Thursday, 17 August 2017

Build Professional Level Online and Blended Courses with this Free Plugin

H5P is a tool for building complete courses with a wide variety of interactive task types. The tool works as a plug in with a range of platforms including Moodle, Drupal and Wordpress (all of which have free versions available) .


It’s very easy to install the plug in (took me less than 5 mins with Wordpress) and once this is done  you can choose any of the interactive elements to add to your pages.


The activities the plug in produces are html5 so they will run equally well on both desktop and mobile platforms. Many of the activity types are also ideal for language learning and the development of multimedia content.

There are great tools for creating interactive video based quizzes, presentations, audio responses, a variety of games and text manipulation activities.

If you look at the content types here you’ll see examples of each one as well as some information about how to use them.


For such a powerful tool, the learning curve on creating the activities is quite gentle and you should be able to start producing content quite quickly. H5P is open source and there is a good community of developers sharing expertise on the support forums if you get stuck.

It is also a tool that’s being developed so it’s likely that it will continue to improve. So if you want to start building your own blended learning or online courses this could be a great tool to do the job.

I hope you enjoy building fantastic courses with H5P. You can find links to many more tools like this and activities for the digital classroom in my ebooks at: http://peacheypublications.com/. All my ebooks are available for iOS and as PDF.



Sign up for my twice monthly free newsletter and get a free copy of Digital Tools for Teachers at: https://tinyletter.com/technogogy/ 

Related links:
 Best

Nik Peachey

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Make Your Worksheets Digital in Minutes

Telegra.ph is a simple to use tool that can enable you to turn your Word worksheets into online multimedia documents in just a few moments.

Go to the site and add a title, your name and the text of your worksheet. Highlight the text to get formatting options for making the text more attractive or adding links.



Click on a new line and look for the icons to add a video or an image to the worksheet. You can either upload an image from your hard-drive or add a link to a video and then click on ‘Enter’ on your keyboard and the video will appear in the worksheet.

Then just click on ‘Publish’ and you have your worksheet online. Be sure to save the link to the document. You can then either go back and edit it later or just share it with your students. There is no login or registration required. The worksheet can only be edited in the same browser you created it in.

I hope you enjoy using Telegra.ph. You can find links to many more tools like this and activities for the digital classroom in my ebooks at: http://peacheypublications.com/. All my ebooks are available for iOS and as PDF.



Sign up for my twice monthly free newsletter and get a free copy of Digital Tools for Teachers at: https://tinyletter.com/technogogy/ 

Related links:
 Best

Nik Peachey

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Convert Your Chrome Browser into a Language Lab for Speaking Practice

Fluency Tutor is a really interesting concept. It is a Chrome plugin that converts a computer into a kind of language lab.

If you sign up as a teacher you can then assign texts to students and they can record themselves reading the text and send it to you for feedback.

You see all your students’ submissions in the LMS and you can the listen to them and send them feedback.

This is a great way to make reading aloud less stressful and more productive for students. They will have the time to read and understand the text before recording it (there are comprehension questions with each of the prepared texts) and they will have the opportunity to listen to themselves and improve their recording.

This enables you to give students speaking practice for homework and it gives you the opportunity to listen to each individual student and analyse their pronunciation problems.

You do both need to have Google Chrome though and students will need to register with an email address.

I hope you find Fluency Tutor useful. You can find links to many more tools like this and activities for the digital classroom in my ebooks at: http://peacheypublications.com/. All my ebooks are available for iOS and as PDF.


Sign up for my twice monthly free newsletter and get a free copy of Digital Tools for Teachers at: https://tinyletter.com/technogogy/ 

Related links:
 Best

Nik Peachey


Monday, 14 August 2017

Get Teens Writing with Gamified Writing Activities

Story Wars is a great gamified way to make writing creative and competitive.


Students read short chapters of the beginnings of stories and then have to submit the next chapter for the story.


The readers of the story can then vote for which new chapter they feel is the best continuation of the story. The one with the most votes becomes part of the story.


There are lots of stories in progress that students can add to or they can start their own. Each story has a fantastic image to help prompt the imagination.

The site is free, but there is a ‘Classroom’ version for $15 a month which makes all the stories your students create private and gives you the teacher the ability to give your students feedback on their submissions.

There is also a free iOS version for mobile devices.

Story Wars looks like an ideal way to get teens enthusiastic about reading and writing fiction.

I hope you and your students enjoy Story Wars. You can find links to many more tools like this and activities for the digital classroom in my ebooks at: http://peacheypublications.com/. All my ebooks are available for iOS and as PDF.

Sign up for my twice monthly free newsletter and get a free copy of Digital Tools for Teachers at: https://tinyletter.com/technogogy/ 

Related links:

 Best

Nik Peachey

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Give Young Learners Structured Writing Practice with WritingSparks

WritingSparks is a really useful tool to encourage younger learners to brainstorm and plan before they write.
You start by choosing the age group of your students.
Then choose the kind of task you want them to do.
You can also choose the amount of time you want to spend on the task.
You then get a writing prompt to share with your students.
Once they click on the begin planning they get a short period of time to plan what they will say. The site also prompts them and feeds in some words and expressions they might need.
They can then begin the writing task. This is timed for them too.
Then at the end of the writing task they receive a reward.


This is a great site for giving structure and adding an element of fun to writing activities, especially if you have a data projector so that students can see the prompts on the screen.

The site has been created by the makers of NightZookeeper and can be used in conjunction with that site or without any login.

I hope you and your students enjoy WritingSparks. You can find links to many more tools like this and activities for the digital classroom in my ebooks at: http://peacheypublications.com/. All my ebooks are available for iOS and as PDF.


Sign up for my twice monthly free newsletter and get a free copy of Digital Tools for Teachers at: https://tinyletter.com/technogogy/ 

Related links:
Best

Nik Peachey

Friday, 11 August 2017

Create Vocabulary Activities from Authentic Text in Minutes


WordBooster is a real time saver for anyone creating courses using authentic materials. The site generates word lists and vocabulary quizzes from authentic texts and includes definitions of the words and a range of activities to help students understand and remember the words.



All you have to do is choose the text and download the worksheets ready for printing.
You just copy and paste the URL of the page you want to use with your students and after about 1 minute the process will be complete.


You can then see the text of the page with the key words underlined and download three separate documents, Reformatted Text, Word List with definitions, Vocabulary Quiz activities, as PDF.



The word list also contains example sentences of the words used in context as well as a QR code that links back to the original article or webpage online.

I hope you find WordBooster useful. You can find links to many more tools like this and activities for the digital classroom in my ebooks at: http://peacheypublications.com/. All my ebooks are available for iOS and as PDF.


Sign up for my twice monthly free newsletter and get a free copy of Digital Tools for Teachers at: https://tinyletter.com/technogogy/ 

Related links:

Best
Nik Peachey


Thursday, 10 August 2017

Create Animated Speaking Activities with Toontastic

Toontastic is a really creative tool for encouraging students to practice speaking and developing dialogues in a really enjoyable way.

It is available on mobile for iOS and Android users and once downloaded you can use it to create short 3D animated videos with your own voiceovers.

Just open the app, choose the type of storyboard structure you need then select the background and characters for each scene.

When you open the first scene you then click on record and touch the character you want to attach the voice to. You can hold your finger down on the character to move it around as you speak, then do the same with the other characters.

Once you have recorded the scene you can select the background music you want for it and review it. Move on through the scenes until the story is created. You can then download the finished video to your phone and share it on a site or through social media.


This is the kind of activity that could be used to get younger students speaking and it gives them the opportunity to play out different roles and to listen and reflect on their own speaking before they save and share.

I hope you and your students enjoy Toontastic. You can find links to many more tools like this and activities for the digital classroom in my ebooks at: http://peacheypublications.com/. All my ebooks are available for iOS and as PDF.

Sign up for my twice monthly free newsletter and get a free copy of Digital Tools for Teachers at: https://tinyletter.com/technogogy/  Related links:
Best

Nik Peachey



Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Using Computer Games to Raise Global Issues

Computer games are increasingly making their way into the field of education these days and for good reason.
  • They are part of our students' lives
  • They can be deeply engaging to the point of addiction
  • They can be a creative genre of communication through narrative
So in this post I'd like to introduce a few games that you can use with students as a springboard for discussion on what can be some difficult issues for teachers to address in the classroom.



The Coming Out Simulator
This is an interactive story type game that is played on a simulation of a phone screen. The students watch SMS messages appear and follow the story. Students can work through the story and gain some valuable insights into what it’s like to be a gay teenager and to ‘come out’.

This could be really useful content to get students talking, thinking and writing about a topic that many teachers find difficult to deal with in the classroom.

We Become What We Behold
This is a short game that attempts to raise awareness of how the media highlights certain behaviours and attitudes that reinforce prejudices that can then lead to violence. The students play the role of a photographer, taking photograph and trying to spot things that are interesting. As they snap the pictures they see people’s reaction and gradually manipulate the reactions of the people they are photographing.

This is a great game to lead in to discussion or writing tasks on the topic of media manipulation and prejudice.

Lilya - The Shadows of War
This is a free game built for iOS or Android around the experience of a Palestinian family during the 2014 war in Gaza. It has won multiple awards from around the world. It does a lot to counteract the usual glamour attached to war related games and is a mixture of game play, digital narrative and art experience. It tells the story of a small family and their struggle for day to day survival.

 The game contains a strong emotional message, so you should be careful about using it with particularly young learners.



Games for Change
You can find lots more free and commercial games like this on the Games for Change website. They have helpful reviews and in many cases short video clips of the games.

I hope you find these games useful. You can find links to many more tools like these and activities for the digital classroom in my ebooks at: http://peacheypublications.com/. All my ebooks are available for iOS and as PDF.

Related links:
Best

Nik Peachey


Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Creating Dynamic Learning Objects with Genial.ly

This has become one of my favourite tools for creating not just infographics but all kinds of digital content from reading mazes, infograhics and interactive images to video based tasks.


Once you have built your learning objects you can either get a link to them or embed them into webpages or blogs.

This is a great template for a course introduction.




The editing tools runs in the web browser and you can connect together multiple pages, add video elements and animate just about any element of the page and design.

The dashboard has built in image and graphics search with lots of icons buttons and illustrations to add to your designs.



There are some premium templates and features that are only available for subscribers, such as downloading the files as html5, but you can purchase the right to do this on a one off basis, so if you only want to do it once you don’t need to commit to a subscription.



The templates look really professional and there is an education section that has some great ideas and templates for building games, quizzes and other instructional content.

This is a great tool for student projects and presentations and will help their results to look really professional even though they are using a free subscription.

Genial.ly is a really great authoring tool for infographics, presentations and a whole range of animated graphics.

I hope you find it useful. You can find links to many more tools like this and activities for the digital classroom in my ebooks at: http://peacheypublications.com/. All my ebooks are available for iOS and as PDF.

Related links

Best

Nik Peachey

Monday, 7 August 2017

Get Students Creating Video Summaries with Lumen5

This is a great tool for quickly creating video summaries. You can use it to write a short summary or just put in the URL of an online article or blog posting and then pick the parts of the text you want to include in the video.

Once you’ve structured the text, the site will automatically find images and clips to go with each section of the text.

You can then edit these manually or add your own images then choose which part of the text to highlight. Once you have the look and feel of the video right, you just select music and add your branding.



The video renders online and you can then download a copy to your hard drive and uploaded to any online sharing sites and embed it into a course or blog.

Here are some examples I created

Lumen5 is a great tool to use to encourage students to produce short summaries. It forces them to keep the amount of text to a minimum so they focus on key points. Selecting and matching images to the text can also help make the points more memorable.

You can find links to many more tools like this and activities for the digital classroom in my ebooks at: http://peacheypublications.com/. All my ebooks are available for iOS and as PDF.


Related reading


Best

Nik Peachey

Friday, 19 May 2017

An App for Making Grammar Addictive

The ‘Quiz Your English App’ is a great new free app available for on both iOS and Android that has been designed to make English learning and revision into an engaging, enjoyable and addictive game.

The app has been produced by Cambridge English Language Assessment and can be downloaded for free from: http://www.cambridgeenglish.org/learning-english/games-social/quiz-your-english/

Once your students have installed the game they need to register either by using a Google or Facebook account. Once registered students can challenge other users in competitive language quizzes. They do this by clicking on ‘Play’ and then choosing a topic.
Once they have their topic, the app will match them up to an opponent and they then have to answer a sequence of five timed questions.
The students then have ten seconds to answer the question. The student that answers correctly first scores more points.
The whole quiz is finished in less than 1 minute and then the students can ask for a rematch or challenge someone else.
As the students gain points they are added to a scoreboard and they can search through the scoreboard and challenge other players.
By clicking on ‘Results’ students can review their past games, see how they scored and look at which questions they got right or wrong.
This is a really simple but very well designed app that will keep students at a lower intermediate + level engaged with and reviewing language on a regular basis.


Using Quiz Your English with Students
  • It would be a great tool to use as a filler in the classroom for students who finish early or for some autonomous learning tool.
  • You could also start your class by getting students into pairs or small groups to share the questions they got wrong and work together to try to find  out why their answer was wrong and which one was correct.

Summary
  • There’s a lot to like about this app. I actually really enjoyed playing it myself as a native speaker, so for students who are drawn to competitive games this could be quite addictive.
  • I also like that you know who you are playing against and where they come from, even though the app doesn’t enable any form of contact, so it’s still safe for students.
  • The fact that the quizzes are so short also keeps the interest levels and students can quickly go to reviewing their answers or play another opponent.
  • There is of course a commercial element to the app and there are in-app purchases so that students can buy particular quiz packs, including one for IELTS, but this could be a really good way for students to do some enjoyable revision and improve their score.
  • I have some reservations about having to register using my Facebook or Google account. This is great in that it reduces the chances of students forgetting or losing passwords and automatically creates their profile and enables them to challenge other friends on Facebook, but it would be nice to have a log in option for students who aren’t Google or Facebook users or ones that prefer to opt out.
On the whole I think Quiz Your English is a great app and can add a really useful dimension to your students’ learning and your classroom teaching. I hope you and your students enjoy using it.

You can find links to many more tools like this and activities for the digital classroom in my ebooks at: http://peacheypublications.com/. All my ebooks are available for iOS and as PDF.

Related links:


Best


Nik Peachey

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

20 Tech Enhanced Activities for the Language Classroom

I'm proud to say that I've just published another ebook through PeacheyPublications.com

20 Tech Enhanced Activities for the Language Classroom was designed to be the first in a series of collections of the simple activities and ideas I have used over many years when delivering teaching and teacher training sessions that incorporate the use of digital technologies.

The ideas use simple free tools that have stood the test of time and remained consistently reliable. The teaching ideas and activities themselves are ones that I have adapted from my pre-technology teaching days, so they are all built on sound classroom teaching practice.


The activities are ideal for the modern connected classroom in which students come to class with a variety of devices, but they can also be used in a blended context and students can be assigned some parts of the tasks to do outside of the classroom.

I have also included a collection of 8 video tutorials to help less tech confident teachers deal with the technology side of using the materials.










I hope 20 Tech Enhanced Activities for the Language Classroom will act as a bridge for teachers who are newer or less confident at using digital tools and materials and help them provide engaging and motivating language learning experiences for their students.

I hope you find this ebook useful.

Related links

Best
Nik Peachey

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Which ELT blogs do you read?

I'm carrying out some quick research to find out which ELT blogs teachers are reading these days. Many of the ones I used to consult seem to have died and I'm interested to see who is still blogging and if there is a new generation of ELT bloggers emerging.

Please share links and vote for your favourite ELT specific blogs.



Many thanks.

Related links:


Best

Nik Peachey


My eBooks & Lesson Plans