Web 2.0 for IELTS Speaking and Writing Success

Amanda Wilson and Susan Dempsey seriously wowed the jam-packed conference room at the Brighton Center yesterday. Their presentation “Web 2.0 for IELTS Speaking and Writing Success” was everything I could have hoped for and more. The presentation itself was entertaining and enjoyable, very well prepared and set up, and I left the room feeling like I’d just been handed a basket full of new exciting toys and tools for learning that I really can’t wait to try out on my guinea pigs erm. grade 8s at home!

Amanda Wilson & Susan Dempsey
Amanda Wilson & Susan Dempsey

One of the great things about Susan and Amanda’s presentation was that they provided us with a little booklet at the beginning of their session. It contained a list of all the tools they’d cover, along with a description of each one, the web-link and other notes. This booklet is available at Brighton Online. Go get your copy! It may also be available at the authors’ personal blogs, check out Susan’s blog here and Amanda’s blog here.

Here are my notes from the super session:

* All of the web 2 tools have been tested with 16-18 year old students.

* Susan and Amanda use blogs as their learning platform with the students but I think Moodle can be used with advantage too. I believe all of the web 2 tools they described can be linked to from Moodle or embedded even, – time will tell.

* Of all the web 2 tools they covered, my favorite so far must be the Vocaroo; a quick online voice recording application where you can record voice messages and afterwards share them with others via email. The students need a microphone only, no need to download or install anything, it’s free and impossibly easy to use! Imagine assigning reading homework to your students and picking it up in the morning from your email account – then choosing a “good one” and playing it to the class as you start the day! Or, imagine having the students use it to read in a news broadcast they created/wrote in groups, or a commercial ad or…. The possibilities are endless :-) (I’m excited – can you tell?)

*The other tools that were mentioned were: Google Wonder Wheel, Linoit, Audacity, Five Card Flickr, Storify, Typewithme and Jing. These have now officially been added to my “to do list” and I will report back with my findings after I’ve had a chance to test them out. If any of you know of blog posts that have already covered any of these please let me know! Also, if you happen to test them out before I get a chance please let me know so that I can learn from you!

Now I gotta go … I have a long day of learning – and fun – in front of me!


Beautiful Brighton

On Monday I really have to go participate in Leo Selivan’s “All about Alliteration”  workshop. Why? Well, first of all because I’m sure it will be absolutely awesome, but most of all because phrases such as fabulous fun filled Fridays, pretty pictures, sweet sunny Sundays, fantastic fun and – you guessed it – Beautiful Brighton keep popping into my mind these days.  Here’s a clip that I think will give you a clue as to why:

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Another reason for participating is that I’ve gotten to know Leo and think his workshop will definitely be worth a visit! Check out Leo’s personal blog here and know that he is also part of the British Council’s Online Blog Team. Check that out here.

A Sweet Sunny Sunday to all….

PS! I did end up going to Leo’s session and it was really good! Here’s a photo of Leo:

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Hello from Brighton!

We (Eva and I) arrived late last night and after having dinner at the hotel went straight to bed, exhausted! 7 hours and a lovely breakfast (eggs &bacon!) later, we were off to the Learning Technologies Pre-Conference event at the University of Brighton.

The topic was “Interactive Whiteboards, from Methods to Madness” and it opened with a presentation by Connie Güntelberg. I really enjoyed it, and not only because we’re practically countrymen – she’s Danish  – but because it reminded me of how much fun and how useful those boards really are! We have “promethium boards” in my school, but I haven’t really been using them much – I usually just turn one on and use the pen in the same way I would chalk… I haven’t taken the time to learn how to “dazzle” my students with it – but Connie made me see the errors of my ways so from now on I promise to read up, experiment and get better ….

Here’s a photo of Connie and ı, plus my notes from her presentation:















“Get On Board Today I” by Connie Güntelberg

Why use whiteboards?

• No need for chalk or WB pens that can dry out, overhead projectors, maps, DVD players etc.
• Also no need for dictionaries, photocopies, books – everything can be stored on a computer/IWB
• Increases attention: the Ss respond positively to the visuals/color
• Less need 4 note-taking as you can save the lessons and re-use them for revision or re-teaching.
• Active participation – the Ss love using the board.
• Easy to save notes, print out and then share/collaborate (to work on later)
• One platform for everything: reading, listening, writing, speaking, viewing
• Develops Ss ICT skills

Examples of how the IWB can be used effectively:

EX 1 – Grammar: Write a collection of words on the board and also draw up a large box. Invite the Ss to come to the board and choose the nouns from a list & drag them into the box. Follow up with a discussion.

EX 2 – Listening: Provide a cloze text on the board and play the audio (ready at a click) and have the Ss fill in the blanks. Then reveal the correct answers by “erasing” the white paint that had been used to disguise the correct answers to begin with.

EX 3 – Poetry: Display a poem on the board & play the audio with a reading of the poem. Ss listen & read at the same time, circle important words, + identify verbs, nouns and adjectives by color coding them (nouns-red, verbs- blue, adjectives-green, other-black). Then use the erase function to reveal the correct answers.

EX 4 – Reading: show connections in a longer text (the example Connie showed us was a rather long poem and we also learned that the poet was also a musician too) by placing it on the board, playing the audio reading in the background, underlining words again in diff. colors depending on function and drawing lines between different parts of the text (to show connections). She also showed us how the highlighting tool could be used to draw attention important points in the text. Finally she demonstrated how the “curtain function” can be used to gradually reveal parts of the text. To top it all off she let us listen to and watch a music video featuring the poet.

EX5 – Vocabulary building: put up a picture on the board to get the kids talking… Then write the words/vocabulary on the picture itself.

EX6 - Analyze a picture/photo by circling who/what’s in the center, background etc. as the kids or the T is talking/describing it. This could be used to predict the plot in a (related) story, for questions/answers type speaking activities or as writing prompt.

EX7 – Connie demonstrated how adding sound effects to a reading of a text/poem/drama scene can make it more exciting and appealing for the Ss and also enhance meaning

EX 8 – The last example focused on the use of video on the IWB. The board makes it very easy to pause/ff/rewind by simply touching the screen with your finger (or promethium pen). It is also easy to move back and forth between the video and the text/script and even show both at the same time (i.e. you see the text but hear the audio from the film).

Like I said to begin with, it was a very nice presentation that has inspired me to want to explore IWBs further. As a bonus, I got to meet some wonderful people in the breaks as well. Here’s a photo of us having fun in a Coffee(Addict) – break:


Eva, Işıl, Burcu, Beyza, CoffeeAddict & Kristina

Here is a link to an AMAZING list of tools/activities for whiteboards and smartboards. Check it out!