30 August 2018

Sifting through Words

Guiding learners through the steps of carrying out research is never simple. Approaches need to be engaging, meaningful and above all, clear to students. 

One approach to encouraging learners  how to do  research  is by using WordSift.

WordSift creates word clouds but also does a lot more. It creates connections between concepts and words, as well as offers a suggestion of images and videos for students to continue exploring a particular topic. 

Here is an example with "Culture Shock":

Students can also type in (or paste) a small chunk of text and get further results/suggestions on the theme or topic. Below, is an example taken from What Is Sustainability and Why Is It Important?

WordSift gives learners the opportunity to interact with vocabulary in an engaging and playful way - as well as helping EAP students with initial research practices. 

In some ways, there is a lingering perception that EAP must be dry, serious and "academic". After all, EAP focuses primarily on academic learning skills. However, learners still need to be supported and encouraged to undertake projects and manage their own learning - what better than adding some digital playfulness which opens up doors to learning?

What other tools have you been using to encourage vocabulary learning and doing research?

Dolly Said No To Elvis (official music video) from Heather Colbert on Vimeo.

Further Suggestions:

22 August 2018

Reading with Iris

How to encourage reluctant learners to read and do research?

Iris.ai  comes to the rescue with it's user friendly search and suggestions for scientific research. 

Students need to sign up (free), there is a an exploration section as well as a training section (for both scientific papers and TED talks ), while navigation is easy for all. 

Below is an example:

After clicking on, for example, "liver", a number of suggested articles will appear for the reader. 

Iris.ai will also provide suggestions for reading/research, from topics such as architecture to contemporary issues regarding refugees. 

With other features based on AI, Iris.ai is definitely a great source for reading and learning how topics connect with the aid of AI. 

Further Suggestions:

News in Levels - World News for Students of English

21 August 2018

Frameworks for Digital Education Practices

Finding balance. 

Finding the balance between worlds of digital knowledge, digital sharing and the analogue, the IRL where days unwind and wrap us with urgencies, duties and pleasures. 

For many educators, finding a balance between teaching with digital tools and reams of paper is still a challenge - not to mention all kinds of questions which arise when engaging with the digital for educational purposes. 

Here below you can find references for digital frameworks for educational practices, which hopefully may shine some light and lightness on implementing digital practices in education:

Made with Padlet

Free Sound for Educators and Learners

It's never been simpler to use sounds and music when teaching - as long as you have a good internet connection. Learners too need access to sound libraries for their digital projects and here are some suggestions to dip into whenever necessary:

And a recent suggestion by Nik Peachey:

Sound Effects Download | Soundsnap.com

Do you have other suggestions for learners to access free sounds?

20 August 2018

Evaluating Websites for EAP

In many parts of the UK, students who are attending pre-sessional courses are now in the midst of assessments and essay writing. 

Regardless whether learners are post-graduate, graduate or K12 students, it is always worth revising how to evaluate web sources with them. 

Below is a Padlet with suggestions to use with students.

What other websites/activities do you suggest?

Made with Padlet

17 August 2018

How Are You Doing? - Visual Feedback

There are many ways that educators may receive student feedback - including having students offer feedback with a visual artifact.

Apagraph creates visual quotes and is free and simple for students to use.

Here is an example:


There are beautiful visuals to add and students can provide their feedback to a course or task - simple!

However, I would like the embedding to be clearer as well as the ability to save one's quotes in a folder. Perhaps that will come with time.


What is your favourite tool for creating quotes with students?

Further Suggestions:

Soundbites for the Classroom

Stories for Autumn

Do You Have Visual Swag?

20+ EASY Ways to Make Picture Quotes Online!

Give Personalized, Target Language Feedback with Bitmoji Stickers


Childhood Obesity - Resources for Teachers and Learners

It is not news that childhood obesity is increasing around the world. However, it is worth discussing and sensitizing learners to the risks of obesity.

National Nutrition Month Games offers resources for both young learners and adults and is free.

Below you can find more suggestions to use in class.

Made with Padlet

How do you approach child obesity in your classroom?

Further Suggestions:

Your Life in Another Country

Healthy Eating in Spring

A Girl's World - The Fat and the Skinny

14 August 2018

Fake News - Resources for Learners and Educators

Digital literacies, Visual literacies, Social Media literacies.

The skills and demands of today's literacies change and so should educational practices by meeting learners in the world in which they live in.

Here are some resources for helping students understand the issue of fake news.

Bad News - a free game

Factitious - a free game


The 10 Best Fact Checking Sites

News and Media Literacy

Writing & Discussion Activities to Promote Awareness of Fake News - NIk Peachey

Fake News and Digital Literacies: some resources

4 Fake Sites to Teach Students Website Evaluation

One activity to do with students is to create a digital wall (either with Padlet or Lino, for instance) and have them brainstorm what fake news is and why it happens.

They can then continue by finding examples, discussing what is fake/not fake and finally try to establish why fake news happens and how it is affecting everyone around the world. Suggestions to combat fake news can then be contributed on a Flipgrid.

Here is an example of a digital wall with further suggestions that may be used while focusing on fake news:

Made with Padlet

How do you teach fake news?


Fake news game confers psychological resistance against online misinformation