Just LOLing about

November 17, 2014


I can’t spy on my daughter because I can’t decipher the abbreviations she uses. I am probably better off not knowing what they mean. But here is a brief documentary and accompanying atricle explaining why technology enriches languages and that texting does not mean we are losing the ability to write. I have seen David Crystal talk about this before and he is one of the people interviewed. Have a look if you have ever worried about falling standards of language use due to the impact of the internet.

Original post here:


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.

Stop; it!.

October 31, 2012

Some thoughts on punctuation. The link below will take you to an interview with Cormac McCarthy in which he discusses his style and, in particular, his use or non use of punctuation. He says that if the writing is good enough there is little need for more than a full stop. He is completely against the semi colon which may console all those who are never quite sure when it is useful, or not. He does allow the occasional, well placed, comma. I don’t have a copy on hand but if I remember correctly John Irving expouses the virtues of the semi colon at length, with endless examples, in A Prayer for Owen Meany. A question of style, one presumes; or, altervatively, simply of taste. Stop it! Enough for today. The link below brings this post to a full stop.


The crux of the matter

June 4, 2012

Here is something to have fun with in class. http://www.cruxbot.com/ summarizes webpages. Find a page with a lot of text, cruxbot it and see what happens. An interesting tool to explore in terms of reading and writing skills, particularly at higher levels.

You can say that again!

October 24, 2011

Here is a defence of translation in language teaching:


I certainly think translation has a role to play in the classroom. I think as teachers we would benefit from considering the whole issue of translation and comparing languages in more dept if we are in a context where we teach students who speak the same first language.

 I have learned some fascinating things recently having read some books on translating Spanish-English. One of the points that struck me most was the difference there is in writing in Spanish and in English and how being aware of this can help us, as teachers, teach writing in English, particularly for exams, to our students.

A word in your ear

June 6, 2011

This has to be the quickest and simplest way of publishing online. It really takes two minutes to set up an online page and store it. Not quite a blog, more like an online wordprocessor this must have tons of applications for use in class. Wonderful. http://pen.io/