Monday, July 14, 2008

Tag clouds

What is a tag cloud? It is a frequency map consisting of words. They are often found on social networking sites, usually for tags, to indicate how popular a topic is.

How could I use it? A recent article by Stockdale on the Internet TESL Journal gives ideas for how to use a tag cloud to introduce a reading.

How can I make a tag cloud? Try tagcrowd. As long as text is digital, it will turn it into a tag cloud. Below is a tag cloud made using the URL for this blog!

created at

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Podcasts used with UI and Adv students

These are some of the podcasts that my students have enjoyed this term. I put one up each week on Blackboard and encouraged them to listen for homework. You need to do a bit of searching to find what suits you and your students.

Karen's podcast souNZ English

BBC learning english podcasts
Talk about English: Better Speaking
Grammar challenge
How to
6 minute English

Other podcasts
Breaking News English
ESL pod
Missing Person

Radio NZ podcasts

It would be good to add a comment or two here on which ones you find useful.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Just sharing a new tool -

You post a photo and then can add comments (oral or written) to it. Other people can come and write/record their comments. Useful for putting up a class photo and get people to introduce themselves. Or photos of a class outing, and get people to talk about what happened. You can have a whole series of photos so could create a story line.

Or students could create their own and talk about their country, family etc.

An example that I'm using with my students is at Jan 2008. Browse though, as there are lots of different ways of using it.

Watch out - works on my desk PC and in some classes but not all. Supposedly should be working in labs with new 2007 build - remains to be seen!

One good feature is that you can record yourself in different persona (ie using more than one image to post) if you want. Interesting to think about this!

Would love to hear comments if you get to use it.

2008 - year of the practice group

OK a bit over due, but here we are at the end of Feb already.

We met last week, a few of us and talked about plans for this year. I suggested that we split into smaller groups of particular technology interest, and so far the two practice groups are

podcasting - Mel G and Karen H
Smart boards - Lisa S and Grete

Contact any of us if you are interested in coming along for the ride. Expectations are that you will be practising CALL in these areas, or at least learning/exploring along with us. We envisage meeting each other over quick coffees or computer stops or classroom spaces to share how we are going and what we are doing, with a focus on the pedagogical affordances of new tools (sounds flash, but just means what the tools can do and what we want to use them for in class!) Of course, you might want to start your own little practice group - feel free, and let us know here. So the CALL CoP official is distributed over practice groups this year and we'll come together for a joint meeting in Nov to chat about next year (2009 - how scary is that!)

Hopefully as we learn, we'll be able to share with you what we think works - for us and for our students. Watch this space!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Avoiding death by powerpoint - Karl Kapp

It's the design and not the tool that impacts learning.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Tips of the Day

You may use the below already, but there's bound to be someone who doesn't...

In Groupwise
Caroline: Ctrl R will make an email that you have already opened appear as unread
Mel S: View - sort by Date, From or Subject - helps you find what you're looking for

Mark (by proxy!): b key gives you a black screen (like using No Show) on the remote control pad
Caroline: and w gives you a white screen

The software Mel G. uses is Windows Media Encoder - free download from internet. Have a go!

Mel S: gives info on latest in technology
Caroline/Karen: animated moviemaker online - you need to set up an account and then you can make your own animated cartoons. Easy and results are quite crude but could be fun with students...

For more tips go to the eLL wiki to see the eLL emails from last year with heaps of tips. You can add your own tips there as well.

Meeting 29th Aug 2007

We met this afternoon - lots of discussion stimulated by Keith's questions
  • what innovative things are you doing in your programme with technology?
  • what technology would you like to use?

Decided that we would include a 'Tip of the Day' in our meetings as a regular feature so come prepared to tell us something useful that you use for next time.

More homework... How can we use YouTube in our teaching? Experiment and see what you can come up with - bring your suggestions/experiences for next time.

Next meeting - October some time... But before that, we (the CALL CoP) star in the Tchr Dvpmt Day on Oct 5th. Our chance to show and tell for an hour. Keith will tell us how he 'puts it all together to lower his workload' for 25 mins, Mel will show us some of her screencasts (10 mins) and we'll watch 'How to avoid death by Ppt' and maybe a YouTube clip as well.