15 Tech Tips from JALT CALL 2021

The JALT CALL 2021 online conference took place from 4th to 6th of June 2021. It was sponsored by Poodll and TeacherTools:


In case you missed it, here are some useful Tech Tips I picked up over the course of the weekend!

  1. SPARQL is a semantic query language for databases which is able to retrieve and manipulate data stored in Resource Description Framework (RDF) format
  2. According to the founders of Xreading, the following are both fallacies: “Cheaters are only hurting themselves” and “Japanese students don’t cheat”!
  3. GIGAProject is a partnership between Japan and U.S. companies to help put the latest mobile devices in the hands of every Japanese student.
  4. Some of the physical impacts of prolonged online learning include: eyestrain, backache, and fatigue:

Image from “Transitions and connections: student reflections on emergency remote teaching and learning (ERTL) in 2020” (Sandra Healy)


  1. Universal Design is the design and composition of an environment so that it can be accessed, understood and used to the greatest extent possible by all people regardless of their age, size, ability or disability.
  2. Miro provides an engaging, intuitive, in-person collaboration experience
  3. Most teachers surveyed at the JALT 2021 conference believe there will be some limited teaching and learning online after the COVID pandemic subsides:

Image from “Optimizing the future of language teaching with technology in Japan” (Betsy Lavolette)


  1. Students have various concerns about learning online, including Physical, Pedagogical, Social, Technological, and Content-related concerns:

Image from “EFL students’ perceptions and preferences of online learning: a Japanese higher education context” (Satchie Haga)


  1. Spatial.io allows you to create a lifelike avatar and work as if your are next to your colleagues, utilizing VR and Augmented Reality


  1. Gather is a video-calling space that lets multiple people hold separate conversations in parallel, walking in and out of those conversations just as easily as they would in real life.


  1. Wonder is a space where you can connect to others in a spontaneous and fluid way by moving around freely between groups. It’s fun, creative and energizing.


  1. Run The World is a one-stop solution for virtual social gatherings, webinars and conferences that deliver engagement.
  2. The ISTE Standards for Students are designed to empower student voice and ensure that learning is a student-driven process
  3. VocabLevelTest.Org allows you to easily create and administer meaning-recall and form-recall vocabulary levels tests

Image from “Self-marking online form-recall and meaning-recall vocabulary tests” (Stuart McLean)


  1. LingoBingo.Live allows students to practice listening and speaking in a live online game

Image from “Fun listening & speaking practice with LingoBingo.Live” (Oliver Rose)

Introducing Learn-English.Org!

What is Learn-English.Org?

Learn-English.Org is a free website for learners of English to practice listening, speaking, reading, and writing online, anywhere, anytime!

How do I use Learn-English.Org?

Find an activity you would like to study by using the navigation panel on the left. There are three ways to navigate the activities on this site: by categoryby skill, and by level.

Can I track my progress?

Yes, you can track your progress on this site by creating an account and then checking your progress report.

Who is behind Learn-English.Org?

This site is produced and developed by English language and Ed-Tech experts, and powered by TeacherTools.Digital, an innovative digital assignment creation platform for language teachers.

20 Tech Tips from Joe Dale

Joe Dale is a wealth of ed-tech tips and information

For anyone unfamiliar with Joe Dale, I highly recommend you check out his YouTube channel and follow him on Twitter. The man is an absolute wealth of tech tips for language teachers. Here are a few gems I picked up from him in a single Zoom session:

  1. Make any video your lesson with EdPuzzle
  2. Visualize your ideas in a new and collaborative way using JamBoard
  3. Easily add transcribed voice comments and feedback to shared documents using the Mote Google Chrome extension
  4. Allow students to create digital learning portfolios with Seesaw
  5. Quickly and easily record your voice with Vocaroo or OnlineVoiceRecorder
  6. Immersive Reader, included in OneNote Learning Tools, is a full screen reading experience to increase readability of content in OneNote documents
  7. Ferrite Recording Studio makes it fast and easy to record and edit audio, and includes powerful features such as effects and automation
  8. Voice Record Pro 7 is a professional voice recorder for iOS
  9. Textivate generates a wide range of interactive activities based on your own text and / or matching items. It works with texts of up to 500 words and / or up to 200 matching items
  10. Teach any language with YouTube + TeachVid
  11. LearningApps.org is a Web 2.0 application, to support learning and teaching processes with small interactive modules
  12. You can easily allow anyone to create a copy of a Google doc you have created by changing the end of the URL from /edit?usp=sharing to copy: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1lQdVTkuiT6oi-CZ9A9y6rrCXOyoX8VeSgBw-sH94WHA/edit?usp=sharing -> https://docs.google.com/document/d/1lQdVTkuiT6oi-CZ9A9y6rrCXOyoX8VeSgBw-sH94WHA/copy
  13. Easily create any kind of Google Drive doc with the following URL shortcuts: doc.new, form.new, slides.new
  14. Use Ilini to learn French with the best videos on the web
  15. Create presentations, infographics, and more with Genially
  16. Create your own personal Emoji with Bitmoji
  17. Get popup translations for any website using Lingro
  18. Get easy-to-understand multilingual definitions with WordReference.com
  19. Exam.net is a robust, easy-to-use and secure exam platform
  20. Draftback is a Chrome extension that lets you play back any Google Doc’s revision history

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.