Category Archives: freeware

Tips and Tricks: Some Essential Basic Tools any 21st Century Teacher should Know About.

Do you know how to download a video from youtube or convert a PDF or a website into an editable Word document? Do you know where to find free images and videos to use in your projects or how to record audio and create a QR code to share with your students and colleagues? Did you know that long URLs can be easily shortened so that they can be shared more easily?

If you don’t, then this post might be for you!

I’m not a digital native. Far from it. Everything I know I had to learn by trial and error. However, right now, you can probably say I’m the typical technophile always on the lookout for new tools to create activities to spark up my classes.

The tools I want to share with you today are nothing fancy. You cannot create activities where your students will ooh and ahh, but trust me, they are going to save you a lot of time and a lot of searching. They have been tested and tried and I have been using them for a long, long time.

 


AUDIO AND VIDEO


Problem: I need to join/cut two audio files and I need to record myself on video/audio

Solution: 123apps.com/

This is a great tool to work with audio and video. It’s free, easy to use and you don’t even need to register.

What can you do on this page?

  • Cut video or audio ( you need to upload it from your computer)
  • Join two audio tracks
  • Convert video and audio from one format into another
  • Easily record video and audio ( and then download it)

Downside: you need to have the video/audio on your computer. Don’t worry, I’ll show you how to download a video. Keep on reading.

 

Problem: I need to record my voice/upload audio and then share it

Solution: vocaroo.com/ 

Vocaroo has been around for a long time. They are even working on a new and improved version. It lets you record your voice in a very easy way or upload a file from your computer. Then, you are offered different possibilities:

  • Download it
  • Share it on social media sites.
  • Share or email the link
  • Embed it on a blog or website
  • Get a QR code

Downside: Vocaroo does not provide permanent storage. There is not a definite age at which messages are deleted, however, it is likely messages will expire after a few months. If a message is important you should download and save it to your own computer as soon as possible to avoid losing it.

 

Problem:  My internet connection is weak and I need to download a video from a website other than youtube.

Solution:  videocyborg.com/

This amazing tool lets you download videos from any platform, even from youtube. To download a video, just get the link, copy/paste it into the box and download it. You can choose to download the video or just the audio.

 

Problem: My school has blocked facebook but I need my students to see a video there.

Solution: get the link for the video and then download it using  videocyborg.com/

Watch the video to see how it is done.

 

Problem: I need to cut a video from youtube

Solution: You need  tubechop.com/

Cut it, get the URL and then download it using videocyborg (link above)


TEXT


Problem: I need to convert a PDF into an easy editable WORD document

Solution: tools.pdf24.org/en/

This is a great tool to work with PDF. It’s free, easy to use and you don’t even need to register.

What can you do on this page?  Pretty much everything.

  • Convert a PDF into a Word document and  Word into PDF.
  • Split a PDF or merge them.
  • Sign or add page numbers to the  PDF.
  • Remove or extract PDF pages.

 

Problem: I need to convert a website into a PDF file or an editable WORD document

Solution: documentcyborg.com/

You only need to copy and paste the URL into the box, choose the format and download it and save it on your computer. You don’t even need to register.

 

Problem:  I have a scanned PDF or an image with some text and I want to extract the text

Solution:  www.onlineocr.net/

Onlineocr is free, simple and no registration is required. Copy/àste the URL ad then download the text as a Word document among other possibilities.

 


SHARING A LONG URL


Problem: I need to share with a long URL  with my students

Solution:  bitly.com/

Sometimes we have to give our students a long URL which seems almost impossible to type without making a mistake. Instead of writing this long URL, use bit.ly to shorten it. To do it, paste the long link in the search box and that’s it.


PRINTING A WEBSITE


Problem: I want to print some content from a website, but I don’t want to print all the images and adverts.

Solution:  printwhatyoulike.com/

Just enter the URL, edit the page getting rid of anything you don’t want to print, and then print it.


CREATING A QR


Problem: I need to create a simple QR Code with the answer to an exercise and download the QR Code to share it with my students

Solution:the-qrcode-generator.com/

Easy to use and doesn’t require registration. Just paste your text and then save it to download it.


FREE TEMPLATES FOR POWERPOINT OR GOOGLE SLIDES


Problem: I need to find beautiful free thematic templates  to make a presentation on Google Slides or PowerPoint

Solution: slidescarnival.com/

FREE IMAGES AND VIDEO


Problem: my students are doing a project and they need to find free images and/or videos

Solution: for free images: pixabay.com/ ;for free videos pixabay.com/videos/

I hope these websites are helpful and save you a lot of time.

 

 
Licencia de Creative Commons
Este obra está bajo una licencia de Creative Commons Reconocimiento-NoComercial-SinObraDerivada 4.0 Internacional.

Ready-Made Lesson: Personal Identity

I must have been in my teens, but I vividly remember my mother telling my father that someone called James Dean had called. The funny part was not only that the famous now-long- deceased actor had phoned my dad, but the way everybody pronounced his name, /jamez dean/, as if it was the most natural thing in the world, while me and my naughty siblings couldn’t help cracking up, repeating /james dean, james dean/while in stitches. (The Spanish pronunciation of the “j” is similar to the Scottish word “loch” or the German word “Bach”)

In case you are wondering, my parents (now almost 80)  had never ever heard a word in English so everybody said /james dean/ just like that and never gave it a second thought. We, me and my three siblings, just liked fooling around. I know better now!! 🙂

About the lesson:

In this lesson, aimed at B2 students and above, students discuss their names and their personalities through some engaging activities.

In part 2, you have the possibility of asking students to use their own devices and complete the task in class or alternatively set the task for homework.

 


Part 1. Talking about your name

A video-based listening activity

Tell students they are going to watch a short extract from the Graham Norton show, where the actresses Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman discuss their birth names. Play from 0:00 until 2:50.

Introduce: 

  • To be named ( after someone)
  • To name someone
  • A pet name
  • A middle name
  • A nickname

Procedure:

Play the video once and ask students some comprehension questions. Play the video a second time if necessary.

  1. Meryl Streep was named Mary at birth. How did she end up being called Meryl?
  2. Is she happy about her surname? How does she wish it to be different?
  3. Why is Nicole Kidman called Hokulani? Who is she named after?

Discussion questions:

  • Are you happy with your name? Why (not)?
  • Does your name have a meaning? If so, what does it mean?
  • Do you have a middle name? What is it?
  • Do you have a nickname? If so, what is it and how did you get it?
  • If you could change your name would you? What would it be? Why?
  • U2’s lead singer, Bono, called his daughter Memphis Eve and Gwyneth Paltrow’s daughter is called Apple. Do you know any “normal people” with unique baby names? What about you, do you prefer giving your child a more traditional name or a unique name?
  • In some countries, when women marry they take their husband’s last name? What do you think of this?

Part 2. Talking about your personality

In this second part, we are going to revise and learn some more complex personality adjectives.  To introduce personality adjectives we are going to use a website which analyses your personality based on the numerical value of your name. Whether students believe in it or not should be irrelevant, we are only interested in language acquisition here.

The warm-up

As this lesson is aimed at upper-intermediate students and above, students will have some prior knowledge of the most common personality adjectives, at least enough to get them started.

Choose any activity from 10 Games and Activities to Practise Personality Adjectives, a very successful – if I might say so-blog post I wrote last year

Homework.  The Website.

Ask students whether they think a name can shape their personality and refer them to this website where they’ll have to write their name in the space provided and read about their personality.

You can always ask them to read their horoscope, but this is “old news”, so I thought this might better spark students’ interest.

At home, students go to the website and find out about their personality based on their names. They look up any new words they don’t know, especially personality adjectives, as they will need to share this analysis with their classmates and say whether they agree or disagree with it, giving reasons.

Gathering Feedback

This activity can be done in a traditional way i.e board and chalk. Students call out an adjective and you write the personality adjective on the board.

Again, with the aim of creating a more engaging activity, I’m going to use a free online tool called “Answergarden” to get instantaneous feedback. The tool is very easy to use. Here’s a tutorial in case you need it, but it really has a very friendly intuitive interface making it very easy to use, even for those teachers who are not too tech-savvy. The app takes students answers and creates a word cloud that can be exported or embedded.  Students will need to use their own devices but, if necessary, every three students can share one.

Once you have created the word cloud in Asnwergarden, use the overhead proyector to display it and ask volunteer students to explain the meaning of the adjectives and say whether they think it is positive, negative or neutral.

Below, an example of a word cloud created with Answergarden.

Speaking

Put students in pairs and ask them to share their name report from the website and say whether they agree or disagree with such analysis.

Ask them to discuss the following questions.

  • What kind of people do you usually get along with?
  • What kinds of personality traits do you hate?
  • Is your personality more similar to your mother’s or father’s?
  • Do you think we are born with our personalities, or do we develop them because of what happens to us?
  • Do you tend to fall in love with good looks or with a great personality?
  • Does one person’s character affect the personalities of the surrounding people? Are you influenced by anybody you know?
  • Does birth order affect personality? What qualities do a first-born child, a last-born and an only child have?

The Quiz: As Free as a Bird. 

Let’s go the extra mile! In this quiz, you’ll find more colourful ways to talk about someone’s personality. In order to learn them, I suggest taking the quiz two or three times, the last time checking if just by looking at the picture students can remember the simile.

After doing the quiz, you can always ask some follow-up questions like:

Do you know anybody who is as stubborn as a mule?

Enjoy!