12 Tech Tidbits from JALT National 2013

  1. Syncspace is a digital whiteboard for iPads
  2. WordEngine provides English learners with specialised vocabulary training
  3. CALL (Computer Assisted Language Learning) should perhaps be called TELL (Technology Enhanced Language Learning)
  4. Language Cloud provides “productivity tools and analytics for language teachers”
  5. Diigo is a “multi-tool for personal knowledge management”
  6. Writing Planet helps English language learners become better writers
  7. LiveCode helps you create apps for multiple platforms…
  8.  …and Codea lets you create games and simulations for your iPad
  9. SAMR stands for Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, Redefinition, and is a “method for judging how computer technology impacts teaching and learning”.
  10. XReading is “the best way to do extensive reading”…
  11. …while ER Central is the “go to place” for all your extensive reading needs
  12. And of course I should mention Atama-ii Books, a fantastic new series of multi-path game books for iPad and Kindle, which I’m lucky enough to be involved with as an author 😉

If you found these tips useful, why not check out the new version of my book, which has been revised, updated and expanded for 2019: 50 Ways to Teach with Technology

Atama-ii Books: multiple-path stories in easy English

I’m delighted to announce that I’m involved as one of the authors in a fantastic new graded reader project, Atama-ii Books. The books are multi-path stories designed for learners of English as a second or foreign language.

We are currently raising funds to get the project off the ground. We already have authors, an illustrator, and an experienced, award-winning editor (Marcos Benevides) at the helm.

To see more information and pledge your support for the project (before Oct 6th 2013), please check out our Kickstarter pageUpdate: project fully funded as of October 6, 2013!

Even a small donation of $2 will get you one of the titles in the series in eBook format. Please support independent publishing!

50 Tech Tidbits from JALT CALL 2013

  1. Team Talk is a great way to chat with text or voice, on a LAN or the Internet
  2. kotobaminers.org is a community for learning Japanese and English through Minecraft
  3. Many teachers use the world-building game Minecraft to engage and educate.
  4. Memrise is a great way to learn something new every day
  5. Bubbl.us allows you to brainstorm and mind map online…
  6. likewise, Popplet is a great app for brainstorming on your iOS device…
  7. … and Padlet is paper for the web
  8. VoiceThread is a tool which enables conversations in the cloud
  9. Voki allows you to add voices (in over 25 languages) to customised avatars
  10. BYOD means “Bring Your Own Device”
  11.  Agoda is a great website for finding cheap hotels
  12. The Mixxer is a great place to find language exchanges via Skype
  13. LiveMocha provides drop-in, instructor-led conversation classes online
  14. MyLanguageExchange is also a good place to find language exchange partners
  15. Voice of America provides easy-to-understand news for English learners
  16. livesofteachers.com interviews famous names in the English-teaching community
  17. WeVideo is one of the leading online video creation platforms
  18. Notability is a great app for annotating PDFs
  19. WikiSpaces.com provides social writing workspaces for education
  20. Text-to-speech.imtranslator.net allows you to listen to the English language in multiple accents
  21. Popjisyo provides pop-up dictionary translations for English or Japanese vocabulary on any website
  22. Simpleenglishnews.com provides simple English news for English learners!
  23. BocaVideo is an app which turns your visuals and voice into attractive, engaging videos.
  24. PBworks is a good tool for online team collaboration
  25. Trace Effects is an immersive, free 3D video game for learning American English
  26. Linguamation is a studio specialising in video games for language learners
  27. The US Department of State has a website for learning American English
  28. MailChimp is a great way to easily manage newsletter mailing lists
  29. iTeacherBook records teachers’ schedules, student attendance, and grades, and more…
  30. …while iStudiez helps students manage their learning
  31. TeacherKit is an alternative (free) productivity tool for teachers, with many features
  32. iGrade is an app for grading students…
  33. … as is Paperless Teacher
  34. while Bento can help you manage your files and data Update: Bento has been discontinued
  35. Stick Pick is an app for randomising student names
  36. iTools is an alternative to iTunes for managing Apps, Music and Photos on your iOS device
  37. Infinote is a virtual pin-board for notes and tasks
  38. Notes Plus allows you to use less paper
  39. The Babel Program is developing advanced speech recognition technology
  40. Desktop Tidy allows you to keep your Mac desktop tidy
  41. You can upload videos direct to your Google Drive with the Google Drive app
  42. Similarly, you can upload videos direct to YouTube with the YouTube Capture App
  43. 8mm allows you to give that vintage 8mm look to your iOS device videos…
  44. … while VideoFX Live lets you create real time video effects…
  45. …and Video Star is great for becoming the star of your own music videos
  46. Weebly is a super simple way to create great looking websites
  47. MReader is Moodle Reader minus Moodle
  48. There is a hidden side to everything
  49. Elance is the best place to find freelancers
  50. The JALT CALL Conference is an amazing opportunity for learning how to use technology in English teaching!

If you found these tips useful, why not check out the new version of my book, which has been revised, updated and expanded for 2019: 50 Ways to Teach with Technology

CamTESOL 2013 Write-up

img_3435Whenever you visit a foreign country, your perspective is bound to be coloured by your experiences in the country from which you came.

Japan and Cambodia are markedly different economically, demographically, politically and climatically. While Japan is the world’s third richest country by GDP, Cambodia ranks at #121. Cambodia has a much younger population than Japan, with 37% of Cambodians being under the age of 18, compared to Japan’s 16%. While Japan is among the 20 least politically corrupt countries, Cambodia ranks among the 20 most corrupt. And while Japan has a mostly temperate climate with four seasons, Cambodia is tropical, and therefore warm or hot all year round.

These are some of the over-reaching factors that determine a vast range of differences between Japan, the country in which I live and work, and Cambodia, the country I visited to present at the major international English teaching conference, CamTESOL.

The purpose of this conference is, to some extent, to attempt to reconcile the vast economic gap between Cambodia and other Asian countries that are significantly more developed. To this end, hundreds of local Cambodian English teachers are sponsored to be able to attend the conference, and the focus of most of the presentations is on practical techniques and activities that are of immediate use to local English teachers, as well as international attendees.

The conference is superbly organised, and a fantastic experience as a presenter. The sharp change of perspective that my experience in Cambodia has brought about will stay with me for a long time, and I hope to be a better teacher by virtue of the excellent presentations I attended, and the great feedback I received from those who attended my presentation. I unreservedly recommend CamTESOL to anyone involved in English language education!