Teaching language with technology: Basic tools and techniques, 2017

Posted by Betsy on July 30, 2017 in InstructionalDesign, Language, Web2.0 |

Short link to this post: v.gd/clear17

I am honored to be invited to facilitate a workshop titled Teaching with technology: Basic tools and techniques, July 31-August 2, 2017. This is one of CLEAR‘s summer workshops, held at Michigan State University in East Lansing, MI.

Presentation slides (PDF)

I will facilitate learning to use the resources listed below during the workshop:

In-class response systems

  • Socrative
    • Cost: Free
    • Platform: Web (including mobile)
    • Description: Instructor creates multiple-choice, true-false, or short answer questions. Students respond using laptops or mobile devices. The instructor can display the results as they come in. You can let students respond anonymously or require students to enter their names. You can also use this system for in-class quizzes.
    • Student login page (use to respond to questions during this workshop)
  • Plickers
    • Cost: Free
    • Platform: iPhone, iPad, or Android (only 1 needed per classroom). The website is useful for creating classes, questions, and quizzes, but a mobile device is needed to scan students’ responses.
    • Description: Students respond to multiple-choice and true-false questions using specially designed paper that they hold up. The teacher scans the room using a smart phone or tablet. The results can be instantly displayed.
    • Getting started guide
    • Plickers in 2 minutes (video)
    • Help with Plickers

Digital storytelling

Flipped classroom

Delivery of content

Ready-made games

Find more games for your language and share them in the comments below!

Customizable games

  • Kahoot
    • Cost: Free
    • Platform: Web (including mobile)
    • Description: Create multiple choice games (“Quizzes”) and ordering games (“Jumbles”) for competition in class. Students respond individually or in teams on their own devices. This colorful game is very popular in K-12 contexts.
    • Student login page (use to respond to questions during this workshop)
  • PurposeGames
  • Quizlet
    • Cost: Free
    • Platform: Web, iPhone, iPad, Android
    • Description: Create flashcards that include images and automatically generated audio. Play games and take tests with the words. With a paid account, teachers can also facilitate team games using the flashcard sets.

Organization and saving time

  • Google Forms
  • Diigo
    • Cost: Free
    • Platform: Web (including mobile)
    • Description: Save bookmarks to webpages, including annotations and tags. You can also create groups and share the annotations among students and/or colleagues.
    • Example: Web Tools for Language Learning and Teaching
    • More: Diigolet bookmark
  • LastPass
    • Cost: Free
    • Platform: Web, with a browser plugin (mobile apps have a subscription fee)
    • Description: Save all of your usernames and passwords in one place. This app also generates secure passwords for you and saves you the trouble of remembering them. This helps keep your data secure by avoiding the reuse of passwords across websites.
  • Doodle
    • Cost: Free
    • Platform: Web
    • Description: Give a list of meeting options and find out the availability of each attendee. Choose the best meeting time based on the results.
  • v.gd
    • Cost: Free
    • Platform: Web
    • Description: Create a short link to any webpage. You can customize the web address so that it’s easy to remember and to share with others.

Language exchange

  • Skype
  • Students or teachers can use the following free sites to set up individual or classroom exchanges. Keep in mind that this is an exchange, so they would need to speak English for half of the exchange time and the TL for the other half.
  • The Mixxer
    • Cost: Free
    • Platform: Web
    • Description: Students can use this site to find a language exchange partner, or teachers can use the site to find a collaborating class. The Mixxer has tools for students to request confirmation to be sent to teachers to show that they participated in an exchange.
    • More: Book chapter about The Mixxer
  • HelloTalk
    • Cost: Free
    • Platform: iPhone, iPad, Android
    • Description: Language exchange via text or voice. Includes tools for correction, sending images and drawings, and timing your exchange.
    • More: HelloTalk from a teacher’s perspective
  • Other language exchange options:
    • Open Language Exchange
    • My Language Exchange
    • Speaky
    • WeSpeke
    • Teletandem Brasil – Set up language exchanges between your Portuguese class and Brazilian classes learning English
    • TalkAbroad – A paid service that includes tools for teachers to give instructions to conversations partners in advance. Students pay a fee per 30 minute conversation. Both teachers and students can access recordings of conversations. Available for Spanish, French, English, Mandarin, Arabic, German, Italian, and Portuguese.


  • Rikaichan/Rikaikun/Rikaigu – plugin for Firefox/Chrome browsers that produces a popup box showing the meaning & reading of Japanese words
  • Google Dictionary – plugin for Chrome browser that produces a popup box showing the meaning of words in Brazilian Portuguese, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Czech, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Korean, Russian, Slovak, and Spanish.
  • Zhongwen – plugin for Chrome browser that produces a popup box showing the meaning & reading of Chinese words
  • Adobe Acrobat – PDF creator and editor (paid)


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