Wednesday 15 January 2020

Vocab Victor for developing vocabulary knowledge

Vocab Victor is a great app and resource for developing vocabulary. I say app and resource because as well as the free app you can download from the site, there are also some great resources on the website.

Let's start with the app though. The Vocab Victor app is a really useful example of gamified vocabulary development. The app has 14 levels and the user has to work through the levels playing different kinds of games to learn different types of word knowledge for hundreds of words.

There are 5 different types of game for developing vocabulary.

Word strike which is like a word association multiple choice game.
Word find which is like the classic word search activity.
Word drop which requires students to choose which of two words has the strongest association to the keyword.
Word lock which requires students to match words to definitions.
And a daily challenge game which focuses on collocations and word grammar.
The games are attractive and very intuitive. Students can also review the words they have studied and as they work through the games they earn charms. They can use these charms to get help or to move on when they get stuck with a word.
There's also a leader board that they can use to see how they are doing in comparison to others playing the game.
The web site includes a word study resource, which lets students find more information for selected words, and even a video which gives an example of the pronunciation in use in a YouTube video.

There is also a vocabulary challenge course that has videos and information to help students learn 20 new words a week over 25 weeks.

Vocab Victor is a great free resource for students. It's probably best suited to students who are around an intermediate (B1 +) level as some of the words are quite difficult, but it can adapt to the students level, so if students are getting a lot of words wrong then it will find lower-level words.

Vocab Victor is a  great tool to use in class as a filler activity or better still get your students to download the app and practise in their free time. The app works on both iOS and Android.

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Nik Peachey

Wednesday 8 January 2020

Eduflow for building online, blended and flipped courses

If you are looking for a fast and simple way to build online courses or digitise your existing courses then Eduflow could be the tool for you.

What I really like about Eduflow is that it takes a lot of the work out of the course construction process by having ready-made blocks or 'flows' that you can just select and add your content to.

Using Eduflow to create an online course

To create a course on Eduflow, just register and then click on 'Create or Join'. This will enable you to give your course a name and create it.

Once the course is created it simple to add activities to it, just click on 'Add activities & flows'.

You can then add content to your course. Content could be a mixture of text, images, links videos or you could upload a file for students.

Once you have created your content you can set up rules to define when and for how long students can access the content. This is really useful if you want to blend the course with work you're doing in the classroom and ensure that the online work is done at a specific time. It should also help to reduce student procrastination, which is one of the big negative impacts of online learning.
Once the content is created you can use flows to define how your students will respond to it and who and how their response will be evaluated.

There are two kinds of ready-made 'flows'. These are peer-reviewed assignment flows or instructor reviewed assignment flows.
The flows are in three parts: The student submits their work, the work is reviewed either by a peer or the instructor and then the students submit a reflection on their feedback. This three-part flow really encourages deeper learning and puts far more emphasis on the quality of feedback and understanding rather than just whether students have got things right or wrong. Again this approach helps to combat one of the most common weaknesses of online courses that rely on computer configured responses to students' input.

If you aren't happy with these flows or you want to customise them you can create your own or add additional stages.

Once you've created your course content and assignments you can easily add students to the course by giving them a simple link or you can invite them by email.

Tracking student progress is also simple and you can also set up notifications so that you know when student work has been submitted.

So that's how to create a course with Eduflow

  • Eduflow looks like a great tool to create blended or flipped courses on the fly as you teach the face-to-face element of the course.
  • You could set up a totally online course and invite your students via email or a link.
  • Eduflow's focus on feedback and reflection also makes it an ideal e-portfolio tool to collect student work over the semester.

What does it cost?

You can use Eduflow for free to create two courses for up to 50 students. After that, you do have to pay, but prices are very reasonable so whether you want to use it for a whole school solution or to get started delivering online courses independently, then Eduflow is a great, fast and easy to learn solution to get you up and running quickly.

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