have the choice of a range of games that they can use to develop their ability to use the word in context or just test the recall of the words and ability to recognise them.

Matching activity

Hang Mouse
How about using this with students?
  • You can either get students working alone on Spelling City revising their vocabulary or if you have an interactive whileboard or data projector in class you can create the tests in class in response to the new vocabulary demands of your students during class. just collect any new words that come up during the class and towards the end of class or at the beginning of the next get the words up on the board and click to create some interactive tests live in class. Just add your words then click to test, teach or play a game. If you use a game you can click the small icon in the top right corner to see the game full screen on the board.
  • Many of the games will also provide a print friendly version of the activity for you to print and use in class, so you caould also use this tool to creat a range of paper based word game activities too.
Spelling City is a great tool that can really help EFL ESL students with their spelling, vocabulary, listening and receptive pronunciation. Would be marvelous if you could download and save the activities that are generated, but I guess you can't have everything.

I'm also not sure how big the database of words and audio sentences is, so I'm not sure what kind of coverage this would have for higher levels, but for lower level learners and for kids, I'm sure it's a winner. Hope you find it useful.
Related links:


Nik Peachey

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Online Games for Kids

In our rush to find and report on what's new we can often overlook a lot of really valuable resources that have been around a while and stood up to the test of time. Often these older sites and resources have survived for only one reason - because they a really good!

Kindersite is one such site. Kindersite was created by Joel Josephson and it focuses on collecting and categorising web based games and resources which are suitable for educational use with children. There is a huge collection there now and every time I look I find something new.

You can also sign up to a newsletter list to keep up on what's happening
Newsletter list

Kindersite is a really great resource with lots of really useful games for kids. I hope you enjoy it and I'm sure you will find something useful.

Here you can find games based activities for language learning

Related links:

Nik Peachey

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Get the News Through Images

Images are a great way to create curiosity and get students interested in finding out more about a topic, that's why The Photo Stream could be such a handy tool for getting students interested in reading short news stories.

The site shows the images connected to news stories from all over the Internet. When you put the cursor over an image a brief summary / teaser text appears.

If you click on the image you can go to the story at its original source. The story will appear with a Photo Stream frame at the top and here you can click on 'Comments' and leave a comment about the story.

You just need to have an email address (which doesn't appear) to post your comment.

There are many ways you can use this with students:
  • In class you can show students the most recent images (using a data projector) and summaries and see which ones they would most like to read. They could discuss and vote on the one they most want to read and argue about why. Then click and print the story for them.
  • Before showing the site you could get them to predict what images they will see based upon what they know is happening in the news. Give points for correct guesses.
  • Show the images and ask the Sts to guess what the story is about and what information will be contained. Then print some or get students to read and check the stories to see if they were correct.
  • Get students to read an article then post a summary as a comment.
The main thing to be careful of with this site is the images may well be inappropriate for younger learners, so think carefully before letting your students loose on the site.

You can find 30 + more reading activities for EFL ESL students here.

Related links:

Nik Peachey

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Get Kids Animating

Animation tools seem to be getting better and simpler to use every day and this one by Anithings is a great example of that.

It's designed for young learners to enable them to create short animated narrative clips. There's a nice video tutorial here showing how easy it is to create a short animated clip.

You'll need to have Adobe Air installed and then it is just a very quick download and you are then ready to start animating.

There are some useful PDF guidelines on how to use it which you can download from the site too.
There's a catch though, Anithings is still in beta and once it is finished the final version will cost money. Shame they can't think of a more up-to-date business model! Best download it now and get using it, if you can live with the bugs.

You can find some nice examples here of what kids in UK have been doing with the software.

Related links:


Nik Peachey

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

What are you Wanted for?

I just came across this collection of fun photo adapting tools and thought this one that enables you to create a 'Wanted' poster from your own image could be a useful one to use with students or on teacher training courses.

It's really easy to use, you just upload an image and then write in your own caption. You can then download and print the images or add them to blogs or web pages.

There are a number of ways you could use this with your students:

  • As a writing prompt - Get them to create their own 'Wanted' poster with their own captions and then exchange the posters and get someone else in the class to write the story of how they became 'Wanted'.
  • As a speaking prompt - Get students to create and print their wanted poster and then create their own fictional story of how they became 'Wanted'. See which students can create the best story.
  • For self-evaluation and reflection - Get students to think about their weaknesses and select one weakness they would like to work on improving . They should add this as the caption, then get them to think of how improving that weakness will help them and add this as the reward (they will need to be concise). They can then print their 'Wanted' posters and hang them up in class around the walls as reminders of what they need to focus on. The students could then look at each other's posters and offer each other tips and advice on how they can improve. This can work well with teacher training sessions too.

I hope you make some useful wanted posters and be sure to check out some of the other ways in which you can adapt your images here. Do leave a comment if you came up with some good ideas for how to use them and let me know which ones are your favourites.

Related links:

Nik Peachey