Friday, 11 October 2013

Image Quizzes

No, I don't mean a quiz about images (though if that's what you're looking for, go here, here and here).

Thanks to the ever inspiring Larry Ferlazzo (my hero), I've found this little gem.

Looks like something from 1994 - part of its charm!
Basically, it lets you upload pictures and then make little labelling quizzes. You can either do a labelled image, which has text that needs to be obscured and an unlabelled image, which means you see the word and click on the segment this word represents. There's a video tutorial for both on the page.

This is a simple but quite a powerful tool for rote learning. You could do all sorts of vocabulary exercises, guess the missing parts, even grammar (label the parts of speech for example), if you write your text as an image file.

Let's say, you want the kids to do a little quiz on English breakfast before you start talking about habits. Find a nice little picture on Wikimedia Commons or #ELTpics, fill in the details and then draw around the images to insert labels.

Just click around the segments you want to add a label to. Your lines will be in green. Double click to close the lines.
It's almost impossible to get lost.

Insert a caption.
Your quiz is ready in minutes. IT took me about three minutes to come up with this sample.

After you're done, you can test the quiz and send out the URL. You can also tweet it or post it on Facebook. Your responses are timed
It's got Google+ as well, but who uses that, amiright?

I like the fact that the actual production of the quiz doesn't take long and I appreciate the fact that you don't need to register if you don't want to (I only registered to see what it looks like, otherwise I can create the same quizzes with no data being given out). If you're registered, you can save and delete your quizzes, see who took your quiz, and see your own quiz score. Theoretically that means if your students register, you can see how well they are performing on your own quizzes.

To every up side, there are limitations. It would be great to be able to embed the quiz on your website. Some people might complain about the graphics, but I actually kind of like it. It's a real blast from the past and nostalgia is a most powerful tool.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

The post-conference blues cure

I both love and loathe conferences.

It's a bit of an unpopular view, I know, but hear me out before you send out the mob with pitchforks.

I love conferences because they help me to maintain a healthy level of enthusiasm for my profession, which is sometimes quite difficult to maintain. I am a young teacher and there are, of course, issues that make me feel quite frustrated. The parents having unrealistic expectations, students misbehaving, the ministry constantly coming up with new ways to make my life more difficult, and the constant reports. Don't get me started on reports.

There are also students who make a joke in English and make your day. There are students who shout out "Bowties are cool!" in your general direction. There are co-workers that do the Snoopy dance with you in the middle of the staffroom. It all sort of balances out.

Except when it doesn't. That's when your PLN is your life-saver. You can rant on Twitter, you can connect to other people who know exactly what you're going through, you can try out someone's brilliant idea and become the coolest teacher there ever was by growing and evolving and learning from the collective mind of the whole world.

Isn't that something?

And then there are conferences. This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending IATEFL Hungary's wonderful conference. It holds a special place in my heart, as theirs was the first I've ever attended. I'll never forget the thrill I felt when first laying my eyes on people whose books I've used in class. The workshops kept on blowing my mind, I was like an empty book, waiting to get some content.

The joy of conferences, the joy of dedicating a whole weekend to your passion, because you need to be passionate to sacrifice a weekend to your job, to connecting with your inner teaching-nerd. It's a bit of heaven on Earth, it's like a little slice of a world where you can grow and grow and grow and have fun and be inspired and...

Picture taken from the fabulous and featuring the incredible Beatrix Price,
Nóra Tartsay Németh and Bethany Cagnol

...and then it's all over and Monday comes. So you're like a junkie that had his fix and now someone's taken it away.

So, what can we all do to make this post-conference blues, which is the reason for my loathing go away? Honestly, not much. However, there are webinars, online conferences, Twitter chats, Facebook groups, you name it, we've got it. Basically, hurray web!

Still need a fix, of course we do. To keep this enthusiasm going, basically challenge yourself. Write a blog. Join Twitter. Contribute your materials. Make a podcast. Try out a new methodology approach, just so you can say you did it.

You have something to say, so say it. Your voice is not unimportant.