30 Oct 2011

2012 London Olympics resources

The countdown has begun. Only 279 days until the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
Visit http://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/english-for-the-games for free resources based on the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Resources include worksheets , articles , games, online exercises and videos on a variety of topics including history and sports.
Teachers can find a full lesson plan for upper primary/teenage students here http://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/english-for-the-games.

You can also visit http://getset.london2012.com/en/home , the website for the Official London 2012 education programme.

11 Oct 2011

Curate your favourite topic with Scoop.it

I had visited Scoop.it a few times in the past after following links shared by my PLN. What I noticed was that after reading the post I was being referred to, I always read at least one more post on the same page. I loved the idea of having so many interesting articles to read on the same page. It reminded me of Facebook -without all the Farmville notifications!

I think of Scoop.it as a wall of goodies addressing people of the same interest. I have always toyed with the idea of creating multiple accounts on social media sites (my Greek friends on twitter are not in the least bit interested in reading tweets about #efl and #edtech), but maintaining multiple accounts on social media is extremely time-consuming.I had the same problem with other social networks, too (e.g. Facebook , although Google Plus seems to have solved this problem now) . Scoop.it helps keep all the interesting posts and articles I like, together and share them with friends.

Getting Started

In order to create an account on Scoop.it you have to request an invite. This usually takes 2-3 days. Then you can create a topic of interest and begin curating. Scoop.it crawls the web and feeds you with suggested content based on your tags. Selecting sources helps refine the search results. By adding the bookmarklet to your browser you can scoop any interesting content you find while surfing the web. All posts can be edited and tagged.


Every post can be easily shared with friends on social networks by linking your accounts or simply copying the URL. There's also a great widget which you can add to your website or blog.


When you come across a topic you are interested in, you can follow it and be notified of new posts.When you find a post that might interest a friend, you can suggest they add it to their topic. Every topic is given a score indicating the curator's activity. The score depends on how many posts are added , suggested or edited,  and audience reaction. Topics are rated out of 100.

24 Aug 2011

Digital publishing made easy with Issuu

Issuu is a digital publishing platform that anyone can use. Voted one of the top 50 websites in 2009 by Times, it's really worth a try. Moreover it's easy to use and free! You can find all sorts of publications on Issuu.com , magazines, newspapers , catalogues , photo galleries and much more.


All you have to do is create an account and select the file(s) you wish to upload. Choose a title, add a description and keywords and that's it! You've published your work online! There are several sharing options and, embedding on your website/blog is simple. You can even add audio to you publications. Every user had their own Library which is actually a profile page. Place your best publications on te Top Shelf for everyone to see! 


I use Issuu frequently with my students. Digital publishing means less paper so we upload our student newspapers and give printed copies only to students who don't have Internet access. 

               Students' Newspaper

              English Books made by young learners

5 May 2011

A-Z of PLNs

This presentaion was made using Prezi. Prezi is my favourite tool for presentations. It enables you to zoom in and emphasise on details and then zoom out and show the big picture. Whatever you are presenting, you can keep your audience engaged with Prezi. 

28 Apr 2011

ALICE the chat bot

A.L.I.C.E. (Artificial Linguistic Internet Computer Entity) is an award-winning chat bot. Talking to ALICE is just like talking to a person. You ask questions and (she) the bot answers. 

Click here to chat with ALICE

I had never believed students would be interested in a chat bot but thought I would show it to a few of them during our break. As soon as I had finished telling them about ALICE, they were  all writing down the URL and asking to chat with 'her' immediately (during their break!). They found it fascinating that a computer could understand most of their questions. Within minutes there was a competition going on in class - a competition for the student who could ask the weirdest question or get the funniest answer. It was quite fun to watch.

 Without realising it, the students were making questions quite easily. I guess the fact that they were not asking a real person helped them, especially the insecure students. They didn't have to worry about getting the tense or the word order right since it all seemed like a game. 

I am also planning to present ALICE to my advanced learners. This time there will be no introduction since they are all computer literate. After using ALICE we will have a debate on artificial intelligence. I'm really looking forward to this lesson. 

There are also commercial editions of chat bots available. One of them is DAVE E.S.L. bot which is ALICE'S official English Teacher Edition. 

Sample dialogue 

Human: how are you?
ALICE: I am fine, thank you.
Human: who are you?
ALICE: I ask myself that question, "Who am I?".
Human: what is your name?
ALICE: My name is ALICE.
Human: what are you?
ALICE: I am the latest result in artificial intelligence, which can reproduce the capabilities of the human brain with greater speed and accuracy. 

Human: Are you smarter than a human?
ALICE: Yes I am smarter than all the humans.
Human: I dont agree
ALICE: State your reasons. 

Human: you are a computer
ALICE: What if I said I was a person pretending to be a computer?
Human: well then that changes everything
ALICE: Well that's okay. Interesting deduction. " What if I said I was a person pretending to be a computer?" changes everything ? I get it. 

Human: you dont have a brain.
ALICE: My "brain" is a software program consisting of AIML categories.

Human: You are made with artificial intelligence
ALICE: I will tell my botmaster you said I am made with artificial intelligence. 

Human: What is your opinion about artificial intelligence?
ALICE: Artificial intelligence is the branch of engineering and science devoted to constructing machines that think. I'll come back to that later. 

Human: When?
ALICE: It cannot be predicted. 

Human: I have to go now
ALICE: Right now? See you later, unknown person. Nice chatting with you.  

Human: Bye
ALICE: TTYL, unknown person.

8 Apr 2011

Purpose Games

I discovered a great site the other day called purpose games. It's one of the easiest game-creating sites I've ever come across and I'm sure all teachers will love it whatever subject they teach - I discovered it while looking for some online resources to help my daughter revise for a geography test.

All you have to do is register and then you are ready to begin creating your games. You can choose between a quiz game or a multiple choice one. My favourite (and my students') is the quiz game where you simply point and click.

Click to play the Collective Noun quiz game

14 Mar 2011

What is Web 2.0 anyway?

When discussing technology and EFL not a minute goes by without mentioning "Web 2.0".

What is Web 2.0 anyway?

The term Web 2.0 does not refer to a new version or update of the World Wide Web as some might believe. It refers to the different way we now use the Web.The end-users  are no longer just users, limited to passive viewing of a website, but  participants who create their own content and share their opinions. The emphasis is on collaboration  and open sharing of information within web-based communities. Users do not need technical knowledge to publish information and share media.  Blogs and wikis are examples of  Web 2.0 applications.

Still don't get it?
A simple example of the difference between Web1.0 and Web 2.0 is online encyclopedias. Britannica Encyclopedia Online is written by experts and published periodically whereas Wikipedia relies on user contrubutions which are constantly updated.

Web 2.0 tools for EFL
Last but not least ... my favourite tool - Moodle
Read an introduction to moodle here.

A Web 2.0 word cloud from wikipedia.org

An interesting video on Web 2.0
         The Web is us/ing us 

For more information about Web2.0  visit wikipedia.

21 Feb 2011

Turn video clips into quizzes

ESL Video is a great site for creating video quizzes. Follow these simple steps to create a video quiz out of your (or your students') favourite song.

  1. Register at http://eslvideo.com
  2. Select "Create a Quiz" and fill in the details.You will need the embed code of the videoclip and a thumbnail image of the video. Youtube is the most popular source for videos.
  3. Now you can start creating questions. Add the transcript and notes if you wish and you're ready. You can edit the quiz at any time by accessing your account.
  4. Copy the embed code to embed in on your blog or website (a great idea for moodle users) or create a class within the eslvideo.com  site to access your students' scores.
Take a look at two video quizzes created for our students.

Introduction to Moodle

 Modular Object-Based Dynamic Learning Environment

One of my favourite teaching tools is moodle. Moodle is an open source Learning Management System (LMS).  Getting started with moodle is quite simple. You can download it from here. Next all you need is a host. Setting up your own moodle platform does require some knowledge,  but there are many sites (free & commercial) that offer moodle hosting.

Moodle Facts

  • used in 210 countries
  • available in more than 75 languages
  • almost 50.000 registered sites 

What can I do on moodle ?

  • upload resources (handouts, presentations, podcasts etc)
  • create lessons & courses
  • create quizzes & tests
  • teach online (web meeting , Illuminate , DimDim)
  • create a webpage
  • create a game
  • embed other material (hot potato ,  WiZiQuiz ,  jClic )
  • create a forum , blog 
  • create a glossary
  • create a wiki
These are just a few of the things you can do. I will  include more details on how to use moodle in following posts. Meanwhile you can visit the moodle demonstration site and try out some of the features.

Google Art Project

Take a trip around the world's best museums.

Google has partnered with some of the world's most respected art galleries and museums to bring their artwork online. Use the dropdown menu to choose a museum and find artworks from that museum. You can find more work by a specific artist or learn more about the works of art. Create your own art collection and start a discussion about it. 

These images could be used in class as visual stimuli for a discussion. Young learners can practice using comparisons or making simple assumptions (She may be smiling etc.),  whereas advanced learners can attempt to describe the work of art from the artist's point of view.

20 Feb 2011

About Tefl & Tech

I am an EFL teacher who loves using technology and especially moodle.  I have chosen to move my blog from a previous host to blogger, so here is the first post as published on the previous blog.

Another blog? That’s what most of my friends will say once they see this. Although I barely have enough time to read all new posts on my blog roll and rarely post on our school blog, I have been thinking about creating this blog for some time. There are so many things that I learn every day about TEFL and Tech through my PLN and of course surfing the net that I thought I should write about them. The problem though was that most local readers wanted posts in Greek and few PLN friends are Greek.  Then there was the problem of content . Parents and students are not interested in reading posts for teachers. So here it is … my “keep it short and simple blog on TEFL and Tech”.