Showing posts from 2005

Thankyou Manolo!

I really didn't think I'd be able to do this. Spending Christmas in a small Galician town and knowing that my future mother in law has no computer,I thought it impossible that I'd be ble to check my email or blog. But here I am blogging as I kill time waiting for that traditional Christmas lunch,thanks to my new toy,the PSP and a wifi connection courtesy of an unsuspecting neighbour called Manolo I wanted the PSP mainly for another reason (I write a page about computer games in a Spanish magazine)

Edublog Awards 2005

I was very pleased to see my podcasting blog pod-efl nominated for an edublog 2005 award. There are some really great blogs on the shortlist , which makes me even more pleased to have been selected for the best audio/video blog category. Looking at the shortlist, I think my vote in that category would probably go to either Ed Tech Talk or David Warlick's Connect Learning . I was surprised to see that Bob Sprankle wasn't nominated in this category, but then his Room 208 podcast , which is probably the most influential student podcasting edublog has been nominated in a different category. Voting is open until December 17th

Hats off to WiAOC

I think everyone who participated in the Webheads in Action Online convergence ( WiAOC ) was deeply impressed by the undertaking. Of course, with so many events happening, it was impossible to attend all the presentations, although I know a lot of people tried to skip on sleep to be able to attend some of the presentations. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if part of the ' Becoming a Webhead ' session of evo2006 includes a session on 'How to sleep less and spend more time online :-) As I was travelling (in Bilbao, for some talks to teachers on blogging), I didn't get to attend many sessions, but the great thing about this event is that most (if not all) of the presentations have been recorded for posterity, and are available to listen to. I've just started doing this, and am trying to find the time to listen to more, as there are so many great presentations. The conference Moodle is also still active, and it's worth checking in there if you haven't

Tapped In transcript: Interactive Listening Mazes

Here is a link to the chat transcript of today's session on Interactive Listening Mazes at Tapped In I really enjoyed myself - thanks to everyone for taking part

Podcasting article

I've just had an article about podcasting published on the British Council / BBC website Teaching English. When I first came across podcasting, I was more interested in podcasting as a way of providing extra listening material for students, but now I find I'm more attracted to the idea of publishing student work using podcasts. In the same way that students publishing a blog have to take into account an audience, students involved in creating a podcast also have to consider who is going to be listening. And the very fact that there is a real audience out there means they take more care when it comes to preparing the material and recording it than if it was solely meant to be listened to by their teacher. I have started several podcasts, but the one I'm most enthusiastic about now is the Theme Tourism one .

Interactive Listening Mazes

I am presenting a session on Interactive Listening Mazes online on Saturday 19th November (17.00-17.50 GMT) as part of the Webheads in Action Online Convergence (WiAOC) . The Conference Moodle is now open to visitors, and there are lots of interesting things already starting to happen (including a schedule of pre-conference online talks - see the WiAOC portal page for details) I am currently preparing the asynchronous materials for the synchronous text chat presentation (audio, text) which will take place at Tapped In . So far, I have set up the blog for Travel, one of the Interactive Listening Mazes , and I am in the process of uploading the audio files, inputting the accompanying text, and reconfiguring the blog so that it acts less like a blog and more like a regular website. Why use a blog for this and not a regular website? Well, basically because of the ease of use factor - it's so easy to set up blogs with Blogger , and once you know your way around the template, and if y


I've signed up for a free edublog and am now wondering why I didn't do this a long time ago. It's a joy to use, and I'm sure I'll end up switching from Blogger, but for the meantime I'll run this blog and the other one, which I've named Blog-efl 2.0 in tandem. I've tried... ...out other blogging hosts before, and have always returned to Blogger, but this time I can not only see the advantages of using these free Wordpress blogs myself, but also encouraging students to use them too. They are easy to use and have features (categories, for example) which Blogger doesn't have that are great for organisational purposes. I'd always heard people talk about Wordpress and how comfortable and flexible this blogging tool was. I'd never tried it before because it was a paid service, but now with James Farmer 's kind offer of Wordpress blogs for school students and higher education students , I can safely say that I'll be moving away from Blogg

WiA Bridges Across Cyberspace

'Bridges Across Cyberspace', The Webheads in Action online convergence (conference) is fast approaching, and I'm really excited about the number and range of guest speakers. I'm also honoured to have been chosen as a speaker too, and am excited about preparing my own presentation, Interactive Listening Mazes. The conference is free to attend and promises to be a really memorable event, so book a place in your calendar between Friday 18th and Sunday 20th November. I've just heard, however, that I'll be going to the British Council in Bilbao , that same weekend, and so will miss a lot of the sessions. I'm going to be giving a couple of f2f presentations on efl blogging, which I'm also really looking forward too. I an just imagine the scene that weekend already I'll be rushing home from my Saturday class to get ready for my online presentation and catch some of the others. As soon as it finishes, I'll be out the door en route for the airport.

the British Council ICT Co-ordinators Handbook

It's been my day for discovering past projects. The British Council ICT Co-ordinators Handbook is a collaborative project that came out of work following ICT courses around the world. It's basically aimed at an audience of British Council ICT coordinators, and I had assumed that it would only be published on the British Council intranet, so am pleasantly surprised to see it on a public website. Much of the content will only be of interest if you work for the British Council (and there are many links to private British Council intranet pages), but there are some sections that may be of general interest. One of these sections is the glossary , although, sadly to say it's already looking outdated!

Newspaper article - blogging

A while ago I was interviewed for El Periodico , a Spanish newspaper, for an article on blogging. I'd forgotten about it until I came across this pdf copy of the article.

IWB articles

Different opinions about IWBs recently expressed in the Guardian: 1.  Chalk one up to the whiteboard : "The drive to get interactive whiteboards into British classrooms could be missing the bigger picture." 2.  Interactive whiteboards let them see the light  is about the use of the IWB in EFL. This passage in particular caught my eye:  "The advantages for students may be even more compelling. The board encourages an "eyes-up", rather than "eyes-down" culture. It helps me to see that my students are with me and not lost somewhere in their own world. This has proved particularly effective with discussion activities." 3.  In this school, the classroom revolution is now a reality - all 360 degrees of it "Teachers circle the room in an experiment that could change the shape of education. And the pupils love it."  Two positive and one negative view.

IWB Activboarding

Graham Wegner's helpful email about dealing with comment spam led me to discover both his ActivBoarding blog and also his Teaching Generation Z site . I've been using the interactive whiteboard that Graham's blog deals with, so it's of particular interest to me. I have found that IWBs are a fascinating way of integrating technology in the classroom, and are producing changes to the way teachers approach their classes and lesson planning. Unfortunately they are very easy to use badly, and need careful thought and a lot of training and extra time and effort on behalf of the teacher before they can be fully integrated and used well. In our school, we only have one IWB equipped classroom at the moment, which makes it difficult to judge the impact they make on the students' learning and on the teaching. What is true, however, is that they do require the teacher to plan their lesson well beforehand, thinking very carefully about what the students will see on the board du -- Free Web Logs For the Classroom

Thanks to Teresa for this link to a "weblog" client made specially for teachers. I haven't tried it out yet, but certainly will. This is how it is described on the site: " puts powerful management tools in the hands of the teacher while protecting students' privacy and identities. Students are added into virtual "class" by a teacher or instructor where they may keep a personal blog, interact with fellow students' blogs or react to topical blogs created by the teacher."

Comment Spam

A while ago, I turned off the commenting feature on this blog because I was hit by a lot of spam. I thought I'd give it a week or so and turn the feature on again, but I've just seen that my posts have been inundated by this junk. Why me? It's strange - I really didn't think a blog like this would merit such attention. Or perhaps this blog comment spamming is now being done by bots? Anyway, I've turned off the commenting feature, which makes me a little sad, because it's one of the best things about blogging. It's actually ironic that I don't have a problem now with email spam - my gmail account has really worked wonders and I never get any spam. So, my proposal is for any would-be-want-to-comment-people to send me an email and I'll attach your comments to the end of my posts. As I never get that many comments anyway, this seems like the easiest way to fix this problem. Unless any of you out there have any bright ideas... Update 17/10/2005: Thanks

Dead Time Learning

The phrase Dead Time Learning has been used to refer "to time that you have where you're not really doing anything else and you could be learning. Commuting is probably the #1 opportunity for Dead Time Learning that most of us have. Exercising is another great time. You can even be a Dead Time Learner when you're doing chores around your house, brushing your teeth, making dinner, etc." Of course, podcasting is one of the best ways of making use of this time for learning, and this is one of the reasons why it has attracted so much attention. Of course, this is great for me, and I have been taking advantage of the growing variety of podcasts about all manner of subjects to learn in time that previously I would have just not taken advantage of. But, what about my students? And here comes the irony.If they were adults, I'm sure I'd be able to interest them in podcasts, but then few of them would actually have mp3 players to really take advantage of 'learning

Why use technology in class?

I came across an interesting post by David Jakes , via Will Richardson , about the slow pace of uptake of technology of many educators. Here's a quote: " many teachers can even design an effective presentation in PowerPoint? How many take advantage of the professional development opportunities available to them? How many internalize technology tools as significant and mission-critical tools required to teach today’s kids. Sadly, the news is not good." I am waiting to see how many particpants I get at my session on blogging and podcasting in Madrid this Saturday - I know the conference has generated a lot of interest, and some of the speakers are being asked to put on two sessions - I volunteered for this, but I've yet to hear. Hopefully it won't be true, but I have visions of all the classrooms being full except mine, and me standing there talking to three people, who have only come in because the other sessions are full. Hopefully, I'm wrong about this

Interview with Brazil's Number One Blogger

Bee , who was instrumental in raising my interest level in blogging by 200%, and who is always a source of inspiration and great ideas (especially during the EVO2005 session on weblogging that she kindly asked me to co-moderate, along with Aaron Campbell )has been featured in "An interview with Barbara Dieu" on the British Council Brazil site. In particular, this section of the interview caught my eye: "So, I´d say that the greatest appeal and strength of blogging lies in this openness and freedom of speech. It´s the “power to the people”, “the can do”, creative pull. The blogging tool gives you the possibility to act, intervene, create your own content, share it with others, develop your voice and makes you believe that you as an individual, connected to others who share the same belief, can help, make your voice heard and produce change." Bee also talked extensively about Dekita , which is just one of the many exciting projects she is involved with. Great work,

7 things you should know about...

7 things you should know about... from Educause is a series of pdf documents featuring concise information on emerging learning practices and technologies. Each pdf file "focuses on a single practice or technology and describes what it is, how it works, where it is going, and why it matters to teaching and learning." These information sheets are great introductory leaflets that you could print and leave out in the staff room for colleagues to browse, etc. They cover: blogs , videoblogging , wikis , podcasting , clickers , social bookmarking I found all but the one about clickers interesting. And I was surprised that they bothered to make an information sheet about clickers and not one on interactive whiteboards , which I think is a far more useful / interesting technology. I have started to use an interactive whiteboard and am excited about its potential - it really does help with integrating ICT in the classroom and also affects the way you approach teaching a class. If y

British Council Madrid Conference 24th September

Something Old, Something New is the title of the educational conference that is going to be held at the British Council in Madrid on the 24th September. It's open to all teachers and I'm down to give a session on (surprise surprise) blogging . Hope to see some of you there. Blogging: Push Button Publishing for Students and Teachers A ‘blog’ (short for weblog) is an easy-to-publish website which can be used by teachers and students to make themselves heard and to help form out-of-class and out-of-school communities. Although blogging as a student journal-tool is the most common use, there is so much more to blogging than this. The session will cover everything from basic blogging journals to encourage and improve process writing, to new trends exploiting photographs (photo blogs) and audio (podcasting).

Power Point resources

This site on  Elementary Presentations  is aimed at US classes, but there are some resources of interest to EFL classes.

1-2 minute video clips

Turner classics. Hundreds of 1 -2 min clips of classic movies:,,,00.html Includes an interactive game called one liners which has audio clips from movies - you have to match them to a still photograph:,,,00.html

Gigadial - blog-efl channel

I've recently spent some time revisting Gigadial , and the more I look into it the more I like it. I've set up another channel, blogefl , to keep a record of podcasts and other audio files I come across that are related to blogging / podcasting. Tonight I've been tagging and downloading some old stuff, but a lot of it is new to me, so I've loaded it onto the Zen so I can listen to it next week on the way to/from work. The other great thing about Gigadial is its interactivity. Not only can anyone listen to what you're listening too, but people can also leave recommended audio/podcasts too. I've added a button to my sidebar now, so please go ahead if you come across something I should be listening to. Because of the last feature I mentioned, I still think that setting up channels on Gigadial for different classes is a good idea, and I'll be trying this out when my regular classes start in October. It's also a great idea for a Community of Practice to shar

Teacher training discussion blogs

Back from holidays, and I'm trying to catch up on things I've missed. On our Building a Community of Practice weblog Jamie Hall has posted information about a weblog project with trainee teachers and asked them the question 'Should English teachers call on shy students?' An interesting question for discussion, and you can read more in the post on Jamie's discussion blog . Apart from in the classroom, what if blogs are being used as a compulsory part of a course? In my experience, and that of colleagues who have used blogs, shy students have often benefitted from the new voice that a weblog gives them. I have seen students who are normally shy in class write lots in a weblog as there is not the pressure that there is in a classroom. They have time to think and to reflect in writing, and the use of a weblog can often be a very useful way of helping them express themselves. Jamie also has another blog called ' English Teacher Training ' and in this he reflec


For some time now, podcasting seems to be the only thing I've been blogging about. Because of this, and because I ran out of server space (which meant I couldn't upload any podcasts), I decided to set up another hosting account that would give me enough space to podcast on a regular basis. The site's now set up: , and so I'll probably stop blogging here about podcasting, and use the other site, reserving this for non-podcasting stuff. Now that I've got that sorted out, I hope to get back to what's been happening in the EFL/ESL blogosphere, as I feel a little out of touch...

Gigadial - your own personalised podcast station

After thinking that coming across a way of experimenting with for personalising podcast and other audio content would be a great way of selecting audio content for students, or filtering podcasts for other EFL/ESL educators, Scott Lockman of Comprehensible Input put me onto Gigadial in his latest podcasts ( CI-08 & CI-09 ) Scott has a Gigadial station set up that others can contribute to, and I have to say that i'ts a really good idea, and a more formalised way of doing what the trick does. I've set up a channel too ( pod-efl ) ,to experiment with how it works, and I'm impressed. And here is the rest of it.

Podcasting Dos & Don'ts

Podfeed has a feature on Podcasting Dos & Don'ts that is an interesting read...

pod-efl Podcast back online

Thanks to Nicole Simon of Sushi Radio , who kindly agreed to host the file, my first pod-efl podcast prepared for the June 19th Blogstreams Session is back online. The chat ranscript that accompanies this podcast / session is here Now I'm going to look into how best to host these files, and if I can make them smaller, to see if I can do any more. I'd love to continue what I started here, but for the moment, I think I'm going to concentrate on the audio files (which could be podcasts) I'm preparing for my classes in October and on the sushi radio podcasts I've been preparing with my current summer school students. The first of these was uploaded last night, and the students were so pleased when they saw (and heard) it. Here it is: ' An introduction to Spanish Traditonal Music ' It's the first time I've done a podcast with students and am very pleased with the results - there's something very motivating for the students when they have a genuine au

Use to create customised podcast

Via A VC in NYC , here's an excellent idea that combines the social bookmarking software with RSS to create a personalised podcast featuring a variety of different audio content. I think it could have some really interesting potential uses for teachers and students. How to do it: 1. You set up a new tag at (I tried it with pod-efl ). 2. You create a podcast-friendly RSS feed at Feedburner using the URL of the new tag( ). 3. You put the podcast feed into your podcast client ( podcatcher ): iPodder , or iTunes , for example. 4. The next time you come across a link to an mp3 audio file (podcast or otherwise) you think you may like, you post the link to , and then when you run your podcatcher , it'll be automatically downloaded to your PC or mp3 player. I've just tried it out, linking to the last Comprehensible Input podcast and it worked a treat. Why this is interesting/us

Podcast file size too big

I have had to delete the 'introduction to podcasting' file from the server because the file is too big. It is a real problem with podcast audio files, and one I must admit I haven't really thought too much about so far. Now I have more time on my hands, I'll be looking into it to find a solution, and I'll probably revise the file and reduce its size too. I'll revise the file and upload a smaller version of it ASAP

New IWB blog spotted

Interactive Whiteboards  is a new blog that hopes to collect "evidence of the use of interactive whiteboards in classroom or school in K-12" - not 100% related, but the blog has a nice collection of links that are worth taking a look at.

Pod-efl-01 show notes

These are the show notes for the podcast Pod-efl-01, a podcast prepared for the Blogstreams Salon session at Tapped In on Sunday: *** NOTE: File temporarily removed *** An Introduction to podcasting for EFL/ESL teachers (46 minutes) Show Notes: 1. Introduction feedback to: TEFL Podcasters Forum Webheads in Action Podcasting how to movie 2. Theme Music by the Jan D Experience available at: Garageband 3. Music 1 Amsterdam by Rigel Vega available at The Internet Archive 4. Question from Rita Madrid Young Learner Podcasts 5. Terminology of podcasting show notes – podcasting – podcatching - 6. Listening to podcasts mp3 players rss feeds with enclosures Podcatching software - iPodder 7. Music 3 Cherry Rag by Tom Joad and Gerry Dempsey available at The Internet Archive 8. Content: EFL/ESL podcasts Glossaries, transcripts, comprehension questions English Caster The Daily Id

Podcasts for Intermediate EFL/ESL learners

Thanks to a colleague of mine, Chris Fry, who posted these on the Podcasting Education group, I've come across the following podcasts that he thinks are suitable for intermediate students: The 3 Monkeys Radio Podcast (their feed is here ) Crackle Back Short Stories (VoxPop Radio)( the feed ) Chris also likes the Bob and Rob show , and he says they "try hard to achieve a balance between being slow and simple enough and being natural and they are successful." And here is the rest of it.

No shortage of ideas on podcasting...

I don't know who said it first, but it's certainly true that teachers are ideas rich and time poor . I came across two emails today that were discussing ideas for podcasts - there are so many opportunities out there to develop, and I have my own ideas for podcasts that haven't made it out of my head yet... I thought I'd share these with you, in case anyone is out there and tempted to podcast but looking for a theme: Robert , the prolific EFL podcaster behind the Daily Idiom and EnglishCaster sent an email with show ideas originating from requests he has received from students visiting . 1) The " daily grammar ". A short podcast about grammatical items. No long explanations, just a short post combined with some examples, similar to the Daily Idiom . 2) A podcast about acronyms such as "BTW" or "ASAP" aimed at low level learners. So, does anyone feel like taking up one of those challenges? I also received an email from Ch

Student EFL Podcast: Fudan University High School, Shanghai

Here is another one to add to the growing list of English Language Learning podcasts: Fudan University High School Student Podcasting . The difference between this one and most of the other EFLpodcasts out there is that this one has been produced entirely by students. They were asked to record a 3 minute podcast and then choose a theme that best describes it... The feed of the Fudan University podcast is:

To podcast or not...

EFL Geek has stated that he is not going to be podcasting, and has outlined his reasons on his blog . I can totally understand them, as podcasting is something that takes up a lot of time (far more than blogging). I've already written a reply to his post on his blog, however... podcasting does seem to offer interesting possibilities for language learning that are hard to ignore. I'm experimenting with it at the moment, not really knowing how long I will continue, because it appeals to me and is fun to do. Whether or not the time and effort involved is actually worth it in the end remains to be seen. What is true though, is that the more EFL/ESL teachers we get trying it out now, the more we'll be able to see just how valuable it is, and what kind of content works for what kind of learner. A new (for me) podcast I've been listening to is the Bob and Rob show , an entertaining exchange between an American and a Brit. It's a good listen, and will be interesting to hig

Podcasting at Tapped In

A special Blogstreams Salon Session (Tappedin ASO*) on Sunday June 19th at 21:00 GMT : GRAHAM STANLEY ( ) : This week, Barcelona-based teacher Graham Stanley will share with us his enthusiasm for podcasting, a new way of delivering audio content to our students and other teachers that is growing more and more popular every month. A member of the new TEFL podcasting forum ( ), Graham has just started experimenting with podcasts, but hopes to transmit his excitement about podcasting to other teachers. Why should you become involved in podcasting for your students? What is the difference between a podcast and a webcast? How can you start podcasting? In preparation for the session, Graham would like participants to send short audio comments and questions to him at These questions and comments will be edited into a podcast which will form part of the future Blogstreams Salon session. Hop

Podcast Alley : Education section

There are now 106 podcasts listed under the Education section at Podcast Alley Although the majority of educational podcasts seem to be produced for ICT-savvy teachers about the use of educational technology in education, (it is to be expected), among the shows are a growing number of podcasts aimed at English language learners. Apart from these, there are others that seem like they could be used with EFL/ESL learners (especially higher level learners. The only problem is finding the time to listen to them to see which ones are worth using. Perhaps there is a need for an ESL/EFL podcast review show about podcasts that can be used with learners? Perhaps this would be fun to do this summer (yet another project?) although I'm not sure if there'll be time...

TEFL Podcasting Forum

Here are some thoughts I posted to the TEFL Podcasters Forum about my plans for the Barcelona Young Learner Podcasters site : I'm starting to enjoy the idea of podcasting.I've nearly finished putting together the first BYL podcast and, although I've taken far too much time over it, I can see better how things might go, and am going to speed up the frequency of posts. I also want to start blogging more than I've been doing recently.

Podcasting: Reply to Susan

I recently received an email from one of the Webheads ( Susan Marandi ) asking me about podcasting , and I found the reply I sent to her had ideas that may well be of interest to more people, so I've decided to copy the email here: Hi Susan Nice to hear from you too - I've heard what an exciting time you're having at the moment (through the Webheads group ) and I'm thrilled for you. Is podcasting useful for language teaching? I think it has to be - it's the audio equivalent of blogging (it's actually much more than this, but this is one thing it can be). The key, I think, is to get enough language educators interested in it, and for them to start experimenting with it and producing content. At first, as with every new technology, not everything will be great, but we'll get better as we learn from our mistakes. Interested? I don't think it has to be more complicated than blogging. The best way to start is to become a listener to podcasts (using a "


I've just come across Dropload , which may be of use / interest. It's "a place for you to drop your files off and have them picked up by someone else at a later time. Recipients you specify are sent an email with instructions on how to download the file. Files are removed from the system after 7 days, regardless if they have been picked up or not. You can upload any type of file, mp3, movies, docs, pdfs, up to 100MB each! Recipients can be anyone with an email address." It seems it's being used especially by media companies to share large files with people, and is certainly more convenient than email and nobody has to know much abouut technology to be able to use the site.

Syndicating your blog

The Online Learning Resource Centre of the College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Oklahoma has a useful guide on Syndicating Your Blog for those who would like to know more about how to do this, with information on RSS feeds, Atom, and Bloglines . The same site also publishes guides about Blogging , and something I've never thought of before: Javascript Syndication .

Learn a Song ESL Podcast

I posted about this on my podcasting EFL blog , but thought I'd add it here too. Spotted! a second ESL/EFL podcast . This one is the Learn A Song podcast for ESL students , and is part of Charles I Kelly's site 'Interesting things for ESL Students' Each podcast features one song (usually a traditional, folk song) and comes with lyrics and notes on pronunciation, etc, which are featured on the website.

Blogstreams Salon Special Session

Come and join us for the Blogstreams Salon Special Session ( Tappedin ASO *) on Sunday May 1st at 21:00 GMT . We have invited Peter Ford , one of the coordinators of the Blog Project at the European Centre of Modern Languages, to tell you how he and his team have been exploring the use of peer-to-peer collaborative online writing environments in the context of foreign language education. The main goal of the project - currently in a pilot phase (in French and English) with teachers and students from Malta, Czech Republic, and Poland - is to develop a blogging tool with specific features tailored to the needs of the foreign language-learning environment. Peter Ford has taught and managed ICT in both UK and international schools, and is now an educational consultant at ICT4Schools, an organization he co-founded to help realize the potential of ICT in education. He is particularly interested in the opportunities provided by weblogs and other browser based techonologies... * After Schoo

Podcasts for EFL / ESL learners

I haven't been posting much lately, as I've been looking at / listening to a lot of podcasts, trying to figure out how useful they might be to English language learners, and even if it's worth trying to get learners themselves involved. I've been doing that on my Yahoo360's blog . And relating to this new tool from Yahoo, I'm not convinced yet... There are things I do like about it (see the blog for more details), but there are more things I don't like about it. At least, I don't think I'd use it with students. Check out my Yahoo360 blog for more on this, and on podcasting.

Yahoo 360 & Podcasting

Yahoo 360 is the new blog/photo managment/networking etc. tool from Yahoo . Like Gmail , it's invite-only ( want an invite to this or to Gmail? Just let me know ). I've been trying it out by blogging about podcasting and ELT. Go here to read my Yahoo 360Podcasting ELT Blog. I've also set up a podcasting-friendly Feedburner RSS 2.0 feed for the site , although at the moment, there are no podcasts to download. Podcasting is something I've been wanting to try for a while. I think I'm finally going to give it a go, to see if it's worth the time and effort of pursuing in my EFL context... I have a few ideas for using it with students, especially as a lot of my students use personal mp3 players, and may well be interested. I introduced one of my classes (the students studying Audio-Visual subjects) to the concept of podcasting as a mini-webquest-discovery activity, and asked them to record their findings/opinions on their blogs. I also let them listen to extracts f

Malaysia Primary and Secondary school blogs

Dot MacKenzie recently shared some interesting blogs via the Webheads group : Jawishools is a blog dedicated for primary and secondary teachers in Malaysia. It contains links to resources that may be useful for teachers. The second blog is one containing writing from primary schools in the PPD Jawi district of Malaysia: Dot continued in her post... "I have used blogs to present links to teachers, and to put children's writing online...The children had no help from teachers when they were writing. I collected their written work, corrected it, and then inserted it in the blog. More will be added to both blogs as it is written."

SaveAWave and embedding audio (WAV) into a web page

SaveAWave "is a simple, web-based sound recorder for voice messages. You can use it to record voice emails, memos, or voice files to put on your own web pages." I didn't understand it at first as I used the Firefox web browser to access the web page. Once I switched to Internet Explorer, however, the ActiveX download started and I could see the controls in the top left-hand corner... I found it extremely easy to use, and using the useful instructions on how to embed an audio file into a web page produced this test audio file: width=240 height=45 classid="CLSID:6BF52A52-394A-11d3-B153-00C04F79FAA6" type="application/x-oleobject"> name="MediaPlayer" width=240 height=45 src="voice_message_test" AutoStart="false" showcontrols="1"> Interestingly enough, at first I had problems with the code - I found that parts of the code were showing up in the published blog, and the player wasn't working. Then I wonde
Isabel Perez is an educator whose ESL site is very popular, and includes many online activities, exercises, etc. It's particularly popular in Spain. I've just found out that she has a blog, although it looks like it's not been updated since November. A pity. Please start blogging again, Isabel!


This morning, I've been looking at Podcasting ( a combination of iPod + broadcasting ), thanks to Barbara Ganley's post on the subject on her excellent blog, bgblogging . Thanks to Barbara, I read this great introduction to podcasting by Brian Lamb of the University of British Columbia, which made me wonder just how I could (and if I should) introduce some of my students to podcasting. As far as I know, I don't have any students who have an i-pod, but... ...depending on the class, a large proportion of them (90% I'd say) do seem to use personal MP3 players. As Brian Lamb says, the "success of Apple's iPod (and a host of other portable and mobile devices capable of storing, playing and now recording sound files) means that audio can now be accessed by the user anytime, anywhere." He also notes that "the emergence of new tools that allow an individual to create and share sound files quickly and inexpensively, without specialized expertise." The

Interactive White Board blog

I've recently started using an interative white board (iwb) with some of my classes. To help me get to grips with this new technology, I've started an iwb-efl blog , where I can reflect on what I do and also link to the resources, etc I find that may be useful for me and others who use the iwb.

Blogstreams Salon: Aaron Campbell

The TESOL Electronic Village Online 2005 Blogging Workshop may have finished, but the community continues. Every Sunday at 22:00 GMT, Bee , Aaron , and I* will be hosting the Blogstreams Salon at Tappedin , where EFL/ESL teachers who are interested or involved in blogging can take part in informal text chats. In addition, once a month there will be a special presentation at the ASO (After School Online room) in Tapped In . The first of these special Sunday sessions (20th March) features Aaron Campbell , who will be presenting "Blogging toward Learner Autonomy". The presentation is free and open to all teachers and bloggers who are interested. (* I won't be able to make it to this one, as I start my week-long computer-free Easter holiday this weekend)

Yahoo 360 - Yahoo's blogging service

Yahoo 360 is a new (beta) service (you can sign the waiting list now) which will let you "Create your own place online. Share photos. Create a blog. List your favorites, send a blast, and more." Watch this space...

Blog Ideas: When you don't know what to Blog about.

Blog Ideas: When you don't know what to Blog about. "Are you scratching your head trying to find something to write about? Well, by all means steal one of our ideas and make it your own! These topics are meant to spark a thought, remind you of your past, or give you an excuse to vent." Random ideas for weary bloggers who've run out of ideas...

vBlog Central - Videoblogging Made Easy!

vBlog Central - Videoblogging Made Easy! : "vBlog Central is a service that makes it easy to post video (and audio and pictures) to your existing blog. We host your video content and display it in whatever format your users want. It's transparent and easy. Videos, even low quality ones, make a blog much more interesting. When you put video in your blog you get a videoblog, or vblog, for short. They are also known as vidblogs, vlogs, or vogs. "

hipteacher on blogging with students

hipteacher loves blogging with students: "In my experience, writing, revising and peer editing within the blog structure has particularly helped their writing skills...I've also had success with journaling in blogs...Teenagers are so self-conscious, I find the lack of face-to-face contact adds dramatically to the strength and effectiveness of peer editing and review." She also speaks about the privacy issue: "While I'd like all students blogs to be open to the public, there are some legal and protection issues Livejournal, I allow students to use their real names and post so that only their 'friends' can see. Everyone in the class is on everyone else's 'friend' list. " She has also invented a way of getting around the Blogger privacy issue: "...I ask each student to come up with a pen name and sign a contract stating that they are never to mention real names, location, school name, etc."

duber dot com: jd media blog

Jim Duber's media blog is an excellent example of integrating text, audio, and video into a blog.

mugshots project

Sergei Gridushko from Belarus has started a project called mugshots which looks like a great way to get students writing creatively. The idea is for the students to post a photo of their favourite mug or cup, etc, and describe it, say why it's important to them. Bee has also joined the project and has posted her photos and comments in her live journal . This one could take off I think...


Bloglet : "offers an email subscription service for your blog..." that boasts an easy set-up, stats, and more.

Wink - free tutorial software

Thanks to Edugadget ( plain-talking technology reviews for teachers ) for this: Wink is a free piece of software that is used to create tutorials. Their website says: "Wink is a Tutorial and Presentation creation software, primarily aimed at creating tutorials on how to use software (like a tutor for MS-Word/Excel etc). Using Wink you can capture screenshots of your software, use images that you already have, type-in explanations for each step, create a navigation sequence complete with buttons, delays, titles etc and create a highly effective tutorial for your users." The way it seems to work is with screenshots.You can add notes, etc and the software creates an animated presentation. there is a demo on the Wink website .

Why use audio in a blog?

The debate in the weblogging Yahoo Group about use of audio in blogs: Lesley Graham , who decided to offer   an audio quiz on her blog states that: "What we are doing in the ESL class (usually in the language lab or in the multimedia lab) is preparing people for real life situations in which they might not have any textual/visual input. Think of all of the times in a day when you listen without looking: when chatting on the telephone, consulting your voice mail, listening to talk radio, having a conversation as you walk beside someone without seeing their lips move or their facial expressions, listening to an oral presentation in a darkened room..... I believe that my job is to train learners for all of these situations in realisitic, or even heightened, conditions. The next question, of course, is why would you want to do all of this in a blog rather than on a plain vanilla web page?" Aaron Campbell : "I like Nathan's response and agree with much of what he sa


From Marco's blog come a link to Momentshowing: Adventures in video blogging which has lots of interesting posts and links for anyone interested in video blogging or vlogging . After listening to Michael Coghlan's presentation last Friday, I'd really like to try this out as I think it has a lot of potential. Here's a few ideas that ran through my mind during Michael's session, which I'd like to develop on at a later date: * Set up an audio / video / photo blog diary : something for students to look at for extra listening practice,etc and to help bridge gap between teacher and students. Encourage students to do the same? I think the best idea would be to make it a rolling blog, and instead of archiving posts, simply change them. The idea of doing this would be to save on space and to encourage students to logon frequently to catch posts before they are taken off. The question is, would students actually bother going to the site? One way of introducing them to t

My Image Students' Blogs

I am using blogs again with my students of Image. This is a group of Polytechnic students studying English as a subsidiary subject (once a week for a 2 hour class). I started using weblogs with the group last year and it was successful. This year I asked the 2nd years if they wanted to continue and they all said yes. It was a lot easier introducing the 1st years to the idea of blogging too as they were able to ask their classmates (the 2nd years) if they had any doubts. So far we have managed to set up the blogs and start posting on subjects related to cinema and photography. I need to sort out a few problems with links / invitations from individual Student blogs to the Tutor blog, but otherwise it's going well. I have to give this group assignments and use what they produce in their blogs as part of their evaluation. The Tutor blog can be found here:

Pete's slingshot at blogging discussions and a response

Pete at Slings and Arrows has been doing a lot of reflecting about blogs, and in particular, the interactivity and possibility for dialogue and discussion. Here's an excerpt from what he's written: "More problematic in my view the the arrangement of comments in chronological sequence, and the lack of any threading. Interaction is extremely limited - basically commenting, rather than dialogue is taking place. It is all very linear and fragmentary. A comments, then B comments followed by C. Even if A comments again, it is not immediately clear to see how the comments relate to each other. For interaction to take place I think we need to be able to comment on comments. It is not that this is impossible, it is just that the way blogs are designed / set up discourages this. When I look at the comments on a blog, I don't feel much like commenting because it seems so one-dimensional, when compared with other tools. " It's interesting for me to read Pete&#

EV2005 Bloggers on blogging and RSS - some excerpts

Bettina seems to be enjoying herself: "I must say last weeks' learning has been much more productive and promising than I ever imagined... enrolling in this course has shown me how much is still there.... to be discovered about new technologies and its possible uses for teaching and learning." And it looks like it was the discovery of RSs and aggregators that has been the most important revelation: "Creating your own web? This question came as an affirmation for the first time in my cyberlife... 'aggregators help you make your own internet' WOW!!! "

Adelaide, Education and Life

I love Michael's blog ( Adelaide, Education and Life ) and can't wait to find the time to start experimenting with some of the audio and video features he has managed to integrate here. Fascinating stuff, and lots of potential for students and language learning.

apophenia: a culture of feeds: syndication and youth culture

Thanks to Sergei for this : apophenia: a culture of feeds: syndication and youth culture : "i quit using RSS/syndication readers... i was intrigued by the ongoing hype of RSS - how everything is going to be syndicated and how everyone is going to access data that way...i'm wondering if that's really true beyond the info-nerds." An interesting read and a different point of view. It's particularly interesting to me as I'm one week away from a trip to Lisbon and a course with a group of ICT coordinators / teachers. As we all have to give a short presentation, I've decided to present bloglines and RSS feeds,etc as something that I have come across recently that I think is very useful / interesting. But I'm not convinced how well it will go down with the group. The article continues: "Syndication is based on an email model, relatively close to a mailing list model...Like email, updates come in the form of a new item. If you leave your syndic

RSS webevent with Will Richardson

I have finally found time to listen to the recording of RSS: The New Killer App for Educators" with Will Richardson at Learning Times and am going to blog notes of the session here. Will, a self-confessed "blogvangelist" maintains Weblogg-ed , a weblog "dedicated to discussions and reflections on the use of Weblogs, wikis, RSS, and other Internet-related technologies in the K-12 classroom" , and is also a founding contributor of ed-tech insider at eSchool news . RSS: Rich Site Summary / Real Simple Syndication 1. RSS brings content to the reader RSS could be the solution to email spam. With RSS you have full control over the things you subscribe to, with email you don't 2. Two parts to RSS a) The feed b) the aggregator RSS is useful for web content that changes regularly 3. Feed = URL xml file 4. Use of RSS/Aggregator Most weblogs have built in RSS feeds. Many traditional media have RSS feeds Will uses the web-ba