Friday, November 23, 2007

Lingro - dictionary for any website will pop up a dictionary definition for any word you click on a website. No need to play about with site code. Simply type
before the URL of the website. So if you wanted to try it now on this blog all you would have to do would be to type (or click on the link).

If you register at the application will save a history of the words you have clicked to enable you to practice later. Other tools include, file uploader, bilingual dictionaries, for French, German, Italian, Spanish and Polish, audio of the word, add new translations, ajax based dictionary which starts suggesting definitions after you type the first few letters of a word

Saturday, November 17, 2007

VoiceThread as a Collaborative EFL learning space.

I don't think I have mentioned VoiceThread in this blog as yet, surprising really, as if I were to choose one web2.0 application for EFL elementary, voicethread would be the one.

Although a written description doesn't do it justice here is a quick summary of the features.
Userfriendly application which allows you to create an online album of photos, pictures, video and documents, invite others to contribute by recording their voices, doodles, text, video(web cam) or even uploading mp3 they have prepared ahead of time.
Threads can be public or private, comments allowed or not, moderated or not. Did I mention Userfriendly? VoiceThread is free for teachers, after requesting a teacher's account you can create unlimited VoiceThreads. Although it is neccessary to register with a confirmable email address, one account can be used for a whole classroom, teacher simply needs to add extra identities to his account ie an identity for each student.

So why the intro? Until last week I had only tried voicethread with a small group of students, however last week my two 5th grade classes (about 70 students) started working on this thread.
I was happy to see that the interface was easy for them to learn, but much happier when I finally got home at the end of the day and could listen to their work.
They did a really good job!
I'm now looking for classes to join us on the thread, it is moderated so comments won't show up until I approve them - (yes, a couple of my students recorded things that I'm happy I got a chance to erase before they were seen/heard by others - also a couple of the student recordings were drowned out by a very loud teacher - who has only just realized exactly how loud she is!)

I have started a collection of voicethreads for efl elementary it can be seen at if you'd like to add yours to the list just add a comment to this post.

Friday, November 2, 2007

One year mark for Google Apps Education

Official Google Blog: One year mark for Google Apps Education Edition

Google apps is an excellent opportunity for schools to use a set of web20 tools without having to create multiple accounts on seperate websites.

Apps included are Gmail, personalized google startpage, docs and presentations, shared address book, web-based multi-user chat and more.

It's a great shame that the foreign language versions of the apps lag behind as far as features go.

Still, maybe the disadvantage can be turned into an advantage! The idea of being able to chat right from within their mailbox, may just be enough to encourage my 5th graders to try the English interface.

I'll let you know!