Thursday, 1 December 2011

[W9] MailVU: The Connected Classroom for the Future


Have you ever heard about the 'connected classroom'? How does it work? If you want to know more about it, let's read this article.
So, today I would like to share a new tool that can be very significant in the implementation of connected classroom, that is MailVu. MailVu is a website that allows users to record a video through their webcam at their own home! 

How to Use MailVu in Learning?
MailVu is an extremely powerful option for teachers and learners to use in language teaching and learning. For teachers, recording lectures in a 10 minutes recording and send it to students via email is just brilliant! For the students is even more exciting, as MailVu can be treated as a tool to enhance their communicative language skills such as speaking and listening and other enabling skills such as vocabulary and fluency skill. Apart from that, MailVu can increase the speakers' awareness on pronunciation and paralanguage or non-verbal communicative elements such as facial expression, body language because they can watch their live and recorded speaking activity which enables them to reflect upon their communication and hence improve it. 
Clean interface of MailVu

MailVu can become an intelligent tool for the implementation of the connected classroom as it can take place outside the classroom and collaborates learners in engaging activities that develop their language skills and knowledge. An example of activity that teachers can carry out is giving a debate topic for students to work in pairs. In the classroom, teachers could elicit the important vocabulary sets and suitable grammar structures that are useful to be used in the debate. Students can also be encouraged to brainstorm the ideas and points to be said during the debate. As a homework, teachers can ask learners to record the debate activity in which the video involves both students. They can work together at home or they might want to work after school hours at the school ICT room. Later, they have to email the recorded debate to teachers and teachers might as well give feedback using the same medium. The idea of making learners use language outside the classroom with the instruction and guideline on contents and skills during the lesson is called 'a connected classroom'.

Below, I put a video explaining about the connected classroom:


  • Users can see themselves being recorded and they can play the video again and again with just a click.
  • MailVu can be a useful means for students who are quite passive in the classroom to involve in speaking activity and express their ideas as they can do it at home, just in of their own comfortable and less-anxious room. 


  • The free subscription account blocks many useful functions such as uploading the pre-recorded video into a video gallery, embedding and downloading videos created to be places such as in blogs and creating video testimonial widget.
  • Sometimes 10 minutes recoding is just too short, and we might wish for a longer recording time limit.  
  • The free account is only available for 14 days before termination. 

Thursday, 24 November 2011

[W8] Ello : Online Listening Library

Hello English language teachers!

Have you ever thought about expanding your recording and listening activity collections for English class? If you have, then you can easily log on to Ello and be surprised that you can find more than 1000 listening activities with multimedia, mp3 files, vocabulary task, language notes and many more that you can choose to be carried out in just a click. 

How to Use Ello:

Ello promises 5 active sections which can be explored by teachers such as Views, Mixer,Games, Videos, Scenes, and News. It is so well-organised that teachers can easily look up for the activities according to the number of task set and topics. So let us explore some of the section and see what it offers...

Picture 1: VIEWS section

  • VIEWS provides a downloadable recording conversation based on the topics with transcription for teacher use. 
  • The quizzes provided are vary according to the focus for example- Quiz 1: Vocabulary Focus and Quiz 2: Comprehension Questions. 
  • There is also an embedded video response with subtitles available that is shared by a respondent and learners can enhance their knowledge about related topics while listening to other people's opinions. 
  • VIEWS section also provides learners with Audio Notes which focuses on the elaboration of the vocabulary items that are introduced in the conversation.  

  • In MIXER, there is a combination of speakers from different regions with different accents.

  • GAMES provides merely the same tools and functions of what VIEWS has, but the only difference is on the task. GAMES provides 3 tasks which are believed to be more focusing on the language skills involving vocabulary, reading and speaking quizzes. 

  • In NEWS, learners may choose to listen to more than 20available news broadcastings before answering some vocabulary and listening questions. However, there is a slight drawbacks in this section, which attempts when we start to play the video. When we have played a news video, we cannot pause it until you answer the question. However we can still replay the video.   
Picture 2: VIDEOS section

  • One of the good thing about Ello is that it offers tutorials for new users to explore this website. 
  • It involves speakers from various regions and this may expose learners to variety of accents and  may as well enhance their intercultural competence. 

  • Ello can sometimes be confusing since there is no clear instruction for each sections, regarding how to carry out the task and how to use the audio notes (especially!).
  • Since anybody may send a video response, we may want to know about the background or perhaps the reliability of language and ideas being presented (but not really a limitation, because the world of internet is a free place for all!). 

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

[W8] Audioboo : Podcasting Even More Interesting!


Today we will look at an interesting tool for language teachers to introduce in the classroom which is Audioboo.

Audioboo is an online tool that is suitable for language learners to record prompt things such as interview, news broadcasting, story telling, music (and many more!) for a later review and of course, listening purpose!  

How to Use Audioboo?

  • Audioboo has a simple, clean yet interesting (because it's colourful!) interface which I believe is important for users to get motivation while using it.
  • Audioboo comes with a recording applications with sets of buttons to record, pause, restart, preview publish and even ask whether you are happy, which means you want to start create a title for your recording.

  • Audioboo also supports learners to upload files which they already have, and it makes a good archive for later review. 
  • Teachers can carry out learning activity by making students to work in pairs record an interview (let us say the topic is a celebrity interview for a inspirational and successful people magazine) and they have to send the recording to teachers via email or embed it into their blogs. Then teacher can choose to present it to the class or compile all the recordings before spread them to other students for listening purpose. 


  • Users can use with or without signing up for accounts.
  • Audioboo comes out with a incredible application which is downloadable for Nokia, iPhone and Android devices so users can apply recording at any time and any place!


  • If you want to do a recording, you must have an internet connection, which then change your interest into other more useful offline tool.
  • Interesting activities are in need to be used with this tool or otherwise, learning can become boring even though a superb tool is used. 

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

[W7] Visuwords

I believe that many of us are looking forward for an online dictionary which does not only offer us with different meanings and concepts of a particular word using graphic aids. These needing functions are available in this week's learned website, that is Visuwords. Visuwords is an online graphical dictionary that is carried out by Princeton Univeristy using the WordNet database. 

How to Use Visuwords?

1. Learners can use Visuwords by keying in a particular word into the box on top of the page (see Picture 1) before they press 'Enter'.
2. For example, learners want to look up for the word 'literature' and they key in the word into the box provided. After few seconds, Visuwords will produce a diagram that visualize the meanings and concepts of the 'literature' (see Picture 2).
3. The coloured arrows and links represented in the diagram that connects the synsets actually refer to the different types of concepts. Learners can view the meanings of the coloured arrows (or relations) at the right side of the page (see Picture 3). The coloured arrows that connect synsets can also show the relation between the synsets. For example, hyponymy, hypernym and subtance.
4. Learners can even zoom in and out to see the diagram at their best view.

Picture 1
Picture 2
 Picture 3

  • Visuwords portrays Tony Buzan's idea by representing information through the use of mind maps (or diagrams), and Visuwords demonstrates ideas using neural networks type of diagram. And we all believe that mind maps (or diagrams) are effective tools for learning. 
  • Visuwords has a convenient and adorable interface that allows learners to learn vocabulary meaning and functions, anytime and anywhere as long as the Internet connection is available.
  • It is forever free and users do not have to sign up for an account to use it. 

  • Even though Visuwords is belived to assist learners who opts for the visual learning style, however it can be demotivating for those who face colour vision deficiency the categorisation of the vocabulary details are presented by different variety of colours. 
  • Just like 'bell and whistle', Visuwords looks like an amazing tool for learning purpose, but I believe it is not suitable to be implemented in the classroom. 

Thursday, 3 November 2011

[W5] My Brainshark : Online and Mobile Video Presentations & Database

My Brainshark is another website that I learned this week in ICT in ELT class. This website is a cloud based software in which users can keep and modify their data from 'a static document' into a more active presentation. For example, My Brainshark allows users to change a boring Power Point presentation slides into an interesting video presentation by installing their voice and background music. Apart from that, My Brainshark can be a convenient database manager as it is capable of managing documents that it keeps. With these types of application, My Brainshark can be a powerful tool for ELT teachers to improve their teaching style for example, they can prepare a video presentation with recorded voice as a source of reference for students at home. Since My Brainshark has many features for learning purpose, it is sometimes complicated and acquires much skills to handle , therefore it is rather suitable for secondary school or advanced learners than the primary ones.

  • My Brainshark can be an interesting tool for teaching and learning. 
  • A very useful tool for 'connected classroom' - students and teachers' speaking activity outside classroom
  • Students can practice to use language and grammar and also record their practice so that they can revise it later
  • Users can embed the documents made and they can use it for blog or email it too

  • Its multi-features is sometimes complicated and can possibly be handled by advanced students or teachers 

[W5] PIMPAMPUM: Bubblr - Image Hosting Website for Presentation!

Hello there!
Today, I want to share with you another two cool websites which I think are very beneficial for teachers to use in ELT classroom - they are Bubblr and Bookr, introduced by Pimpampum. However, in this post I will only focus on Bubblr.


Using images in ELT classroom is common as it allows learners to learn using visual stimulus. Therefore, a systematic image hosting  that can help teachers in their presentation is very much welcomed in the world of teaching. Bubblr allows teachers to 'steal' photos without breaking copyrights, as it locates public images from Flickr database in such an accessible way and teachers are allowed to edit them by adding captions using bubbles to become comic strips. Since Bubblr does not have many features that make it not very complicated, therefore I believe it is appropriate to be used by students of all level to practice language using this website.

The example of Bubblr comic strips that I have done, is as below:

Here is some of the points on benefits and drawbacks of Bubblr and Bookr that we have discussed during the seminars, using the Wallwisher application. I will explain about Wallwisher application in the next post, inshaAllah.


  • Bubblr allows language practice opportunity trough the appropriate task that can be created.
  • Bubblr involves speaking skills opportunity since students might be asked to present their comic strips in front of the classroom.
  • Bubblr allows personalization since students are allowed to pick up their own images and topics.
  • It is free, and users do not have to sign up.


  • It is sometimes considered as boring, because it only focuses on one language practice activity.
  • Bubblr does not allow too much chance for students to really practice language.
  • Bubblr can be very technical, and sometimes is not a helpful technology.
  • The bubbles in Bubblr can sometimes distract the images because of the wide size. 

Thursday, 13 October 2011

[W2] Listen and Write: a CLIL Approach

One of the substantial roles played by language teachers is that they need to help learners to brush up their language proficiency as well as help them to build their knowledge about the world. This approach is well-said in the Content-Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) approach which acknowledges the use of authentic materials in developing learners proficiency of the language. The concept of bringing up the current news and events happening in the world into the language class is applied in the website Listen and Write in which students are allowed to practise their listening skill while hearing to the latest news around the world.

This website provides learners with three different types of activities which are; Full Mode, Quick Mode and Blank Mode. In Full Mode, learners are asked to listen to the recording and type the full words in the box provided while in the Quick Mode, which is much easier, they can just type the first letter of every words mentioned. The Blank Mode on the other hand allows learners to fill in the blanks with the suitable words.

  • Learners can choose either or not to make an account in order to use the tools in this website. Having an account allows learners to save and view their score history later.
  • Users who own an account can build groups so as to share listening archives that are available only for their group. Apart from that, making groups allow users to conduct group discussions and view statistics of members activities. 

  • Users without an account can only play the Full Mode and they can never use the other levels. 

[W2] Lyrics Training

Lyrics training is one of the famous websites that tackles language learners, especially teenagers who are keen to music to improve their language. This website allows learners to transfer their listening skill into other important language skills such as spelling, through an easy and fun method. Learners of foreign language can improve these language skills by completing the lyrics of thousands of music videos provided. Lyrics Training allows learners of different ages and language levels ability to choose the different levels of challenge and difficulty that are suitable for their own pace. It provides 3 different levels of exercise which are beginner, intermediate and expert. For the beginner level, learners are asked to fill in the blanks in which only 10 percent of the full lyrics are removed whereas for the intermediate and the expert level is 100 percent.  

Currently, Lyrics Training provides videos of seven different languages (English, French, Dutch, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and German) besides a translation button to help learners check the unsure vocabulary.

  • Lyrics Training lets another method of teaching that regards young learners' interest and thus link it with learning approach. 
  • Lyrics Training allows learners to record scores and analyse their performance by creating account. Learners can choose to use this website either by registering for free or without registering.
  • While completing the blank fills, Lyrics Training allows learners to pause the song if they are not sure of the correct words and also, it is automatically paused whenever it approaches a blank so that learners have ample times to type down the answer. 

  • Since there is a skip button (Tab) where learners can leave the unsure vocabulary that they have heard, there is a possibility that learners may become demotivated to try and tend to use this assistance tool.  
  • There may be a small distraction towards learners' attention while using this website since there is a Facebook social plugin at the right site of the page
  • Language teachers may have to deal with the inappropriate content of videos which opposes to the society for example videos and songs that promote yellow culture and abusive behaviour.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

[W1] Dvolver: Students as the Movie Director

Dvolver is a fun moviemaker website for language teachers to teach students on how to produce creative movies for the communicative purpose. This website provides plenty of selections of styles, settings, characters and music which allow students to construct dialogues while creating stories. This website is suitable for secondary school students of age 13 and above since teachers can modify the instruction of activities according to their students' language level. The idea of making this website as an interesting approach in language learning is that students can practise their language within the context for the communicative purpose through a fun way.

Here is an example of video that students can create using Dvolver:

  • Dvolver allows learners to embed the movies to their blogs (if exists) and also, they could send them into the preferable email address. Therefore, learners could send their homework straight away to the teachers' inbox.
  • Dvolver involves several characters and scenes that might be unsuitable for students of the school level age as it involves obscenity. Therefore, teachers need to do extra work by telling them which characters that they are not happy with and are not allowed to be used in the movies.