20 Tech Tips from Vocab@Tokyo 2016

  1. Tom Cobb’s venerable Lex Tutor now has a mobile interface
  2. Collins and Merriam-Webster both provide free online dictionaries
  3. The University of Texas at Austin provides a wide selection of free handouts (PDF) for teachers of English language writing
  4. Calibre is a comprehensive e-book manager and converter
  5. OmniPage and ABBYY FineReader are powerful OCR (Optical Character Recognition) applications
  6. The Lexical Research Foundation is “a not-for-profit organisation to promote excellence in lexical and vocabulary acquisition, description and pedagogy.”
  7. AntWordProfiler, Web VocabProfile, Range, and P_Lex (PDF) are tools for profiling lexical sophistication of a text, i.e. the proportion of advanced (rare) vocabulary…
  8. …while TextInspector can be used to measure lexical variation, i.e. the proportion of word types to tokens
  9. Michael Covington has developed a number of algorithms and tools for analyzing texts, including Moving Average Type-Token Ratio (MATTR)
  10. Paul Nation’s book, What You Need to Know to Learn a Foreign Language, is available as a free PDF download…
  11. …as are all his Vocabulary Size Tests (VST)…
  12. …which can also be taken online via Tom Cobb’s site
  13. Laurence Anthony’s WebSCoRE is “a free, parallel concordancer with a specially developed bilingual pedagogical corpus”
  14. Paul Meara’s Lognostics website “is designed to provide access to up to date research tools for people working in the field of Second Language Vocabulary Acquisition”
  15. Vocabulary Learning and Instruction (VLI) is an open access international journal for research relating to vocabulary acquisition, instruction, and assessment.
  16. Showbie is a great tool for keeping digital portfolios of students’ work
  17. Coh-Metrix is a system for computing computational cohesion and coherence metrics for written and spoken texts
  18. Lexile Analyzer can be used to compute the complexity of a text, including sentence length and word frequency
  19. Cambridge University Press’s English Vocabulary Profile (EVP) “offers reliable information about which words and phrases are known and used by learners at each level of the Common European Framework (CEF)”
  20. The CEFR-J website provides a series of “can-do” descriptors specifically for English language teaching contexts in Japan.

30 Tech Tips from JALT CALL 2016


  1. James Rogers gives pronunciation advice for Japanese learners of English
  2. Linode is a powerful and good value web host
  3. The Multiplayer Classroom (Lee Sheldon) was one of the first publications arguing for gamification of education
  4. Class Craft helps you to make learning an adventure
  5. Socrative allows you to administer assessments and surveys via mobile phones
  6. Kahoot provides gamified classroom activities
  7. QuizUp offers a competitive multi-player gaming experience
  8. Sendtodropbox is a great way of getting files from your students into your Dropbox account…
  9. …while QuickVoice (iOS) allows you to record and send audio files as email attachments up to 5MB in size…
  10. …and MailVU are specialists in sending video via email
  11. Moxtra is a mobile-first embeddable collaboration platform…
  12. …and VoiceThread allows students to submit audio as attachments to images
  13. Schoology is a modern Learner Management System
  14. Ginger offers a variety of apps for online translation and grammar checking…
  15. …while Grammarly claims to make you a better writer by finding and correctly 10 times more mistakes than you word processor
  16. WikiTude is the world’s leading augmented reality SDK
  17. Diigo allows you to annotate and save web pages as you browse them
  18. Tiki Toki is web based software for creating beautiful timelines
  19. iBuildApp allows you to easily make apps for iOS or Android
  20. Mobyx (iOS) provides high quality VOIP (Voice over IP) services
  21. KanjiTomo is a comprehensive OCR (Optical Character Recognition) application for Japanese characters…
  22. …while Yomiwa (iOS) provides a real-time offline camera translator for Japanese…
  23. …and Perfect Master Kanji (iOS) is a fully fledged kanji practice app for people learning Japanese as a foreign language…
  24. …and Nihongo Shark provides free daily lessons for learners of Japanese
  25. Discord provides all-in-one text and voice chat for gamers
  26. Continuous Partial Attention (Linda Stone) is “motivated by a desire to be a LIVE node on the network”
  27. Wiggle allows you to easily import sporting goods and accessories (a weird one, but a good one for those of us who struggle to find bicycles big enough in Japan!)
  28. Phonologics offers automated pronunciation testing
  29. Words and Monsters taps into the addictive game play of apps like Puzzle and Dragons and Candy Crush by offering uncertain and unexpected rewards
  30. Paul Howard Jones is the preeminent expert on the effect of games on the brain

10 Tech Tips from Moodle Moot Japan 2016

  1. Learn anything online with MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses) from EdX.
  2. Take a look at Manaba, the LMS for educators in Japan.
  3. You can create a Question Bank with Moodle that can be used to easily generate quizzes.
  4. Moodle’s AIKEN format can be used to easily create multiple choice quizzess…
  5. …while the GIFT format provides a wider range of question types.
  6. Check out PoodLL – a set of plug-ins for Moodle for recording audio and video
  7. You can set up a virtual international exchange with Soliya.
  8. The Open University has a number of freely available plugins for Moodle…
  9. …and you can easily install additional Moodle question types.
  10. Motivate and engage students through Moodle using real time response tool, Zapette.

20 Tech Tips from ETJ Tokyo 2016

  1. Wunderlist is a great way to organize your tasks, and sync across a variety of devices
  2. Slack is a messaging app for teams
  3. Storybots makes your child the star of their own story
  4. Mindmeister is a free browser-based mind-mapping tool
  5. Zuknow is a language flashcard app for Android and iOS
  6. Picmonkey is a browser-based tool for creating “mind blowing” photos
  7. You can create animated videos and presentations with Powtoon
  8. …or try the simple do-it-yourself tools at GoAnimate
  9. Livestream allows you to watch and broadcast live events online
  10. With Sitepal you can create talking avatars for your website or blog
  11. Learn to code with Codeacademy
  12. …and optimize your JavaScript with Google Closure
  13. Take an online course with Udemy
  14. …or learn for free at Khan Academy
  15. You can create and sell your own online courses with the LearnDash WordPress LMS plugin…
  16. …or create and deploy online courses with Udutu
  17. …or easily create your own stunning website with Wix
  18. Brush up on your artistic skills with Paint.NET
  19. Check out the fun and educational kids videos at Dream English
  20. Explore the resources for Japanese learners of English at ALC

20 Tech Tips from JALT 2015

  1. Team Treehouse is a great place to learn to code online.
  2. Mahara is a fully featured web application for building an electronic portfolio and displaying digital badges.
  3. badges.quizport.com teaches you all about digital badges, and how to integrate them with Moodle.
  4. English Central now provides one-to-one online lessons with tutors.
  5. VOA provides a wide selection of easy English videos.
  6. Voice Record Pro and QuickVoice are recommended apps for making audio recordings on iOS.
  7. You can make inspiring presentations with Haiku Deck.
  8. Mindomo allows you to create online mind-maps.
  9. Poll Everywhere lets you engage your audience or class in real time.
  10. Oovoo provides free video chat for any device.
  11. National Geographic has a YouTube channel for teaching English to young learners.
  12. You can learn a foreign language by playing as an international spy with Subverses Covert.
  13. Spell Up lets you practice your spelling using the Chrome browser.
  14. Mentimeter allows you to vote with your smartphone during presentations.
  15. TEFLology is a podcast by teachers of EFL, for teachers of EFL.
  16. The Web Speech API is 72% reliable in recognizing the speech of Japanese learners of English.
  17. Xreading is a cross-device compatible virtual library of graded readers, and makes it easy to monitor and assess students’ reading progress
  18. HelloTalk allows you to practice foreign languages with people around the world for free.
  19. The Hirodai English App features free podcasts and vocabulary lists for English learners.
  20. Busuu allows you to learn languages online for free.

For other online English language teaching and learning tools, check out my list of recommended websites, or buy my eBook, 50 Ways to Teach with Technology for only $1!