Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Starfall-a website to use to younger children

www.starfall.com is an American website with a lot of different things to do. It has got 4 levels, ABCs, Learn to read, It´s fun to read and I´m reading. There are printed materials , online stories, games, drama, dialougs and songs. It is to be used from kindergarten to grade 2 but also for struggling readers. In Sweden I suppose it is meant for children in pre-school and grade 1-3. This website reminds me a bit of a of the Swedish programme called "Fem myror är fler än fyra elefanter" which made a lot of children learn to read during the 1970s.

The starfall reading programme seems to be funny and easy to use. The children can do the reading exercises on the computer on their own, together with other children or with the teacher. There are lessons and samples to use which are made for kindergarten but some of them could be useful in the lower grades in a Swedish school.
You get precise information of what grammar the task includes.

Most tasks are free but there are also more to do if you are a member but this will cost. I think there are enough tasks that are free, there´s no need to become a member. The pupils can listen to voices (other children) who give the information about the tasks and they can read short texts, write words, make drama, make finger dolls for the drama and much more.

There are also a printout function where you can get a lot of exercises to do. These printed materials are effective tools for learning and as I can see it, it can be used to check what the children have learnt. You can download and print out simple books to make. It´s the same books as you can read on the computer monitor.

There are also some tasks in maths too. You learn the numbers 1-100 for example and you learn to write the numbers in letters.

What the website do is to learn English to children as we learn young Swedish learners Swedish.

If you miss anything, you can buy things in the starfall-store but then you must be a member.

Titti Eriksson

Monday, 19 December 2011

UR - Språk

http://www.ur.se/sprak/engelska/  as a source for ICT.
This is a great site for the languageteacher to use. Often we search for good things to listen to with the pupils. This site gives you a big opportunity to listen to different variety of speaking English and do different thing afterwards. 
For to use this site of course you need a computer and Internet. If you have a cleverboard or a projector that’s nessecary to use when you want to show any film or something like that. The first thing you need to do is to choose which level you want to work on. There are four levels to choose between. The levels are graded in A1, A2, B1, B2. On this site you find links to same activity or almost the same but in Germany, French or Spanish.
You could listen to someone who talks about her country and guess which the secret country is, listen to children songs, someone talk about a book or listen to news that are easier for the children to understand. It’s called newsreel junior. I’ve used newsreel in my 6Th grade. They understood these news more than the news from SR even that these aren’t about Sweden. There is also a game about decoration to play. 
There are also a radiotheater- Blaze. The theaterparts are about 5 minutes long and suits for year 4-6. It’s easy to listen to it. They talk not to fast.You could also watch shortfilms about different things.
You could get worksheets for the activities if you want. You could search for something in ur.play but you need to know what to search for otherwise you can use the link for ur.play. 
There’s a Tv- serie about a English Speaking Countries for year 7-9 and it’s about two young people who travel around the word and meet people with second name Foster. There is also a link to Anaconda. There you find games and activities for year 7-9 about fashion and music.
There is a special link to a pedagogical site. On this site you find a lot of things that’s useful for a language teacher. There are games for year 1-3 ( go yoyo go) and games for 7-9. 
Ingela Hammarsten

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Photo story

Photo story is a software where you can make a slideshow with photos. You can take photographs yourself or use photos from internet. But remember that you have to know if you are allowed to use the photos you have downloaded from internet. You can also choose if you want to put words to the photos and even use a microphone recording your own voice narration to the photo story. If you want you can put background music into the presentation.
This software is free to download and it takes only a few minutes. You only need a computer with 400MB available hard disk space and of course a microphone to record narration.
As teacher you can make an inspiring photo story you can show your pupils before starting a new theme or project. You can also use photo story to make a presentation to learn the pupils something in a funny way. I think this is a good possibility to show the parents what`s happening in school. You can show it on a parent-teacher association meeting or the pupils can send the story by mail to their parents. You have to be careful when you will present the stories. It´s important to have permission showing the pupils in the photo stories for other people.
The pupils can make stories about what they are doing in school. They can tell stories about their lives, interests and so on. This would be a different way to report to their classmates, and maybe an easier way for the more shyer pupils.
I think this is a funny and delightly way to work in school. It´s simple to use both for adults and children. You need to know some English, but have you done it ones you are able to make it the next time without difficulties. You can do a photo story in about 15 minutes, depending on how big and extensive story you want to make. You can save it and come back later finish it.
Photo story doesn´t contain many different funtions, but it´s enough making a very nice presentation.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Active Board - ICT resource in the classroom

Active Board

Active Board is an interactive whiteboard where you use a computer connected to a projector. You use a stylus that is specially prepared for the Active Board and when you write on the Active Board you convert your text into digital text. To the Active Board there is a software which contains many different things that are useful in a classroom and to various subjects.

There are many advantages of an Active Board. An Active Board can catch today's IT children living in a technology world. It becomes more visual for the pupils and they can work more actively together. It may include the use of educational programs in which the students can act together to solve problems or create something. There are many programs on the Internet that is free, which means that there are infinitely many possibilities to use an Active Board in a classroom. There is a greater sense for the pupils when they can be active by pick and pull out different things on an Active Board than it would have been if they sat on their own at a computer. With an Active Board you can do mind maps and one advantage is that you save it on your computer and can pick up the mind map again if needed to a whole class for a repetition or students who have been away at the time when you made the mind map. Everything that you write can be saved to be picked up for repetion or what ever purpose you may have. A good thing with an Active Board is that it is durable so you don´t need to be afraid to let pupils use it.

What you need to be aware of when it comes to an Active Board is that it can take quite a long time to start using it fully. You have to expect that it takes up to one year provided that you spend time to familiarize yourself with all the possibilities that exist with it and that you get the right education. It can also take a little longer to prepare lessons in the beginning but once you have your lessons saved you can use them again in another class after perhaps some changes. The most important thing about an Active Board is that the technology is with you. If there is something wrong with the technology when you are going to have a lesson you need to have a back up plan for the class.

Most children have used a computer and the Internet for several years before they start school. How can we meet these children when they come to the world of school? One way might be to have classrooms with Active Boards.

By Louise Johansson

Monday, 21 November 2011

Learn and have fun with LearnEnglish Kids from British Council/BBC


LearnEnglish Kids is a site from British Council/BBC. It is directed to children, in the age of 1-11 years old, all over the world, who are learning English as a second or foreign language.

It is a free website and you can use it without to register an account, but if you do, you get access to more parts. You need an internet connection and Adobe Reader. The children can use it at home, alone or with friends. They can also use it in school, individually or in groups. If you, as a teacher, use it in school with a group of students, a projector would be a useful tool and, of course, a computer to each pupil would be a dream for this, as well as for all ICT-uses in school.
Except for the children, the site has two target groups, teachers and parents. As a teacher, you are free to use any materials on the website in the classroom, as well as the children are free to use it in school or at home, as mentioned above.

The site's structure and uses

LearnEnglish kids is divided into five sections. These sections are;

Games: There you can find online games and activities about different topics. Games are divided into fun games, learn words, find words, play with words and spell words. There are a lot of games with different themes, such as colours, animals in the sea, the world, the spring and the classroom and so on. Sometimes you have to read, other times listen or be quick on your keyboard. Also, there can be a combination of these skills.

Listen and watch: In this section there are animated stories and songs. Listen and watch are divided into songs, short stories, kids talk, kids news and tongue twisters. You can watch and listen to songs and short stories with the aim to learn counting, the alphabet or names of the animals in a zoo for instance. Many of these have also worksheets that you can download and use in the classroom. There are also videos and online activities designed to practise listening skills.

Read and write: This section has worksheets to download and use as a help for the pupils to develop their reading and writing skills. This section has a part called your turn, which also invites students to write contributions to the site. They ask the children to write about different things relating to the particular task. All a child has to do is to find a question that interests them and write as much as they can about it on the site. Word of the week explains a word, awesome for instance, with the help of a short video clip.

Make: This is a creative section. You can find online activities, such as creating your own story in story maker. You can also make a crazy animal in a game called animal maker or do your own comic strip. You can also find arts and worksheets to download and you can see videos of children who are making things.

Explore: This section is where children can find help when using the LearnEnglish Kids website. They can also find a list of links to other useful websites for their learning.
As a teacher, you can find tips about how to use the material on the site, called Teaching kids section. These tips you can find on the British Council/BBC website Teaching English, which is an external link. There are a lot of detailed lesson plans for instance. Additionally, there is also a special link for parents in order to get optimal use of the LearnEnglish Kids website.

My thoughts about LearnEnglish kids

For teachers, there are an enormous variety of uses to explore of the website LearnEnglish Kids. Some parts fit in to the early years of teaching and others can be used up to 12 to 13 years of age. You need to explore a lot to find all the possibilities that the site offers.

One of the most interesting things I found about the site was the possibility to find ways to integrate other school subjects. For example, if you read about the human body you can find numbers of exercises relevant to that topic. Or if you read about different religions you can listen and watch a little story about the Islamic festival called "Eid al Fitr" in a series called my favorite day. If you found an activity in a topic which fitted your wishes you get suggestions on more activities for similar topics.

The parts that invite kids to write contributions are very good for their training in how to express their opinions or their thoughts in written English also, they have a great opportunity to interact with other children.

If you as a teacher have a clear goal with your lesson planning, this site may be a great complement to other things the pupils does in their process to learn English. It would be a good idea to introduce the web site for the pupils the first time, individually or in a group. You could introduce them to the website and show them what they specifically should focus on. Let the pupils become aware of what they are supposed to practice in each particular activity so they not just "do" things. Once the activities are introduced to a pupil, he or she can use them in school or as homework, to reach every pupil’s special needs.

LearnEnglish kids has an appealing layout and colours and in my opinion, one of the best things, compared to other websites is that you do not get lost among a numerous of advertising windows. To summarize, I think it is well worth for a teacher to take the time to explore what British Councils website LearnEnglish kids have to offer.

Elisabeth Wikström

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

The Wonderful World of National Geographic

The wonderful world of National Geographic
Do you want to learn English and find out something about our amazing world at the same time? If the answer is "yes" have a look at this website www.kids.nationalgeographic.com.

The only thing you need is a computer with an internet-connection. If you are going to use it together with all your students at the same time, a projector is also a good idea.

The site has got ten sections such as games (of course), videos, animals and pets, photos, countries etc. The students can probably learn some English by navigating any of the sections but the most useful for you as a teacher are videos, animals and pets, countries and fun stuff.

You can train listening comprehension in the video-section where you can choose from categories such as Science and Space, People and Places, Animals and Pets etc. You can find the subject Animals and Pets at many places in this website, but here it focuses on watching videos.

The next section is Animals and Pets and if you click on "All" you can choose from over a hundred species of animals categorized in mammals, birds, bugs etc. You can also read about different habitats like Arctic, Freshwater, Grassland and more. When you click on an animal, you can read about it, watch a short video and look at a map to find out where in the world it lives. You can even send an e-card to a friend with a nice picture of the animal. There are also suggestions on other species who live in the same kind of habitat, that you can click on to and read about.

Continuing our expedition you can read about many different countries if you click on Countries - All. If you are looking for a specific country, you can easily find it since they are sorted in alphabetical order or in continents. This section is built up in the same way as Animals and Pets, with texts, short videos, a map and with the possibility to send an e-card to a friend.

The last section that I will talk about is Fun stuff. Here you can find instructions on how to make some science experiments, creative ideas for crafts, recipes, contests etc. So if you want to do something funny together with your pupils at the end of the semester for example, you might get some inspiration here.
I think this is a good opportunity to work with English at the same time as another subject in a funny way. All these sections can be explored by individual students, but also in groups or together with the whole class. 
As a kind of follow-up, there are quizzes for the students to test themselves in different subjects, for example geography quiz under the Game section. These are quite difficult, but clever students in year 5-6 can absolutely do them and enjoy it. As a teacher you can make small cards with different questions like "What did you enjoy most?", "Did you learn any new words, and what words in that case?", "Was there anything that you would like to know more about?". After each session, they have to answer one or two of these questions so that you can give some feed-back. A good idea is to let the students tell each other about it as well. 
If you watch or read something together with the whole class, you can use it for communication and discussions with the students. You can for example give them questions to discuss in groups and then give the opinions in the class. 
As you can see, there are many ways of using this web-site, and I'm sure that you can come up with some more. Good luck!
/Lina Sandberg

Sunday, 6 November 2011

ICT resource – Interactive Whiteboard

What is an Interactive whiteboard and who does it work?
Interactive whiteboard, IAW, is an effective tool and it´s very easy to use. There are number of different varieties from several different manufactures. You may have heard of any of the main IWB manufactories SMARTboard or ACTIVEboard.

An interactive whiteboard consists of three components;
• a computer which has IWB software installed
• a projector
• a whiteboard
The main difference from a normal whiteboard is that the IWB can communicate with your computer. A projector projects the images on to the interactive whiteboard and you or the pupils can than interact with the content on the board. To manipulate the content you use a special pen or your finger. That means that everything you have on your computer can be seen and used on the IWB. You can for example see your internet browser, word documents and different computer program. One of the good thing with IWB is that you don´t have to return to the computer because you can do everything direct on the board.

One of the disadvantages with an IWB is the high cost of buying it. Many school don’t have enough money to buy it, if that´s the case then try to seek founds for money to buy one.

It is important that you always have a back-up-plan if the technology doesn’t work.

How the resource can be used by teachers:
Before you start your lesson using the IWB you have to calibrate the board to get good sharpness and you also need to make sure that the pupils has the necessary software to the board installed.

It is important before you start using the IWB to get as much practice as possible to understand the interactive whiteboard. If you feel comfortable with this way of working you can see more of the benefits of using an IWB and than the use of this tool will increase effectiveness in your and the pupils achievements.

There are many ways of how you as a teacher can use the IWB. With the IWB you have all your work as a teacher in the same place. Another good thing is that you can prepare your lessons in advance and then use it during a lesson with IWB. It is also a great way if you want to share your lesson plans, you can design the lesson so any teacher could follow them. During the lesson can you use the IWB when you are having a brainstorm or a discussion. You can take notes and make comments on the board and saving them for next time.

In many ways IWB can increase the pupils motivation and support their learning process. IWB has many variances from different tools and it feels impressive in the classroom. For example can you write, do highlight and underline, paste image, reveal information that you had hidden before, you can make transcript and drag scenes out of film clip and have them pasted on the board for later discussion. The pupils can come to the board and drag objects around to accomplish a matching exercise. You can also buy interactive versions of the course book, or use any webpage or create your own material.

It is important to not allow you and the IWB to dominate the classroom. Think of what type of lesson benefits of having a lesson with IWB. The students should interact with each other and actively use the board in different ways.

How the resource can be used by pupils:
After a lesson can you save your work on the IWB and for those pupils who missed the lesson can take part of it later or you can save the lesson and use it later for repetition.

IWB can appeal to several learning ability, the pupils can hear, touch, see and play.
By using the pen can you point out the important stuff and do highlights, shapes and lines. You can also use pictures and audio in different ways to reinforce the memorization.

To present the pupils presentations more distinct IWB is a great tool. The pupils can make presentation in PowerPoint and interact with the classmates with different exercise on the IWB. They can also do a Photo Story after a project and show it to the class.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Using the website Mingoville.com as an ICT resource- Learn English the fun way.

 Mingoville is a website for younger children to learn English interactive. It´s available for free but if you want to get full access to all activities you need to sign up and pay for three, six or twelve months. The website also offers school licenses.

The homepage addresses to parents and teachers describing the alternative ways of a diverting learning. Mingoville offers you instructions in 32 different languages, such as Swedish, Urdu, Japanese, Thai and Italian.

Children using Mingoville improve their skills in spelling, reading comprehension, listening comprehension, pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar in a fun way

You need to install Adobe Reader to use the resource, Mingoville offers you the download on their homepage. Adobe Reader is a freeware and it´s easy to install if you haven´t already got it. I think a headset is necessary if your students work in the classroom. The students might disturb each other otherwise.

Mingoville is a community of pink flamingos. The assignments, tasks or missions revolve around a family, The Pinkeltons. The different characters in the family have their own needs and features. The pages are rich colored, animated and appealing for the younger children.

If you sign up as a teacher on a school license you can create classes and you will have access to your students’ accounts. There are many possibilities to stimulate your students approach to the English language by using Mingoville. You can give your students individual tasks and homework’s depending on their knowledge.

When you sign up you create and name your own personal flamingo. Then the adventure starts, there are lots of activities to do. You chose between either Learn now or Play now.

In Learn now you have different choices in to improve speaking, writing, listening and reading skills.

·        Homework and evaluation

·        My book, which consist many different writing-assignment like  presentations of you and your family, animals, food, colors, clothes etc. One section of My book is you private portfolio.

·        An alphabetical dictionary with pictures. You get the word in your chosen language and in English. You can also listen to the word for the right pronunciation and record yourself saying it. 

·        In download extras, you download materials like cartoons, writing-assignments, cut and paste, you can listen to songs and also print the text to the song etc.

 In Play now you walk around with your character on a big area where you can chose between many different games. On your walk you meet other flamingo characters/player with whom you can make friends and converse. This is a selection of games available.

·        Quiz talk, from you recorded dictionary.

·        Menu. You order food from the café, or buy different items from the souvenir shop.

·        Catch words, were you fish letters to build words.

·        Tourist information. You can ask and get answers about different things to do and attractions in Mingoville.

I teach in a grade four and if I would use Mingoville as an ICT recourse in my class, I would sign up for a school license to get full access and be able to give my students individual tasks. I would put Mingoville in the week schedule with some chosen assignments every week. Sometimes the children would work on their own and sometimes I would use the projector to give lessons or instruct in full class. You don´t always need a computer working with Mingoville material. There are Pdf  print files with reading and writing assignments too.

Finally, you can never replace a teacher with a computer or other technique – a computer is just one of a teacher’s tools to reach the pupils, stimulate and give knowledge. 

/ Kristina Espes Voxberg

The Storynory

I have just recently discovered this website which is filled with stories, both classic fairytales and tongue twisters. When you click on a story you can both read it and listen to it.

It is easy to navigate on the site. The stories are divided in;
Original stories

In these main categories you find sub categories where you find a number of stories, for example H C Andersen, The Brothers Grimm, Greek Myths and 1001 nights.

If you have younger children in your class you can choose to listen to a nursery rhyme or a story that the children are familiar with. You can also show pictures from a book while you listen to make it easier to follow the story. This bring me to a disadvantage in this site, there are no pictures to print out to help the children to understand the story. Of course you can draw your own or you can search for a book where you have pictures from the story.

If you have older children in your class you can ask them to write a comic strip about the story they have listened to or you can use it as a listening activity where you listen and then answer some questions. You can also let half of the class listen to a story and then ask them to
retell the story to someone who haven’t heard it.

To use this in your class you just need a computer with speakers. If you don’t have access to this you can print out the story and read it yourself. This can be a better way with young children although the story on the website is read in a slow rate.

So go to The Storynory to find out how you can use this website!

Frida Karlsson

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

DLTK kids a free ICT resource

The website http://www.dltk-kids.com/ is very usefull in many ways when you want to learn or teach english. This site was started by a mum called Leanne for 17 years ago.
It features a variety of fun, printable children's crafts, coloring pages, projects for holidays and educational themes. The pupils can easily use the site on their own. All you need is internet and a printer if you want to print something out. When you first enter the home page you can choose from the 25 newest activities or the 10 currently most popular.
I usually go to the newest. Then if you look on the left side you can choose between different topics e.g Halloween or autumn. If you chooses such a page, you can then choose from a lot of things to do. Last time when i choose autumn I found lots of great poems. I read them to my students and we talked about various autumn word and what autumn was for them. We wrote many autum words on the board and the students started to write their own poems. When they were satisfied I printed out autumn writing paper so they could write their poems nicely.
We ended with choosing by different games and worksheets such as crosswords and puzzels which was about the fall.
You can also look at different matching recipes. Some of the students tried the recipes at home.
I think this is a usefull website and it is easy to find what you want if you are looking for something to work with in a particular subject.
Try using this page. I do it and will continue to do so. / / Ida Eriksson

Randall's ESL Cyber Listening Lab as an ICT resource

Randall's ESL Cyber Listening Lab

I teach in grade three, but when I have conducted the National tests in English I always feel that the listening comprehensions is an exercise that the students aren't that familiar with. The exercises in our books are short and not at all composed in the same way as in the national tests. There are also a problem with a wide spread in level between the students in a class, so while some of the students have problems others finds the exercise to easy.

So, I have often looked for exercises for listening comprehension. When I found this site I browsed through it for a long time and tried listening quizzes in different levels of difficulty. The fun part was that after a listening comprehension there were grammatical practise too, or there could be a scrambled sentence.

There are questions to every exercise but the authors main objective isn't to test listening, but to help students how to learn to improve their listening.

I think this site is made for self learners and not very young ones either, but I think you can use it from 5:Th grade. There are great possibilities to individualise on this page and maybe this will be something I will use for those students who needs a bigger challenge in their listening comprehension.

For me as a teacher there is a site that describes how Randall suggests I can work with the different parts, and also there are handouts so you can give the students papers to fill in if we choose to do the practise together. In the self study guide both students and teachers can see the exercises divided into the different topics they're made in. For example; Introduction, Family Life and Relationships, Food and dining out and People.

To Use this site you need to have computers, if you want the students to listen and do the exercises themselves. When you introduce the site it's good to have a projector to show the site and give the students a walk through. A problem with the site is that there is a whole lot of commercial adds, so it's easy to get linked away. Be sure to show the students carefully where to go. When you give them tasks to do, be sure to give straight directions.

There are also worksheets on the handout pages were you can write which exercise you have done and the score. This site is in not a site that I would use every week, but maybe every other or third week to help students to learn how to improve their listening.

By Britt-Inger Robertsson

Using Kids English Zone as a ICT resorce

Using Kids English Zone as an  ICT resource.

I teach a second grade class and I have just started to teach them English . I want them to get interested and have fun during this lesson.  Sometime I show the program Kids English Zone. You find it at mediacentrum (www.sli.se)and you can easily stream it home. It is good to have a projector .You need to be a member. There are around 26 different programs with different themes. There are programs with themes like colours, clothes, numbers, family, fruits, body and more. Easy things the students know about.
A program is 13 minutes. The program repeat things from the other programs so I recommend to watch them in order. Age from 6-9 .
The program always starts with Hello My name is…Whats your name?  They encourage the students to answer the questions in the classroom. They repeat a lot.
A program has at least one song . They want the students to sing along. The program has different easy dialogues with children. “Who is this? This my mother…
At the end of the program two men has comic dialogue about the theme. The children really likes it!  They repeat something from the last program before its end.

Why is this good for learning English?
Its free. The children have to listen and they encourage them to talk. You have to concentrate and you are watching something. Its fun and they repeat a lot. The children will recognize things. They don’t have to listen to the teacher! They sing songs. You learn to pronounce words. You can say things and no one listens. You use ICT and not a book! A program is only 13 minutes and hopefully the can concentrate that.

Before or after a program I work with the theme they had talked about on the program. We can talk in pairs asking each other for example “What is this?” It’s a mouth. Or we can count the numbers in choir or paint pictures repeating the colours.
My children like this program a lot! Try it you too! Good Luck!
Susanne Eklund

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Starfall- an ICT resourse for young children

In September 2002 the Starfall.com opened as a free public service to teach young children to read. The method is based on that the children learn to read through phonetics transcription, which means that all the tasks focus on letter sounds. Most of the exercises show each sound at
a time and this could be a bit boring for the pupils, but you can find a lot of fun exercises on this website too. For example you can find different word games, memory, stories and short movies. The website is very appealing with many colourful and fun animations. Starfall is made for children from kindergarten to second grade but I think that some of the exercises could be
used by Swedish children in third grade.

How it works
This website is very simple to use and it´s for free. You only need a computer and an Internet access. You need to download Internet Explorer or Flash Player and if you want to download something from the website you need Adobe Reader. The exercises are divided into four different steps, ABCs, Learn to read, It´s fun to read and I´m reading.

How it can be used
Very young children and children up to grade three in school can use this website. The pupils can practice on the alphabet, pronunciation, fluency, vocabulary, reading- and listening comprehension, sing songs and much more. At the ABCs you can practice the alphabet, how it sounds and how the letter writes. At Learn to read you can practice on sounds, pronunciation and how to read sentences with help of phonetic. You do it by playing games, look at short films and read short books. At It´s fun to read you can find a lot of reading exercises. You can listen to the text and fill in missing words or you can listen to poetry. At I´m reading you can practice on making your own short play. You can read short books and if you want to hear how you pronounce a word you just click on it. As a teacher you can get inspiration from the website or even have the lessons based on it. If you have a projector in your classroom you can use many of the exercises together with the whole class. For example you can practice the alphabet, listen to a story or sing a song. If you have many computers in the classroom the pupils can work with the exercises in pairs and help each other.

Other considerations when using this resource
I think this website is a fun way to learn some English for young pupils. For older pupils it can be a little childish but some of the exercises, for example the short stories can be used in fourth grade. As Starfall is divided into different stages the pupils can work at their own level. Every time I look at Starfall website I find new interesting and fun exercises for young learners. If you haven´t try it yet, do it!
Helene Hofling

BBC as a ICT resource

Tuesday, 1 November 2011
Using the website of BBC as a resource in ICT learning-
Susanne Vanberg
This resource seems endless to me. You can easily use it on the projector with the whole class but also as an individual or as a pair comprehension. On the first page you will find eight different departments:

General & Business English
Grammar, Vocabulary & Pronunciation
Talking Sports
The Flatmates
For Teachers

I will not go in to all af them any accurate, just briefly guide you through a few. Under General & Business English you will find the current news. There are six minute movies with an easily understood english which are fun for the children to look and listen to. This week there is a movie about fear because of Halloween. You get to listen to different persons telling you about their fears. Below the movie you can read a summary of the short movie with the fear words highlighted. You also get language tips, in this case you get a description of the word phobia, which is used in the movie, and a cultural tip related to the current film you just been watching. There is also a following up rehearsal for the kids, this time they are being encouraged to write about there own fears and submit it on the web.There are a few related links to similar pages where kids can read and listen to texts with similar subjects.
For more creative learning you can go to the Flatmates. This a cartoon that is a serial. You will find worksheets to copy with for instance background of the characters of the serie to start off with. You can show the image for a particular episode and hide the text to let your kids make up a storyline which they think will fit in. Then you play the episode with the text and afterwards you talk about what differences they found in the real story. You can also begin with giving the class the text of one episode, cut up line by line and let them figure out how the plot could be and then listen to the episode and let them check for themselves.

This is just a few of the many things you can use this website for. As a said in the beginning it feels endless. I don´t think it is suitable for young children but I will use it with my sixth graders and I believe it works for fifth graders as well.

The link is:

Blog post about Glosor.eu

I want to write a little about a program that is free for everyone to use. www.glosor.eu
It´s a fun way to learn your vocabulary for the week. The first thing you must have is an acount on this website. Then you can create maps for different type of words that you want to train. The word that you are going to learn you write in to the computer. It´s funnier if you have a computer with a big screen.
Now when you start training the words of the week, you can train it in many different ways. You can of course do it as a regular hearing from swedish to english. But also as memory, match the words, traingame, mahjong, sort letters and some other things.
For me as a teacher it´s easy to put the pupils for example two and two and train together in or outside the classroom. It´s a good and funny way for thoose pupils who don´t work with their homework at home so much. Or the one who doesn´t has so good handwriting. You can also create groups so the pupils can practise at home with the words. It´s good to show them on a big screen in the classroom fist so they are sure how to use it. But this is most a progam for skills training so that you must consider. It can also be good that the students still write the words by hand. Other teachers can also share your words in the groups you´ve been creating.

Monday, 31 October 2011

"Sheppard Software" - an ICT resource online and free to use!

I have chosen to write about "Sheppards Software". It was a colleague of mine that had used this website with her class and I thought that I would try it too. It was enormous! On this website you can find fun things to do in English. Here the pupils can learn new words and have fun at the same time. They can learn about other subjects than English. Here you can find activities for all ages.
You just need a computer connected to Internet and this link below to get started.


When you introduce this to your class or if you want to use it with all of your pupils, it is good to have a projector.

You can find hundreds of educational games, activities, quizzes, articles and more. The website is divided into different categories, for example animals, world, language arts, health, science, math and pre-school. If you go down the page you can find even more subjects, as history, brain, nutrition and seasons.
There are games, quizzes and other activities for all ages and if you scroll down you can see which category is recommended for each age.

At the bottom of the page there is a link "free for teachers". If you go to that page you get information on how to download things from this website and you can use them in your school or for pupils to use at home. The best of all is that it is free and you can download as many "games" as you want. There are more than one thousand schools worldwide that have taken advantage of this already.

"Pre-school" is good for newbeginners because in the other categories you need to have studied English for a while and you also have to be a good reader. In "Pre-school" and "Kid´s corner you can find things to listen to and learn.

It is a very extensive website, as a teacher you really have to take your time and try the activities. But if you have younger pupils you can let them try the "Pre-school" activities themseves and tell each other about them.
They can find many things to do on their own like games, jigsaw puzzles, memory games and things to paint.

When you get to know this website you can choose activities to use in your ordinary teaching. There are a lot of things about animals. One thing that is good here is that you can include a lot of other subjects when you are working.

As on many websites there are a lot of commercials but it is because of them the website can be "free".
It is an extensive website, so take your time. Good luck!

Anna-Maria Svensson

Teacher on demand – The ICT-resource for you!?

Teacher on demand is a web site started in 2008 as a school project in Falköping`s municipality together with the University of Skövde. It is an on-line program and it is free to use.
On this web site teachers show their self-produced films with short lessons or sequences in different subjects. It is also possible for students to publishing their works on “Teacher on demand” to share it with other students.
The main purpose with “Teacher on demand” is giving students more opportunities to achieve their goals, making it easier for teachers to reach out to students and their parents, as well as giving parents more opportunities to help their children.
The web site is easy to use. There is an instructional film which guides you through and shows you the possibilities with the site.

What you need to make it work
If you want to look at a film on Teacher on demand, you need a computer connected to the internet. It is also possible for you to download the films on your IPhone or IPod.
If you want to create a film, there is a free download of the software Camstudio, which allows you to record all screen and audio activity on your computer. The film can also be made in Moviemaker. If you run into trouble, there is a support on “Teacher on demand” which is available for you.

How the resource can be used by teachers
As a teacher you can create an account, make a video record of your lesson and transfer your video file to “Teacher on demand”. This gives your students the opportunity to see your lesson, or a sequence of it, repeatedly. This ensures the possibility of your students viewing your lesson even if they are not present.
Another possibility is using other teacher`s films on your lesson as a teaching aid. It saves time not producing your own materiel. So far there are in the English subject mostly films about grammar, but there are also informative films about eg the seasons, the alphabet and about London.
You can also use the films for your own inspiration.
If your students are working with a project in English you can download their work in the category “students’ production” to make it available for other students.

How the resource can be used by the students
If a student has difficulties in a topic the films are available for him or her to watch as many times as needed. Furthermore, you often find films in the same topic made by different teachers. If a student finds a teacher`s film who describes a topic in a way that makes him or her understand it better, the student can subscribe to those films and download them via ITunes to their IPod or IPhone.
I believe “Teacher on demand” facilitates the students learning as it will help them achieve their goals. In addition, skilled students can be inspired to reach higher grades by watching different films on different levels or be challenged to produce their own film. In that way, they may make a bigger effort to achieve. Their teacher only needs to log in and publish the film in the category “student production”.

Other considerations when using this resource
Before you start using “Teacher on demand” you should take a look at the instructional film which guides you through the web site.
If you cooperate with a school or a teacher in another country you can link films to them. In turn, they have the possibility to publish their films on “Teacher on demand”.
Hopefully there will be more English films available in the future. So far, the most films are as mentioned about grammar.
One problem that may prevent teachers from producing films is the access to or the knowledge of ICT tools. If you do have the equipment, do not hesitate to ask the students for help with the technical parts as they often have high computer skills.

Jeanette Karlsson

Friday, 28 October 2011


Am I right ?


I’ve chosen a website called E-twinning and the address is: http://www.etwinning.net. This organization is a part of the Comenius program. They have around 150000 active members in many countries.
The goal is to find other schools in Europe to collaborate with. There are many ways to start a project and the only thing that stops you is the amount of time you want to spend on this project.  The website is full of ideas and you can choose if you want to start from scratch or if you want some help from a kit. There are many kits for example: culture in a box, digital Fairytales and digital journeys.
Also you can choose to either start a project yourself (based on a kit or based on your own  ideas) or you can join another project. You can also choose to work with only one school or many, with a lot of subjects or only one.
I have chosen to start a project based on a kit with only one other school. This is my first time creating a project with E-twinning and I taught it was a good idea with only one school. I send an invitation to a school in France who accepted. I and my college decide together which next step to take. The first one is to write a letter to each other with a presentation. The next one will be to present your hometown and your country in general. We are aiming at using more ICT along the project as power-point and photo-story etc.
If your project is accepted by E-twinning, the school is awarded the European Quality Label. If you want to you can further apply for the E-twinning prizes. 
As many other sites or tools, E-twinning has advantages and disadvantages. The most important is that it gives a more natural input for the pupils. There are reel persons who read the letters, it isn’t only the teacher who does it to grade. You learn more about other countries and ICT in general.
The negative is that it isn’t the easiest page to get to know and it takes a lot of time which you might not have as a teacher. But with a lot of free help and guidance from Anders Brännström at E-twinning you can do it!
My advice is to start out small: join another project or start one yourself by taking a kit and inviting only one school. It’s a good idea to choose a country where the French, Spanish or English isn’t there mother tongue. In that case your pupils have the same knowledge of the target language and you can develop together.

Anneli Ritzén

Photo Story – an ICT-resource for everyone!?

I have used Photo Story a couple of times myself and I am astonished every time I see the result.
In a very easy way you can create stories that really look professional.

Photo Story is a free software but you need to download it. You can find a link to it on the PIM pages right here. I chose to get it from PIM because I hope it is a safe web page.
It is easy to download and to get started with.
You use this software when you want to show your pictures or make a story out of your pictures.

When you start to make your Photo Story you will be guided through the whole work by instructions. The instructions are very easy to follow. The students have no trouble following them, even the students that are not so used to work with a computer manage to do it, especially if they work in groups.

The first thing to do is to import pictures from a file. You can use photos, pictures that you have scanned or pictures you have got from multimediabyrån or fotofinnaren where the pictures are free to use.
When you have the pictures you need you can choose if you want something written on the pictures. You can also edit your pictures, for example cut and rotate them.
There are also some special effects you can use on your pictures, for example, colour pencils that makes the picture look like a painting. The students will love this function, I do. It’s amazing to see a photo turn into a nice drawing in grey-scale. That function can make your photos turn into a picture book.

The next part to do with your project is to record a narrator. In this part of the work you can also decide how the pictures will tune in or tune out.
Here I think it’s important to discuss with the student how they do this. If you have too many different ways of tuning in and out the pictures it will destroy the story.
Every time you do any changes you are able to preview it, that gives you an opportunity to experiment to get the best result.

The next thing to add to your project is music in the background. You can find very useful and suitable music on multimediabyrån (linked above) that is free to use. When the students are choosing music there can be an interesting discussion about the choice of music, what kind of music fits to the story, will the story change if you choose different kind of music?
The last thing to do with your story is to save it to a media file, and the Photo Story is ready to be presented.

How can I as a teacher use this ICT-resource?
I can make stories from photos for the students to watch.
If I want to tell the parents how we work in school it is a nice way to tell it by a Photo Story that the students have created together.
I can also make very short stories for the younger children, stories with text and a story teller so they can read and listen at the same time.
Watching a Photo Story made by students give you an opportunity to assess the students' pronunciation. Some students feel more comfortable if they are alone when they record their voice.
To use Photo Story is also a way to work thematically with many subjects involved, as the new syllabus advice us to do. This way you work with for example English, Art and Swedish (different ways to make an presentation).

The student can use Photo Story in many ways.
They can present a project as a Photo Story, for example present a work about their favourite sports, a country or an animal.
They can write a story together or use a story that they know and illustrate it by taking photos or painting pictures to scan. Older students can make Photo Stories to be used by younger students.

How the students work with Photo Story can be different, they can work alone or they can work in pair, groups or the entire class can do a Photo Story together.

What do you need to make this work? When you have downloaded the software you don’t need to be connected to internet unless you don’t want to get pictures or music. You need a headset with a microphone. If you want to use your own photos you need a camera and if you want to use your paintings you need a scanner.

I really recommend you to use Photo Story and give your students a chance to be proud of their work.

Annelie Jakobsson

Thursday, 27 October 2011

How to make a post on the course blog

This is how to make a post on the course blog:

1. You need to make sure that you've logged on to Blogger as the person who has the permission to make posts (i.e. using the ID you used when you accepted the invitation to become an author).

2. Then when you access the blog, you'll see a link (in small, light-blue letters) at the top of the page called 'New Post'. Click on that link and you'll see a text box that looks like this:

I'm in the 'Compose' function right now, but if you wanted to do fancy things with html, you'd click on the 'Edit HTML' tab instead. 'Compose' works fine for most of the things you might want to do.

3. You can either write directly into the text box, or copy and paste your text from, say, a Word document.

The tools in the bar at the top of the text box are fairly standard - you use them to change the formatting of your text after it's in the text box.

4. Blogger saves your draft text automatically at fairly short intervals (the Save Now button goes dark when everything's been saved). When you're ready, though, you could click on the Preview button for a last check on what it looks like … and then you click Publish Post when you're ready.

5. If you notice something you want to change even after you've posted your Blog Post, you've always got the 'Edit Posts' option at the top of the page, or, if you click on the little pen at the bottom of your post in the blog, you come straight back to this Edit page.

Don't forget to add your name to your Blog Post!

Photo Story - get your creativity flowing

Photo Story is an amazingly simple program that you easily can use in your classroom. Simply by using pictures/photos and add text/speech and some background music you can make really good looking stories! It´s easy and fun and the result is very professional!

I´ve used Photo Story with my pupils and only by showing them how the program works for like 15-20 minutes they can manage to start using it themselves. So, it´s no long time for preparation needed. If you use a projector to the computer you can show the whole class at the same time. That´s good and it works!

So, what equipment do you need?

Not much, just some ordinary things like a computer, access to internet and a headset with microphone. If you want to create even more a scanner and a digital camera could be useful. You also need the program "Photo Story 3" before you can start. The program is free and you download it very quickly from: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/digitalphotography/photostory/default.mspx or just google the name "Photo Story 3" and you find it.

When you introduced the program to the pupils and they have learnt how it works you can use it in many ways. Whatever the pupils have regarded to do with Photo Story, I prefer that they start to do a plan on paper before their work on the computers begin. My experience is that the results getting better and more thoughtful, especially when the pupils working in pair or in a group. When they have their "paper plan" ready the work at the computers goes faster, which is preferable because many classrooms not have more than one or two computers at 20-25 pupils!

Examples for the pupils

Example 1: Presentations of themselves

By using the digital camera they can put together photos of themselves, their family, their house, their pets, their leisure activities and their friends. Then they combine these with text and speech and the presentation is ready. Or do a twist on the presentation and put the pupils together in pair and let them make a presentation of each other. Or do both and after watching the result they can discuss similarities and differences...

Maybe your school has a website and each class some own space. If that´s the case you can put the presentations here. God for new coming pupils and parents. Or show the presentations on a meeting for your pupils´parents. That is usually appreciated!

Example 2: Create a story

Let the pupils work together in groups, 3-4 in each group, and make a story from pictures. Decide the guidlines for the story; should it be a ghost story or perhaps a modern version of some well known story? The opportunities are unlimited! When all the groups have finished their job you can have a cosy storytelling time when you watch all the stories. Invite other classes as well to make it more solemn!

Example 3: Presentation of subject

The pupils can use Photo Story whenever they have a subject they will present. It could be about volcanoes, muchrooms, Vincent van Gogh, London or whatever. Get pictures and add text and speech and voilá; you have made a neat presentation that is much more fun for the other pupils to look and listen at!

But note the copyright and only use pictures and music that you are allowed to use! On these links you can find material you are free to use: www.multimedia.skolverket.se and www.fotofinnaren.se Elsewhere you must always ask the source about permission to use their pictures or music. Send an e-mail and ask - sometimes it´s ok!

This is just some examples and I think you can find out more examples how to use Photo Story with the pupils. What exercise you choose, your pupils need to use their English in writing, reading, listening and speaking. The exercises is also easy to adapt to the pupils´knowledge.

The teacher

As a teacher you can also use Photo Story to make short presentations available to the pupils, like mini-lessons on the computer. It can for example be about body parts or prepositions (in English of course :)). Let the mini-lessons be available on the computer and the pupils can lok at it whenever they want or need to. Some pupils need to watch the same presentation several times and some just one time. It´s good to have the choice.

When the pupils are more and more convenient with the Photo Story they can use it more freely. Let them be creative and they will love it! Let them work in groups and they will communicate and develop their ideas and out will come amazing stuff that look very professional. Stories they can be proud of!

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Using the website Learn English Kids of British Council as an ICT-resource

Learn English Kids is the British council website for children who wants to learn English. It's free and the children can use it at home or in school. When children are at home they can work together with friends or parents and choose the exercise they like to work with. Perhaps children have a homework or need to practise in Learn English Kids to be better on listening in English. At home they can help each other. You can become a member as a kid, a parent or a teacher. That's gives you some benefits e.g. download learning resources, answer questions and enter competitions. To use Learn English Kids at home you need a computer with internet connection. In school you also need a projector and an interactive whiteboard for best result.

The link is: http://britishcouncil.org/learnenglishkids

Learn English Kids is divided in five sections.
In the games section you can play different games and practise your spelling and vocabulary in a fun way.
In the listen and watch section you can listen to stories, songs and watch videos of English children who are talking about their lives and news. You can also practise your pronunciation when you listen to and say tongue twisters.
In the read and write section you practise your reading and writing skills. Every week English kids give you a new word to work with, in the exercise "Word of the week".
In the make section you practise your English as you create and make stories and things.
In the explore section you can get tips from children how to learn English, you get links (to explore the web) for English learning and you can answer questions in polls.

How the resource can be used by teachers: Teachers can find exercises that ties in what they are working with in their text-and workbook. They can search for a special topic, level and age and get exercises in that topic from different sections and worksheets. You can e.g. show the short story "What will I be when I grow up?" in full screen on the whiteboard and look as many times as you want. After you have seen the story with flash player plug in, in web browser, pupils can do the worksheets. The teacher also gets a number of questions about jobs (below the exercise) to ask the pupils. Teachers can positively recommend this website to pupils and their parents to use at home. When teacher use Learn English Kids the pupils get an opportunity to meet English kids who are talking and they gain insight into their lives. It's so easy to invite English children into the classroom!

Why is Learn English Kids good for learning English?

It's free
It's easy to use in the class when you have a projector, interactive whiteboard and an enough new computer.
It contains exercises which are fun, nice-looking and adapted to practise the skills in English to reach the goals for the syllabus in English.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Storybird as an ITC resource - Magnus Nilsson

If you are searching the Internet you can find a variety of digital resources that are web based and user-friendly. Using many of these resources does not require great technical skills, but just some basic computer skills.

The resource that I have chosen to study is called Storybird and can be found on the web address: www.storybird.com.
Then what is Storybird and how does it work? Storybird is a webpage in which you can create your own stories using beautiful and funny illustrations by different artists. You can do this all by yourself or together with someone else. When you have finished writing your story, you can share it with others by publishing it online. If you don’t want anyone to read your story you can just print it and keep it to yourself.

Storybird can also be used as a virtual library where you can read all kinds of wonderful stories. You can also comment the stories and create your own reading list if you want to.
This service is free and the only thing you need, to be able to use it, is a registered account on the Storybird webpage. You don`t need to download any software to be able to use Storybird.

So, how can you use this resource as a teacher and as a student? If you register as a teacher at Storybird you can create a class and add all your students to it. When all students are added to your class the fun starts. Now you can have your students practicing their reading and writing skills by giving them different types of assignments. The teacher can give a description of the assignment, set a due date and make comments on assignments that are completed. When the students log in, they immediately can see the assignment and start working on it.

By using Storybird the teacher can let the students practice many different skills. The possibilities are endless but here are some examples:

  • You can use Storybird as a reading tool and let the students read stories on different themes. Students can read each other`s stories in the class library. When the students have finished reading a story they can comment on it or maybe add it to their reading list. They can also discuss the story with each other or answer questions made by the teacher to develop their reading comprehension.
  • You can also use Storybird as a writing tool. Students can easily create their own stories and books based on illustrations that they have chosen. Of course you can write more than stories. You can do anything from writing simple sentences to writing letters and poetry .The students can work individually or collaborate with a friend by taking turns to write. Students can also comment on each other`s stories.
  • A teacher can make his own book and then use it to give examples of different structures in the language. The teacher can for example show the students how to use adverbs when they are writing. The students can then practice this skill by writing their own stories.

There are many advantages with Storybird. It is really easy to use for the students. You choose a theme, drag and drop the pictures you like to use and then start writing your story. Anyone can do it.
Using Storybird is a good way of getting students to work collaboratively. They could work in pairs or they could create a story together as a class. You could even collaborate with schools from another city or another country.

The illustrations in Storybird are amazing and can be very helpful for students with poor imagination. The finished books really look professional and it can be very inspiring for students to know that people from all over the world can read their books on the web. This gives their writing a purpose and a meaning.
Another advantage with Storybird is that it`s a good way of getting the parents involved in the work that students do. By logging in on Storybird parents can read their children`s stories and other stories in the class library.

So what are you waiting for? Take a look at this webpage, create your own account and start writing. I know I will!!

/Magnus Nilsson

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Welcome to the Course Blog

This is the blog for the 1EN01U Group at Linnaeus University during Autumn Term 2011. This is the place where you'll be able to post your Blog Posts and make your Blog Comments (see the Business Pages of the course web site for more details of these).

As soon as the course gets underway, you'll receive an invitation from this blog to become an author on it (you need this status to be able to do more than just read it). Remember to accept it! (If you forget this, just get in touch and I'll send you another invitation.)

David Richardson