My Favourite Tools by Alexandra Francisco

Part of the Cool Sites weekly series!

Like most of us, I have only just recently (about a year ago) began to use web2.0 tools in my classes. It wasn’t easy at first. There is a myriad of tools at our disposal and new ones keep emerging at such speed that it’s enough to make your head spin. So, when I choose a tool to use I always try to think of what my students can get out of it, how tool A is more beneficial to them instead of tools B, C or D. I have tried quite a number of tools and I’m sure I’ll try many more, but at the moment my personal favourites are:

English Central – I love this site, because it allows my students to practice their speaking/reading skills, providing them with immediate feedback. HERE you can check the sort of assignment I give them.

Glogster – I guess this is already an old favourite of many of us. My students love the possibility of putting text, images, audio and video together in one place. HERE are some glogs they created.

Animoto – Simply brilliant! You upload your photos (and now even short videos!), add some text and music, let Animoto work its magic and you’re given back a wonderful video that you can post anywhere. No fuss, no muss! HERE are some examples.

GoAnimate – The possibilities are endless. From digital storytelling to book reports or simple vocabulary practice, you think it and GoAnimate will bring it to life! HERE are some of my students’ animations.

MyStudiyo – Great tool to easily create multimedia quizzes. I usually get my students to create the quizzes themselves and then use an interactive board to get the whole class to try out the quizzes. HERE is one.

Vocaroo – I use it  to give my students extra practice on their reading and speaking skills. They record themselves as many times as they want and then just post or e-mail me their recordings. Here are some examples.

VoiceThread – A recent favourite. Great tool for collaborative projects and to provide students with their own niche where they can practice and interact. HERE is my first project.

Last, but not least – Livetyping – It allows me to witness my students’ writing process, showing me what they corrected and rearranged before submitting their final text.  HERE are some examples.

So here you have it, my favourite tools. Am Looking forward to reading about yours! ;-)

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Shelly for giving me the honour to contribute for her Cool Sites series, and also to express my sincere gratitude for all that she does for all of us.



Alexandra Francisco is an EFL teacher in Madeira, Portugal. She has been teaching for 15 years at the secondary level and has only recently began to be involved in the teacher training area, providing short (25 hours long) workshops on the use of web2.0 tools in EFL classes.

You can follow her web2.0 experiences at her tech blog: ZarcoEnglish – Tool of the day. You may also check her assignments blog and her students’ showcase.

Bookmark and Share

Read More

My Favourite Cool Sites by Eva Büyüksimkeşyan

Part of the Cool Sites weekly series!

Web 2.0 tools I’ve used so far…

Web 2.0 tools are great help to jazz up your classrooms, help students practice the language, motivate the digital natives with their own weapons and boost creativity. Nowadays the more I learn, the more motivated I become and I’d like to share the ones which I’ve been using.

Glogster is a great tool which helps the teacher and now with the edu option you can compile all the students’ works in one place. I’ve used glogster to assign homework, for a listening activity for pre reading. My students used glogsters for their presentations. You can see some of them here.

Animoto is one of the coolest things I’ve discovered. I have used it to raise awareness before an activity, revise vocabulary, and introduce a topic. My students also used it for their presentations. You can see some of them here.

Photopeach is also similar to Animoto and you can use beautiful slide shows with background music. An example of how I used it is here.

I used Voki to assign homework. You can also use it as your voice whenever you want.

Wallwisher is something I really enjoyed. I used it to help my students for their research on their project.

Eyeplorer is something that I used for the same purpose -to guide them in their research.

Bookr and Bubbler are great tools that the teachers and students can use in many ways. Here are some examples how we used them.

Wordle is a cute tool and I used it as word posters of the units and to preteach vocabulary. I also used it for a writing activity.

Bombay Tv is a great way to jazz up your classroom. I’ve used it to introduce the target language.

With the goodies of I’ve sent some messages and set homework.

Authorstream is a great help. I publish my grammar explanations on my blog by uploading my PowerPoint presentations.

I’m trying to keep up with the new ones but there are so many. I really want to hear what else we can do with them so I’m looking forward to hearing your suggestions.

After preparing this list I came across with Pin Dax which is an online message board service and with an inspiration from Dodie Ainslie’s post. I decided to add this and hope to get some ideas for my notice board collaboration.


büyükada iskele My name is Eva Büyüksimkesyan. I’m an EFL teacher working in the same high school where I graduated from and it is a dream came true.

I’d like to thank Shelly Terrell for this great opportunity. This is my first guest post and I feel so honored to be asked to do that. She is a great inspiration for all of us and I admire her motivation and enthusiasm. Shelly, you are such a great support and inspiration.Thank you…

Since I stepped into this great virtual world, I’ve been learning loads of things from all of you. So I want to thank everybody from my PLN and hope to increase the number to learn, share and work together….

You can read more about Eva’s use of technology in the classroom on her blog, A Journey From TEFL or find her on Twitter, @evab2001.

Bookmark and Share

Read More

What Did They Tweet?

December 1st edition!

My guilty pleasure is…. Twitter… as you can tell by this weekly series, What Did They Tweet?

Kid’s Digital Stories

@JohnMikulski’s students have created beautiful digital stories using Storybird. Storybird is one of my favorite applications that you can read about here! John describes the project which has students write a short story in which the protagonist discovers something he/she would have been better off not knowing. Please read the stories and leave these students comments on their stories. Below was one of many of my favorites!

The Tower on Storybird

Using Scenarios in Your E-learning

This brilliant Slideshare presentation provides a wonderful reflection of how we design our instruction. Although the focus is on e-learning, this really relates to the instructional design of all courses. Cathy Moore challenges us to reflect on our instructional methods to answer the question, “Are we teaching our students to solve problems?” This presentation was tweeted by @EthanKuniyoshi.

View more documents from Cathy Moore.

Project Peace for Students

@ddeubel has created an international global project for students everywhere! If you are looking for an easy project to connect your students with other schools worldwide, then you may want to check out the details here. Join the ning, choose 1 of 8 songs about peace, download the song cards, have students decorate them, then make a video! Here’s an example of one of the video projects.

Find more videos like this on PROJECT PEACE

Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education Conference

One extremely valuable part of Second Life is the various free conferences you get to attend. @barbsaka, an amazing educator who has attended several Second Life conferences, tweeted about the Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education Conference taking place on March 12-13, 2010. Last year, over 3800 educators attended the event. Below is an example of what you can expect. If you feel comfortable with your Second Life skills, the conference is looking for volunteers, paper submissions, and presentation proposals. If you are new to Second Life, please join the SLife is Life ning where you will find educators like @barbsaka and me willing to show you around.

Dec. 4th Students Save the Rainforest!

This Friday, December 4th, at 12:25pm GMT, your students and you have the opportunity to ask Javier Dril Bustamente, a native of the rainforest, questions about saving the rainforest via twitcam. DM @chickensaltash to participate in the project. This will be a wonderful opportunity to get students involved in a project that helps them reflect about their responsibility to protect the planet.

Add the people in this post to your PLN by using this mass Twitter tool. Just copy and paste this list!

ddeubel, JohnMikulski, ethankuniyoshi, barbsaka, chickensaltash, larryferlazzo, kalinagoenglish

If you enjoy this series, you may want to subscribe for FREE to receive regular updates!

If you enjoyed this post, you may also want to check out these posts with a more extensive list of favorite tweets:


Leave a comment for the children’s stories or have your students leave a comment! Join many of the other collaborative projects in this post! Attend the free Virtual Worlds Conference in March!

What do you think of these tweets? Leave a comment below!

Bookmark and Share

Read More

Cool “Collaborative” Sites by Özge Karaoğlu

Collaboration has become the key concept to learn and engage ourselves through web. Web tools offer us the opportunity to collaborate and learn from each other; so this week, I would like to share my top collaborative tools for Shelly’s Cool Sites Series.

Palbee_logoPalbee is a free online service that allows you to set up online video meetings with your friends or colleagues. You also have a whiteboard and it lets you draw, write texts, highlight or erase using different tools. Wetoku is similar to Palbee though you can set video meeting with one person, you can consider Wetoku as an easy interview tool.

sub_logo_newSpringnote is a web notebook service based on a wiki. You can create your own personal notebook or you can collaborate with others using group notebooks. You can create pages, share links and your bookmarks or share your files. Webnote and Writeboard are similar tools to take notes on net and share and make changes together. We have used Writeboard with Shelly while creating our proposal for IATEFL this year, it really worked!!

20090510095922-wallwisher-logoWallwisher is an online and collaborative notice board maker. You can make announcements, lists, share your bookmarks with others or create together. You can add pictures, videos or give links. You can write anything you want to write on post-its and you can do more than that. Have a look at Nik Peachey’s Wallwisher as a great collaboration example.Stixy is a similar tool. You can try it too.

header CoSketch lets you visualize and share your ideas as images using a whiteboard with others. You can upload pictures and draw on it, add shapes, you can draw at the same time with others and you can save your sketch as an image to embed it to your blog. DabbleBoard can be considered as a similar site. It’s another collaboration tool based on a whiteboard.

WiggioLogoWiggio is an online toolkit that lets you work in groups easily. You can send emails, text messages,voice mails. It makes it easy to share files and polls. You can set video conferences and also keep shared calendar, keep track of group’s tasks and resources.

logo_mindmeisterMindmeister is an online collaborative mind mapping tool that you can brainstorm with others real-time. You can create your own mind map on a award winning interface or share your mind maps with your friends or collaborate with others to create a collaborative one. Here is a good example with many other collaborative tools that you can use.

I hope you enjoy all the tools! And don’t forget to check Shelly’s cool sites every week.


Bookmark and Share

Read More

What Did They Tweet?

Thanksgiving edition!

Have you ever come across a tweet you wanted to share? Check out this weekly series, What Did They Tweet? to discover valuable resources! Once again I have changed the format to provide you with the best way to see the resources. Please leave a comment to let me know if you prefer this format!


What better way to celebrate this tweet series and Thanksgiving than by participating in Tweetsgiving! For more information, read this post. Basically, you tweet what you are most grateful for between Nov. 24th through Nov. 26th and use the hashtag, #tweetsgiving. You can also donate to the Epic Change organization which puts the proceeds to helping underprivileged students around the world as the video shows below. This event shared by @willrich45.

TweetsGiving 2009 from LittlePurpleCow Productions on Vimeo.

Student Cyberbullying Project

A great way to teach students about cyberbullying was tweeted by @technologytoday who had his students create a Wetpaint website dedicated to cyberbullying resources. The students displayed several powerful images and videos dedicated to stopping cyberbullying. Additionally, the students included a discussion forum!

Creating Phrases in Wordle & Screen Capture

Wordle is an amazing educational tool and @cheimi10 shared an incredible tip via Twitter. Read his post to find out how to create phrases in Wordle. I’ve included his video tutorial on how to screen capture the Wordle, because it is one of the best video tutorials I have seen!

A Quote for Educators

I’m adding my own tweet to the mix, because it included an image from Anne Hodgson’s presentation at the BESIG conference in Poland. I have included Anne’s slide which includes this quote by her co-author, Carole Eilerton, “Break a lesson into pebbles that the teaching and learning stream washes over and polishes.”

Picture 5

Dilbert & Twitter

Simfin tweeted this hilarious Dilbert comic about Twitter!

New Father Alert!

Our great friend, @TamasLorincz, announced he became a new father to a baby girl, Sophie! Stay tuned for his Twitter pics and baby tweets! Don’t forget to congratulate him!

Add the people in this post to your PLN by using this mass Twitter tool. Just copy and paste this list!

willrich45, technologytoday, cheimi10, simfin, annehodg, tamaslorincz, larryferlazzo, kalinagoenglish

If you enjoy this series, you may want to subscribe for free to receive regular updates!

If you enjoyed this post, you may also want to check out these posts with a more extensive list of favorite tweets:


What are you thankful for? Why not share on Twitter with #tweetsgiving?!

What do you think of these tweets? Leave a comment below!

Bookmark and Share

Read More