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question mark ? Leo Reynolds via Compfight


It might be: solving a problem or task, creating a product, education others, convincing others, a broad theme, forming an opinion, philosophical issue, thinking divergently.  What is divergent thinking? Well, how many uses of a paper clip can you think of? More about divergent thinking here – a really nice video clip.


Fringe Cavalcade 2010 020 byronv2 via Compfight



NC4 ESOL for Employability is a full time college course for young learners (16-25) living and working/planning to work and studying in Scotland. It consists of 12 various units including ESOL Writing for Employability, IT and Living in Scotland. As part of assessment for these three units, students will have to produce a leaflet on SCOTTISH FESTIVALS. Each student will have a different festival.

Students will research the festival chosen, using at least three websites with full accreditation. They should give two reasons for deciding to write about this festival, say where and when the festival is celebrated, say why it is celebrated, describe what activities the festival involves and say why it is important. They might add their own ideas. For IT, the leaflet should be in Arial 12, 1.5 line space.

The driving question:

Why should (or shouldn’t) Scots celebrate ………. (the name of the Scottish festival or the festival celebrated in Scotland such as Burn’s Night, Common Riding of the Borders, Burning of The Clavie or Mela)?

  • Is the question open-ended? It will allow students to develop more than one reasonable answer.

It is an open question started with WHY.

  • Do you feel the question will spark curiosity and engage the students? (remember this might be dependent on the local contexts of the students)

Yes, students will need to research the origin of the festival, how it was and still is celebrated in Scotland or in different regions of Scotland. And, finally, students will reflect on why people still celebrate it which will lead to the driving question – should it or should it not be still celebrated?

  • Is it aligned to the learning goals identified? To answer it students will need to gain the intended knowledge, understanding, and skills.

The task will cover performance criteria for 3 subjects: ESOl writing (Everyday Life context), Living in Scotland (Outcome 1) and IT.

They will develop such skills as: research, crediting sources, editing a document in Word, making notes.

  • Is it difficult to answer by using Google? – I checked myself and it is not possible to find a strait forward answer to this question.

PROJECT BASED LEARNING – my learning diary

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THIS IS GOING TO BE MY LEARNING DIARY for the PBL course. More information about the course HERE and in the video below. 

I feel this will be the easiest way not only to fulfil the course requirements but also to share my reflections, my findings, other teachers’ thoughts, ideas, tools and whatever is worth sharing, with my colleagues.

As a course requirement, this diary will include:

  • My answers and reflections to the questions and tasks posed during the module sections.

  • Comments, ideas, resources from the course materials and shared by other course participants that I hadecka042953a05525433aa2f0d45b204ec957c3f1d1dve found interesting or relevant for my own situation.

A brief introduction prepared using a TRADING CARD TOOL – a very easy program for creating selfies like that. You can use them with your students at the beginning of the course. I must admit I found it a bit limited but, for a short selfie like that, it should be more than enough 😉 

 And finally MY BLOGS – FOR TEACHERS  and for STUDENTS  

There is also a dedicated PBL website I prepared as a course task


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Listening to Music Daniel Foster via Compfight

Intermediate+ listening. New vocabulary introduced. Each listening accompanied by a comprehension or vocabulary activity.

This is an excellent site full of stories on a wide range of topics. Every story has a pdf transcript with language notes attached.

Intermediate to Advanced Students. News stories with vocabulary and comprehension exercises.



A collection of various short listening recordings at a range of levels accompanied by tests and transcripts.



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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.



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some foodCreative Commons License Rushay (RUSH) Booysen via Compfight

B1+ level reading texts covering a range of topics eg. Martin Luther King, Climate change or Health tips, accompanied by short reading comprehension tests

An excellent collections of stories covering areas such as Adventure, Crime, or Health, all in two formats – full and abridged. Some stories are accompanied by an audio file. Each story has a collection of online vocabulary and comprehension activities. There is also a “Your turn” area with a follow-up writing activity.

Just 5 topics but accompanied by very good pre-reading vocabulary activities, comprehension and practice exercises.  6 different levels including advanced. Additional Grammar page.

Intermediate+ reading. New vocabulary introduced. Each reading accompanied by a comprehension test.

A collection of short fiction FOR FREE!!!! You’ll find Dahl, Grimm brothers, E.A. Poe to name a few.


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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




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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


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