Sunday 30 November 2008

Create a YouTube Carousel

YouEmbedTube is another great little tool from the makers of Flickrin and it does a similar thing, but it uses videos from YouTube instead of images from Flickr.

I created the one above using the tag words 'teaching English' and if you click on any of the videos you can see that they will play here in my blog page.

This was simple to create, I just entered my tag words, selected the number of videos I wanted and then clicked to preview it.

After that you just click on 'Get the code right now' and the embed code appears for you to copy and paste into your blog page.

YouEmbedTube is a great tool if you want to limit access to YouTube and make sure your students only watch selected videos. You can set up tasks which get them to choose correct video recordings or select, process and reformulate information from a number of sources on a theme.

It would be interesting what conclusions you could draw about English teaching around the world from the example above!!

YouEmbedTube is a really handy little tool that's free, quick and easy to use and looks professional. The down sides are that the ones it selects are likely to change as it refreshes each time the page loads, and of course you can't select and reject the videos that appear, you can only control how many appear. I still think it has a lot of potential for educational exploitation though.

I did try pulling in video from my own YouTube channel by typing in my channel name, so if you create your own channel and then add videos, this would be a good option.

Hope you find it useful.

Related links:

Nik Peachey

Edublog Awards 2008

I'm always really nervous about submitting blogs for awards, because I look at and learn from so many and it's so easy to over look something great and to offend someone who is left out. Anyway, I've done my best to suggest a few here that I think are really fantastic and which I've personally benefited from, so by some way of thanks here are my nominations for the Edublogs Awards for 2008.

Best individual blog
It was really hard to decide on this category as almost any blog could go here, but I think EFL | 2.0 deserves to be included here for both its really well written and well considered content and for the great visual design of the blog

Best new blog
I really like Life is a Feast because of the great name and what in conveys about the writer's attitude towards education, but also because it is so clearly a documentation of real classroom use of technology with students. There's also some great humour and examples there.

Best resource sharing blog
Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL
This blog has to be here for the sheer volume of material covered alone. The postings are extremely regular, everything is well categorised and stored so as to be easily accessible and what is there is great quality. I can't think of any blog that comes close to competing in this category (Apologies to other blog writers)

Best teacher blog
I think Box of Tricks is another great site that so clearly draws on real classroom experience of using technology with students. The content has real depth and insight as well as being informatively written. Also really well designed.

Best educational tech support blog
Okay, so MakeUseOf isn't designed to be an 'educational' tech support blog, but I have to sat that when I need support finding out about the different tech resources available and how to use them it's the first place I go and usually the last, so ...

Best educational use of video / visual
TEFL Clips is a site that I wrote about recently on Quick Shout. I've chosen this one because it has complete, well written lesson plans that use authentic materials from YouTube. Great resource and some very creative plans.

Best educational use of a virtual world
My choice for best use of a virtual world goes to The Consultants-E and their Edunation islands. There is such a great variety of activity there and loads of free space and especially for the free teach tools.
Edunation Island

Best class blog
I found it really hard to decide on this last one but finally chose Aiden's English Advertising Class. I particularly like Aiden's English Advertising blog because she gets her students to share the storyboards which give an insight into how they created the materials.

Hope you enjoy these blogs and many thanks once again to the creators for their hard work and to the literally hundreds of other bloggers who work hard everyday promote a world where people can have a better education.

Related links:

Nik Peachey

Saturday 29 November 2008

Create a Flickr Montage

I just spotted Flickrin which is a really nice site that exploits flickr images and helps you to create a photo montage, like the ones below, that can be embedded into a blog or web page.

It's very easy to use, just type in a username or tag keyword, decide how many rows of images you would like and then click on 'generate'.
It's then just a simple matter of copying the code and pasting it into your blog or website html.

All the images that appear in the montage are hyperlinked to the original image on flickr, and you can select anything from 1 to 10 rows of images.

This is a really handy tool for teaching and you could use it in a number of ways, like getting students to create their own picture dictionaries (The strong visual images should help them to remember words)

You could also create a montage and get the students to guess the word used. There's an activity here designed around a similar idea: Guess the Word

It might also be a useful tool for exploring the lexical fields or particular words and see how they can be used to describe different things. For example I created this montage by typing in the word 'fire'. This demonstrates some the various ways the word can be used.

Range of lexical use. The tag word here was 'fire'.

What I haven't discovered yet, is whether the montage is regenerated each time the page is opened. It's likely that it is, and this could mean that the montage changes as other flickr users add images with the same tag word. You can also get some interesting images by using more than one tag word. This seems to pull in images that carry both words as tags.

I spotted this tool along with some other interesting stuff on the Life is a Feast blog which belongs to Ana Maria, a teacher from Brazil.

Hope you enjoy Flickrin and find some good uses for it.

Related links:

Nik Peachey

Thursday 27 November 2008

Video Clips for Teaching English

I've just been looking over a really useful site called TeflClips which has a collection of lesson plans for using YouTube video clips to teach English. The creator of the site, Jamie Keddie, includes step by step procedure instructions as well as downloadable materials for use in class.

At the moment there are 28 lesson plans on the site, with a new one being added every week, and these vary from focusing on specific grammar points to dealing with different themes or skills. The lesson plans are very creative, each one taking a unique approach to the materials and many have links to additional digital materials too.

The site is nicely designed and focuses on delivering the materials rather than incorporating a lot of slow loading 'sticky' content. There's also a link to a clips resource page which has a lot of useful clips if you want to create your own lessons.

This is a really useful site for EFL teachers looking for ready made lesson plans or some inspiration or good ideas on how to create their own. Well worth checking out.

Nice one Jamie. You can also find out about other interesting things Jamie is up to at:

Hope you enjoy using these plans with your EFL ESL students.

Related links:

Nik Peachey

Tuesday 25 November 2008

Coffee With Kyle Mawer

This Sunday 30th November (GMT 18.00 = 10.00 PST) will see the second 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 Kyle Mawer from the British Council and finding out about the work he has been doing designing materials in the Second Life Teen Grid and about the forth coming opening of the British Council's island in the main grid.

Kyle describes the work of the British Council as "both an iconic virtual representation of Great Britain, and a rich setting in which learners of English can further their learning of the language and culture of the UK as well as raising awareness of visitors to the work and opportunities provided by the British Council."

Kyle is particularly interested in using the medium of gaming as a learning tool and adapts free online computer games for use with his classes. The games, materials and lesson plans he’s found, developed and successfully used have been posted on the wikispace he runs at

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

Monday 24 November 2008

Bubble Joy for Thanks Giving

This is a real treat for anyone who wants to send a Thanks Giving message to any Friends from the US. It's from Bubble Joy and they have a selection of humorous frames that you can add your own short video message to.

All you need is a WebCam and a microphone. It's really easy to do, just select the card you want, then give the flash program access to your video and audio and record your message.

I particularly like the dancing turkey, but I guess we'll all have our favourites!

So just go to the Bubble Joy site and start recording.
Hope you enjoy this and maybe you could get your students sending thanks giving messages too.

Related links:

Nik Peachey

Friday 21 November 2008

Multimedia Business Simulation

I've just been playing with JA Titan which is a marvelous multimedia business simulation that is great for higher level business English students or other business students.

It's a kind of variation on the Lemonade Stand game, but with lots more bells and whistles.

You get audio reports from your staff, who you can hire and fire, with tips and advice that you can either take or ignore. You can also listen to news reports and check out report data. Your staff will also help you with some analysis of the data.

You are competing against other companies (These can be controlled by real people or in practice mode against the computer). When you are ready, you submit you business plan for the quarter and then find out how your company did against the market.

You can then go back to your staff and listen to their opinions on what you should change. You can adjust prices of your product as well as things like the amount you spend on marketing and R&D. You can play for up to 15 quarters.

The level of the language is quite high, but the audio is backed up with text bubbles and for a reasonably good intermediate class of business English students it should be vocabulary rich and challenging, but not beyond them.

Students do need to register and will need to submit an email address, but it is free, doesn't require any downloads or software, will run in most browsers and was built for educational purposes, so it should be pretty safe for teenage students too.

Hope you enjoy this.

Related links:

Nik Peachey

Thursday 20 November 2008

Great WebCam Software

One of the things that I love about my MAC is Photo Booth and its ability to add different backgrounds and effects when you are using a WebCam. It's a great tool to use with students to create motivating and personalised materials for a whole range of things. Here's an example of some characters I created to generate a story around (I then imported them into Comic Life).

But now it seems that you can do some similar things on your PC with this free software from ManyCam

I haven't had time to download and install it yet (PC is still booting up!!!!) but it looks like there is an impressive range of effects (3836!) that you can download from their site, many of which have been user submitted: ManyCam Effects

The software also works with quite a good collection of existing services, so you can also use it for video conferencing.

There's a nice demo video here showing what it can do

You can also check out some user submitted ones

Well it looks like my PC has finally booted up, so now maybe I can try it out.

Hope you enjoy it.

Related links:


Nik Peachey

Wednesday 19 November 2008

Improve Typing and Punctuation and Have Fun

I've just been playing TypeRacer and for the first time in my life I have enjoyed trying to type faster and improve my spelling and punctuation (both of which are a constant struggle for me).

Typeracer is a really nicely designed activity which gives you a text to copy and measures your word speed as you type it into a field. As you type, as small image of a VW Beetle races across the top of the page and measures your WPM typing speed.

If you make any mistakes of spelling or punctuation, you have to correct them before you can continue.

What's also nice about the site, is that you can play without registering. If you do register though you can record your score and even play against opponents and challenge friends. This is great if you have quite competitive students.

This is a great way to get students improving their typing and also thinking about accurate spelling and punctuation and as I said before it's fun and free!

Hope you enjoy it.

Related links:

Nik Peachey

Monday 17 November 2008

Language Learning through Communal Video

LangoLAB is a great new slant on language learning through social networks. It combines the power of YouTube type video sharing with social networking and adds a few great tools that enable users to create their own vocabulary flashcards, comprehension questions, transcripts and share general comments.

What's more, it's not just for English, so it's leveraging the power a much larger and more linguistically and culturally diverse community.

There's quite a variety of videos to choose from and if you register you can add your own using a webcam, upload or embedding from YouTube. The videos that have been added have transcripts that appear under the video as they play and that are broken down into sections at the side if you click to see the transcript. (There's a tutorial on their blog here showing how to upload a video)

As you watch you can also click on the words from the transcript and get definitions and create your own flashcards with definitions or translations to help you remember and revise the words.

You can also create notes and ask questions about the videos and answer other people's questions. In this way user work together to to negotiate meaning and to help each other understand the content and create learning activities for each other.
Personally I think LangoLAB is a great idea and a wonderful way to learn a language. If the site develops an enthusiastic community, then I think it could be a huge success and provide a really useful tool for people of all languages who want to learn and share.

On the down side, what I can't see is any information on privacy and what they are doing with my personal information, email address etc, so if those issues bother you, then it might be worth staying part of the passive community until this is sorted out. Either way I still think this is a useful tool.

Hope you enjoy it.

Related links:

Nik Peachey

Thursday 13 November 2008

Great Time Line Tool

I've just seen this great time line tool called TimeRime. It enables you to create time lines of events like the one here and compare them against other time lines. (Mouse over the one below and have a play with it)
Seven Wonders of the Ancient World

You can add media such as images to the time lines too and once you've created them you can embed them into your blog, wiki or webpage.

The other nice things about this site are that you can compare time lines side by side, it is kind of community based so you can leave comments of time lines and you can also add extra information and embed media such as images and Youtube video into the pages to give extra information about each of the things on your time line.

This would be a great tool for history projects or for building up multimedia narrative for digital story telling.

Hope you enjoy it.

Related links:

Nik Peachey

Wednesday 12 November 2008

Teaching Better: Digg for Language Teachers

I've just came across this rather interesting new site for language teachers (any language , not just English) that looks like the language teachers version of the popular user generated news site Digg. It's called 'Teaching Better', though the second 't' is the other way around.

Any teacher can come and register on the site and write about interesting and relevant websites or web based news for teachers. Visitors to the site then read the stories, follow the links and can vote the story up or down depending on how useful they think it is.

I'm glad to see that one of my blogs 'Daily English Activities' has been listed and has 8 votes already (Okay one of them was from me).

This looks like a really useful resource for teachers of all languages. I hope that they are able to maintain the quality of the links and references as this is the kind of thing which can easily be taken over by spammers.

So far it looks good, has some useful links to quality sources and even has a useful RSS feed to subscribe to.

Hope you find it useful.

Related links:


Nik Peachey

Monday 10 November 2008

Shared Work Space With VOIP

I've just been trying out Twiddla and I have to say that I am very impressed. Twiddla is more than a shared online whiteboard / work space, it also enables groups of people to surf websites together, comment and notate them with all the standard IWB tools.

Best of all though it also supports synchronous audio through VOIP and even allows you to embed videos and other kinds of code into the page. Oh, it's also free!

Twiddla is a great tool for anyone involved in online learning and would also be pretty handy to use with a data projector to save paying out for an expensive interactive whiteboard. It all runs in the browser and there's no need for any downloads or even any registration if you don't want to.

If you want to give it a try then just click the icon below and it will load automatically in your browser. Feel free to play with it , doodle, erase etc.

Twiddle this page!

If you click at the bottom of the interface where it says 'Widgets and Code', you can even try embedding a video into the screen.
What do you think?

At present it looks like it is free, which is great. I haven't tried this with more than one other person, so I'm not sure how efficient or what kind of lag there would be if you got 7 or 8 all working together with audio too. If anyone tries it please do let me know and post a comment.

Hope you enjoy this and find a good use for it.

Related links:

Nik Peachey

Thursday 6 November 2008

Creating Dynamic Process Flow Charts

I've just been reading about Product Planner on the DemoGirl blog. This looks like a useful tool for creating instructions or flow diagrams of processes based on images and text. Here's an example to play with.

You can sign up for free, and once you have created your 'flow' diagrams you you then get an embed code so that you can add them to websites or blogs. Here's the video from Demo Girl which shows how to create these.

These flows look very handy for making instructional image sequences that don't take up too much space for blogs. This is a problem I constantly have with my Daily English Activities blog. I want to give image support to my instructions, but don't want to make pages excessively long. So this could be the answer.

Anyway, I hope you find this useful.

Related links:

Nik Peachey

Tuesday 4 November 2008

Creating Word Lists

I had a very pleasant surprise yesterday when I started looking over what I thought was just another users created online dictionary and discovered that there is more to Wordie than meets the eye.
The site looks very simple and very text based, but when you log in and start to dig around a bit there are some really useful features.

Wordie enables students to create and share word lists, but it also does much more. Users can click through to a range of information sources related to the words, such as online dictionaries, Wikipedia, Thesaurus and even Amazon books related to the topic.

Perhaps more useful though, they can also get images related to their words. They can make notes about each word and view notes from other users who have also included the same word in their word lists. (You can see how it's done on this posting for students: List Your Favourite Words )

Some of the other really useful features can be found in the Tools section, where you can create a blog widget that reads from your word lists and generates a code for you to embed your own recent word or random words into your blog.
You can create your own personal RSS feed from the site, or you can even track the most recent comments on the words.

This is a really great tool for helping students to develop, learn and revise their vocabulary and of course it's all free.

Your students will need to have an email address to set up an account and use the word list features, but if you don't want to do that you can still use the word search functions or you could set up your own new vocabulary list for your students and then create a feed to embed in a blog for them.

Wordie is another of those sites that starts with a very simple idea and makes it into something really useful. Hope you enjoy it.

Related links:

Nik Peachey

Monday 3 November 2008

Turn Feeds into a PDF Newsletter

I've just found this quick and easy tool for converting a blog or website feed (or feeds) into a simple PDF newsletter. This is ideal if you want to share information with your non-techy colleagues or grab texts for use with students.
All you do is go to the Tabbloid website, click on 'Get Started', paste in the feed address and click on generate. The newsletter is created in 'tabloid' style and you can either email it to yourself or colleagues or just save it to your computer (in which case you don't even need to add an email address).

It's very simple, but also quite limited in that hyperlinks and images are lost and there's no customisation (would be nice to add your own title or headline), but it does enable you to combine any number of feeds into one simple document, so if you wanted to share and print content from a number of blogs to share around then this could be ideal. Here's an example that I created using the feed from my Daily English Activities blog
Hope you find this useful.

Related links:

Nik Peachey