Saturday, June 23, 2012

Get Ready for a Presentation

While thinking of the presentation that I need to prepare for a conference which is on 4 July, I tried to find some ELT presentation preparation tips online. Not having found anything, I decided to make a mind map myself to outline the steps that I find useful in preparation for a presentation.

To make a mind map I chose which is very easy to use and share. You can zoom it in and out or move it around on the blog itself if you grab part of the map with your mouse.

PLE/PLN/VLE as I see them

Quite often I have been asked about the difference between a PLE, a PLN and a VLE and I thought that it would be easier to make a blog post about it and share it with my networks.

PLE stands for Personal Learning Environment, PLN is Personal Learning Network and VLE is Virtual Learning Environment.

I have summed up my ideas in this short presentation.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

KET/PET/FCE - Marking the Papers

When I first started teaching FCE, it was quite complicated for me to understand how to score the mock exam papers that my students completed once a week.

Having attended a few Cambridge webinars related to these exams and having had a look at a few websites, I began to understand what the scores are and how they are calculated.

As a result I managed to put this Prezi together to help teachers understand the scoring of KET/PET/FCE for Schools.

I hope the Prezi helps you too!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Diigo, and Pinterest - Bookmarking Tools

A friend of mine asked me about the difference between Diigo, Scoop.It and Pinterest and while replying to her, I thought that I could actually blog about it. So here we go!

Diigo was actually the first bookmarking tool that I started using. I don't think Pinterest or functioned then. Maybe they did, but I didn't know about them.

Diigo allows users to bookmark a webpage, to highlight it or to attach sticky notes. All bookmarks, highlights or notes can be shared with groups in Diigo or they can be kept private. To make finding links easier, tags can be used. The tool also allows users to upload pictures and save them. There is also 'Read Later' option which one can use when they have found an interesting article to read but do not have the time for it. Not to forget what they wanted to read later, they can bookmark the article in the 'Read Later' section and then find it easily.

Diigo has an optional bookmarklet which allows to bookmark any website from the browser without opening up the Diigo page. However, and Pinterest also have these bookmarklets so this is not something specific to Diigo only. Although I don't use Diigo very often nowadays because of Pinterest, I still have the account and bookmark important articles or save links to my Diigo library if they cannot be Pinned.

Pinterest is also a bookmarking tool, however it bookmarks pages on which images can be found. If there are no images, a message comes up saying that the page cannot be pinned because no pinnable images were found. This is a bit disappointing really but still I think Pinterest is a great tool. I mainly use it for videos that I want to return to. I also have an educational board on Pinterest where I pin various infographics and articles related to teaching and learning.

It is easy to create separate boards and then pin links to them according to their topic. The same can be done with In general I think and Pinterest are more or less similar. The biggest difference between these two bookmarking tools is that the scoops on come up with snippets of the text which can be read through but on Pinterest only images can be seen.

Commenting, sharing, embedding, re-pinning/re-scooping are all available with both tools.

Another difference between these two tools is that on you can manage sources by adding keywords of topics of interest to the dashboard and with one click searches the web for blogs, articles and more that match your interests. The links are then suggested for scooping and then can be scooped, removed or discarded. Keywords can be easily edited at any time. The free account on allows 5 topics.

Overall, all the three tools are great and easy to use. It is just a matter of personal choice which one to use and for what reason.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Google Public Data Explorer - Infographics

A friend of mine has become interested in infographics creation and her interest made me explore some tools.

I found Google Public Data Explorer which allows users to explore publicly available data and share the data found. For me this tool is especially useful because I can use the line graphs and bar graphs to engage my IELTS students in analysing Academic Writing Task 1 by making the graphs more or less challenging  depending on how experienced they are in doing this type of task.

I have chosen a more simple line graph for the first timers...

...and next - a graph with more data to explore:

The one below can be used with any class to talk about the consequences of the financial crisis in Europe. I chose the following countries because of the differing trends they showed. However, you can choose any countries you like: with similar trends, with the lowest unemployment rate, etc.

Looks great, doesn't it? It is also very simple to use and embed in a wiki, blog or website.