20 Tech Tips from JALT CALL 2019

The 2019 JALT CALL conference was informative and enjoyable as usual! Here are some handy highlights and tech tips I picked up during the three days of presentations…

  1. The big names that come up every year include English Central, WordEngine, Pocket Passport, and XReading. Check them out if you don’t already know them!
  2. Did you know you can use MoodleCloud to host your Moodle installation?
  3. According to English Central, “difficulties”, “colony”, and “discovered” are amongst the words Japanese learners of English find the most difficult to pronounce
  4. The University of Kyoto is using blockchain to power its learning analytics. Find out more about the uses of blockchain here
  5. Kai-Fu Lee discusses AI in his best-selling book “AI Super Powers
  6. Musio X robot helps Japanese kids learn English
  7. Google Duplex can call local businesses to arrange appointments
  8. Pocket Talk puts the power of two-way voice translation in your pocket
  9. Translatotron can translate L1 speech directly into L2 speech without the need for an intermediary text transcription stage
  10. Critical thinking, people management, and creativity will be among the top 10 job skills in 2020 according to the World Economic Forum
  11. DialogFlow can be used to create natural AI-powered “conversation experiences”
  12. Seesaw empowers students to demonstrate and share learning
  13. Google Classroom is gaining traction in Japan, although I experienced issues inviting students from certain institutions that hadn’t yet granted access to the tool
  14. Did you know that Google complies with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)?
  15. Did you know that there are 118 million smart speakers in US households?
  16. Alexa Skill Blueprints allow you to easily create your own Alexa Skill
  17. jb11.org contains lots of useful text analysis tools
  18. Learner English corpora include ICLE, JEFFL, and many others
  19. There are also many native speaker corpora
  20. Manaba is a popular LMS in Japan

Also, don’t forget to check out my own sites:

… and buy my book if you’re interested in learning more about how to use tech in the ESL classroom!

My appearance on ALTInsider.com

I was delighted to appear on the excellent and informative ALTInsider.com podcast with James last weekend. The episode has just been released, and I talk about Computer Assisted Language Learning, writing graded readers, and teaching at universities in Japan.

Here is a quick rundown of my sites mentioned on the podcast:

Also, don’t forget to check out my book of tech tips for English teachers, and support me on Patreon if you find my work useful.

25 Tech Tips from JALT 2018

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  1. Did you know that Google Slides now offers a feature to display automatic closed captions (i.e. it types what you say as you speak!)
  2. John Blake offers a variety of web-based tools for language teachers and learners
  3. Regex101 helps you write regular expressions
  4. Google Sites can be used to store handouts, host video and audio, link to useful websites, and a range of other useful functions
  5. Did you know that it’s possible to slow down and speed up YouTube videos?
  6. Google has a vocabulary learning activity built in to its mobile search portal
  7. Ozdic is a useful collocation dictionary
  8. YouGlish allows students to use YouTube to improve their English pronunciation
  9. The Google Public Data Explorer makes large datasets easy to explore, visualize and communicate
  10. Gapminder produces free teaching resources making the world understandable based on reliable statistics
  11. ToPhonetics allows you to convert English text to IPA phonetic transcription
  12. Clip2Comic (iOS app) is a useful app for converting photos to comics for storytelling and other educational purposes
  13. CNN now produces reading and listening lessons for English learners, including text-to-speech audio and a vocabulary look-up feature…
  14. … while DreamReader provides free English reading practice for learners
  15. PowToon allows you to create engaging animated videos with a library of styles, characters, backgrounds
  16. Unsplash provides free stock photography for any purpose…
  17. …as does Pexels
  18. Cambridge World of Better Learning provides insights, tips and tools for language teachers
  19. Pocket Passport provides flashcards, storyboards, digital quizzes, and other resources for English language teachers
  20. EnglishCentral offers a series of high frequency vocabulary lists to help identify gaps in students’ knowledge, in addition to an online vocabulary level check
  21. Just-in-time learning involves using technology to consume learning materials at any time and in any place
  22. Did you know that MEXT officially promotes the use of ICT for active learning and for increasing the amount of time spent engaging with foreign languages?
  23. Scott Sustenance has developed an innovative system based on “mnemotechnics” (a.k.a. the “keyword method”) for enhancing students’ vocabulary recall ability. Check out his students’ work on his Instagram feed: #kwvocab18
  24. Nearpod provides a variety of real-time activities suitable for language classrooms, including open ended questions, fill-in-the-blanks, matching activities, and more
  25. The Font is an online journal of quality writing on the theme of teaching and learning languages at home and abroad

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

35 Tech Tips from JALT CALL 2018

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  1. Class Marker is an online testing and quiz making website for business and education.
  2. LearnMatch combines social language learning and gamification through the medium of football matches.
  3. English Attack immerses students in authentic English, and features motivational exercises and games.
  4. Minimally invasive education (MIE) is a form of learning in which children operate in unsupervised environments.
  5. Clova is an intelligent personal assistant for Android and iOS operating systems developed by LINE.
  6. Newsela allows students to read the news at various levels of difficulty. It has over 6000 articles at 5 reading levels. Free and paid versions available.
  7. According to Caught in the Net author K. S. Young, internet addiction is “real” and has “devastating effects on the lives of addicts and their families”.
  8. The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method which breaks down work into short intervals separated by short breaks.
  9. Flixel allows you to make beautiful moving photographs (cinemagraphs) to captivate your audience.
  10. Linguamarina offers YouTube videos with helpful language lessons and advice for those wanting to emigrate to the USA.
  11. Kahoot! is a free game-based learning platform that makes it fun to learn any subject, in any language, on any device.
  12. Correct.app offers automated grammatical feedback on student writing, and covers a variety of typical English learner errors.
  13. Duolingo uses the Grammar Translation Method of language teaching, which most Japanese learners of English are familiar with from their high school days. It can be used as an effective supplement to more communicative in-class learning techniques.
  14. Dedoose is a cross-platform app for analyzing qualitative and mixed methods research with text, photos, audio, videos, spreadsheet data and more.
  15. The Extensive Reading Foundation is a not-for-profit, charitable organization whose purpose is to support and promote extensive reading.
  16. Yomiyasusa Levels (YL) are a newly established way to measure the reading level of English books.
  17. Shigoto no Kiso Eigo is an NHK educational television series for learning English.
  18. Elemenglish.org is a course designed for elementary school teachers who want to improve their command of classroom English.
  19. Softbank’s Nao Robot can be used to teach second languages
  20. …while Musio Edge can speak “memorable and natural” English.
  21. James Paul Gee argues that good video game-based learning should be “pleasantly frustrating”.
  22. Sounds (iOS/Android app) helps you study, practise and play with pronunciation wherever you are…
  23. …while Sounds of Speech (iOS/Android app) provides a comprehensive understanding of how each of the speech sounds of American English is formed…
  24. …and Phonetics Focus (iOS app) provides 20 fun English phonetics/pronunciation practice activities and resources.
  25. Spaceteam ESL (iOS/Android app) is a fun English learning game you play with your friends and classmates using phones or tablets.
  26. ReadTheory provides free reading comprehension and writing exercises sure to improve your critical thinking skills…
  27. …while Mreader allows teachers (and students) to verify that they have read and understood their reading.
  28. Write & Improve is a free service for learners of English to practise their written English.
  29. Memrise allows you to learn a new language with games, chatbots and over 30000 native speaker videos.
  30. AntConc is a freeware corpus analysis toolkit for concordancing and text analysis…
  31. …while TAASSC is an advanced syntactic analysis tool which measures a number of indices related to syntactic development.
  32. The new version of Word Engine promises to help students quickly increase their TOEFL, TOEIC and IELTS scores.
  33. The Tatoeba Project is a free and collaborative sentence translation database…
  34. …and Charles Kelly offers a variety of ways for Japanese learners of English to interact with the database.
  35. Apps 4 EFL is a Web-Based Language Learning (WBLL) platform for teachers and students of English as a Foreign Language (EFL/ESL). It utilizes creative commons data and open web technologies to facilitate engaging online study.

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

Josh Wilson’s Site & App List

Thanks to all those who attended the CALL SIG Forum at JALT 2017. In case you missed it, here is Josh Wilson’s killer list of sites and apps for language learning:

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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