Thursday, April 24, 2008

Trying out

I read a tip by Darcie Priester (a Classroom 2.0 member) about this website which allows you to create a quiz and embed it in your own blog or website. It's called Mystudyio and here is my first attempt at creating a simple quiz relating to a reading selection my students are assigned.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Inspired by CATESOL 2008

I always try to implement at least one idea that I've seen at a conference within the first week after my return to the classroom. Sometimes it's more! The idea that I'm trying out came to me after attending the session on using PowerPoint presented by Beth Bogage and Jim Brice of San Diego Community College. Their workshop focused on having students prepare PowerPoint presentations enhanced by their own narration. Now I've been having students make PowerPoint presentations for several years, but they've usually involved preparing slides to accompany oral presentation of research they've carried out in class. Inspired by Beth and Jim, I've decided to have the students make two versions of their PowerPoint presentations from now on: one without narration to accompany their "in-front-of-class" presentations, and one with narration that can "stand alone" so anybody viewing the presentation will see the slides and hear the students explaining their research. Beth and Jim also suggested that students be encouraged to speak extemporaneously (as opposed to reading) and I've instructed the students to do that as much as possible. So far, the idea seems to have been well-received, and I'm getting my first student projects with narration to check. You can see the first one by clicking here, and the second one that was completed by clicking here.

Thank you Beth and Jim for your presentation!

Saturday, April 12, 2008


I'm sitting here at the Pearson Longman booth with Naomi Sato and Carol Swanson teaching them how to make a blog post. I'm going to show them about wikis too! Visit my wiki for students at

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Developments over at Pageflakes

Many of you know that I use Pageflakes for my class homepage on all of my classroom computers. Whenever any of my students open a browser on any of the classroom computers, the homepage is a Pageflakes "Pagecast" where they get daily assignments and links to the websites I want them to use regularly.

Pageflakes co-founder Ole Brandenburg informs me that they're working on an adult content filter that would be the default setting for any Pagecast which would prevent content that would be considered inappropriate in most educational settings from appearing in any pageflake. I think that would be a great improvement and increase the use of Pageflakes by teachers and schools.

The link above for Pageflakes takes you to the teacher version of Pageflakes (there's also a general version) which already has one feature that makes it more appropriate for an educational setting: a teacher version only links to other teacher versions, so the possibility of being exposed to inappropriate content inadvertently is already lessened.

Hello from TESOL 2008 in NYC

I'm pleased to report that my Pre-Conference Institute was well attended and well-received and that I've already been introduced to a new website that might be of interest to ESL teachers who like using Internet resources with their students. This website allows one to link to a YouTube or Google video and create a multiple choice quiz based on that video. It has promise, but of course, the major drawback is that most of the video sites are blocked by most school districts now including my own! It should work with TeacherTube but I haven't had a chance to test it yet. It's called ESLvideo and is at if you want to experiment with it. Like I said, it has promise but will not be completely workable for many settings and contexts.