Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Making your Classroom Paperless and Media Rich with Unio

Unio is a great tool if you want to ditch your course book and make your lessons paperless and media rich.

It’s a very easy tool to use. You can set up courses just by clicking on the cross in the top right of screen.
Once you have created your course topic, adding and editing lessons is simple.
Once the editor is open you can upload ready made presentations in multiple formats and add interactivity to them or create the lesson by adding individual elements and interactive learning objects.

Once the lesson is created Unio is really simple to use. You just launch the live session and any student can then log in to the lesson with just their name and the class code.

Unio works in the web browser so will run on any device regardless of the operating system, so it’s ideal for the BYOD classroom.

Once students have the lesson open on their device they can use the tools to annotate it, answer polls, watch videos or if they have questions they can send them in to the teacher.

As the teacher you can control which slide they are seeing or you can ‘unsync’ the presentation and allow them to browse. When the presentation is ‘unsynced’ students can watch any video or media clips independently on their own devices rather than collectively on your main presentation screen. This is great if you want students to watch or listen at their own pace.
When you finish a live lesson you can leave it open for students to browse and work through independently, so there is potential to use this for a flipped learning approach too, or you can use it for 100% online classes instead of screen sharing (and save a lot of bandwidth).

Unio is a freemium product, but the free version is very usable and the if you want to upgrade and use this at a school level then it’s still very reasonably priced.

Unio is still in its early days and the company is very keen to work with schools and educators to develop the product. You can find out more about that here: https://uniobyharness.com/about

Unio has huge potential for the digital classroom and is a great way to keep devices, fingers and minds occupied and working in a constructive way.

I hope you enjoy using Unio and your students find it rewarding. You can find 100 + more tools and resources like this in my ebook Digital Tools for Teachers - Second Edition or if you want to train other teachers to use these kinds of tools check out the Trainers’ Edition.



My Books:
 Best

Nik Peachey

Monday, 13 November 2017

Develop Critical Thinking Skills with Kialo

Kialo is a wonderful tool for developing critical thinking skills and to develop students’ abilities to look at and explore multiple perspectives of complex issues in a clear and logical way.
The site enables teachers to set up complex topics and structure ‘pros and cons’ type debates around them.

This is simple to do. Just set up your topic, add an image and some explainer text that you want students to read first and then invite students to add either pros or cons.
You can keep your debate topics private and only allow your own students to add to them by creating teams and then sharing different discussions with the team, or once you have 15 comments you can then publish them and open them up to the public. This process of collecting a reasonable number of comments before going public helps to ensure the quality and integrity of the discussion content already on the site.
Once you have created a team you can also share any of the existing debates with your students too.

This is a great place to get your students thinking in a structured and logical way about complex topics and is a great way to prepare them for a classroom debate or discussion.
The discussions have been categorised into topics to make them easier to browse. A lot of the existing content has a very strong US bias, but there are still quite a few internationally relevant topics if you don’t want to create your own.

I hope you enjoy using Kialo and your students find it rewarding. You can find 100 + more tools and resources like this in my ebook Digital Tools for Teachers - Second Edition or if you want to train other teachers to use these kinds of tools check out the Trainers’ Edition.


My Books:
 Best

Nik Peachey

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Becoming a Technology Teacher Trainer

I’m really proud to announce the release of the second edition of my Digital Tools for Teachers ebook and also the Trainers’ Edition which should enable any teacher with a basic knowledge of technology to run teacher training and development courses and sessions for pre-service and in-service teachers.


The two ebooks are available for both iOS/ Apple devices as well as in a PDF version that can be used on any reader, smart phone or computer.


The Second Edition of Tools for Teachers contains a new chapter on games and gamification with X links to games and game type resources that you can use with your students to develop their language skills. In addition to this the other chapters have had some 30 additional tools added.

The teacher trainers’ edition includes all the extra materials mentioned above as well as 3 additional chapters to enable any teacher to use the book for teacher training and development purposes.

These chapters include tips and advice for trainers, more than 20 teacher training activities that exploit the resources in the book and a chapter on digital tools for trainers that can enable them to deliver paperless digital training sessions.

The Second Edition of Digital Tools for Teachers is available from
The Trainers’ Edition of Digital Tools for Teachers is available from
I hope you find these books useful and they help you to develop your own teaching and the teaching of others as well as the learning potential of your students.

My Books:

 Best

Nik Peachey

Monday, 23 October 2017

Digital Skills for Teachers - World of Better Learning

I’d like to share a short series of articles I have produced for the Cambridge University Press blog - World of Better Learning.

The series looks at the impact of digital technologies on classroom practice and the kinds of skills teachers need to ensure that they help their students to take advantage of the opportunities that increasing classroom access to the Internet can offer.

You can find more tools and activities like these in my ebook 20 Tech Enhanced Activities for the Language Classroom.
The book is available on iOS or as PDF for other devices.

Sign up for my twice monthly free newsletter and get a free copy of Digital Tools for Teachers at: https://tinyletter.com/technogogy/ 

My Books:
 Best

Nik Peachey

Monday, 16 October 2017

10 Tools & Resources for Developing Writing Skills

Over the last couple of months I've found and written about a number of really great tools and resources to help improve our students' writing skills. This is a collection of links to reviews of ten of the best.

1. Free Reading Passages and Progress Tracking Tools
This site was designed to help grade K5 - K12 native speaker students develop their reading and comprehension skills, but can also be really useful for second language development. Students can choose from a range of graded texts and get a wide range of interactive activities and reading support. Teachers can also register on the site and assign specific texts to their students.
Read more

2. Using Image Prompts to Inspire Writing & Speaking Activities

As a teacher you can create classes and assign writing tasks to students. The students do their writing tasks within the platform and can publish and share them there. This is a little like posting to a blog, but within a safe environment.
Read more

3. Improve Writing Skills with Peer Evaluation
Getting students to peer evaluate can be a real organisational challenge in the classroom, but now it looks like there is a simple technological solution. Peergrade is a great tool to get students assessing each others’ work and giving each other feedback.Read more

4. Writing & Discussion Activities to Promote Awareness of Fake News
Newspaper Generator is a useful tool that enables you to create what looks like a newspaper front page. To do this you upload an image, select a title and a headline and then write in the details of the story. Then just click on 'Make it' and the site will produce a PDF that you can download
Read more

5. Collaborative Story Writing for the BYOD Classroom

This app is based around a common classroom activity in which students write stories together by adding a sentence and passing it on to another writer. The next writer then adds a sentence and either passes it back or passes it to another student. The process continues until the story is finished.
Read more

6. A Tool to Encourage Students to Self-Correct & Improve their Writing

SAS Writing Reviser is a really cleverly designed Chrome Add-on to get your students self-assessing and improving their own writing. Once installed you can open a document in Google Docs and then decide what aspects of your writing you would like to improve.Read more

7. Illustrate Poems & Create Short Image Based Narrative
This app is also social so users can comment on, follow and like each others creations.I used the app to create an illustration of a poem by Robert Frost - Fire & Ice. This would be nice activity to do with students, either selecting or letting them select a poem to illustrate.
Read more

8. Creating Text Adventures to Develop Reading & Writing Skills
Text adventure games are a great way of really engaging students in reading. They get the chance to take some control of the narrative and find their own way through the story by making choices at various points in the narrative.
Read more

9. Get Teens Writing with Gamified Writing Activities
Story Wars is a great gamified way to make writing creative and competitive.
Students read short chapters of the beginnings of stories and then have to submit the next chapter for the story. The readers of the story can then vote for which new chapter they feel is the best continuation of the story. The one with the most votes becomes part of the story.
Read more

10. Give Young Learners Structured Writing Practice with WritingSparks
This is a great site for giving structure and adding an element of fun to writing activities, especially if you have a data projector so that students can see the prompts on the screen.
Read more

I hope you find these reviews useful and that they help you to choose the right tools and resources to help your students.

You can find links to many more tools like this and activities for the digital classroom in my ebooks at: https://peacheypublications.com/. All my ebooks are available for iOS and as PDF.

Sign up for my twice monthly free newsletter and get a free copy of Digital Tools for Teachers at: https://tinyletter.com/technogogy/ 

My Books:
 Best

Nik Peachey

Friday, 13 October 2017

Create Your Online School with a Great Virtual Classroom

Webroom has to be one of the best free virtual classrooms for online synchronous teaching I’ve seen. It’s very easy to set up a class. Just type in your email address and name and the classroom launches.

Once the class opens there’s a very easy to work through on-boarding task that ensures anyone entering the classroom has the correct browser (Chrome works best) , sufficient connectivity, and has set up their video and audio so you can be sure everyone can see each other.
Once you are set up you can invite students by email or share the link to the classroom.

Webroom has a lot of really great easy to use features including really simple to set up breakout rooms for getting students into pairs or groups, screen sharing, an interactive whiteboard for sharing images and text, file sharing and best of all link sharing.
As well as sharing links to websites, the link sharing feature allows you to share links to videos from the web and collaborate on Google Docs, Google Slides or Google Spreadsheets. This takes Webroom beyond the usual presentation and chat type class and enables teachers to do work on writing skills too.

Webroom also has a number of features that can help students takes notes and remember their classes. When using the whiteboard students can download any screen they see and keep an image of it by simply clicking the download button and then at the end of the class students get an email summary that includes any of the links shared during the lesson as well as links to any files that were uploaded.

You can use Webroom very simply by creating a new class session each time or you can register for free and log in to set up class schedules.
If you find this type of class is effective for you and your students then it is well worth looking at: https://iteach.world/ This is the commercial version of Webroom and it enables you to set up online course and to start charging for them. With this tool you can launch your own online school.

There is a free (forever) account that enables you to get started and build your courses, but you can only use this for one teacher and two students. Scaling up isn’t expensive though and the fees are a flat monthly rate, so this is a great way to open your own online school without too much risk.

I hope you enjoy using Webroom and that it helps you to get your own online school launched.

You can find 100 + more tools and resources like this in my ebook Digital Tools for Teachers - Second Edition or if you want to train other teachers to use these kinds of tools check out the Trainers’ Edition.


My Books:
 Best

Nik Peachey

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Creativity, Global Issues and the English Language Classroom

It’s been gratifying over the last few months to see an increase in interest in the role of creativity in learning and particularly language learning, so I thought I’d share some of the work I’ve been doing with Alan Maley on behalf of the British Council and hope to encourage a few more teachers to get involved with the C Group.

I was really glad to see the culmination of over a years’ work come to fruition with the publication of Integrating global issues in the creative English language classroom. This is book is now available as a free download from the British Council site.


The book focuses on the development of a deeper understanding of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 and explores creative ways teachers can raise awareness of and promote these goals among our students.  This is a book I co-edited with Alan and also wrote a chapter for and which I presented in a live webinar on October 5th for Teachers’ Day.



The book was a follow on from our earlier volume Creativity in the English language classroom - also published for free by the British Council back in 2015.

This is where the C Group comes in as the first book would probably never have existed if it hadn’t been for the work of Alan Maley in bringing together a group of teachers and authors all of whom shared a similar concern regarding an increasing orientation in teaching towards tests and certificates.

The C Group first met in Harrogate in 2014 and it was out of that first meeting and with the support of the membership that we were able to put together a proposal for the book.

Since then the C Group has grown considerably so it’s something that I would like to encourage more teachers to get involved with.

If you are interested in finding out more about the C Group please visit their website or Facebook page.

If you have work related to creativity in ELT that you want to circulate through social media or what to track what others are sharing please use the hanshtag  #cre8

I hope you enjoy these books and they help to spark your own creativity.

My eBooks:


Best
Nik Peachey


Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Wordiser the Blended Learning Platform

Wordiser is a great free tool for creating blended learning that works in the browser across a range of devices.

The tool enables you to create virtual classes and then track individual students as they work through a range of personalised learning activities.

Apart from the wide range of ready made interactive or printable worksheets that you can assign to students, you can also create your own activities based around lists of vocabulary that come up during your classes.
Wordiser also allows you to automate the revision process so that students get reminders and follow up worksheets and activities to do that ensure they remember more of what they have learnt.

There's a really good range of activity types and media to integrate into lessons and you can even create your own digital worksheets based around your own texts or ones that you find online.

Wordiser is quite a complex tool that enables you to do a wide range of complex tasks, so you need to be prepared to invest a little time into understanding it, but there are plenty of tutorials and support to help you along the way.

Here's a short video that should help to give you some idea of the power of this free tool.


You can find links to many more tools like this and activities for the digital classroom in my ebooks at: http://peacheypublications.com/. All my ebooks are available for iOS and as PDF.

Sign up for my twice monthly free newsletter and get a free copy of Digital Tools for Teachers at: https://tinyletter.com/technogogy/ 

My eBooks:

Best
Nik Peachey

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Improve Writing Skills with Peer Evaluation

Getting students to peer evaluate can be a real organisational challenge in the classroom, but now it looks like there is a simple technological solution. Peergrade is a great tool to get students assessing each others’ work and giving each other feedback.
You can create classes and then assign digital assignments that can include a range of different media. These assignments are then sent to students.

The students then complete and submit their tasks online. Once they have submitted their assignment they then grade the assignments of their peers. You can decide on how many peer assignments they have to grade.

After they have graded their peers they are able to find the feedback from their peers on their own work.

As the teacher you can set up rubrics for the students to use when they grade each others' work.

The platform also has a live session mode that enables you to do writing work in the live connected classroom.

Peergrade looks like a really excellent tool to encourage a process approach to writing and to encourage students to think more deeply about how their work is evaluated and what they should be aiming to achieve.

The basic account is free and unlimited. If you want to use this regularly and especially if you want to implement the use of it across your school then it's well worth checking of the other subscription models as it's very reasonably priced and helping to support apps like this is more likely to ensure they continue to develop.

You can find links to many more tools like this and activities for the digital classroom in my ebooks at: http://peacheypublications.com/. All my ebooks are available for iOS and as PDF.


Sign up for my twice monthly free newsletter and get a free copy of Digital Tools for Teachers at: https://tinyletter.com/technogogy/ 

My Books:
 Best

Nik Peachey




Thursday, 28 September 2017

Exploit Interactive Digital Narrative for Language Development

Draw a Stickman site has a collection of short narratives about a Stickman that you can draw with your mouse.

Once you have drawn the man you click a button and he comes to life.

You then follow him through a short adventure and draw in various elements as he needs them and discover what happens to him.
There are three free adventures that students can work through or you can use them in class with a data projector.

These are really imaginative adventures that can inspire students’ creativity.

Draw a Stickman can be used for lots of activities including retelling the story, writing the next chapter of the story or just predicting what will happen as the adventures unfold.

You can find links to many more tools like this and activities for the digital classroom in my ebooks at: http://peacheypublications.com/. All my ebooks are available for iOS and as PDF.

Sign up for my twice monthly free newsletter and get a free copy of Digital Tools for Teachers at: https://tinyletter.com/technogogy/ 

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Nik Peachey

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Get Students Creating Their Own Video Reviews and Resource Library

This is a great tool to make screen-capture videos directly from within your Chrome browser.

Once you have registered and installed the browser plugin, you just go to the page or site and click on the Loom button.

You’ll need to give the plugin permission to use your microphone and webcam, then just click on ‘Start Recording’.

You can choose to record whole screen or just an application window.

Click the plugin button again and your video is instantly uploaded to your profile on the Loom site and the link is copied.

The recording will open in a new browser tab and you can then give it a title and watch it again. You’ll see the website you recorded a webcam image of yourself talking in the lower left corner and a number of fields to type in information and add comments.

You can share a link to the recording through social media, get an iframe embed code or just get a direct link. Once you share it users can watch and leave comments.

Loom is a great tool for teacher training and development and also great to get students speaking, doing website reviews and sharing them together. You can get the students to create their own resource library of useful tools and websites.

I hope you find Loom useful. You can find links to many more tools like this and activities for the digital classroom in my ebooks at: http://peacheypublications.com/. All my ebooks are available for iOS and as PDF.

Sign up for my twice monthly free newsletter and get a free copy of Digital Tools for Teachers at: https://tinyletter.com/technogogy/ 

Related links:
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Nik Peachey

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