Wednesday, 7 August 2019

TeachVid for Developing Listening Skills

I've always been a huge fan of using video for language development, so I was really delighted when I was sent a link to TeachVid and asked to have a look at it.
TeachVid is a really great resource for developing listening skills multiple languages, not just English. The learning is based around short video clips but there are a whole range of different activity types that students can select.

The activities use a parallel text technique that combines the use of L1 subtitles with L2 transcription so that students can understand the content they are listening to even if they are quite low level learners.
At the most basic level students can watch and listen to the videos with both languages visible, but if they click on 'Activities' this opens a whole range of choices for different ways students can challenge themselves to reconstruct the text.
When the students are in activity mode they watch chunks of the video and then reconstruct the text. This could be line by line with the words jumbled up or they may have all the letters and have to find the word boundaries. Once they complete a line the video advances.

All the time students are working with the activity their progress is being tracked.

There is also a great LMS feature for teachers called 'Classroom'. This allows you to set up assignments for your students and track their progress. You can select a video for an assignment and choose the types and sequence of activities you'd like your students to do. You can even set a due date for the assignment.

There are quite a few video resources already on the site, but if you can't find what you are looking for you can also create your own resources using TeachVid's resource creation tools, accessible via the 'My resources' tab on the resources page.
TeachVid is based on a freemium business model, so you can register for free as a teacher and create five resources for your students and track their progress. Students can also register independently for free and access any of the featured resources on the site. Registering for a paid account gives you access to many more features and is very reasonably priced. The best deal though is to register as a school. Prices will depend though on the number of student accounts you create.

I really recommend TeachVid as a language learning and development tool. I used it to try to improve my Spanish and found the activities really motivating and engaging. This is a great tool to get your students learning independently or in class.

You can find links to many more tools like this and activities for the digital classroom in my ebooks at: https://payhip.com/peacheypublications

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Nik Peachey

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Building Quizzes with Artificial Intelligence

Back in December 2018, I reviewed an excellent web-based application called Quillionz. The site was developed using AI to instantly produce a wide range of questions based on any text of 300 - 3000 words.


Since then the tool has been a great success and I've had some very positive reports from many English and subject-based teachers who have used it to save time and create instant reading comprehension tests based around authentic content.

Quillionz has now released a Pro version, which I've just tried. I have to say it's really impressive.

These are a few of the new features the pro version offers:
  • Generate Wh questions
  • View the context of a question
  • Generate unlimited question sets per day
  • Save unlimited question sets
  • Input content as text and PDF
  • Export question sets as a text file or QuilliQuiz

The new feature that I like best is QuilliQuiz. This is a feature that turns the questions into virtual quizzes. Here's an example of a QuilliQuiz abut a newspaper article on Brexit:https://app.quillionz.com/Quiz/Index?id=UIi9wC


So once students have read and done their comprehension exercises, you can use this feature to have a group class-quiz or students can use it individually to review and revise the content.
They simply look at the questions, try to remember the answer and then click the flashcard to see if they have it right.

Quillionz Pro is priced at just under $10 a month, so if you are creating lots of materials based around text then it can be a really economical way to save lots of time.

If that is expensive for you, you can still continue to use the free version and quickly create some great quizzes and content for your students.


I hope you enjoy using Quillionz with your students.

You can find links to many more tools like this and activities for the digital classroom in my ebooks at: https://payhip.com/peacheypublications


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Nik Peachey




Monday, 15 April 2019

Ediface - The Whole School Solution

Are you looking for a simple IT solution that can help drag your school into the 21st century? If you are then Ediface may be what you are looking for.

Ediface has been designed to support the complete curriculum and manage students across subjects. It's able to track students on their complete journey through the school experience.

Once students have been uploaded they can be easily added to classes and teachers can assign a range of digital materials to them.

As well as homework assignments which can be posted, tracked and marked through the platform, teachers can also set up their classroom materials and slides. These can be shared across the school, enabling considerable time saving and the development of a community of practise among your teachers.


Then it's easy for teachers to launch lessons which students can then work through on any digital device. lessons can be media rich and include video content, audio and images. Teachers can also set up simple test questions to check understanding at the end of each unit of work or at the end of term.

As and administrator, it's easy to come into the platform and see how students are doing across topics and as your bank of data grows you will be able to measure the overall impact of teaching within the school and make decisions about curriculum changes that are based on data rather than instinct.

Ediface is an efficient solution to what is becoming a complex problem. It isn't free, but they do have a very simple per student per year pricing plan and you can get up to 50 students registered before you have to pay, so that's enough for a pretty good trial or for a single teacher to run their class.

I hope you find Ediface useful and that it helps to make life in your school a little easier.

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Nik Peachey


Sunday, 17 March 2019

Bite-Size Teacher Development from Language Fuel

Over the last few weeks, I have been looking through LanguageFuel's online courses for EL teachers.


They have a great selection of teacher development courses, around 35 at present, with some really interesting content and a great selection of different topics, that vary from basics like Using Flashcards to more complex issues like Intercultural Awareness.


The courses are ideal for short bursts of study on your laptop or mobile as they have been divided into bite-size learning tasks and input. To do a complete course takes between 15 mins and about an hour.

The main content is delivered through a mixture of text, interactive activities and animated videos which visually reinforce the concepts being introduced.
Many of the courses also include some useful practical tasks that you can try to do with students and some templates for classroom planning or activities.

What I particularly liked about the courses was that many of them integrated some digital skills development for teachers and links to useful web-based resources which can help save some time with the day to day business of planning and delivering lessons.

These courses are great for novice teachers or to fill in or refresh some knowledge gaps for more experienced teachers.

Language Fuel is still at quite an early stage at present so it will be interesting to see how they grow and what else they come up with.

You can join their community for free (https://www.languagefuel.com/community-membership) and this also gives you access to their facebook group at: https://www.facebook.com/LanguageFuel/

The courses aren't free, but they are very reasonably priced and one price covers all courses. You can get a free 14 day trial at https://www.languagefuel.com/memberships
If you sign up for premium membership you can also get private one to one training through video conference.

Language Fuel is a great way to boost your training, especially if you are working in isolated conditions as so many teachers do these days.

Sign up for my monthly free newsletter and get more tips and reviews like this one and a free copy of Digital Tools for Teachers at: https://tinyletter.com/technogogy/

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Nik Peachey

Friday, 8 March 2019

Creating Augmented Reality Experiences with Metaverse

Three types of technology seem to be creating a lot of interest in educational technology circles at present. These are AI (Artificial intelligence) VR (Virtual Reality) and AR (Augmented Reality).

Of the three I feel that AR is the most accessible for teachers and students. This is largely because of apps like Metaverse which enable teachers and students to quickly create enjoyable interactive games and activities that can mesh with their physical location.

For those of you who are new to the concept of Augmented Reality, at its most basic, it is the ability to overlay internet-based digital content onto physical locations. This process is usually enabled through a mobile device of some kind and triggered by either location or some form of digital code that your mobile device can scan, like a QR code for example.

Metaverse can use either of these techniques, so it enables teachers and students to create either location-specific games and activities or ones that are triggered by scanning a code.


The best way to understand what that looks like is to see it in action, so here are two VR experiences I created.

This first one is a tour of some of my work. You can either watch the video below or use this link to download the app and try it: https://mtvrs.io/LawngreenWigglyNutcracker


The second is an interaction with my fairy godmother! You can either watch the video below or use this link to download the app and try it: https://mtvrs.io/AngelicMagentaOcelot

Creating experiences like these for students is quite simple and there are lots of different types of interactions and characters you can choose from to build your AR experience.

Building involves selecting different types of interaction, adding images and buttons and connecting them together. There are some useful tutorials built into the platform to guide you along each step of the way.



Then when you have finished building your experience you can easily test it and publish it.

Then it's just a case of making sure your students have the app installed on their devices and pointing them at the QR code.
To make experiences location specific, be sure to click on the advanced settings when publishing and this allows you to put the experience into a group and add a GPS location for the group. This will mean that your experience is only available to students who are close to the location you specify. When using this feature with students you'll need to make sure the Metaverse app has access to their location through their phone.


This is a great tool for creating interactive engaging content with your students. It's especially great if you are taking students outside the classroom on field trips or if you just want them to explore their locale in their own time to do location-based homework assignments.

If you want to get your students creating their own AR experiences you can also use a new feature called 'Collections' this enables you to view, edit and manage your students' creations in one place.

Here's a video explaining how this happens.


I've really enjoyed using Metaverse and I'm sure I'll be using it a lot more. I also feel that I've only just begun to scape the surface of what it can do, so I'm looking forward to understanding more of the interactions and creating more innovative learning experiences.

You can find more tools like this in my article 'Getting into Virtual Reality Part 1: Creating Virtual Reality Worlds' and lots more tools and tips for training teachers in my ebook 'Digital Tools for Teachers - Trainers' Edition'.

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Nik Peachey

Monday, 14 January 2019

Creating Student Engagement with Acadly

There's a common quote that is often attributed to Woody Allen with various percentages, but basically, it goes like this, "Succeeding in life is 80% about showing up".

Although we might debate what the percentage needed to succeed, in eduction not showing up to class is one of the quickest ways to ensure failure.


But with many school and university classrooms getting larger, how do we ensure that students are turning up, being engaged and how do we know if they are learning?

The simple answer to all these questions is Acadly.



Acadly is a simple application that helps professors record attendance at the tap of a button, deliver engaging lectures and track what and how students are learning. Acadly does this by a simple combination of web-based platform and mobile apps for either iOS or Android.

To get started the teacher needs to set up their class schedule using Acadly's web-based application or mobile app and add their students' details. Then when students download the free app and register they will automatically be enrolled in the teacher's class. Then when they attend the class the teacher can tap a single button on their app and using mesh technology an attendance beacon will bounce around the students' mobile devices and track who is present. This all happens within seconds.


Other in-class features of the app include live polls and quizzes, student-led Q&A quizzes and the delivery of a range of digital materials and files as well as rewarding verbal or spoken student participation. In fact, Acadly enables you to run your classes completely paperless through your students' mobile devices if you choose.

The great thing about running the materials and interaction through the app is that it enables the teacher to track student scores and their engagement with the materials. Students can also access their own data so they also know how well they are doing and what they have missed from previous classes.

Teachers can also set homework through the app and add links to recommended reading text and videos.

Acadly also has a chat feature which you can use as a backchannel, so if there are extra links or materials you’d like to share with your students during the class you can simply pass them through the chat and students can open them on their mobile device. You can also type mathematical equations, if necessary, using a built-in LaTeX editor. And what better way to ensure that students aren't busy being distracted by Facebook than by keeping their phones busy working with course materials?

The other great thing about Acadly is that it is free for higher education professors and students, so it's easy to get started immediately with a fully featured version and there is no advertising. The company does have a business model though and they offer paid subscriptions to universities and help them integrate Acadly into their existing IT infrastructure, so attendance and learning data can be tracked across the whole of the institution. Acadly is already in use across California State University, CUNY, IIT Bombay and many more.

I think this is a really great tool and with a great approach to balancing enabling individual teachers and supporting its business through university subscriptions. I hope they soon start rolling this model out to other types of schools. I'm sure the attendance feature would have some huge benefits for schools and universities that need to track overseas student attendance for visa purposes, like those in the UK.


I hope you find Acadly useful.

You can find links to many more tools like this and activities for the digital classroom in my ebooks at: https://payhip.com/peacheypublications


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

My Books:
 Best

Nik Peachey