June 16


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Before we go on a fully deserved summer break, please, let me share with you a couple ideas that you might find useful if you are thinking about enhancing your classes with the use of technology without spending too much time on it. On the contrary, you will save time doing that. And this is only a taster without going into detail how to use these programs.



Ask yourself a question –

What type of classes do I teach?


Class sessions take

place 100% in a traditional classroom. Technology is hardly ever used.


2face model

Class sessions take place in a traditional classroom,

but technology is used to facilitate activities, deliver content,

and/or assess students.


Blended model

Internet-based activities comprise more than 50%

of the content and instruction

Nearly all or all instruction, interaction, and activities take place online Online model


The technique that works very well for both – hybrid and blended models, is FLIPPING a class. Instead of teaching them and asking to practise at home, you ask them to learn/get familiar with the content independently and practice will take place in class.  

Watch a short video explaining what a FLIPPED CLASS/CLASSROOM is.

There are tons of tools for flipping your lessons. I would like to encourage you to familiarise with the three. This is how I rate them but it is entirely my opinion. Plus, the more you practise with the program, the more you like or dislike it so these stars might look different in the future 🙂  

***** Blendspace

**** Google Classroom

** Tacck

I prepared the same set of tasks that NC4 students will have to do before our 1st meeting at college in these three programs. Please, ignore the content (dates, names of teachers, the quiz is short just for demonstration).

BLENDSPACE – this is what it looks like and you can access the class HERE.  It’s, basically speaking, the work that you want your students to do before a face2face class.


  • You can attach document in Word, pdf or directly from G-drive as google docs
  • You can attach images in various formats
  • You can attach links to videos, images, documents without worrying about breaching COPYRIGHT
  • You can make short quizzes


Google CLASSROOM – it is a bit similar to Moodle but more intuitive and more visually attractive.

Here is what it looks like – a 9-second clip

QUESTIONS – students will be able to post their answers and/or comment on other answers

ASSIGNMENTS – it’s basically what you want students to do as preparation for next classes or homework. You will be able to see who did and who didn’t submit the assignment. You will be able to comment on students’ work and give them grades/marks.

ANNOUNCEMENTS – it is basically speaking communication with students, passing messages, reminding of things


  • You can attach document in Word, pdf or directly from G-drive as google docs
  • You can attach images in various formats
  • You can attach links to videos, images, documents without worrying about breaching COPYRIGHT
  • You can comment on and grade students’ work
  • You can schedule your posts (you can prepare them earlier and set the date they will be visible for students)


I’m still discovering new features of Google Classroom so maybe soon it will be a 5-star platform 🙂

There are a lot of google classroom tutorials so, please, watch this short clip to see what it offers.

TACCK – you can access it here

As you will notice, I couldn’t upload pdf or word documents. Also, when I tried to upload an image, I kept getting messages about no space.

It’s a brilliant tool for creating presentations for example. I’m still finding out about its features.


So, have a look and enjoy. And if this seems overwhelming a bit, why don’t you try creating your own simple flip using TEDEd. Find a video, create a series of questions and flip it!!!!! I haven’t used this program myself but I used mini lessons prepared by others. For example this one about pronouns me, myself and I  

Thank you,


June 21

TOOLS useful for PBL lessons.

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Created with Padlet

PADLET is a fantastic and  extremely simple tool that I have been using for several of years with all classes I teach, but especially NC4 YL. It is one of these tools that you can never get bored with. PADLET is excellent for both individual and group tasks. It works like a sheet of paper where you can put anything (images, videos, documents, text) anywhere, from any device (pcs, tablets, phones).

What did I use PADLET  for with my students:

Click on the title.

  1. For saying HELLO to each other 
  2. For MY DREAM JOB entries
  3. For reflecting on QUOTES FROM SHAKESPEARE
  4. For talking about EXTINCT LANGUAGES
  6. For writing HAIKU
  7. For writing RECIPES
  8. For writing about TRADITIONS
  9. For writing about WORK PLACEMENT
  10. For expressing opinions about Brexit (speaking)

and many more.

Below, a short overview how to use it in a video by Richard Byrne (technology in teaching guru).


Popplet is a free online tool that allows you to create mind mapping and brainstorming diagrams. A free version is rather limited and it lets you create 5 popplets. But, if you don’t plan storing live popplets, a free option should be more than enough. Plus, you can export them as a jpg or pdf file if you want to save your students’ work. It’s an excellent tool for mindmapping and presentations for individual, class/group or pairwork. The tools allows you to use a range of formats such as video, word, pdf. Unfortunately, you can’t attach any audio file. At least for the time being.

What did I use POPPLET  for with my students:

For a collaborative class project THE MUSEUMS OF EDINBURGH (class trip) http://popplet.com/app/#/2667368

  1. For individual presentation COUNTRIES (students shared their popplets with me)
  2. For group presentations on INSPIRATIONAL WOMEN

I also used popplet whilst studying with teaching English with technology course for presentations:

  1. In collaboration with my partner Sayed – Dos and DON’Ts on TECHNOLOGY IN CLASS 
  2. Individual – HOW TO USE VIDEO in CLASS

You can make your popplet totally private or totally public. There is a collection of public popplets you can use freely although you need to check whether the content is appropriate. No copyright issues unless you are inserting a physical file.


Finally EASEL.LY –  a program not maybe as attractive as Glogster but FREE.

You can either build your own infographic by dragging and dropping pre-made design elements on the in-built canvas or you can use a blank canvas or build upon one of Easel.ly’s themes. If Easel.ly doesn’t have enough pre-made elements for you, you can upload your own graphics to include in your infographic. Your completed infographic can be exported and saved as PNG, JPG, PDG, and SVG files.

I’ve come across it quite recently and used it, successfully in my opinion, with my students, for EMPLOYERS’ ENGAGEMENT EVENT in June 2016.

June 19


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Going paperless – a dream or a real possibility? I am currently using Planbook and Box for communication and storage. I have my Blog which students can use for extended learning. So other steps or what different steps should I take to go paperless? Which platform would be the best option for my students?


June 17

EASEL.LY – an excellent tool for creating VISUALS such as infographics or posters.

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I was researching for a good tool for creating visuals and, although there are loads of nice programs available, they are either paid or limited in options I need  or too complicated to use.

EASEL.LY is a fantastic tool for creating posters and infographics. There is a fair-enough 🙂 free version that you can use with your students. They will need to set up an account, create a poster or infographic and download it as pdf or share as a link.

Using easel.ly is really straightforward, just drag’n’drop images, cliparts, shapes or text. Although for some, a free option is rather limited in images, you can make it up by uploading your own images.Yes, there is an option like that!!!

Watch a video on how to use EASEL.LY.

I used the program for posters for Employers’ Engagement Event in our college. Just have a look at some of them. AWESOME, AREN’T THEY?

February 16


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Boy hand with pen writing on notebook Max Garçia via Compfight

A collection of short, but very helpful, tips on writing covering Sentences, Paragraphs and essay writing.

Excellent site with interactive information on writing a research. Suitable for more advanced levels and Academic English.

A collection of interactive activities for organising, planning and editing writing (letters, paragraphs, essays).

A collection of short but very useful tips on writing.


February 16


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POPPLET http://popplet.com/ – a very intuitive and user friendly application for mind-mapping and presentations. Uses a range of media – word/pdf/jpg documents or videos. Available as a mobpoppletile app as well. Ideal for individual and group projects and short presentations.

This is an example of a collaborative project The Royal Mile Museums (a trip, worksheets, a popplet presentation)prepared by NC4 ESOL for Employability students –

Click to see it http://popplet.com/app/#/2667368

See the tutorial how to use popplet for collaborative work


PADLET https://padlet.com – another great tool especially for collaborative projects. Uses a range of media – word/pdf/jpg documents, videos or audio files. Available as a mobile app as well.

This is an example of a padlet about TRADITIONS prepared by NC4 ESOL for Employability students – http://padlet.com/bwerner/ub312s8fw0q7

Watch a tutorial on how to use padlet:


THINGLINK https://www.thinglink.com/ – one of my favourite tool, excellent for projects based on research. Incorporates various media – documents, pictures, videos. Excellent for presentations

Projects about sports – this one is about cross-country skiing. Click on different icons to see attached media https://www.thinglink.com/scene/356848057582616577

Watch a tutorial on how to use thinglink:


SCCOP.IThttp://www.scoop.it/an excellent tool for collecting (scooping) material online. Excellent for research. This is a screenshot of my scoop.it with 5 different topics (highlighted). The program collects what is available online related to the chosen topic.

scoop.it capture

Unfortunately, now you can create only one topic for scooping (used to be 5).

NC4 ESOL for Employability students set up their accounts to search the materials on Scottish Traditions. This how their scoops might look like:

Watch a tutorial on how to use scoop.it



September 12


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  1. SMALL PDF  – good if you are in a hurry; no need to download anything; you can use it on your work computer. Also available as a chrome app for chrome users.


small pdf

How to split pdf and extract pages? Easy peasy, trust me.  Have a look .

My opinion: 5/5

2. I LOVE PDF –  no need to install a set up program; little bit more limited I think but also nice.

small pdf


My opinion: 4/5

3. SEJDA very nice layout; no need to set it up. Free to a certain extent (see https://www.sejda.com/pricing). Nice feature of converting A3 into A4 J

sejda pdf



My opinion: 4/5


June 21


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Are you fed up with teaching the same stuff for ages? Are you annoyed with students asking you umpteenth time how to write a report? Would you consider asking your students to get prepared for the class at home instead of spending precious class time on theory?


FLIPPED CLASSROOM  might be the answer.

I experimented with the tool called BLENDSPACE which allows you to create canvas with activities for blended learning (flipped classroom or project based learning). I played with the tool a bit and created a lesson about Personality  for the Self-Awareness unit I teach. You need to sing up if you want to see the tasks attached to the files, comment in the comment boxes or do the quiz but you don’t need to do anything if you want to have a quick look only.