"Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is the most important." (Bill Gates)
I am giving a presentation to some office mates about Web services/tools to help in the teaching and learning of English. Besides Moodle (ahem) and all its related plugins, I have so far two(!) tools, both of which I had used in my teaching capacity whilt working at a local college:
I know that the Net is a smorgasbord of tools for teachers and learners of English, but can anyone suggest some tools that you have yourself used, and you have found them useful in your teaching of English?
There's two types of services/tools:
Tests and exercises (including tests and exercises disguised as games, AKA "edugames"): These don't have much of an effect on actual language acquisition, i.e. the ability to understand and speak and write meaningfully in English, but they can be helpful for test/exam preparation if they're sufficiently similar to* the tests and exams learners are likely to take (*I mean almost identical: Even small differences between them can result in substantially poorer grades).
Computer mediated activities: Where learners use English to communicate with each other and/or other speakers/users of English, AKA computer mediated communication. These can have a strong effect not only on language acquisition but also on retention and satisfaction with courses.
There's an old book, Moodle 1.9 for Second Language Acquisition, which goes through some of the ways that core Moodle and some plugins can be used for acquiring language: https://www.packtpub.com/hardware-and-creative/moodle-19-second-language-teaching
In case it's not on your list yet, the PoodLL suite of plugins is indispensable, IMHO: https://moodle.org/plugins/browse.php?list=set&id=13
MIT's Cultura ( http://cultura.mit.edu/ ) is an interesting project that connects language learners with each other around the world. It had an honourable mention in Carl Blyth's recent talk:
I hope this helps!
Thanks for your reply and for your sharing. Yes, Poodll is definitely very focused and specific to language learning. Thanks to Justin Hunt for the suite of programs that he and his team has developed (or is it a team of one?).
The Moodle 1.9 for Second Language Acquisition, is outdated by now and many of the tools will have been superseded by Poodll and other Moodle 2.x tools. Jeff Standford gives a wealth of activities! This demo site link also includes reviews by Miguel Guhlin, Mary Cooch, Janet Abruzzo, Mantex and Don Hinkleman. Don's summary of the book here is good. I think this book is a VERY GOOD news! If we can learn so much about teaching and learning English using Moodle 1.9., then what more from Moodle 3.x now that we're in 2016! Wish Jeff could update the book for 2016.
Here's another review web-page of the same book with several write-ups. If I had the book, I would look at the tools and say, "Aha! The Moodle plugin repository now has this other tool..." or "Hmm.. Justin's written this language plugin which can achieve the same, if not a better, result". So it's also a bit of Moodle history is it not? A reminder to us just how far Moodle has come.
I also watched (more like skimmed through it at office today) Carl Blyth's (Columbia University) video on "Languaculture: From language-and-culture to language-as-culture" It's very deep. Worth downloading as an offline video.
The Tele-collaboration Caltura is mentioned at this section of the video: 29:50 to 34:46.
He showed word clouds, lexical and grammatical patterns. I think I've identified the cultura link that he refers to in his slide, which is here. So American individualism is a person's identity and uniqueness, whilst French individualisme is egoism?
Question: who creates the English list of words ("Individualism" - left column) and the French list of words ("Individualisme" - right vertical column)? Who creates the webpage for "individualisme"?
Anyone seen Bon Cop Good Cop (2006)? I sounds like a good film to watch for the English-French riposte, and I am sure many of the cultural wit, sarcasm and in-jokes will fly over my head since I'm not from Canada. So the subtitles will help. Still, it is an apt movie to illustrate Carl Blyth's point about cross-cultural language learning.
Thanks for your sharing. I tried https://padlet.com and I like it very much. Like a virtual whiteboard that can be easily shared. The logo with the words "It's all sunshine and rainbows from here" made me laugh.
I took me a while to understand what Quizlet is about. The help section was very useful.
I also love the embed codes. Wish the apps could be saved as SCORM objects, though. That way scores and progress could be saved and monitored.
a good question with a huge list of possible answers. I've divided my list into two section - those for teaching or presenting, and those for both teaching and learning.
For teachers and learners...
- Voki - http://www.voki.com/ - great for adding pep to real audio, or for presenting using text to speech.
- Soundtrap - https://www.soundtrap.com/ - despite the focus on music, it's great for collaborating on dialogues and podcasts.
- Glogster - https://www.glogster.com/ - Great for presentations. Kids love it.
- Make Beliefs Comix - http://www.makebeliefscomix.com/ - Great for materials creation, and also for learners to create their own dialogues.
- ClassTools.net - http://www.classtools.net/ - A brilliant set of tools by Russell Tarr which solve a lot of daily problems.
- Pixlr - https://pixlr.com/ - My goto tool for image editing. Everything done in the browser. can use it anywhere.
- Prezi - https://prezi.com/ - Great as an alternative to PowerPoint. Good for holding attention.
- ThingLink - https://www.thinglink.com/ - The best way I've found of creating vocabulary resources.
Also, although it's not strictly-speaking a tool, Breaking News English is a brilliant site for teachers looking for current material to use in their teaching.
Hope this helps,
Thanks for sharing. I like the dichotomy structure of your answer. I've explored the tools. Here's what I found.
Classtools.net has been around a long time, and it's nice to see that Russell Tarr (programmer entrepreneur) has created lots of interesting apps. For example:
http://www.classtools.net/movietext/ as a class or presentation intro is simply brilliant!
http://www.classtools.net/FB/home-page is hilarious.
Soundtrap looks good for music courses and music teachers/mentors.
English teacher Chantell Manahan uses Soundtrap to have students turn poetry into songs and create rap battles.
Glogster in 90 seconds:
40+ Ways to Innovative Teaching Using Glogster EDU
Make Beliefs Comix
Lesson plans: http://www.makebeliefscomix.com/How-to-Play/Educators/
How to Guide: https://www.uab.edu/icac/images/How-to_Guides/Make_Beliefs_Comix_How-to_Guide.pdf
Lots of printable lesson plans and activity sheets
I can use this to make blog posts images more interactive and 'come alive'.
These tools were really useful in my English writing classes: