Thanks for all the phishing

September 19, 2013

Hi all and welcome back to a new teaching year after the summer. For those of you who may be slightly paranoid about internet security the Economist has an in-dept survey on the issue and an interesting debate about whether or not security agencies should be allowed pervert the flow of information as it were. If you don’t want to read the complete article scroll down to the fun section on Panoramic paranoia where the newspaper gives some tips on being really safe electronically (ie keep your mobile safe from interference by switching it off, taking out the battery and storing it in the fridge when not in use).

This blog is, of course, about technology and teaching but maybe the security issues remain the same. At what point should we shut technology out and store it in the fridge just in case it corrupts our classrooms? My daughter has just started secondary school and has been told that all mobile devices have to be turned off and locked away during school hours. A recent talk by a work-mate encouraged me to get my teenagers to take our their mobile phones and use them creatively in class last night. There is always a back door when it comes to technology. The trick may not be finding it but using it productively, creatively and in a way that stimulates the teaching and learning process. Technology is not an automatic virus. It can be, but in education that probably depends on the teacher.

That has always been the intention of this blog: learning about and using technology in the best pedagogical way possible. I have just re-read the aims of this blog stated in the WHY section and I hope to some extent they have been fulfilled.

Time moves on and technologically things change ever quicker than time does. After nearly 300 posts I think this blog may have reached an end. Three years is a long time in the history of internet. Things have moved on. I may return here or on a new blog when I have found a new angle: at the moment I feel that it is time for an upgrade, and they always take time to de-bug.

Meanwhile thanks for all the phising! Let me leave you with one final clip which does what we try to do every class: put a humanistic layer on intelligence, artificial or not.


Babbling on

May 7, 2012

This is fun. Add photos and then talk over them. Greaat for student homework / projects. It can be used to practise any language point. You do have to sign in however, but you can use your facebook account. Well worth investigating if you don’t know it already. http://www.fotobabble.com/


Imaging this

November 9, 2011

We use images all the time in our classrooms and technology makes it increasingly easy to find pictures / flashcards etc. and also to manipulate them and create customized material. You and your students may be familiar with http://www.flickr.com/ where you can store your photo sets online. I have just found, however, http://bighugelabs.com/ which offers a series of tools for manipulating photos, creating a jigsaw for example or a mosaic or poster from files you can upload or import directly from facebook or flickr. Great fun and very useful for creating stimulating images for use in class: try getting students to do their own and bring them in for discussion.

If you want to use pre-selected photos there is nowhere better to start than with http://www.flickr.com/photos/eltpics/sets/ the great ELT picture project. Have a look at the photos already available and well done to those involved! As a continuation follow the great new blog with ideas on how to creatively use photos in your classes http://takeaphotoand.wordpress.com/

Great work by all involved!


It’s English Jim, but not as we know it …

October 31, 2011

You may have seen this before but it is new to me: gibberish … how to speak English without making a sound, or rather, without making sense.

And more on the theme from this great blog post:

http://amog.com/offbeat/english-sounds-nonenglish-speakers/


I speak, you speak, we all speak for free

July 27, 2011

Nearly on holidays but one final link to an article in El Pais (in Spanish) on a new website aimed at giving Spanish speakers more opportunities to speak in English with native speakers via videoconferencing software. It is free but of course you have to pay something in return. In the fashion of good old face to face “intercambios” or exchanges, the person who speaks English to you will expect the opportunity to practise Spanish in return. The site is at: http://verbling.com/ and the article which continues to discuss the necessity but also lack of English in Spain is at: http://tinyurl.com/3r43cxk


Anyone can be presidential

April 11, 2011

Here is a site that is so simple to use but great fun, an online teleprompter! Try getting students using it as they make a presentation to the class: they will love it. http://www.cueprompter.com/


Teddie bears

November 30, 2010

Powerpoint stories for very young kids. These are great. http://www.regandlellow.com/ At the other end of the scale their author Chris Roland has an article in ETp (Issue 71, p.12) on getting older and perhaps more advanced students to speak as a “speaker” aka somebody you can find on www.ted.com