Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Two Good Apps for Learning Phrasal Verbs

Parts of this post originally appeared on my other blog,

One of the true challenges for English language learners is understanding the meanings of phrasal verbs. The following apps are designed to help students build an understanding of phrasal verbs.

The Phrasal Verbs Machine, developed by Cambridge University, is a free iPad app that aims to help ELL students learn the meanings of phrasal verbs. The Phrasal Verbs Machine provides students with short animations that illustrate the meanings of many common phrasal verbs. There is a written definition below each animation. Students can view the animations and definitions as many times as they like before trying their hands at the practice identification exercises. The Phrasal Verbs Machine provides definition translations in Spanish, French, Italian, German, Russian, and Portuguese.

Phrasalstein, developed at Cambridge University, is a great iPad app and Android app designed to help students learn the meanings of phrasal verbs. The app has a practice mode and a quiz mode. In the practice mode students select a verb and a preposition combination then see a short animation demonstration of the meaning of the chosen phrase. In the quiz mode students see an animation then have to select the matching phrase. Translations of the meanings are available in Spanish, German, Italian, Russian and French.

Eight Alternatives to Google Image Search

Last fall I published a chart comparing alternatives to using Google Image search. This evening I updated that chart to reflect a couple of changes to those tools and to add a new one to it. This chart is designed to provide a quick overview and comparison of good sources of images for students' slideshows and other multimedia projects. You can download the chart through the widget below or grab a Google Docs copy here.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Updated Page of Video Creation Tools and Tutorials

It was recently, and correctly, pointed out to me that the video creation resources page on was terribly outdated. This evening I began to rectify that situation by removing the old information that was on the page and replacing with updated tutorials.

On the video creation resources page you will now find a PDF outlining six types of video projects, a playlist of videos about making flipped videos, a playlist of videos about making audio slideshow videos, a playlist about WeVideo, and a webinar recording about making animated videos.

I will be updating the page again later this week when I finish the next guide that I am developing.

Good Online Bookmarking Tools for Students

Earlier today I shared a set of tutorials on using Symbaloo to save and organize bookmarks. Shortly after that post went live I received an email from someone looking for other bookmarking tools that her students could use. Over the years I've tried a lot of bookmarking tools, the following are the ones that I recommend most often.

Diigo is a great option for bookmarking websites and sharing them with a group. You can use any of the many Diigo browser add-ons or mobile apps to bookmark websites. The Diigo bookmarking tools allow you to clip portions of a webpage, highlight portions of the page, and add notes to it while you bookmark. Adding those notes is helpful in letting your collaborators know why you saved a link. Diigo allows you to create public and private groups in which you share bookmarks. Creating a Diigo group is a good way for students to collaborate on a research task. Click here for a video on creating Diigo groups.

Padlet Mini is a slick tool collaborative bookmarking. Padlet Mini is a Chrome extension that you can use to bookmark websites. When you click the Padlet Mini extension in your browser you will be presented with the option to save to one of your existing walls (if you already have a Padlet account) or create a new Padlet wall. Padlet Mini is ideal for having students share links to interesting pages, pictures, and videos that they find about a topic that they are studying in class. Click here for a video about Padlet Mini.

A few years ago when Google announced that they were removing the list option from Google Bookmarks I started using Evernote for all of my bookmarks. The Evernote Web Clipper allows me to not only bookmark URLs but also annotate each bookmark with notes for myself about each URL that I bookmark. I also use the Evernote Web Clipper for clipping sections of webpages including text and images.

Annotary is a social bookmarking service that is similar to Diigo. By using Annotary in Chrome I can bookmark sites, highlight portions of pages, and annotate pages with sticky notes. Just like any good online bookmarking service, Annotary allows you to share bookmarks and search other peoples' shared bookmarks.

This list wouldn't be complete without mentioning Pinterest. If your school allows it and your students are old enough to have accounts, you could use Pinterest to bookmark your web findings. A better option than Pinterest for schools is eduClipper. eduClipper is a great place for teachers and students to collaborate on the creation of visual bookmark boards. Students do not need to have email addresses to use eduClipper and you can manage how your students share on eduClipper boards.

Disclosure: I am advisor to eduClipper.

30+ Symbaloo Tutorials

Symbaloo is an excellent service on which you can visually organize your favorite and most frequently used websites. Symbaloo allows you to bookmark your favorite websites and arrange them into tile boards that you can share or keep private. Symbaloo calls the tile boards webmixes. You can create multiple webmixes arranged according to topics of your choosing. Symbaloo offers a free iPhone app, a free Android app, and free Windows mobile app that you can use to add to and access your webmixes anywhere.

Symbaloo offers more than thirty tutorial videos to help users get started and understand all of the features of the service. That playlist is embedded below. I also recommend reading Travis Towne's 11 Helpful Hints for Combining Google Drive With Symbaloo.