June 17

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

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?

March 23

BIG FILES – TEACHERS’ NIGHTMARE

You want to  (or you have to) send big files such as students’ speaking files or video recorded presentations for Internal Verification; or video recorded lessons for Peer Observation; or audio/video assessment of students’ writing assignments  or  ….. you name it.

BUT  you don’t have a lot of time (YOU NEED SOMETHING FAST), you are not very techie (YOU NEED SOMETHING SIMPLE) and you don’t want to spend money (YOU NEED SOMETHING FREE).

There are plenty of options but the best in my opinion are:

TransferBigFiles

– transfer files up to 20 GB. I managed to transfer audio 14 GB file. It took around 10 minutes but was worth it.

FileDropper

– not as big as Transfer Big Files; it transfers files up to 5G; relatively fast (store the files up to 30 days)

DropSend

– transfers up to 2 GB but it’s fast and easy to use.

 

Yousendit

 

 

– up to 2 GB and it’s fast. Plus it has a unique feature – it lets you can e-sign documents.

SendThisFile

– up to 2 GB, similar features

They all give you a PRO option which will definitely speed up the upload but, as we agreed, we don’t want to spend any money – the free plans should be more than enough.

 

 

 

 

March 21

HANDOUTS, WORKSHEETS IN THE CLOUDS!!!!

You want to share various files like hand-outs, worksheets, video clips, photos or audio files with your students, colleagues or family BUT  you don’t have a lot of time (YOU NEED SOMETHING FAST), you are not very techie (YOU NEED SOMETHING SIMPLE) and you don’t want to spend money (YOU NEED SOMETHING FREE).

There are plenty of platforms or clouds you can use however the best, in my opinion are:

 

 

 

SUGARSYNC

 

 

Like others, it offers online backup and automatic file sync for work files or personal files like photos, videos, and music.

DROPBOX –

 

 

Stores up to 2 GB plus you can get 500 Mb for recommending Dropbox to your friends. This way you can earn additional 16GB space.

GOOGLE DOCS –

 

With Google Docs, users can share and collaborate on spreadsheets, presentations, drawings and forms

CUBBY

It starts out with 5GB of free storage space, plus you can earn up to 20GB more space by telling others about Cubby. You can Store, Share and Sync.

SKYDRIVE –

7 GB storage – so far the biggest for free.

BOX –

My favourite, personally. They give away freebies sometimes. I got 500 GB of free space for myself and two other people (so 1,500 GB altogether). It stores, it syncs beautifully and fast, it gives you options for sharing with different people or for keeping files private. And, apparently, “more than 85 higher education institutions have adopted Box’s cloud collaboration service to help their communities of students, faculty, and staff access, share and manage content online and from mobile devices.” (http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/cloud-goes-school-more-than-85-universities-adopt-box-help-students-faculty-administrators-1744040.htm)

 

Thanks to http://pixabay.com/en/users/Nemo/ for a lovely clipart “Sharing”

March 19

ONLINE SOUND FILES CONVERTER – DEAD EASY

Having problems with too big audio files? Too tired to change the recorder setting? Go to http://online-audio-converter.com/

and convert the files instantly. All the major formats are supported – mp3, wav, mp4 and others

  • Because the audio files are converted online, you don’t have to install the software on your computer.
  • You can convert several files at a time.
  • You can extract sound from a video (from YouTube for example) – excellent for listening activities.
  • Advanced setting will let you edit your sound files if you re preparing podcast (for example fading in or out) 
March 17

EXCELLENT WRITING TOOL

Are you students still struggling with the composition of an essay? Is it still one chunk of writing with no layout whatsoever? Do they keep forgetting about an introduction, topic sentences, supporting evidence etc.? Well, this tool will definitely help. ESSAY MAP works “as an interactive graphic organiser that walks you through the process of writing an essay”. Great for less advanced levels but equally useful for more advanced students for structuring ideas (http://www.readwritethink.org/files/resources/interactives/essaymap/).

At the bottom of this blog entry you will find an example of pdf file with “My Favourite Town”

Go to http://www.readwritethink.org/files/resources/interactives/essaymap/ and put the essay title and your name.

 

STEP-BY-STEP essay process

EXAMPLE – MyFavouriteTown

March 7

REALLY FREE IMAGES

Tired of COPYRIGHT issues? PIXABAY gives you hundreds of images dedicated by their authors for public use. “You can freely use any image from this website in digital and printed format, for personal and commercial use, without attribution requirement to the original author” (http://pixabay.com/).  The works are under CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication scheme which means that “the person who associated a work with this deed has dedicated the work to the public domain by waiving all of his or her rights to the work worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law” (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/).  You can copy, modify, distribute and perform the work, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission. You can contribute by adding your own photos.

The platform is absolutely free although you can make donations if you wish.

There is, however, one thing you should be aware of. The first images under SHUTTERSTOCK are not free. The pictures/cliparts underneath are (as shown in the screenshot).

Another way of finding free images attributed already is to go to http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/xpert/ and search for Flickr IMAGES. When you find a picture that you like, click on it and choose “get image with attribution” as shown in the screenshot.

You will be able to use this image without making any additional attribution as it is built in the image.

March 6

PENZU – a journal in the clouds

PENZU is one of my favourite tools for writing. It is an online diary that encourages everyday writing. This diary might be used for taking notes, writing private thoughts, or daily diary entries. An entry can be emailed or kept private. It is possible to attach photos to every entry. There are several options for teachers for example – making comment which will be sent to the author’s mail box instantly, printing an entry or exporting in pdf or another text file. several screenshots from my penzu.

 

Entries submitted by my students

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February 9

THINGLINK – bring more life to your presentation

My Higher ESOL  students are getting ready for their presentations.

I was thinking what other options apart from a good old power point I could recommend.

THINGLINK? ThingLink helps to create images linked with music, video, text, images, etc.

Presentations may be shared via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or kept totally private.

If you want to see this very short presentation click on the link. CROSS COUNTRY SKIING

CROSS COUNTRY SKIING presentation – example

 

 

February 7

VOICETHREAD

VOICETHREAD is a web-based application that allows you to place different media such as images, videos, documents, and link them to the audio file presentation. An excellent way of making your students talk or write about the picture, document, ppt etc.

Describe the picture

Click the link if you want to hear what the students were saying. VOICETHREAD – describe the picture