Top Tech for English Language Teachers

#ELTchat Summary

This is a summary of an #ELTchat that took place on Twitter on September 4th, 2019 and then ran in a slowburn mode for the next 24 hours.

This was only the second time I’ve taken part in an #ELTchat. The topic of Top Tech for English Language Teachers hooked me in. It was fantastic to be part of such a lively experience and sharing of ideas between teachers from all over the world.

#ELTchat is a weekly hour-long conversation for English Language Teachers which takes place on Twitter every Wednesday at 7pm BST (9pm here in Finland). On Saturdays one of the moderators puts up a blog post where followers can propose topics for the following Wednesday. Once the moderators have reviewed the topics they create an online poll and #ELTchat followers are asked to vote.  

At the end of the chat one teacher volunteers to summarise the discussion. And this week it’s me! The transcripts and summaries from past discussions can be found on the #ELTchat blog.

Dedicated Edtech vs Tech

‘Tech for teachers’ is not necessarily synonymous with the term edtech. Education technology — or edtech — is any form of digital learning, application, online or mobile learning platform, software or device designed specifically for the modern learning environment, such as Kahoot.

However, there are also a range of more general technologies, such as Padlet, that teachers are appropriating for use with learners. During the #ELTchat the following technologies were mentioned which I have broadly catagorised based on the company’s twitter description.

Dedicated EdtechTech
@GetKahoot 
@quizlet
@freeedcom 
@ClassDojo
@RemindHQ 
@speakapps  
@Twitter 
@WhatsApp
@padlet
@evernotehelps
@zoom_us 
@Skype 
@Snagit  

The #ELTchat was moderated by Marisa Constantinides and she started by asking: What are the top three technologies you use as a teacher?

Here is a summary of the technologies that caused the most chatter during the #ELTchat session.

Padlet

This tool was described as a ‘virtual bulletin board’, where students and teachers can collaborate, comment, share links, in a secure location. It was popular for teachers to use with learners in the classroom and also trainee teachers on CELTA. @lingwalingwa has even created a padlet filled with apps and tools for English teachers who are starting out online.

@fionaljp Hello and welcome to #ELTchat Yes, recommend Padlet. Here’s an introduction video: http://bit.ly/2lDP93r 
@fionaljp Padlet in so many ways: as a backchannel, to share answers, links, for students to add links… #ELTchat
@SueAnnan I use padlet for my trainees to put ideas on. #ELTchat
@Shujaat_English Padlet can also work as real time chat box/board for ss who can see each others’ comments and reply! #ELTchat
@Marisa_C It padlet #ELTchat and I often upload a lesson or training session plus related resources for my trainees – I guess same can be done for students
@fionaljp I’ve used Padlet for online chatting during observation but I’m going to try Slack next time as people rate it #ELTchat
@myles_klynhout .@lingwalingwa has created a really useful padlet of apps and tools for teaching online: http://bit.ly/2kzylds #ELTchat
@CateTeaches First time #ELTchat – er her. I’ve never heard of pallet but will definitely check it out.

Kahoot

Kahoot has become a favourite in the classroom for many. It is a free student-response tool for running quizzes, facilitating discussions, or even collecting survey data. It is a game-based classroom response system played by the whole class in real time. It was interesting to see how the app is being used by the teachers in ELTchat.  

@ELTExperiencesI’ve been using Kahoot! A lot now for my class and getting them to review vocabulary from the week. The free version is brilliant. #ELTchat
@fionaljpHello #ELTchat How do you do that? Multiple choice definitions?
@ELTExperiencesYeah and choosing the correct word in the gap. It’s great to review phrasal verbs and matching definitions to target language. #ELTchat
@fionaljpHave you tried getting them to make quizzes? #ELTchat
@ELTExperiencesOh. I haven’t. Now that’s a nice idea. #ELTchat
@CateTeachesI really like it too, although I find it can be time consuming to make the quizzes #ELTchat
@ELTExperiencesYou can get quicker besides you can also import quizzes from Excel. #ELTchat
@CateTeachesdefinitely, and if you make quizzes that can be recycled for more than one class then it is really worth it. #ELTchat
@jonjoTESOLYessss to reusable self made materials! #ELTchat

Whatsapp

This app needs no introduction. It is used by more than 1 billion people in over 180 countries to stay in touch with friends and family. Which begs the question, how could it be utilised to encourage ELT learners to interact more in the target language? 


@JessBCN

#ELTchat Not strictly edtech but I’ve been using social media such as WhatsApp recently to encourage out-of-class interaction in TL.
@JessBCN#ELTchat so important in EFL context. Used tasks from ‘Interaction Online’ (Clandfield & Hadfield) but familiarity with medium means students take over and use space for own purposes, authentic communication in TL!
@myles_klynhoutYep, I once set up a language exchange between teens in England and Spain. They were to get in touch once a week on skype. Within a week they had moved the conversation to whatsapp using only their thumbs! #ELTchat
@myles_klynhoutThis was also super beneficial as some began to correct each others messages in whatsapp. My learning: it is mighty hard to move teens off one platform and onto another for educational purposes. Work with what they are already using and aim for TL use. #ELTchat
@Marisa_CGood lesson yes #ELTchat I think text chat is the newspeak anyway 🙂

SpeakApps

The SpeakApps platform includes an Open Educational Resources site to save and access oral production and speaking interaction task and activity sequences. The Open Educational Resources combine with Tandem and Videochat to generate speaking interaction tasks for students.

@myles_klynhoutI did like one app called… speakeasy? It created genuine information gaps for students to solve by video call. This call was then later assessed by the teacher, feedback given, and they could try again. Was this a project out of a University in Spain? #ELTchat
@Jax_115Yes, that sounds like the Tandem tool from SpeakApps! #ELTchat The SpeakApps project (http://speakapps.eu) was a European project coordinated by the @UOCuniversitat. Tandem is an awesome tool and we still use it with our students.
@myles_klynhoutYes! That’s the one. I remember at the time it was a free trial. Each student saw different input & had to work with a partner via video call to solve the puzzle/task. They could do it at home & then we reviewed in class. #ELTchat

Quizlet

Quizlet is a free website and mobile app which enables teachers and students to create digital flashcards. The app can automatically generate interactive games and even tests of the material you enter into it.

@ELTExperiencesSo three tools that I use a lot in class are Kahoot, Quizlet and ClassDojo. They are great! #ELTchat
@CateTeachesI also use Quizlet for lexis review and to encourage learner autonomy #ELTchat
@fionaljpDo you find students engage with it? #ELTchat
@CateTeachesYes, definitely. There are several games which can be used as a warmup and review at the start of the lesson which they like. For lower level students especially it can really give them a sense of measurable progress and achievement if they use it in their own time. #ELTchat

I’ll also leave you with a couple of links that were suggested during the slowburn:

Top Tools for Learning 2018 

The results of the 12th Annual Digital Learning Tools survey by Jane Hart (@C4LPT) and list of Top 100 Tools for Education.

Online teaching: 10 Steps to Getting Started

A step-by-step guide by James Venner (@lingwalingwa) which contains a padlet filled with tools for teaching online.

Standardized Learning

A blog post by David Deubelbeiss (@ddeubel) about a new kind of quizzing.

_________________ 

Myles Klynhout (@myles_klynhout) is a Community & Product Specialist at Freeed. He has over 10 years experience teaching English and is a member of the cooperative Serveis Lingüístics de Barcelona (SLB). In 2017 he moved to Helsinki, home to a thriving Nordic Edtech scene, with innovative teachers and pedagogic advisors. After coming across Freeed at various educational conferences in Finland, he started sharing ideas about English Language Teaching and it wasn’t long before he joined the team!

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