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    • Sunday, 4 December 2011

      MailVU.com: Video Email

      MailVU.com: Video Email:

      MailVU is a website which integrates the idea of email and video recording together. Basically it's a videomail. The whole concept of how this MailVU works may seems pretty simple but once you experience the superb ease to use this site, you will be amaze. The interface is very simple and clear. No hassle to sign up for an account, it's just 3 clicks away. Just click record, do your thing in front of your camera, and then send it through email.

      Students and teachers can use MailVU to share their thoughts and feelings about any classroom topic such as the parashah of the week, how they celebrate Shabbat (or any other holiday), or comment on a news event that affects the Jewish people. Homework assignments and school announcements can be delivered to parents and students via a MailVU recording, as well.

      The next time you assign a journal writing activity, consider turning it into a video recording assignment instead. Students can use web cams to record themselves answering your question or writing prompt. The change of pace from your standard journal writing assignment will surely be welcomed by your 21st century students.

      Classroom Use

      -The teacher could ask students to choose a topic areas of their interest such as sports, fashion, restaurants, etc.
      -Once chosen, students are given sources where they need to listen to the podcasts relevant to their topics i.e. BBC Podcasts.
      -They are asked to produce weekly podcasts in any ways they like but they need to use MailVu and send them to the teacher's email.
      -This way, students will have a chance to practice listening as they listen to podcasts, writing, building vocabulary as well as structuring sentences as they prepare the scripts for their own podcasts and speaking as they produce their podcasts.
      -Once the task is finished, the teacher might record each student's series of podcasts and give it to them so that they feel the sense of achievement.
      -Recordings are exchanged within the class for their peers to take back home to listen to and prepare to give feedbacks to the class.
      -Students are asked to do an improved version of podcasts according to the feedbacks received from their peers.

      -The fact that podcasts cannot be embeded in the blogs but instead can only be sent by emails, it might  make classroom use more difficult, especially in large classes where teachers have to make recording of 40 students, for instance.
      - The video cannot be downloaded as well, and the free trial account only lasts for 14 days.

      Friday, 25 November 2011

      NFSA (National Film and Sounds Archive Australia)

      In this post, I would like to share a website which in my opinion is fabulously fantastic in terms of the content that it offers. This website is actually an effort by the Australian National Film and Sounds Archive to gather every online material which they foresee possessing the value for educational purposes into an archive space which is the Digital Learning Resource as you can see below. It compiles range of materials which has been associated to language learning or to be used as Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL). Because of the content is heavily associated with the Australian culture, it is very useful to be use with any foreign English learner as source of authentic materials. In other words, this is the site which teachers or educators should go for.

      The website is easily accessible as the layout used is very neat and the organisation of the content is at its best. Try and have a go at the site to experience the ease of utilising the site. 

      I've chosen to go through one of the activity int his site which is the 'on the rail' activity. This site offers variety of access as it provides interactive activity for students, guides for teachers to be used for teaching, and also the video collection for any teaching modification purposes.

      What I like about the site:-
      - It's FREE of course.
      - Easy access, even for beginners. 
      - The content provided is highly motivating.
      - The range of materials collection are incredibly AMAZING.
      - Suitable for learning, as it benefits both teachers and students at the same time.
      - No distraction from any third party sites at all, even advertisements.

      What I dislike about this website:- 
      - Sometimes the content can be quite heavy for students to adapt such as material related to arts where it need higher level of thinking to work with the materials.
      - As the content are mostly related to Australia, some of the information may need to be explained beforehand by teachers in order to gives students a bit of background information. Schemata activation is needed here.
      - The train activities consists of too much audio and video which cannot be skipped and it drags too much time and this may resulting in students loosing interest towards the task.

      Tuesday, 22 November 2011


      Animation is made simple thanks to the Zimmer twins, Edgar and Eva, the animated young characters who star over and over again in the mini-movies on this site. Users can piece together clips of the twins interacting and speaking (through typed words in speech or thought bubbles) through whatever adventures their imaginations create. Choose a theme, create an ending to a “starter,” or simple create from scratch by piecing scenes together. Young animators can save their work for others to watch, rate, and comment on. This safe, satisfying romp into the world of animation lets kids exercise their creative muscles and hone their storytelling skills while offering enough limits to keep beginners from getting overwhelmed.

      Zimmer twins is a site which targeted young learners (aged around 7-12 years old) who are learning language (not just english).It's a nice simple interface. The beginning video explains the process well. I think the easiest way for a child to begin after that would be to choose a little movie starter. This is just like a writing prompt, a way into a story to get kids going. Then they can build the rest of the story, using four tabs: text in speech bubbles, snippets of character movement, emotion and special effects. Once you click an option (from the four tabs), it appears in your timeline, and on your editing screen, where you can add text to it.

      What I like about this website:-

      One real strength is how user-friendly the editor is. You don't have to save as you go, things stay put in the timeline until you delete them. If you want to check how your story is developing, you drag the slider back to the start and click play. If you decide you want to insert something, you can drag and drop it to its new place on your timeline. Once you're happy with the result, you can save your movie (if you've registered on the site) and share the url with your friends. Here is one I made randomly which does not have any motive, storyline or whatsoever. I hope you'll be able to see the excitement that this site has to offer.

      Unable to display content. Adobe Flash is required.

      The site has an emphasis on courtesy and etiquette, which I like most. For instance, kids can only make comments on other movies from a group of options, so put-downs don't get a look-in. Children must have parental permission too, and it looks like the site is determined to keep it appropriate for a young audience.

      What I dislike about this site:-

      Too many restriction will limit children's creativity and provide less control of the site. For example, the comments column which allow children to only select comments from a group of options will only limit their platform to practice their language of giving opinions or criticising. It is a huge area which we can fully use to educate children about function of language even it is in comment section.

      Monday, 21 November 2011


      Wordle is an amazingly easy to use web 2.0 website, which allows anyone to generate really creative word clouds by providing text. Words that are used more frequently, or specified as important, are made larger and stand out. The words clouds can then be customised with a variety of font styles, colours and layouts. 

      Here is an example of Wordle that I have created. I have used the RSS feeds of this blog and make Wordle out of it. As you can see the biggest word appears on the wordle is the word I used most frequent in my blog. You can use any text to create wordle and You can select the design for your wordle and if you are in a rushof time, just use the 'random' selection and let the magic happens.

      How can teacher uses Wordle in classroom:-
      - Teacher can make Wordle out of a text which will be used in classroom with students and this Wordle can act as the activating schemata material where it can sort of provide the overview of the text by highlighting high frequency words. We call it previewing activities.
      - Wordle can also be use as stimulus for directed writing as students can used words from wordle to construct a story, or and essay.

      What I like about Wordle:-
      -The beauty of Wordle is that there is no sign up or log-in required and once completed you are free to use your word cloud in any way that you like. 
      - The wordle can be printed out and it can also be embedded in blogs and webpages.
      - The various designs will encourage creativity among students to produce their own version of wordle.

      What I dislike about Wordle:-
      - The embedded image is too small. If it is to be enlarge, it will results in blurry image of the Wordle.
      - The size range is too distinct, sometimes those small words (less frequently used words) are hard to be read.


      AudioBoo is like Twitter, but it works with audio. This free version lets you create up to 3 minutes of audio, whether it’s part of a presentation, short talk or even personal short voice blog.

      After you’ve recorded your undoubted masterpiece, you can then add titles and tags. Should you wish, you can even connect it with location information . Then you can share your audio with whoever you like via Facebook, Twitter and other social networks and also microblogging sites too.

      How does Audioboo works?

      1) Visit http://audioboo.fm/ and sign up for a free account.

      2) Fill out your profile with the following: your name, a short bio and a website URL. Also, do not forget to upload a photo or use Gravatar.

      3) Link your account to Twitter, Facebook, Posterous and Tumblr to enableautomatic sharing every time a new recording is available on your profile.

      4) If you use a mobile device, download the free app for the iPhone or the Android.

      5) Record your message (three-minutes limit). Add a title, tags and a photo, and pick a location.

      6) You are now officially ready to share your boo with the world!

      The application has a couple of more added features, notably the ability to browse through other users public sounds. The audio file that you have created are called ‘boos’. You will need an account with AudioBoo to record and upload and, while you can use your Twitter account to do this, the application takes you out to the web browser to sign in, which is not the neatest of solutions as it can easily get diverted from the site to Twitter. Still, AudioBoo works well enough – providing you can work out what you want to use it for, of course.

      How can teacher use Audioboo in Language Learning class:-

      - Students can make a recording on a descriptive task given by teacher. For example, teacher asks students to talk about their favourite gadget that they have and explain why they like it. This can directly motivates students to particfipate in the tasks as the topic is authentic to them and directly exercise their speaking skill.

      - Teacher can use Audioboo as a medium or channel to communicate to students during afterclass. Teacher can assign tasks to students through Audioboo and students can replay the audiofile if they need to reconfirm any unclear message.

      - This Audioboo can be used as a medium for 'voice blogging' and students will surely be anticipated to try out this new type of blogging which is by using audiofile only. The abscence of video element will reduce the affective filter as only the voice is available.

      What I like about this website:-
      - It's totally free. But it needs an account to started off with.
      - Easy to handle even for beginners.
      - Voice file can be uploaded through a pc or even mobile phone!
      - The 'Boo' can be embedded into blogs or web page.

      What I dislike about this website:-
      - The 'Boo' will be linked to twitter and also i tunes, which in a way will risk the sense of privacy towards the audiofile.
      - The fact that it needs to have account to start with can be a distraction to students as they can sign in through twitter account.
      - Maximum duration of recording is limitied to only 3 minutes.
      - Facilities problems. ( It needs internet connection and either pc or mobile phone to work with).

      Sunday, 13 November 2011


      Brainshark is a website which allows us to create presentations in a very unique wa, which is by changing our ver own content such as documents, power-point, into voice narrated presentation. It is very easy to be used as the site will guide you step by step in creating a presentation.

      Not only just you can create one, you can even share it! Your presentation will be available for viewing once you enable it for online sharing by just clicking on a link provided. The best part is, it is also mobile friendly which allow users to create a presentation while on the move.

      - Easy to operate, guidance provided along the first time operating the site.
      - It is free for basic features, can be upgraded for premium features access.
      - Supports variety of types of documents.

      - The final product cannot be downloaded, and it needs internet connection even for viewing purposes.
      - Needs internet connection. Cannot be operate on offline mode.


      Wall Wisher is a web tool that allows you to have an interactive cork board. Imagine the ability to post notes with reminders about class trips, even the PDF file for the permission slip, as well as photos and other great items for your peers and students. Wallwisher is simple to use and can be shared or kept private. It is an easy way to share a workspace either with students or colleagues.

      Everybody else can then go onto the internet and stick post-it notes electronically onto the wall, (and include linked Pictures, You Tube videos, PowerPoints, PDF documents, Excel Spreadsheets, or web page links). It was originally designed for birthday, anniversary or get well soon etc wishes. A whole group of people could add their messages for someone; and that person could then read them on the web. However, Wall Wisher can be used for educational purposes as well.

      Here is the Wallwisher that we manage to set up during our class for discussion purpose on another web 2.0 which were being introduced to us. If the wall is set to “public”, then online visitors can add a comment to the wall by double clicking on it and typing text in but the comments are limited to 160 characters only for a comment box. If post-its are overlapping on the page, you can move them by grabbing their title bar with the mouse. Mousing over notes highlights them, and brings the note forward. You can delete notes in edit mode anytime.The owner / creator of the wall can log on, and delete inappropriate messages, and move the post-it notes to permanent positions, as well as editing them.   

      Personally I love the tool, because it is so quick and easy to use. However, the big drawback is that young people could set up a wall for the sole purpose of posting all sorts of horrible messages about someone they do not like (eg. Cyber Bullying). Also “open” or “public” walls could be “flamed” and “spammed” with 
      inappropriate and unwanted post-its at any time, so it is probably best to regularly monitor walls that you have created, and close any wall down to the public, (by setting it to private), if it starts getting “grafittied” or attacked. 

      Thursday, 3 November 2011


      Bookr  by Pim Pam Pum is a nice tool for exploiting images to enhance your  phrasal verbs lessons.  You can easily create a “book” in minutes by integrating thoughts or ideas with graphics which are obtained directly from flickr, a popular image hosting site. You can design the little booklet according to the theme you want to explore, and then simply dragging them into the pages of the book. You can write a short sentence on each page.  The example below is one I created especially for this post to demonstrate how it can be used. Bookr provides the utility to create a simple photobook and users can also insert some text for description or narration purposes.

      - Provide platform for creativity
      - Encourage students to generate target language.
      - Free, Easy to handle.
      - Incorporation of flickr makes the site more interesting. Students may even use their own photo collections.

      - Students may get distracted from the main tasks by the pictures in flickr.
      - The search results was not maximised, a bit dissapointed in terms of choices.
      - Needs internet connection to view the final product as it is not downloadable.

      Thursday, 13 October 2011

      Listen and Write

      Listen and Write promotes listening and writing skills. it provides audio materials for students to listen and writing activity for students to practise their writing skill. It  is a listening/dictation site that allows ESL and ELL students to click on their choice of oral transmissions and then write the words they hear in a box. Clicking the play button will repeat the sentence. There are also choices for hints or a version that provides a separate text box for each word, helping listeners to distinguish and separate the words they hear. When students write the correct sentence, a red "good" appears at the end of the line. Students can submit their own oral recordings as part of the bank of recorded items. Students can also select other languages for dictation: Korean, Basque, Estonian, and Hebrew. Dictations are available at a total of 16 levels. Students must sign in and establish an account in order to save their scores, share and save audios, and collaborate with others on dictations or audio recordings.

      - It is fun and interactive
      - Provides a range of topics for students to choose according to their personal interest.
      - Activities ranged from beginner to advance that suits students' level and proficiency.

      - It requires access to the internet which might not available in some location.
      - This site offers login through the social site 'Facebook' which might distract students' focus. They could get diverted from this site within just one click.

      Lyrics Training

      LyricsTraining is an easy and fun method to learn and improve your foreign languages skills through the music videos and lyrics of your favorite songs. Lyrics Training is a really fun approach to helping you pick up a foreign language. Choose a YouTube-hosted music video and select one of three mastery levels; Beginner, Intermediate, and Expert. As the video begins to play, the song's lyrics appear underneath with several words missing. Your job is to fill in the missing words as they're sung.

      If you get stumped, the video stops playing until you can come up with the word, but don't take too long because the app keeps track of the time it takes you to fill in the blanks. Click the "Give Up!" button to see the words that elude you.

      Lyrics Training sorts videos by fluency level or language. Currently the site only offers videos in six languages (English, Spanish, French, Italian, German, and Dutch), and it doesn't have a ton of videos for every language, but the number of videos should only grow. However, an optional translation feature powered by Google automatically translates a song's lyrics into one of dozens of different languages while you're busy filling in missing words.

      The site is free to use and doesn't require registration, though if you do set up an account, you can save the results of your efforts. While Lyrics Training alone won't make you fluent in another language, it's great for improving your skills or dabbling in a new language. Plus, it's just a lot of fun.

      Sample videos:-

      - This site is promoting english learning through songs which can make s the learning FUN!!
      - This site is also suitable for all levels of students as the activity were designed for different level of difficulty.
      - This site is focusing mostly on listening skill and also intergrating writing skill (spelling) as well.#

      - The usage of songs and video clips may distract learners.
      - Some of the songs might be using incorrect structure of language, for example the short for of want to-wanna.
      - Some video content may be slightly explicit to younger learners. To overcome this matter, a filter system may be needed.

      For more info on how to use Lyrics Training, please go HERE.

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