Edtech exploration

I’ve come across loads of edtech sites/tools recently. I’ll forget them all if I don’t start writing them down. Here’s a random mix of stuff I’ve come across or have been using.

Things I tried in class last term…

Quizlet

I had to do a fairly long piece of action research into edtech for my MA. I chose to focus on Quizlet, you can read about my initial thoughts here. Overall, despite plenty of encouragement, I found that Quizlet lacked longevity. The wow factor died down after a while and the students rarely used the app for self-study towards the end of term. Verdict: Meh…

Kahoot!

I used Kahoot! a few times for formative assessment. Wow, the students really went for that! I’d say Kahoot! was the big winner for me, both for young learners and teen classes. Verdict: Great

Today’s Meet

After reviewing Text Chat Activities for the IH Journal I thought I’d try and use a bit of backchanneling. I gave Today’s Meet a go in class – students seemed to find it really gimmicky but nevertheless an enjoyable way to do class feedback/discussions. It’s more versatile than that though – I’ll have to explore it more.  Verdict: Explore more…

Google Trends

A few years ago I wrote about how useful Google Trends can be for describing graphs and data. I revisited it recently, and found it wasn’t as successful as before. Students found it a bit fiddly, it wasn’t that mobile friendly actually, which surprised me. That could have been down to our devices I guess. Anyway, the tech issues limited engagement. Verdict: Ditch it

Webquests

These aren’t a new thing for me, but I had to create a webquest for my MA course and discuss the principles behind it. I chose to use one with my teens as prep for the topic of food and drink. It’s designed specifically for Thai learners but you can download it here if you want. It has QR codes in it so students need a QR code reader (built in to LINE app if you’re in Thailand). Verdict: pretty good, students engaged throughout and nice pair/group work

Download the webquest here

Download QR codes for the webquest here

GoNoodle

This site has good videos for ‘movement and mindfulness in the classroom’ (as they put it). I found some good stuff on here but only used it once with my primary kids. I think they’re getting a bit old for it. The syllables song is AWESOME! Use it!!! (You need to sign up to view it I think). Verdict: Limited use for me, very versatile for others!

I saw that the British Council were recently getting people to share their favourite edtech resources on their Facebook page, so no doubt I’ll have a few more ideas from that once they get a summary together.

Things I’ve been recommending to students…

I always come across good sites shared on Twitter or other blogs. I often forget who shared them so sorry for not mentioning you here…

I recommend a fair few sites for listening practice to my adult learners. Recent sites that have proven popular (based on general feedback) include…

English Central

Tube Quizard

Lyrics Training

I’ve spent a bit of time at work promoting British Council apps (I wrote about them here). The learners seem to like the Podcast app. Well, they say they do – I haven’t followed up much on student app use yet – that’s a job for next term. The British Council recently made their Grammar app completely free so I’ve been directing learners to this.

Cambridge Write and Improve

Someone shared this site on Twitter. I recommend it to adult students who ask me how they can improve their writing at home. It has gone down REALLY well. I like the instant feedback it offers. I don’t much like the ‘your writing is at A2 level’ type feedback though, but learners do and that’s what matters. Besides that, a great site – I thoroughly recommend it!

I ask students to recommend edtech resources they find useful. In Thailand it seems all about Ajarn Adam’s videos!

I blogged about the pronunciation app ELSA Speak a few weeks ago. It seems I was behind the times – two learners have since recommended it to me! I’ve explored some other pronunciation apps like Cambridge Pron and Phon (as it’s called on my phone), but the free activities were limited.

Useful stuff for my work

I’m a materials writer too. I’m using sites like English Profile Text Inspector more for grading texts.

Stuff that came up in INSETTs

No real tech-related INSETTs this term, although I did deliver one on IELTS band descriptors. Riveting. Still, we used the Peter Jones videos for IELTS as good examples of speaking levels. He’s done a good job with those.

Stuff to try next term

I need to do more interactive whiteboard training with my primary learners. I might use Google Quick Draw for this in some way – it’s good fun!

Nik Peachey mentioned the Toontastic app for creating your own animated stories. Wow, it’s great. I’ve been mucking around with it this week and I’ve got a few ideas for using it in class. Watch this space.

Curation tools – Sandy Millin tried to get me on Diigo a while back. I’m rubbish at bookmarking – hence this blog post as a sort of ideas bank to refer back to. I might finally give Diigo a go… feels like effort though…

So, how about you? What edtech/online sites have you tried recently? What would you recommend?

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8 comments

  1. Hi. I have tried some of them and I found them really useful (eg. Quizlet, Cambridge Write and Improve). I will try the rest because I haven’t even heard about some of them. Kahoot! looks pretty awesome.

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    1. Hey! Yeah Kahoot! Is great. I use it quite a lot now, not overkill though. It’s good for checking what students already know, especially about a grammar point. It saves time and it’s a fun way to do it. Do you have much technology in your classroom? We have IWBs, one of our centers in Thailand has the luxury of iPads too!

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    1. It’s funny you should mention that. The short answer is no. I base a lot of my evaluation on student feedback, self-observation and reflection, etc. but I think a level of formality of sorts would be better – not least to standardize what I’m doing and cover more angles. Ive read about models for tech evaluation before. Ashcroft and Imrie mention something about the SAMR model for tech impact assessment here (https://jalt-publications.org/files/pdf-article/jalt2013_064.pdf). The TIM matrix you mentioned is really interesting. Actually, I can’t believe I’ve just done a whole module in tech-assisted learning and this didn’t come up… it would have been really useful for the approaching the assignment. Thanks a lot for your comment, good food for thought there!

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  2. One of our teachers lost all of her bookmarks a couple of days ago (a few hundred) which really made me appreciate Diigo 😉
    I recommend podcasts a lot, and have a guide for students here: http://independentenglish.wordpress.com/quizlet Our kids really love Kahoot, and Quizlet Live is always popular. Did you know that Quizlet now has a diagrams feature too, and that Live doesn’t need as many people to play it now?
    Thanks for this list – a couple of new ones for me.
    Sandy

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    1. Hey Sandy. I did notice the Quizlet change the other day, very welcome. Let me know if you try any of these tools and how it goes.
      The Diigo thing – I’ve just got to find time to get going with this…

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