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Prezi – make it easy and pretty, not ugly and cheezy!


Have you ever felt tired, sad, and depressed about having to do an oral presentation? Have you ever felt as if you were stuck in a mold, having to use PowerPoint and switch slides in order to present your ideas?

This is all over with Prezi! Using this awesome website, you can create an awesome presentation using your creativity! You’ll be able to zoom in and out, create mid-maps in a more logical way than PowerPoint, while still being able to add pictures or videos from YouTube.

As this article mentions, there are various reasons why someone would prefer Prezi. For starters, using your creativity instead of being linear. Ideas come in a variety of forms. They can split like a hand, where the main idea is the hand itself and then splits into fingers. They can be in the form of a family tree, splitting indefinitely. A good example for this would be this Prezi.  A PowerPoint presentation does not allow such creativity, or at least won’t be as well represented visually, as a Prezi can. Another reason why to use Prezi is that it is online. All you need is an internet connection, nothing to download, and you’re ready for you oral presentation!

There are, however, negative points in Prezi as well. As mentioned by Phil Waknell on his own WordPress, it is important that the audience focuses on the speaker, and not only on what he shows on the board. A good mix of both is usually best, however people can abuse Prezi and make it so that everything zooms in and out so much that nausea will be the only thing anyone will think about. Moreover, Prezi is somewhat more limited in the backgrounds offered, and is a bit harder to learn than PowerPoint.

However, as mentioned on this article, Prezi can be easily shared and allows up to 10 people to work on a project simultaneously, which makes it better for teamwork.

Overall, I think that the best thing to do is to not overdo it.  Prezi feels fresh, new and quite exciting. It makes the whole presentation much more interesting to the eye and, to be frank, less boring and linear than PowerPoint. You need to be careful with the zooming in and out, but otherwise it makes the whole process a little bit less painful than a regular oral presentation, and for that reason only, it is worth using Prezi over PowerPoint.


OneNote – Why use Word if you can use OneNote?


Microsoft Word has been there for a good part of our lives. People use it and assume it to be the best way to take notes using a computer or tablet in class, at work, or anywhere for that matter. It’s easy to use, and since we are creatures of habit, we then to go back to what we know. However, OneNote has much more to offer than Word when you want to take notes, and here’s why.

First of all, everything is shared in an online Cloud. It is also compatible with Android or iPhone. That way, everything you write on the computer will be found on your cellphone and your tablet, and vice-versa. You don’t have to worry about losing anything, all you need is an internet connection et voilà! But what makes OneNote better than word is how you can type in your notes.

OneNote offers flexibility and easier searching than Word. In OneNote, you can click anywhere and start typing, you can add almost anything and you can move stuff around without screwing everything up. Moreover, you can tag your notes in OneNote, making it an easy way to re-organise and spot here is the information you want.

Some people, as mentioned on this article, even prefer using OneNote over Smart Notebook. This allows, with the Cloud, to add information directly from your iPad, and next time you open it on the Smartboard, it’ll be there.

What’s more, both the students and the teacher benefits from such a product. For instance, there is the record option for audio and video. When teaching, you most likely have to teach the same material over and over again to different classes. The record option helps reduce the work load of the teacher. The first time he explains it, he just presses the record button. That way, whatever he’s writing on the board, like a drawing for instance, will be recorded. For another class or if a student would like to see what exactly the steps for the drawings were, you can simply replay it. That way, if it is done well the first time, you can just use the same template and explain while the drawing will be done automatically on the board. Also, since it is a OneNote document, you can also share it with your students, so that when doing their homework, they’ll be able to see and hear the explanations again.

Overall, OneNote can replace both Word and the Smart Notebook in class. It allows for more creativity than Word and is easier to share across devices than the Smart Notebook is. On top of that, One Notebook supports almost anything you might want to add, whether it be pictures or videos. Also, the record option is extremely useful for students who want to see the explanation again at home (if you share it with them) or those who missed class. So, what are you waiting for? There’s only one place to take notes…OneNote


Quizlet, let the quiz begin!


Flashcards, word pronunciation, writing quizzes. These are all elements present in Quizlet, which allows students to understand and learn better. However, how exactly does it work, and how students are supposed to use it to facilitate their language learning skills?

Quizlet is actually very easy to use. It is free for most of its content, however some teachers might consider getting a premium membership for 15$ a year (a bit more than 1$ a month!) if they would like to add their own pronunciation of certain words, remove the adds, upload their own images and more. This can be interesting if you want to add funny voices (for elementary school level for instance) or with different accents. However, the free version itself has a LOT to offer.

The first thing that needs to be done, after signing up for free, is to create a new set. This basically allows you to create your own study cards for any language you need, and believe me, there are many languages offered. Afterwards, all you need to do is add the words on the right columns, their translation or definition, and add the title to your very own quiz! You can also set the privacy setting, if ever you want to keep your quiz to yourself, or add a password, if you want to share it with your students only at a specific time.  Here is an example of some flash cards on French food, that would allow students learning English and French to learn the equivalent in the other language.

On top of that, Quizlet offers the pronunciation  of every word that you write. That way, students do not only see the words, but can hear it and repeat it after. This feature is available in 18 languages, and is most definitely one of the most interesting and important aspect of Quizlet. If you want more information on what can be done, visite their website or this article explaining many different things you can do with Quizlet.

Overall, Quizlet is a interesting and easy to use tool in order to practice what you learnt in class. Both teacher and students can create their own flashcards and share it with other members of the class or over the internet. Moreover, there is also an application offered for Android or on the App Store to have access to your quizzes you made, and after downloading them, can even study them offline! The possibilities are endless.

Now, let’s take a quiz, shall we?


iPad in classroom – why not?

Photo by Yakir Zur

The introduction of technology in classroom is more and more present nowadays. People like using ICTs to help their students learn, and students love it as well. However, what can be the benefits of such implementation of ICTs in classrooms? Let’s take a look at the iPad, and see how useful it can be.


Have you ever felt lazy, so lazy in fact that you didn’t want to carry your heavy books around? Or maybe having different books for many different classes is a drag for you, and you’re just the type to forget them at home? Well, with the use of iPads in class, the only think you’ll need is your iPad! With its slim design, it makes the perfect thing to carry around. Moreover, you only have one thing to carry around! Perfect for everyone!

The potential of the iPad is unlimited. There are over one million applications that you can download from the App Store, and many of them are educational. So the real question is, how to make use of that technology in a way that students will benefit to a greater extent than traditional teaching? Well, for starters, you can make your class paperless! Helping students learning AND being environmental friendly, how to kill two birds with one stone! Basically, the main thing you need is to have Google Drive set up on your iPad. Then, you make your students create a Gmail account, and teach them how to use Google Drive. That way, any project they do can be written directly on their iPad, and they can easily share it with the teacher once it’s complete. After, the teacher can add comments and correct directly on the virtual paper. For more information on how to exactly set up everything, visit Te@chthought’s article on the matter.

Another useful thing you can do with iPads in class are to set up a virtual field trip. You most likely won’t ever have the possibility to visit the Louvre museum in Paris and the Yellowstone National Park during the same hour. However, using the Skype app on the iPad, you can make your class visit almost anything! If you cannot go to the mountain, make the mountain come at you! This is how Monica Mitchell thought when she had the idea to make her students visit the Royal Navy Museum in Portsmouth, England. An employee there made the visit using an iPad and Skype, and the whole thing was projected on the classroom’s Smartboard. The employee could also see the students with the use of a webcam and could answer their questions.

There are always some factors which you can’t predict in life. We can feel fine one day, and feel like crap the other. However, for students, being sick and missing one class can be a big deal, as you can miss important information provided by the teacher. As mentioned here, video conference can help deal with that. Let’s say one of your student is sick and has to spend a whole week at the hospital. You most likely don’t want your students to miss out all of what will have been taught during the week. Using video conference, students can watch your course simultaneously, whether they’re in their hospital bed or at home lying down on their sofa. This cannot be a permanent solution, however it can help students catch up when they cannot physically attend your class.

I could spend my whole life explaining how which and which application is useful in a classroom and I wouldn’t be able to explain them all. There is a crazy amount of stuff you can do with your iPad, but the best way to do it is try yourself! And the most important thing is, have fun while doing it.




Make it Pinteresting!


When starting your career, it can be difficult to find all the inspiration you need to make a classroom interesting for your students. There are many different ways in which a classroom can be organised and decorated, and teachers are often willing to share their ideas with others. As mentioned here,  Pinterest is a great way to share that information. Using the work of others as inspiration will allow you, as a teacher, to create the most suitable  environment for your very own classroom. You can also find many activities proposed by other teachers and use them in your class. Moreover, you can follow people who you think are posting interesting stuff in order to get an update on what they do.

However, how can your students use Pinterest for their own learning?  According to this blog, many activities can be done using Pinterest. For instance, if your students are on their last year of high school, you could to a ”College Planning” activity. You can let students research a college or C.E.G.E.P. they plan on attending for the following year and, using information found on Pinterest, they pin information related to their maybe-future-school, such as virtual tours, sport teams, special events or well-known teachers working there. Afterwards, students can share their board with the whole class, and everyone can see the different choices there is for college.

Moreover, as Susan Wells mentions on Steve Spangler’s Science‘s website, it can also be a good way to learn more about special holidays, such as Halloween. The teacher can set up a contest, where students need to find the most frightening or silly costume on Pinterest, and then the class votes. The winning can win more Halloween candies. Also, teachers can find activities or projects related to a specific holiday, in order to stay in the student’s range of interests.

Overall, Pinterest is a board where you can find tons of information to help teachers and students learn more about almost anything. There’s a ton of ways to use it, the trick is to find your field of interest and follow the right people.

Skype it up!




Everyone has heard of Skype. It is most likely the cheapest way to communicate with people from all around the world. People use it to talk with friends, family, or sometime even people met on the internet. However, how can Skype be used in a school context to help students learn a second language?

In a second language classroom, the hardest thing to learn is most often the speaking skills. Amongst each other, students tend to talk in their first language rather than in the target language, because they all share the same language. However, what would happen if they would face someone who doesn’t speak French, for instance?

They would be forced to speak in English! That is why Education Skype exists! Using this board, teachers from all around the world can post a request. That way, their students can enjoy face-to-face conversation with native speakers of their target language. Once a partner has been found, the students only need to share their information over Skype in order to be able to converse with a native speaker.

Obviously, students won’t converse indefinitely if they don’t have a specific topic to talk about or a specific activity proposed. For that reason, many activities can be done using Skype. For instance,one interesting way to introduce students to one another over Skype could be with the use of a Mystery Skype activity. This activity consists of a game, where two teachers set a time for their respective students to Skype. It is a simple guessing game, where two students will ask each other questions in order to guess where the other student is located. It can be a very good activity to practice oral skills but also geography.

Most of the time, time and budget is a constraint when thinking about doing a field trip with their students. Using Skype, teachers can arrange field trips online. For instance,  Skype’s Exploring Oceans section offers different online Skype lessons. You’d never be able to bring your whole class at the bottom of the ocean. However, Skype makes the impossible possible. Using the Skype online courses, you could let your students explore the never ending abyss of any ocean live! Not only is it way more interesting that a regular course, it will also help them practice their listening skills.

Another way to use Skype as a teacher can be useful for the parents of the students. Sometimes, setting a time during the day can be hard for working parents, not to mention parents who can be oversea for work.  Using video conferences, the teacher can communicate with those ”special case” parents, and make the whole process a lot more personal than a simple phone call or e-mail can.  As Cathy Williams mentioned in Melissa Anderson’s article, “The advancement in technol­ogy just over the last couple of years has provided such an open­ing.”

All in all, Skype can be used in a variety of ways in order to help students engage in speaking activity. Many teachers worldwide use it and can appreciate the opportunity to let their students engage in meaningful interactions with other students all over the world.

Using the Little Blue Bird for ELS Classrooms

The use of technology in schools has become more and more present. Not only that, but to encourage students to learn, having extra resources for outside school helps a lot. Some people would think using Facebook is a bad idea, for some personal information is on Facebook. However how about Twitter?

Twitter can be used for many different things. You can share or read what others write in forms of Tweets, a 140 characters message you write. You can share tiny bits of information there, on link to a full article for example. It can be extremely pleasant, as you can ”follow” people who share the same group of interest as you do. You can also follow the news, companies or your favourite TV show Tweets, directly from your cellphone. Want to join or want more information?  I’d suggest looking at Twitter’s Help Center.

However, how can something used mostly for what is mentioned above be useful for an ESL classroom? Well, by being creative for instance! There’s ton of activities you can do with you class, one of my favourite is to create a story. The first step is to create a private Twitter group, so that what is written is only seen by you and your class. Then, you begin a story using a Tweet, 140 character is really short! Then, students need to answer the tweet to continue the story. You assign one student per day, and by the end of the month you have a full-fledged story, written by the whole class! What you can do is also share links to practice texts online, resources or YouTube videos that you’ve shown to your class.

It can also be used to encourage students to learn English outside of class. For instance, you could give them an assignment where they need to follow someone (in English) about something that interests them (videogames, news channel, artists, etc.), and ask them to give you a report of what they tweeted during the month. If you want a clear picture of what it might look like, look at David Read’s article on Mobile ESL.

Another activity could be to share a new word every day and ask students to tweet an answer of what the word means. It’s a good plan to look at who participates and who doesn’t, and it helps student enrich their vocabulary. For more ideas on how to use Tweeter in class, look at this article.

Overall, Twitter can be a powerful tool in ESL classroom, in and outside classrooms. Motivation is an important point when looking at ESL language learning, and giving the proper tools to students so they can learn by themselves while they enjoy it can make the difference between them wanting to keep on learning, and them dropping English class as soon as possible