Saturday, December 01, 2007

Asterpix Interactive Video

Asterpix allows the user to upload video and create hotspots that follow an object or person on the video. The user can mouse-over the hotspots and click for more information: text, weblinks, etc. (Hence the "interactive" part.) The tools seem very easy to use, and the instructional videos are screencasts, as illustrated here.

This tool might work very well with an EFL/ESL practice where the students are led to research further information (a mini-Webquest), or are asked to create their own video and links for the hotspots. This is another tool with a unique twist that can add text and hypertext to the audio-video experience.

Thanks to Andreas Büsing for the tip on this item.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Using your cellphone as a scanner

This is the kind of technology I love--it's already out there (no download), everybody has it--and it's pretty much free!

You snap a print article with your cellphone camera, then send it to, which converts it to a .pdf file with high quality OCR software. Download to your computer and you can convert it to text. Or have ScanR convert it first.

ScanR is free for 5 uses per month, $3 US for unlimited use. Here's the address of the Newsweek article:

A similar product is found at Very cool.

Thanks to Learning with Computers for this hot link.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Tibbit is a potentially very useful tool. Billed as a way to communially build a "tribute" to someone, e.g., for a birthday or anniversary, it could be used as another type of presentation tool. It allows you to mash up photos, text, podcasts, embedded video, etc., and then "play" everything together.

A nice feature is that contributors can post their photos and a short text on the main page. So this might work quite well for student group projects that can be created collaboratively and then presented as a show. There is also a "due date" feature--the time by which items have to be put into the show.

This YouTube video shows the several features.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

American Writers - C-SPAN videos

American Writers is a series of 2-hours videos about the life and times of famous American writers of the 20th century. The series was produced by C-SPAN, a cable channel sponsored by local, state, and federal governments. (The channel often carries city council meetings, the state legislature debates, etc.)

The videos would make excellent supplementary materials for an EFL/ESL literature and culture class. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


QlipBoard is a nifty little application that allows you to make screencasts with the addition of your own photos and Webshots and decorate/enhance them with whiteboard-like tools. It's a free download. The downside: It's not Mac-enabled.

A couple of video presentations and how-tos are found at YouTube.

(Thanks to Carla Arena, Webhead, for this find!)

Monday, October 15, 2007


Kaltura is a video editor with a twist: you can invite friends to add and edit video clips in a joint project. Should make it much easier for students to work on a collaborative project. On signing in for the first time you can add the emails of two other people to get started.

The tool also has some nice additional features, such as the ability to easily split or duplicate a scene--easy mashups.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Webheads HQ @ EduNation III

Here's a nice use of VoiceThread by Graham Stanley (always one to get the most out of new tools the quickest!): Webheads @ EduNation III on October 1st.

Graham's blog at Blog-EFL has a description of the meeting in SecondLife and a transcript of the chat.

The Webheads gather at SL on Mondays at 20:00 GMT.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Evelyn Fella, old friend and colleague, just turned me on to the nifty little online lesson sets at GCFLearnFree. They use a variety of animation, flash, drag-and-drop, etc., to make the user feel they are "really" there. The Everyday Life lessons might be useful for ELT. And possibly the Basic Math and Money and Computer Training lessons also. You need to register first, but it is instantaneous.

A sample of lessons at Learn Free:
One downside may be that the visual instructions are great, but are accompanied by rather high level aural instructions--if learners could understand them, they might not need the training.

Friday, September 21, 2007


Though still in alpha, Metaplace looks like a miniature Second Life. Sponsored by BBC, it's a site where you and students can build their own world online. Seth Dickens suggests a number of possibilities, particularly for adolescent learners whom you might wish to shield from the seamier side of SL, and the dungeons and dragons dreariness of other battle-based worlds. The frontpage appears to appeal to 'tweens and younger, rather than adolescents, however.

To be explored later in more depth.


You may have noticed that I just added an Evoca recorder to the Sidebar. You can send me a voicemail easily. This is a nice application but an even better Website: it suggests a wide variety of ways--in detail--that a group (for example of students) might use the simple voice recorder for digital story-telling, socializing, and even looking up a word in any of the recordings in the site archives. For instance, the story-telling page discusses what makes a good story.

I note that BaW07 explored the tool, but there is not a whole lot of activity elsewhere in the groups (most of which have just one member). This would be worth examining in much more detail. The features it notes are

* Make and store up to 15 minutes of recordings
* Enjoy FREE unlimited listening
* Record on the fly from your phone
* Use our in-browser recorder and your computer mic
* Record Skype calls
* Do instant Podcasting using RSS
* Record conference calls, interviews, team meetings and oral history
* Post recordings to your blog and website
* Email online recordings to your colleagues and friends
* Order transcriptions and translations right online

Thanks to Seth Dickens--I found Evoca on his site and left a recording there.

Seth's Place

A nice series of explorations is to be found at Seth Dicken's blog. More in the next few posts.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Videos Explaining Web 2.0 Tools - Closed Captioning

Here's a really neat site at with four (thus far) videos on various tools for Web 2.0 by Lee LeFever. The titles are

Also, according to Nick Peachey, Webhead, dotSUB lets you add subtitles or text transcriptions to your videos. While exploring his blog entry about dotSUB, which contains a little promo video, I found that the closed captioning feature is itself based on a social networking idea: viewers type in the transcription or comments themselves--in any language. So one example video had translated subtitles in 74 different languages. This is very cool!

And further...rocketboom, the sample Nick gave, is a long-running series of witty, clever how-to videos. Just can't stop watching. It would indeed be a neat exercise for students to hear/see the video while reading the translation in their own language, or see it in English--and then make their own transcription. (Nic has more ideas on his blog for using this feature of dotSUB.) Only downside to the site--the search engine is a bit primitive--you can get about 4 videos per page in returns, and there seems to be no way to get a list of all the videos by one creator on a single page.

Monday, September 10, 2007


WebSlides appears to be a very useful Web app that converts your bookmarks to slideshows, presumably by creating a slide of the front page of each item in your Bookmark folder. I'll have to report further once I've been registered and allowed to try it out.

Since I have lately been giving presentations via the Internet and using Web pages as a walk-through, WebSlides should fit my style.

Many thanks to Andreas Büsing, Webhead, for this tip.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Technology in Review - MIT Journal on Second Life

This article from the Webheads, "A Boon to Second Life Language Schools: New technology will allow high-quality audio in a virtual world," at

has an interesting quote from Graham Stanley, and also discusses some of the discomforts people have with what voice reveals about their real lives. The language school mentioned, however, sees great benefit in having a good voice technology and realitic (?) situations and places to use in language instruction.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Innova JC - Using SL to learn negotiating techniques

This is a relatively comprehensive article on how Second Life has been used over a period of several terms with 18-year-old students learning to negotiate in a second language. Authors Natasha Tang, Daniel Yip Kok Hoong, and Baey Shi Chen provide a full description of their program and how results, particularly learning points, were attained.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

EFL Resources

Nick Gromik has created a really good wiki with instructions for video archiving your own presentation (using his own presentation on Vygotsky as an example), creating a videoblog (vlog), how to create a video cast for an iPod, and so on. He includes some student instructional video productions. A most useful collection.

EFL Resources


In a discussion some time ago on the Webheads' list, Sharon Betts ( gave us a nice list of definitions of tools that might be used for electronic portfolios. I cite her here with her permission:

*Blogs* - Blogs are ongoing individual postings with the ability to take
comments from readers. This is a great way to journal, reflect or get

*WIKIs* - are online editable pages available to anyone given
permission. Usually you can attach files to wiki pages and there is a
comment page connected. This is good for collaboration. It does not
fit the journal model as well as it does a portfolio / archive model.
Of course, it is also great for multiple editors of a single document.

*Forums* - threaded discussions. Can be used for the same as above.
They individualize each posting, but in a threaded manner unlike blogs
which are sequential

*Social networks* - combine all or some of the above with many added
features. If you are ready to launch your students into the cybersphere
of learning, this is the way to go. I like Ning - but it still does not
have a wiki module although the blog and forums are great.

*Course Management Systems* - also combines the above features and adds
the ability to quiz etc. It is an online class. My favorite is Moodle
(at the moment). Students are part of a class and can use the forums,
wikis, as well as complete assignments. I do not like the blogging
feature presently being used.

There are hybrids of all the above - and more appear each day. The key
is to know what your goals are for each project.

  • Is it your students first adventure into online learning?
  • Do you simply want journals?
  • Do you wish to attach artifacts?
  • Do you want to actually hold your class online with assessment and all?
  • Do you want to use these [features] in a more social atmosphere?
  • Do you have the ability to pay for a service or to host it "in house"?

Sunday, August 26, 2007


Mike Marzio has put a bunch of his Real English videos onto vod:pod, which converts them into a highly compressed, easy to manage format that can include closed captioning.

This is the search result for "Real English" at vod:pod. Looks like this might be a good place to archive stuff.

Tony Buzan on Creativity

Buzan is the originator of mind-mapping (I didn't know that!), and here talks about a global crisis in creativity. From Esnips:

Thanks to Webhead Michael Coghlan.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Another winner from Carla Arena, Webhead:

JingProject allows you to take a screenshot of your desktop, or a movie, and then instantly send the URL of the resulting media to any email address. Carla Arena tells us that you can also record voice over. I'd been looking for a way to take screenshots of my Mac for instructional videos, and this may be just the ticket. Unfortunately, I'll have to upgrade to OS X.4 to do so.

Monday, July 23, 2007

CoPe_it! and other Mind Map Managers

CoPe_it! was recommended by some Webheads looking for Webware to edit mind maps collaborately. This tool appears to have nice visual effects and is directed to
supporting argumentative collaboration and decision making for Communities of Practice.
Other tools mentioned were Gliffy (discussed elsewhere in this blog and something I've used quite a bit for very professional-looking diagrams), Thinkature (real-time collaboration on the Web, allowing the use of your own photos and drawings), and the software, MindManager (for both Mac and Win/DOS), which is not simultaneously collaborative, as I understand it.

Other visual-assist tools include FreeMind, a free, downloadable, Java-based software purportedly faster than MindManager because of one-click "fold/unfold" and "follow link" operations. There is a gallery with some jazzy examples, and you can upload/archive your own there for free, too.

Skrble is an online whiteboard with collaborative features that you can put in your blog as a widget:
Start skrbl & give out your URL; instantly share online. Collaborate with others or, keep skrbl your own private web space. looks very cool as a collaborative tool and suggests it might be useful for brainstorming. Love the concept, but like much of Java-based stuff, it tends to be a bit slithery. It will take a little getting used to to use the "bubbles" with facility.

Mindomo is another mind-mapping tool:
Mindomo is a versatile Web-based mind mapping tool, delivering the capabilities of desktop mind mapping software in a Web browser - with no complex software to install or maintain.

Create, edit mind maps, and share them with your colleagues or your friends.
So all of these share some features and would involve a bit of trial-and-error to decide which worked best for your students.

Thanks to Moira Hunter, Carla Arena, and other Webheads for good links!

Saturday, July 07, 2007


VoiceThread is yet another photoblog, but is refreshingly free of advertising, so far, and is very easy to register with and use.

A nice feature is zooming in, magnifying the photo, and swooping around with the mouse. You can record an audio or type a comment, and comments are attached with cartoon bubbles to pictures of the commentators--a nice feature for getting the feel of who is talking to whom.

This would make a great project base for kids to write and audiocast with a picture prompt. There is a good instructional slide show to tell them how to do it. As the narrator says--it's one picture, but with 65 stories, or more, embedded in it. How interesting to hear all the stories unfold with pictures of the narrators.

Friday, July 06, 2007


SplashCast purportedly
enables anyone to create streaming media 'channels' that combine video, music, photos, narration, text and RSS feeds. These user-generated channels can be played and easily syndicated on any web site, blog, or social network page.

One particularly nice feature may be that
When channel owners modify their channel, their content is automatically updated across all the web pages 'tuned' to that channel.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Effects of technology on SLA

I'm using this video as an experiment, but the question it poses is for real--I'm preparing for a presentation at the CALL-IS Academic Session in NYC.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Second Life Video Gallery

This set of videos, Second Life Video Gallery, gives a very good picture of many facets of activity in SL. Makes for fascinating watching, whether you are interested in education, politics, or aspects of personal interaction. I found the making of a guitar prim (Suzanne's Guitar) absolutely absorbing.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

SitePal for free!

Received a notice from Bravenet that members can get a SitePal avatar on their site for free during the month of June (2007), so I hopped over and got one. You should be able to hear/see the result in my sidebar. Hope this is not too annoying. Leave me a comment if you think I should take it down.

PS: The "free part turned out to be a trial, so I took it down. It got annoying anyway.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Moving to a wiki?

I am seriously considering moving this blog to a wiki where I can categorize and organize better. I am afraid the blog is just not orderly enough for the kind of archiving I feel is needed. The work I've put into EVO video is an example of how to get the kind of organization that is most useful, I think.

When will I ever have time to do the move? Good question...

Larry Ferlazzo's pages

I am totally hooked on Larry Ferlazzo's Websites Of The Day For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL blog and his Teacher Page. This guy is a non-stop search engine and comes up with 2-3 new English teaching sites per day.

As always, caveat emptor: you will need to check each site that sounds promising to see if it really matches your English learners' abilities and interests. Many, many sites on the Web look good for learning/teaching, but often are of simply too high a language level to be of much use to learners. Those that Larry recommends are no different. With over 7,000 sites noted, however, you will probably find many of use.

Friday, June 08, 2007


Wow!--This online video editor works almost exactly like iMovie or Windows movie maker. You upload the photos or video, and then add titles, captions, various transition effects, timing, etc. You can also add a separate audio track. I don't have quite all the features down yet, but it is fun to play with.

JumpCut movies can be private (friends only), and require registration to view, so this might be a good classroom solution.

Five Flashcard makers online

This from Larry Ferlazzo, via the Webheads e-list:

Having students make flash cards in the classroom out of pen and paper is always a good learning experience — both in their creation and in their use.

Now there are countless sites on the web that allow students to make and use them online. As in quite a few of the activities on my site, I don’t necessarily see any major advantage to doing it online as opposed to doing it “old school.” It’s just a nice change of pace sometimes.

I’ve found five sites that are free and easy enough for English Language Learners of all levels to use. Students can create the permanent flash cards online and then they, or any other student, can access them.

You’ll find these five sites under the Student Flash Cards category on my Examples of Student Work. [This page has some great student work!--E.]

Four sites that have been on my site for awhile are
Flashcard Machine [requires registration and login]
Flashcard Exchange [printable, several languages, many ready-made to share]
Study Cards Online [create, study, share]
Study Stack [once logged in, you can add data to others' stacks]

I think they all function well, and it’s hard to say any one is better than the other. I just learned about the fifth one, Memorizable, and haven’t had the opportunity to check it out fully yet.

Memorizable creates tables in a wiki where the user can click to answer and flip through the table as if with a deck of flashcards. Does not appear to be a useful way to study, but one might find other uses for this way to manipulate tables in a wiki. is looking for 1-2 minute videos
from experienced video bloggers on various aspects of filming and editing. MakeInternetTV. org is a free resource for people to learn the basics of making videos.

Erik Beck, of Indy Mogul on Vimeo, made a video that is a great example of what the group is looking for in Bringing-the-site-to- life

The videos must be CC licensed, as they will be included on a free DVD to distribute to high schools and middle schools.

Contact person: Dean Jansen
Participatory Culture Foundation

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


Leafletter is a cute application, similar to Tabblo, but somewhat easier to use. Students could create a multi-page online newsletter fairly quickly by adding text and images to one of 35 template "blocks." I don't know what the limitations are, but archive/storage of pictures doesn't seem to be a problem.

My Leafletter is here.

Marian Thatcher turned me on to this nifty application of Google Maps. You go to the site, find your location, and UseAMap will create a map with a short address that can be emailed, embedded in a Website (as here), and edited/updated when you like. You can also use it as a starting point to get directions to other places. The map link will pop up to a full screen size, and can be used with Yahoo Maps and Virtual Earth Maps as well. The interface is very fast and efficient.

You can find me here.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Graham Stanley on Web 2.0

Graham, with his usual aplomb, has made a very nice instructional video about Web 2.0 at Teacher Tube.

He covers blogs, wikis, podcasting, and Second Life (as seen in this screen shot).

Saturday, May 05, 2007

A Periodic table of Visualization

This chart is an incredibly cool bit of visualization about various ways to visualize concepts. Run your cursor over each "element" to see a visual example. Where but on the Web?!?!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Convert files from your desktop or a URL, free. ZamZar sends the converted file to your email. Very convenient.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Sunday, April 15, 2007


Live Action English Interactive at TeacherTube

TeacherTube is a very safe-looking site where you can upload instructional video for students and/or fellow teachers. This is a sample from the Live Action English Interactive CD.

You can limit your audience to a group you create. You can also use tags to help sort your videos to the correct audience. Teachers can report any video that appears to be inappropriate for the educational audeince. There are currently many fine, almost-professional quality instructional videos at the site on a wide variety of topics, e.g., raps for teaching geometry and fractions, a discussion of pbwiki, how to use templates to create a newsletter, etc. Most videos go way beyond desktop recordings. You can also upload supporting documents/files--nice.

An interesting feature of home-made video instruction by teachers: it's spot on. (And a big thanks to Jacqui Cyrus in Guam, who tipped me off on this one!)

Friday, April 13, 2007

I had been looking for some equivalent to RSS for Web pages that were not set up with an XML feed, and finally came across

After registering, you can enter any number of Web page addresses and
ChangeDectection will send you an email when changes are made to them.
(Like Feedblitz does for RSS-capable pages.) Nice little bot.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Excuse me...Getting Directions

Mike Marzio has a clip on Google Video that is super! The American version will be coming out soon (we hope!)

ESL/EFL - Giving Directions - "Lost in England" - Closed Captioned version

Creating a (e)Learning Environment

Recent podcast by Michael Coughlan contains a number of ideas for supporting teachers who want to use technology. My personal favorite: forget the closed circuit stuff and get it all out on the Web.

Making a feed connection

While browsing through Vance Steven's ESL-Home pages (an excellent list of links), I discovered that Bob Palmer (in Japan, I believe) had used Virtual=Real (this blog), as an example for his instructional video on creating an RSS feed connection with Bloglines and with other methods. Talk about "Old Dutch Cleanser" cans*!

Thanks, Vance and Bob.

*For those unfamiliar with that reference: in the old days, a cleanser can had a picture of a Dutch girl holding the same cleanser can in her hand, ad infinitum. (You had to be there...)

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Weblog portfolios in an intensive English program

This is a nice article with great links to a number of resources on electronic portfolios.

Written in preparation for TESOL 2007 in Seattle: eFairs Classics, Electronic Village, by Thomas Leverett, CESL, Southern Illinois Univ., Carbondale IL USA.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Video Academic Session at TESOL

This is my wiki-based presentation, Trends in Digital Media - 2007, for the Video IS Academic Session. There are lots of links.

I found using the wiki for the presentation instead of PowerPoint was much more flexible. I was able to add and rearrange things up until the last moment. My only concern was having a good Internet connection in the room, but that turned out to be no problem, so I could use the links directly on the wiki page, rather than opening all of them as tabs in my browser.

It was a bit disappointing that so few people showed up--don't know if it was the time of day or the topics, but there were some really interesting presentations.

EVO Presentation at TESOL 2007

Just a very short video of the EVO presentation in Seattle, March 21, 2007. To see the slideshows and other presentation material, visit our wiki, CALL IS Electronic Village Online Communities.

Unfortunately, it was very early Wednesday morning, the first day of the conference, and so there were only 30-40 people attending.

Most of the participants on the panel were also Webheads. The entire Web cast recording can be heard at Webheads at Worldbridges.