List of Over 500 Web Tools for Language Learning & Teaching

Posted by Betsy on February 24, 2014 in InstructionalDesign, Language, Web2.0 |

In celebration of the 500th link added to our list of Web Tools for Language Learning & Teaching, my co-curator and I invite you to use and contribute to the site!

Web Tools for Language Learning & Teaching

What was that tool that made animations with text-to-speech? Which word cloud maker lets you click the word to get a definition? Is there a tool which enables students to create a collaborative presentation? Our Diigo social bookmarking group will help you find the answers to these questions!

New web tools are appearing every day, and you can’t possibly explore or remember them all yourself. That’s why we are curating a Diigo group that not only lists apps that may be useful for language learning, but also tags them in a way that makes it easy to find ones that meet specific learning goals.

This evolving resource for web tools for language learning and teaching includes a list of over 400 free tools that can be easily searched and browsed by skill, type of collaboration possible, and cognitive level (based on Bloom’s taxonomy). The limitations of each tool are listed in the comments. The resource is freely accessible without creating a Diigo account. However, if you do create a free Diigo account, you can join the group and both add new resources and edit existing resources by adding comments and tags.

A limitation of the list is that so far, few teachers have left comments about their experiences using any of the tools in the classroom. We invite users to comment on their experiences, both positive and negative, so that others can learn from them. Whether you are a teacher, student, or instructional designer, we encourage you to join the Web Tools for Language Learning and Teaching Diigo group and contribute to the knowledge base.



Concerto – Open-source Online R-based Adaptive Testing Platform

Posted by Betsy on February 22, 2014 in InstructionalDesign, Language, OpenSource |

On Thursday, February 27, I’ll be talking to the Faculty Learning Community on Language Learning in Online Environments here at Michigan State University. The topic is Concerto, a testing platform that I used to collect the data for my dissertation. It is made available by the Psychometrics Centre at the University of Cambridge. I’m using this post as a place to post useful links and information.

I didn’t use the adaptive functions of Concerto, although it is undoubtedly powerful. Instead, participants in my study received code numbers that determined which of four conditions they were shown for the experiment. Otherwise, the test was the same for every participant, except that the order of the questions was randomized. In addition to using Concerto to deliver tests and feedback, collect responses and response times, I also used it to collect demographic information and responses to other survey questions. What made Concerto ideal for my study was that I could program exactly when feedback was delivered, as well as the exact content of the feedback.

For my dissertation, Concerto was installed on a server at MSU (thanks, Brian Adams!), but it is also possible to use the free demo that the Psychometrics Centre hosts. I used that for my dissertation pilot, and I never had a problem.

From the Concerto homepage:

Concerto is an open-source testing platform that allows users to create various online assessments, from simple surveys to complex IRT-based adaptive tests.

Useful links



Discussion forum



Teaching Japanese for Kids

Posted by Betsy on February 16, 2014 in InstructionalDesign, Language |

I’m blogging about the content of the Japanese for Kids course I’m teaching, primarily for the kids’ parents. The content might be of use to someone who is also teaching Japanese to kids.

Japanese for Kids - Blog



In the spotlight…

Posted by Betsy on November 18, 2013 in Language |

is where I am for the month of December, on the website of the Second Language Studies program. I feel so honored!



Selectively transposing data in Excel

Posted by Betsy on November 12, 2013 in Uncategorized |

[Update, 11/13/2013: Thanks to Facebook comments about this post, I learned about pivot tables. (Thanks, Scott!) This is a far quicker and easier way to do the same thing as the macro linked below. I used this tutorial and got up to speed in no time.]


I wish I had thought about looking for a macro to do this a lot sooner.  I often have data with a row representing each item for each participant like this:

Participant ID Item number Response
1 1 1
1 2 0
1 3 1
1 4 0
2 1 0
2 2 1
2 3 0
2 4 1

But for analysis, I need to get it into a shape with a single row for each participant, like this:

Participant ID Item 1 Item 2 Item 3 Item 4
 1  1 0 1 0
 2  0 1 0 1

Rather than copying and pasting/transposing all of the data by hand (and sometimes it’s A LOT of data), today I found an Excel macro to do this. (Thanks, internetz!)

I may never do anything by hand ever again.



Useful links for LLT 361

Posted by Betsy on November 11, 2013 in InstructionalDesign, Language, Web2.0 |

I will be talking about CALL as a guest speaker in Dr. Peter De Costa’s LLT 361 class, Second Language Learning, at MSU on November 14. I’m planning this as a mini workshop on the following tools, including some activities that could be done using them and the connections to SLA. All of the tools are free except for Scribblenauts Remix (which costs all of $0.99).

I’m mainly focusing on digital games, but if there is time, I will also show Flipgrid. I’ll be using InfuseLearning to do a poll of the digital games that the students play.


1) Akinator and 20Q are two similar games that can be played in a wide variety of languages, including English, Spanish, French, Chinese, and Japanese. They are both like the 20 questions game you may have played with your family to fight boredom on long road trips. The difference between the two is that for 20Q, you are asked to think of a thing that is not a proper noun. For Akinator, you are asked to think of a real or fictional character.

Video podcast of Language Lab Unleashed Live – This is where I first learned about Akinator, and Dr. Felix Kronenberg gives some ideas for using it in the language classroom. This podcast also includes other useful ideas for using games.

Handout about using 20Q, also from Dr. Felix Kronenberg.




2) Quizlet is a flashcard application that supports images and audio as well as text. The teacher or students can create the flashcards and share with others. In addition to the normal flashcard functions, Quizlet has a matching game and a “Space Race” game. It also generates tests with fill-in-the-blank, multiple-choice, matching, and true-false questions, and it has a quiz mode in which the student listens and spells the correct word.

Quizlet matching game

Quizlet matching game


3) Scribblenauts Remix is a iPhone/iPad/Android game that costs $0.99. To play this game, you have to create objects by inputting their names. If you input something ambiguous, such as “chips”, the game will ask you to clarify by choosing from options, such as “chips (food)” or “chips (money)”.

I learned about this game from a presentation by Dr. Felix Kronenberg.

Disambiguation of "chips", from Scribblenauts Remix on the iPhone

From Scribblenauts Remix on the iPhone


4) Flipgrid is a tool that teachers can use to have students record video responses to discussion questions. It works like a discussion board in that every student can view the other students’ responses. Teachers need to create an administrator’s account, but students do not need to create an account to record a response.

Review of Flipgrid in FLTmag – Dr. Adrienne Gonzales introduces Flipgrid. This is where I first learned about it.

Example Flipgrid (Spanish) – Also from Dr. Adrienne Gonzales.



5) Infuse Learning is a student response system that you can use to keep students engaged in the classroom. During my workshop, the link to respond to the question is student.infuselearning.com



Multimedia learning object from pedagogical grammar course

Posted by Betsy on October 31, 2013 in InstructionalDesign, Language |

Time to show off a little. You can check out one of the multimedia learning objects, aka interactive presentations, from a course that I developed and taught between 8/2012 and 6/2013. The topic was pedagogical grammar for undergraduate pre-service teachers of English as a second language.

If you really really like it and want to see more, get in touch, and I’ll give you the login information to see the rest of the course.



Using corpora and CALL tools in the ESL classroom

Posted by Betsy on October 30, 2013 in Language, Web2.0 |

Today, I’m teaching a class for MA TESOL students on using corpus tools and CALL tools in the language classroom. Here is a list of links that may be useful:


CALL tools

CLEAR’s Rich Internet Applications

List of Web 2.0 tools


Corpus tools

Corpus of Contemporary American English

Compleat Lexical Tutor

Vocab Profile

Hypertext Builder Basic


Suggestions for how to use corpora for teaching

Teaching writing with the aid of COCA by Monika Sobejko

Teaching Vocabulary Through Data-driven Learning



Web 2.0 how-tos and other useful CALL links

Posted by Betsy on July 22, 2013 in Language, Web2.0 |

I had the privilege of teaching CALL to ESL teachers from around the world during the past two weeks. My main role was to show them some tech tools that would be useful for the projects that they had to complete by the end of the program. One of the challenges in selecting the tools was that not all of the teachers have Internet access in their classrooms. So, I attempted to provide at least one online and one offline option for each project. In the process, I not only introduced the tools and helped the teachers use them, but I also created quite a few how-to guides as PDFs for the tools. The shelf-life of these how-to guides is limited, given how quickly web tools change, so I wanted to get these out where other people can benefit from them before they expire. Below, I’ve included the how-to guides as well as links to other useful information. All information below  is valid as of the date of posting!

[Update, August 5, 2013: I’m using this list with a group of teachers from China today, and the links highlighted in blue below are blocked in Beijing, according to Great Firewall of China. This information may not apply to other locations in China!]


List of Web 2.0 tools for CALL – the Diigo bookmark site that Susan Pennestri and I curate

Marcelo Andrade’s English Phonetics wiki – the website of one of the participants in the program!

Blogging (online only)

WordPress.comPDF how-to

WordPress.com is good for making websites that include a blog. However, it is not ideal if you want to embed various media.

BloggerPDF how-toPDF of how to embed in Blogger

Blogger is a blog only, not a website. However, it is much easier to use than WordPress if you want to embed various media.

Video blogging/sharing/editing

YouTube (online)PDF of how-to use the YouTube video editor

Vimeo (online)

SchoolTube (online)

Movie Maker (Windows)PDF how-to

iMovie (Mac)

iSpring Free (PowerPoint to Flash/HTML converter for Windows)

Zamzar file conversion (online)


Download YouTube/other videos (online only; all require Java applet)



Voobys – follow the instructions for downloading

Time capsules (online)

GlogsterPDF how-to

BiteslidePDF how-to

VoiceThreadPDF how-to

PreziHow to embed a Prezi into a WordPress.com blog



Newspaper Club (online)PDF how-to

newspapertemplate.net has Word templates for making newspapers.

You can also use the newsletter templates included in Microsoft Word and Publisher.


Facebook profiles/walls/pages

Create a Facebook page (NOT a fake one)PDF how-to

Fakebook (online tool)

The Wall Machine (online tool)

Fake Convos (online tool)

Google Docs template (online)

Another Google Docs template (online)

PowerPoint template

Another PowerPoint template


Text annotations (online)

eMarginPDF how-to

HighlighterPDF how-to

Gloss Maker (HTML skills required)



PodOmatic (online)

Audacity (Windows, Mac)


Book reviews (online)




CLEAR’s Rich Internet Applications


PDF how-to for Audio Dropboxes



Wix – create a website – PDF how-to

Lingt Classroom – create online listening and speaking exercises – PDF how-to

Dropbox – secure online file storage that you can share with students

Google Drive Forms – Create surveys and quizzes – PDF how-to

PDF of how to use Flubaroo to automatically grade quizzes in Google Drive Forms

Gnowledge – Create quizzes and tests – How-to videosPDF how-to

Wikispaces – Create a wiki – PDF how-to



Formatting APA papers

Posted by Betsy on January 26, 2013 in Language |

I need to write a lot of papers in APA format–that’s because I’m a grad student. And every time I do, I am so very grateful for the Word template that Dr. Paula Winke has made available. Not only is it set up with styles that you can apply to your paper, it also has all of the standard headings that you will need. And dummy text that tells you basically what to write in each section. If you need to write APA-formatted papers, especially if you are in applied linguistics, go get it and make your life easier, too!

APA Word Template


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