Todays Meet – An easy to use collaboration tool

Todays Meet is a free micro-blogging site without logins.  It allows teachers to easily create a virtual chat room where students can speak up.  Its interface is very easy to use and like Twitter, it uses a 140-character limit. The information discussed can be saved.

Keeping your students engaged with PollEverywhere

PollEverywhere is an online service that lets your audience interact with your live presentation using their web browsers, or mobile phones. You can also insert the polls into your PowerPoint presentations or web pages. The poll that is embedded there will be update in real time.

Haiku Deck – Simple and beautiful slideshow creation

Haiku Deck is a free slideshow creating app.  It is a completely new kind of presentation app designed to make your slides stunning. It allows you to create unique presentations with artistic flavor.  It allows you to pull a large database of striking background and images from the web. It is best to show a chart, image or screenshot with fewer words to describe it.

Bamboo Paper – Note taking with iPad

Bamboo Paper is a free app for iPad, which turns your iPad into a notebook.  You can use it to sketch your thoughts and ideas in an authentic paper-like digital notebook and your notes  can be shared visually and easily. You can also use it to practice your penmanship of writing in non-western language characters such as Chinese, Arabic, etc.

Using Screenchomp to create narrated short tutorials

Screenchomp is a free app that allows you to create and share short tutorials on your iPad. You can demonstrate things on its whiteboard by drawing and talking through your instructions. Your instructions and talking will be recorded and uploaded to where a shortened URL will be provided for you to share with your students.

Creating Interactive Presentations Using myBrainshark

Brainshark is a free online tool that allows you to upload PowerPoint slides, images, PDF files, documents and other media, and then embed your narrations over the content.  Additionally, you can add music and multimedia to the presentation to make it more engaging.  The final output file can be streamed online or embedded onto your website or blog.  This software could be used for online presentations, slideshows, flash cards or even podcasts.

Using Word Cloud in the World Languages Classroom

What’s a word cloud? It is a form of information graphic of infographic! It is an application that turns text into a visual representation.  The words from the original text are arranged in collage fashion in the graphic. Word clouds visually highlight the most often used words in the passage.

You can use this type of tool to facilitate world language teaching. You can use it for activities such as topic introduction, vocabulary development, word association, practice writing, word matching, pre-reading, brainstorming, defining main ideas, assessment and reflection.  For example, in a word-matching activity, you can write a list of words both in your target language and in English, and then using the resulting word cloud as a vocab quiz/worksheet.  In a pre-reading activity, you can engage students’ discussion by using key words created in a word cloud and make predictions about the content before reading the actual text.  In the defining main idea activity, you can create a word cloud out of an article in the target language and ask students to discover and highlight the main ideas in the article.   Take a look at this article written by a Spanish instructor to see how she used the word cloud tool in her classroom.

There are a number of applications available that will allow you to generate word cloud:  Wordle, Tagxedo, Wordsift, Worditout, Word Mosaic, Tagcrowd etc.  Click on each of the link to find out how you can use it to create a word cloud.


Using VoiceThread in the World Language Classroom

A VoiceThread is a collaborative, multimedia slide show that holds images, documents, and videos and allows people to navigate pages and leave comments in 5 ways – using voice (with a mic or telephone), text, audio file, or video (via a webcam). Share a VoiceThread with friends, students, and colleagues for them to record comments too, all with no software to install.