Thursday, 23 November 2017

Build Speaking & Pronunciation Tasks into your Moodle Course

SpeechAce is a great Moodle plugin for anyone who wants to build speaking and pronunciation activities into their online course.
The plugin allows you to build tasks and activities into your Moodle course that require a verbal response, these can be listen and answer, listen and repeat, watch multimedia and answer,  and which gives students useful constructive feedback on their pronunciation.
Students simply click to record their answers or input, this can be the answer to a questions or can be based around a text they have read or a recorded model (UK or US accent) they have listened to and tried to imitate.

They then they get a score and an analysis of their answer. They can get word by word feedback on their performance and see which phonemes they produced successfully and which they still need to work on.

Installing the plugin is pretty simple and then you just select it from the main tasks menu whenever you want to add a speaking activity to your course.


If you build it into a tutored course the students scores are recorded in the grade book and teachers can go and listen to their recordings too. This can really make teaching preparation effective in a blended learning course.
Like many teachers and language course designers, I’m usually pretty sceptical about a computers’ ability to evaluate student speaking, especially given the range of variation in native speaker output, but I think SpeechAce does a really good job of getting students to produce language, giving them feedback on their performance and encouraging them to listen and try again. Building this kind of capability into an online language course, especially a MOOC type one that has much less teacher contact, could really help students to stay motivated and engaged for longer.
 

Video demo

If you want to give it a try as a teacher then go to: https://playground.speechace.com/moodle/ where you can get access to the SpeechAce sandpit.

If you want to try it as a student then go to: www.speechace.com/pc and you can try a demo placement test.

I’ve known about SpeechAce for a couple of years now and it’s great to see how it has developed. It isn’t free (there is a free trial), but the company is clearly putting their money into developing a constantly improving product and I think that’s something worth supporting.

You can find 100 + more tools and resources like this in my ebook Digital Tools for Teachers - Second Edition or if you want to train other teachers to use these kinds of tools check out the Teacher Trainers’ Edition.




My Books:
 Best

Nik Peachey





Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Making your Classroom Paperless and Media Rich with Unio

Unio is a great tool if you want to ditch your course book and make your lessons paperless and media rich.

It’s a very easy tool to use. You can set up courses just by clicking on the cross in the top right of screen.
Once you have created your course topic, adding and editing lessons is simple.
Once the editor is open you can upload ready made presentations in multiple formats and add interactivity to them or create the lesson by adding individual elements and interactive learning objects.

Once the lesson is created Unio is really simple to use. You just launch the live session and any student can then log in to the lesson with just their name and the class code.

Unio works in the web browser so will run on any device regardless of the operating system, so it’s ideal for the BYOD classroom.

Once students have the lesson open on their device they can use the tools to annotate it, answer polls, watch videos or if they have questions they can send them in to the teacher.

As the teacher you can control which slide they are seeing or you can ‘unsync’ the presentation and allow them to browse. When the presentation is ‘unsynced’ students can watch any video or media clips independently on their own devices rather than collectively on your main presentation screen. This is great if you want students to watch or listen at their own pace.
When you finish a live lesson you can leave it open for students to browse and work through independently, so there is potential to use this for a flipped learning approach too, or you can use it for 100% online classes instead of screen sharing (and save a lot of bandwidth).

Unio is a freemium product, but the free version is very usable and the if you want to upgrade and use this at a school level then it’s still very reasonably priced.

Unio is still in its early days and the company is very keen to work with schools and educators to develop the product. You can find out more about that here: https://uniobyharness.com/about

Unio has huge potential for the digital classroom and is a great way to keep devices, fingers and minds occupied and working in a constructive way.

I hope you enjoy using Unio and your students find it rewarding. You can find 100 + more tools and resources like this in my ebook Digital Tools for Teachers - Second Edition or if you want to train other teachers to use these kinds of tools check out the Trainers’ Edition.



My Books:
 Best

Nik Peachey

Monday, 13 November 2017

Develop Critical Thinking Skills with Kialo

Kialo is a wonderful tool for developing critical thinking skills and to develop students’ abilities to look at and explore multiple perspectives of complex issues in a clear and logical way.
The site enables teachers to set up complex topics and structure ‘pros and cons’ type debates around them.

This is simple to do. Just set up your topic, add an image and some explainer text that you want students to read first and then invite students to add either pros or cons.
You can keep your debate topics private and only allow your own students to add to them by creating teams and then sharing different discussions with the team, or once you have 15 comments you can then publish them and open them up to the public. This process of collecting a reasonable number of comments before going public helps to ensure the quality and integrity of the discussion content already on the site.
Once you have created a team you can also share any of the existing debates with your students too.

This is a great place to get your students thinking in a structured and logical way about complex topics and is a great way to prepare them for a classroom debate or discussion.
The discussions have been categorised into topics to make them easier to browse. A lot of the existing content has a very strong US bias, but there are still quite a few internationally relevant topics if you don’t want to create your own.

I hope you enjoy using Kialo and your students find it rewarding. You can find 100 + more tools and resources like this in my ebook Digital Tools for Teachers - Second Edition or if you want to train other teachers to use these kinds of tools check out the Trainers’ Edition.


My Books:
 Best

Nik Peachey

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Becoming a Technology Teacher Trainer

I’m really proud to announce the release of the second edition of my Digital Tools for Teachers ebook and also the Trainers’ Edition which should enable any teacher with a basic knowledge of technology to run teacher training and development courses and sessions for pre-service and in-service teachers.


The two ebooks are available for both iOS/ Apple devices as well as in a PDF version that can be used on any reader, smart phone or computer.


The Second Edition of Tools for Teachers contains a new chapter on games and gamification with X links to games and game type resources that you can use with your students to develop their language skills. In addition to this the other chapters have had some 30 additional tools added.

The teacher trainers’ edition includes all the extra materials mentioned above as well as 3 additional chapters to enable any teacher to use the book for teacher training and development purposes.

These chapters include tips and advice for trainers, more than 20 teacher training activities that exploit the resources in the book and a chapter on digital tools for trainers that can enable them to deliver paperless digital training sessions.

The Second Edition of Digital Tools for Teachers is available from
The Trainers’ Edition of Digital Tools for Teachers is available from
I hope you find these books useful and they help you to develop your own teaching and the teaching of others as well as the learning potential of your students.

My Books:

 Best

Nik Peachey

My eBooks & Lesson Plans