Monday 30 September 2019

Redacto for Intensive Listening Practice

One of my first experiences of computer assisted language learning back in the mid 90s was of text reconstruction programmes.

My students would go to the computer room and spend ages trying to reconstruct a text they had studied, gradually typing in the missing words until the text was complete.
I always thought this was great practice for them and could see that they really enjoyed it, so it’s great to see Redacto has combined these text reconstruction activities with authentic audio to build a really useful suite of learning materials.

How it Works

The site has a range of different subjects that students can choose from.
Once they have selected the topic they have a range of article to choose from. These are graded according to the CEFR scale.

Once they select an article students can click on the play button to start listening.
They then type any of the words they hear into the field at the bottom. The words will then appear in the text.

It’s not necessary to type the words in the order they appear in the text and, for example, if students type in the word ‘and’ this word will appear anywhere in the text where it occurs, so these aren’t just dictation exercises.

If the student is using Google Chrome (recommended), and they have a microphone connected to their computer, they can click on the mic icon and say the word(s), these will then appear in the text search box.
Students can listen again as many times as they wish and can even slow the audio down if it helps them to listen for difficult words. In addition, they can click on the gapped word to get a hint, or to see the entire word.

All the time the students are working their score and the time taken is also being collected.

Once they have completed the transcript, there are follow up activities to consolidate the language they have listened to. There are also further vocabulary flash cards to revise.

Redacto also offers premium tools for schools, including a results tracker, and  a classroom mode where teachers can select activities for students and send them a pin. The students then log in using the pin and a name and they have a simple multiple choice clicker so that they can respond to exercises, in a style similar to Kahoot! These are mainly based on much shorter audio clips and students have to count the number of words or listen to see which words are included in the text.

Redacto looks like a great free tool for students who want to develop their listening skills and learn from authentic materials.

You can find links to many more tools like this and activities for the digital classroom in my ebooks at:

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Nik Peachey

Using QR Codes to Deliver more Effective Feedback

We all (I hope) know how important feedback is to students as part of their learning. Often though the people who understand this least are the students themselves and they can find it easy to overlook or disregard feedback as soon as they have seen their grade.

Qwiqr seems like a very good solution to that problem and is a great way to get students to take notice and follow up on feedback.

How it works
Qwiqr uses QR codes that you can attach to homework that provide digital feedback for students that they can access through their phone.

This feedback can be written, audio recorded or can come in the form of a web link or video.  Students just scan the code with their phone and they’ll instantly be able to access your feedback. This is an ideal system for language learning as the audio element enables you to provide models of pronunciation, target language and new vocabulary that students can listen to repeatedly.

Using Qwiqr you can even make feedback an interactive process and students can record a reply to your message and send it back to you.

Qwiqr is very safe for students, as only someone with the QR code can access the recordings.

To create your Qwiqr  QR codes you simply print and select the number of QR code stickers you want and then just print them off (using sticky paper will work best).
Then when you want to give some feedback, you scan the code with any scanner and then record and save your message. This will store the message on the Qwiqr server. Then you just give students the same QR code and they can scan it and access their feedback and review it at any time.

Qwiqr doesn’t require that students download a specific app and work in the browser with any QR code scanner.

This is a really great way to get your students really engaging with their feedback and to create a dialogue around their work so that they can check their understanding of anything they got wrong or still need to know.

On the free account you can send audio, image, text or links as feedback and the feedback stays on the server for up to 3 months.

If you like it and find it works with your students you can upgrade to premium for just £1.50 a month (that’s about $2) and this will enable you to send video feedback and your students will be able to reply and your feedback will be editable, reusable and on the server forever.

Personally, I think this is a great way to get students to really take notice and engage with their feedback. If you have a collection of code stickers ready in the classroom you could also be recording individual feedback for students while you monitor their speaking activities or you could record an overall summary for the end of the lesson that all students could scan.

Qwiqr isn’t limited to being used only for feedback though. These are some other suggestions.
  • Record video of pupils talking about their work and put the QR next to the work on display boards.
  • Record spoken conversations that students can listen to at home.
  • Create treasure hunts using images and videos that give clues for students to follow.
  • Create ‘praise cards’ and let students take them home to play for parents
This is a really great tool and I hope you enjoy it and can use it with your students.

You can find links to many more tools like this and activities for the digital classroom in my ebooks at:

To sign up for my free newsletter and get a free copy of Digital Tools for Teachers go to:

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Nik Peachey

Wednesday 25 September 2019

EDIA Papyrus - A Tool for Materials Writers and Publishers

As a materials writer, editor and publisher, I’m constantly looking for tools that will save time, increase quality, and make my life easier. One of the best of these I’ve found recently is EDIA Papyrus.

How it works
EDIA Papyrus is a very simple to use tool that analyses the level of any text I write against a target level and shows me how close to my target level the text is.

More than that, it can show me which words will be difficult for the level and if I click on the words it will offer me some substitute words and show me what level those words are.

The tool is based around analysing text in relation to the CEFR, so it’s great for TESOL and TEFL teachers who want to create their own materials and professional materials writers, but it can also cross reference to a range of other measures, so almost anyone who writes educational text should find this useful.

It is possible to write directly into the EDIA Papyrus interface, but I tend to copy paste between my own documents and EDIA Papyrus as at present there is no way for free users to save their documents there.

EDIA Papyrus is a free tool for any individual teacher, but there is an API for any publisher or content production company. This is really useful if you use a number of writers and you want to help support them and standardise the level of their content across a product.

The API can plug into a number of different tools such as MS Word or Google Docs and this enables writers to check the level and change vocabulary and sentence length as they type rather than having to go to the EDIA Papyrus site to do it.

The API is based around a per-text costing and if you are interested in finding out more about the API it’s best to contact: walter [at]

I have to say, I’m becoming a regular user these days, as it is a quick way to check the level of a complete text and get a really good understanding of how I need to change it.

I hope you find it useful too.

You can find links to many more tools like this and activities for the digital classroom in my ebooks at:

To sign up for my free newsletter and get a free copy of Digital Tools for Teachers go to:

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Nik Peachey

Tuesday 24 September 2019

Hypersay - For Creating Engaging Training and Conferencing Presentations

Hypersay may well be my new favourite tools for going paperless in the classroom and ensuring conference presentations go smoothly.

For a number of years, I’ve struggled with a mixture of QR codes, Backchannels and shortened links added to my presentation slides, but with Hypersay those days may be over.

How it works
Hypersay is a great tool for making presentations both interactive, multimedia and digital.
All you have to do is upload your existing presentations (PDF, PPT or Google Slides) to the platform and then you can start to add interactions such as questions, polls and surveys to each slide as well as links to websites and embedded videos.
Drag interactions onto different slides

Once your presentation is ready, you just click a button to 'Go Live' and your audience can log in to the presentation and follow it on their device.
This gives them all the links to materials and references as well as tasks to do and questions to answer as you move through your presentation. In addition to this, they can feed questions in through their device that you can answer at the end of your session, they can give you feedback and they take notes about each slide that they can then save along with the presentation for when they need to revise or review the lesson.
Students' Mobile Interface
In addition to this, you get a full report containing a range of engagement analytics about the presentation.

This includes the feedback and questions your students left for you as well as their answer to your questions and information about any notes they made or links they clicked on from your slides.
This is a really great tool to keep students engaged on their devices and give you some real data about the impact of your teaching.

It’s really easy to use, syncs your slides with your students’ device and you don’t have to convert your materials to make them compatible.

For students, it can help to make the lessons more engaging and enable them to streamline their note-taking and ensure that they have a voice and their questions aren’t lost during the lesson.

There is a free version of Hypersay which you can use with up to 20 students.
If you have a larger class or a conference size audience you can pay a one-off fee (about $4) to upgrade your presentation for the larger audience size (up to 200 people). There are also plans for conferences and individual monthly plans. You can check out the prices at:

I’m seriously trying to get the courage to try this out at my next conference plenary in Turkey at the end of the week, so keep your fingers crossed for me.

I hope you find Hypersay useful with for your teaching and training work too.

You can find links to many more tools like this and activities for the digital classroom in my ebooks at:

To sign up for my free newsletter and get a free copy of Digital Tools for Teachers go to:
Check Out My Books:

Nik Peachey

Tuesday 17 September 2019

The Virtual Writing Tutor - A Suite of Tools for Developing Students’ Writing

For tech-savvy students there are many ways to get their grammar checked, from online grammar checkers to the inbuilt grammar checks that they can find in MS Word or Apple’s Pages, so in order for another grammar checker to be useful, it needs to do more than just check grammar, and that’s what the Virtual Writing Tutor offers.

The Virtual Writing Tutor is more than a simple grammar checker, it is a suite of tools and activities that you can use with your students to help them improve their writing.
  • On the home page, there is a standard field where students can enter their text and get the usual kinds of feedback and analysis, such as word counts, vocabulary checks and punctuation checks.

  • When the students click on grammar check, they get a list of their errors with explanations. They can also get the explanations translated if they are lower levels.
  • Another nice feature is that they can actually hear their text spoken using text to speech and even download the audio file, so this is useful for helping to support pronunciation skills too.

Across the navigation menu at the top of the site, there are also some interesting features.

The Games section has an error correction game that shows students a number of random sentences with errors that they have to correct. Once they have corrected the sentence they click on ‘Help’ and this will give them some feedback on whether they have corrected the sentence.
  • There is also a ‘My error game’ which uses errors from the student’s own texts in the game, so if students are registered users and regularly using the site it also becomes a great way to review and try to eradicate regular errors.

Another interesting feature is the IELTS section. In this section, students can practice answering IELTS writing test questions. These tests include a timer so that students are working under test type conditions and when they have finished, they can get some feedback on their answer and an estimated band score.
  • The feedback is informative and tells the students the kinds of words and structure the examiner would be looking for. There is also some grammar feedback on the text the students entered.

The Pen Pals section of the site also looks really interesting. Using this, teachers are able to set up and manage their class and using some example templates to manage a range of tasks. The VWT then handles giving the students feedback, correction, and a score, so this is a huge time saver for teachers who want to do this kind of writing exchange.

Last but not least, there is a section of the site for developing Hypertext Narrative. These are the kinds of texts where students read about a situation and then have choices. Their choices can guide their path through the narrative which can have a number of different final outcomes.

  • Using this part of the site teacher or students can easily construct their own hypertext narratives using simple editing tool. You can also access a number of texts that have already been written, so this might be a good place to go to introduce your students to the concept or to find some content for your lessons.

As with most grammar checkers, The Virtual Writing Tutor looks like it’s still a work in process and the analysis of writing isn’t always going to be perfect, but this looks like a great suite of tools to try out and to keep an eye as there are obviously lots of good ideas here.

You can find links to many more tools like this and activities for the digital classroom in my ebooks at:

To sign up for my free newsletter and get a free copy of Digital Tools for Teachers go to:
Check Out My Books:

Nik Peachey