This category contains 16 posts

Code-switching made easy

One pet peeve of mine related to digital communication via chat or SMS has always been how annoying it is to code-switch. As a result of living in a few different places over the years, I have some friends whom I communicate with in French, others Spanish and some in blends and mixtures of either … Continue reading

Chatbots and Academic Writing?

Today I came across this article on a university teaching assistant who was actually a computer. “Ms. Watson” managed to fool students and fellow TAs alike, as “she” quickly and accurately answered the barrage of questions on the online forum for a computer science course in Georgia. Many of the questions this robot, and most of us teaching … Continue reading

Getting into Academic Corpora

I really want to use corpora more often in class, I really do. I love the idea so much. But it all comes down to interface. The interfaces of some corpora are so dated and cumbersome to navigate that you’d have to devote hours of class time just to get students to use them in … Continue reading

Online Resources for Language Exchange

To move from book knowledge to intuitive know-how* as a language learner, opportunities for spoken practice of the language are essential. There are a host of reasons why: moving toward that point where a learner doesn’t having to think about each grammar point, for example, before they use it (automaticity), getting to know the ins … Continue reading

Linguistics on Lifehacker

Lifehacker, one of the web’s most visited productivity blogs, regularly features articles on language learning. Most of them tend to be of the brainhack variety; they focus on how to use technology or other tricks to learn a language faster. While catching up on the blog today, three articles related to language jumped out at … Continue reading

Spell Up with Google

Today I came across a great new game from Google that would be lots of fun for English-language learners: Spell Up. (Attention Firefox or Safari users: it only works with the Chrome browser.) A sort of game-ified spelling bee, you hear words, you spell them into your microphone, and if you’re correct you build the words … Continue reading

Duolingo enters the testing business

Duolingo has announced they’re developing a $20 app-based English-proficiency exam to challenge big test makers such as TOEFL, according to the Wall Street Journal. The test will cost $20, and will use your camera or tablet’s front-facing camera to record sound and video during the exam to prevent cheating. Apparently, they want their test to be … Continue reading

Memes in the Classroom

I’m always on the lookout for quick, fun warmers. Bonus points if it’s connected to pop culture and can allow me to remind students that the language points we cover in class are all around them out in the “Real World”. I love me a good meme, and every so often a meme comes about … Continue reading

IATEFL Harrogate: Getting Discipline-Specific in the EGAP Classroom

I’m speaking at the IATEFL conference in Harrogate on Thursday, April 3, at 12:15 in Hall Qe. Click here to download the slides from my presentation.  

Saundz Blog

The newest blog I’d add to my list of sites to recommend to students is the Saundz blog. It’s true that Saundz is actually a piece of (paid) pronunciation software, but they have a separate blog on their website which focuses on issues of pronunciation and speaking. What I like about it is the posts … Continue reading

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