Welcome to my blog! I'm an ESOL teacher and teacher trainer in the UK, and you'll find some of the websites I know about in this blog, and some suggestions on how to use them. Hope it's helpful.

Sunday, June 3, 2012


Weebly is simply the most fantastic tool!! I wasn't sure whether or not to include it in this blog as it's not strictly speaking a tool for English language learners, but it could easily be!

It's a web site building tool, but the difference is that it's free (for up to 6 pages) and much more importantly, it's practically idiot proof. If you can use Word and know how to drag and drop, you can really create a brilliant website in a really short time. Here's the advertising video - I'm honestly not on any kind of commission for this, but I'm so impressed.

The first time I put a web site together it was really painful, so this is a joy. You can put your web page together and then try out different templates, too.  For learners, you could use it for project work - they could make their own websites - I think this would be very motivating for teenagers, in particular, or you could make a class website and give each group in the class a page to complete. Alternatively, produce one yourself to give them practice in extensive reading or listening to authentic material - it's just as easy to edit as it is to set up.  Have a go - if you thought websites were something that required a professional web designer and a lot of cash or a lot of time learning the ropes, think again - you CAN do this!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

English Teaching Websites

This site looks as if it's going to be a really useful one.  It isn't quite up and running yet, but the idea is that it will be a collection of useful websites and blogs for students and for teachers.  It's also got links to training sites, jobs, etc. Definitely worth keeping an eye on!

Thursday, April 26, 2012


This is a great little tool that I've just discovered.  Haven't been able to try it out yet, as it's only for Android phones currently, but they are working on an iPhone version, so hopefully it won't be too long.
This is a free dictionary App, but with the twist that you just show the word to your phone using the camera in it and it will look it up for you.  Here's the promo video to explain better.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Digital Storytelling with Xtranormal.com

Check this out! If you want to encourage your learners to write and speak English this is a great tool to do it, especially with younger learners and teenagers. Xtranormal.com is a site where you can choose backgrounds, characters, sounds, actions etc and make a movie either by recording your voice or by typing in text that is then read back by an automatic voiceover (in a range of accents). It's like Voki, but you can get a lot more elaborate! When you have made one, you can e-mail it, embed it, download it (interestingly), share it on Twitter, Facebook etc etc....
Here's an example:
ICT Blog movie
by: JGakonga

It's free to play with and to make your first couple of videos (they give you 300 points to start with) but you do have to pay after that - I think it's quite cheap, though, and the three or four free ones that you are allowed on a free log in may well be enough for most learners.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Web Based Collaboration Tools- 15! -All free!

This blog post has a really great range of web based tools that are all free with which you (and more importantly, your learners) can collaborate on-line, either in real time or asynchronously.  There are a few here that you have probably heard of (Google docs, Skype) and another whole load that you probably haven't (Twiddla, Wet Paint, VYew).  I have to confess that I haven't checked all of these out, but if you want learners to collaborate outside class, there are some very simple to use tools here, and they are all free. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Fodey.com - Make your own newspaper

This site is a really nice one for encouraging your learners to write at home.  They can easily and for free create a newspaper story like the one below or little animations with wizards, squirrels, cats or ninjas - all good fun and very easy.  You don't have to sign up and when you have created your image, you can just download it and it's yours to do what you want with - how easy is that? 

Get them to write a story and send a copy to you by e-mail, or print them out and stick them up on the wall. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Free website hosting - KompoZer

Here's an interesting tool if you or your learners are feeling a bit 'techie'.  This site allows you to create your own website for free. You just go to the site and download the software on there and Bob's your mother's brother!  My 12 year old son assures me that it works and it's really easy to use (they are using it at school to make websites). The only thing that I'd say is that a quick internet search showed me to this site which gives a guide on how to use it, and it says that this is great for experimental or small scale sites,but that you have limited publishing availability, so you have been duely warned!   It has a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) style template set up so that you can do what you want really easily (if you can use Word, you can use this).

 There are lots of ways that you could use this for a class - make one yourself for your learners with links to useful websites or upload homework, etc.  If you (and they!) are a bit more ambitious, you could get them to make their own - it's a great motivation to produce writing for an authentic purpose.
Good luck!