reviews

Course review: Evaluating Digital Materials (iTDi)

I recently took the iTDi course on Evaluating Digital Materials, delivered by Pete Sharma.

If you can’t be bothered with the whole review – here’s a summary in, er… wait… 17 words:

Excellent input, great delivery, very active forum, useful take-home resources, real value for money, well worth it!

Overview

The course lasts four weeks. Each week there is a weekend webinar with Pete, and then various follow-up activities such as reading and exploratory tasks related to digital tools. Most tasks involve sharing reflections in the course forum which, I have to say, was really active and thoughts were interesting to read.

In Week 1, Pete orientated us to the topic of Computer Assisted Language Learning with an informative webinar and follow-up resources. The main task after input was for us to choose the tool we were interested in evaluating. With so many participants on the course it meant that the tools selected were extremely varied, and some very topical for my context (such as Kahoot). I chose to evaluate Genially after coming across this on Owain Llewelyn’s blog (ELT Sustainable). (more…)

Book review: Teaching English as a Lingua Franca

I’ve finally got my hands on a copy of this book! Woohoo!

What can I say? I’ve a keen interest in the topic of English as a Lingua Franca. ELF was a buzzword during my BA, well before I entered teaching, as my tutors included Jennifer Jenkins and Martin Dewey. This topic also relates to my recent MA dissertation, so I’ve been very eager to see how the authors puts a practical spin on the topic.

As far as I’m concerned, a comprehensive resource that deals with the practical application on ELF is long overdue. The authors, Marek Kiczkowiak and Robert Lowe, mention that “ELF researchers have either been very cautious, or perhaps even neglectful, of the practical applications of their studies” (pg 13). I agree, hence I instantly recognise the value of this resource and what it sets out to achieve. (more…)

Review: NILE Technology-assisted Language Learning course

I took the MA module in Technology-assisted Language Learning through NILE back in 2017. Here are some thoughts on the course (views my own).

Overview

The course “covers the uses of technology in language education and includes theoretical perspectives, practical applications and opportunities for hands-on practical experience.”

Module content included the following…

  • The role of edtech in ELT
  • Evaluating edtech in your own institution
  • Working with the web: search literacy, tagging literacy, etc
  • Working with media – images, audio, video, remixing
  • Mobile learning- what is it and how can we use it? QR codes, virtual reality, augmented reality, e-readers, SMS, etc
  • Syllabus design; implementing tech
  • Teacher development online: PLNs etc

(more…)

Review: NILE Materials Development course

I completed the MA module on Materials Development through NILE back in 2016. Here’s a quick review of the course (all views my own).

Overview

The online course runs for 8 weeks, with a mid-course break. It explores ‘many aspects of effective materials development, from key principles to practicalities.’

After an introductory unit, the rest of the course content covers the following:

  • Learners, contexts and materials
  • Cognitive demand
  • Language input and output
  • Exploiting texts
  • Affective factors in materials
  • Visual design and image
  • Teacher notes

(more…)

Webinar: The Value of Gamification for Language Learning

I watched this short webinar today from Cambridge Assessment English on gamifying learning (Sarah Albrecht and Ollie Wood). It was a straightforward introduction to the topic of gamification, then a short Q+A between presenters and live listeners. Here is the recording, as shared by Ollie Wood on LinkedIn:

(more…)

Book review: Loving London

Loving London by Angela Tomkinson is an A2 level reader for teens. It provides 26 short texts on London (alphabetical), covering a whole range of topics (see image). Each text includes a short after-reading activity, and there are audio recordings available should the teacher wish to adapt the task into a listening. (more…)