General

App review: Studycat

Studycat is a language learning app for young learners. It aims to ‘revolutionise the way kids learn a foreign language, by making it fun and engaging’. According to the Studycat website, the app has been downloaded by 11 million families, it is multi-award winning, and it provides opportunities to learn more than just English – Chinese, French, Spanish and German too.

The main approach is learning through play. It aims to ‘create gameplay that naturally leads to language acquisition’. This very brief video from the Studycat subscription channel should give you a feel for the app:

As with many edtech tools, Studycat is currently free to support home learning (Corona), so it’s a good time to check it out. It comes with a LMS and book resources, although I am reviewing this product based mainly on the app as it appears to be the driving force of the product. (more…)

Parents and online learning

Soooo much training! In the last 10 days at work I’ve completed five modules of mandatory training on Zoom, had two webinars on using EtonX with YLs, got up to speed quickly with Microsoft Teams (which I had previously neglected a bit, and I’m still a bit naff) and done a whole load of other online webinars. Phew!

Anyhow, there seems to be a lot of training around for teachers. Once we get settled with these new modes of delivery, I’m hoping that they’ll be a bigger push towards training for parents. (more…)

Learn Thai Duolingo-style

Just a quick post for any Thai learners out there.

I’ve just subscribed to the Ling app. It’s basically Duolingo for Thai. If you like that format then is well worth getting.

There are 50 units to study, 10 units per level (beginner to expert). Each unit has 4 lessons, and then a speaking test, writing test and ‘exam’. Units look like this:

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Materials writing news and views, March 2020

One-year anniversary of these posts. Cool!

New releases

Congrats to Billie Jago, who has authored these practice tests for Cambridge C1 Advanced:

This is the first time I’ve come across the publisher Prosperity Education. Looks like they are mainly exam-focused, and they seem to like having smiley people on the front of their books.

Didn’t come across any other releases this month, feel free to add them in the comments.

Oh no, wait! I saw Bernardo Morales post on LinkedIn about ‘Practice and Pass A2 KEY for Schools’ (via Delta Publishing). Link to book here.

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12 conversation strategies worth teaching

One thing my CELTA course skimmed over was how to develop learners’ conversation strategies.

There seems to be a good amount of focus on conversation strategies in recent coursebooks. However, at times I find these can be problematic. Models of effective convo strategies/techniques can be naff sometimes. Where there are no models, and instead there are tip boxes for maybe using a convo strategy during a task, these can lack detail. They require the teacher to elaborate quite a bit. While the teacher notes can help, you might find (as I do on occasions) that there’s a bit of a mismatch. I.e. the language that is anticipated to come up during the task isn’t actually needed/is needed but is already known/needs to be built on. (more…)

Review: NILE Membership

The NILE Membership area is a new section on the Norwich Institute of Language Education site. It includes various resources created for language educators by the NILE trainers. There’s new content added each month and (best of all) it is completely FREE to become a NILE member. So, with that in mind, sign up!

Let’s take a look at what’s on offer…

The platform is very easy to navigate. There are nine sections on the site which are all displayed on the member’s area homepage. These are: (more…)