Taking word clouds to the next level with Wordsift

word cloud 1Not only do word clouds look pretty, there are also a number of ways they can be used in the ELT classroom to help our students learn. In this post we’re going to be looking at how.

Now, there are lots of word cloud generators out there such as wordle and tagxedo. However, not all these tools were created equal: there are word clouds and then there are word clouds! One which really caught my eye recently is Wordsift, created by Kenji Hakuta of Stanford University.

What’s the basic premise of a word cloud? Well, it’s an image made up of the words used in a text with the size of each word indicating its frequency in the text it was drawn from. A quick glance at the word cloud on the right reveals that ‘freedom’ is the most common word in the text and you can probably guess which famous speech these words come from. Word clouds are quick to make: copy the text, paste it into the generator and let the program do the rest. Continue reading

Check out our teacher training sessions at the British Council

It’s been a busy few weeks for Pearson’s teacher trainers who have been giving talks at the British Council ‘Teaching for Success’ events across Spain. As promised, here are the links to the presentations we gave:

Valencia, Barcelona & Madrid with Brian Engquist, Marta Cervera & Michael Brand

Saturday 1st October 

Exploiting video to the max

From the Classroom to the Wider World

Bilbao with Elena Merino  

Saturday 24th September

Embracing Authenticity

Ten Top Tips for Terrific Teachers

Thanks for attending the talks and we hope you found them useful!

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More info at Pearson ELT Spain & Portugal

Looking for a lesson idea? Try Cockney Rhyming Slang!

Bus London - Cockney Rhyming Slang

Would you Adam and Eve it? The trouble and strife’s on the custard and jelly!

To the uninitiated, and almost certainly to most Americans, such a phrase sounds like gibberish, but your average Brit would understand the expression of disbelief (Adam and Eve: believe) that his wife (trouble and strife) was on the telly (custard and jelly), slang in itself for TV. Welcome to the world of Cockney Rhyming Slang!

Where is Cockney Rhyming Slang from and how does it work? Continue reading

5 ways to use dictation in class

Dictation

Using dictation in class has suffered some bad press over the years, having been criticised as being uncommunicative and teacher-centred:  surely the days of teachers being trained to be dictators are long gone! However, could it be making a comeback? There are many non-traditional ways to use dictation and there’s a lot to be said in its defence: it’s a multi-skilled activity, it’s useful in large or mixed-ability classes and, believe it or not, dictation can be fun!

In this article we look at 5 ways to use a dictation in class:

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EDpuzzle: getting the most out of video in education

EDPUZZLE video in educationUsing videos in lessons is nothing new for most teachers, but what if there were an easy-to-use tool which insured active listening over passive and were able to provide assessment for learning, gauging understanding and informing future lessons? Enter EDpuzzle.

 

What’s EDpuzzle?

EDpuzzle is a free online video editing site, allowing users to manipulate content available on the web or indeed upload personal videos for editing. Its first key feature is the ability to crop videos: no more waiting around for your internet to load 11:44 or telling your pupils to “Listen, there’s an important part coming up!” So far, so simple.

Continue reading