Category Archives: EdTech

The ’11 Challenge’ Post

I wonder why the ’11 Challenge’ started around Christmas time – maybe we have more free time to take the challenge. 

Here are the 5 rules for tagging or perhaps tag blogging or blog tagging.

1. Acknowledge the nominating blogger.

2. Share 11 random facts about yourself.
3. Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has asked you.
4. List 11 bloggers. You cannot nominate those bloggers who have nominated you.
5. Post 11 questions for the bloggers you have nominated to answer. 

Task 1. Acknowledge the nominating blogger.

I have been tagged by my dear friends Debora Tebovich and Sanja Bozinovic.

Task 2. 11 Random facts about me.

1. I only like shopping for books, DVDs and computers.
2. I really dislike cold weather.
3. Because I dislike the smell of beer, I mix it with Sprite to drink it and many people laugh at me when I do that.
4. I love my first cup of coffee in the morning.
5. I love Doctor Who and Torchwood series and can watch the same episodes over and over again.
6. When I was 4 years old I fell into a lake and nearly drowned. Since then I am afraid of water and never learned to swim.
7. I can play the piano.
8. I love reading detective stories and at the moment my favourite writer is James Patterson.
9. I love Chinese food and can cook it too.
10. I don’t watch TV at all. To watch the programs in point 5 I buy the DVDs.
11. I dislike crowds and during public holidays I don’t go out. Being in a crowd makes feel dizzy.

Task 3. Answer the questions put forward to you by the nominating blogger.

Answers to Debora’s questions

1.   How often do you feel exposed to dilemmas as an Educator? How do you work them out?
Every so often. My response to a dilemma largely depends on what the problem is. If, for example, some of my students are lagging behind, I try to understand the reason and address it.
2.   What plants and flowers do you have at home?
I have quite a few plants at home but, to be honest, I don’t know what they are called. One of my colleagues keeps on giving them to me and I look after them, but haven’t even tried to find out what they are.
3.   Have you ever got stuck in an elevator?
Yes, I have. This was a very long time ago. This was 20 or 22 years ago. I got stuck in the lift with two of my friends and before the ‘rescue team’ arrived, we had spent the time doing homework. I thought it was fun. ūüôā
4.   What is that lovely childhood memory that comes to you every once in a while?

My mum decorating a cake with oranges and tangerines and me secretly eating them off the cake.

5.   If English is not your mother tongue, do you ever need to read subtitles when you watch a movie in English?
I did before, like about 10 years ago. Now I don’t need subtitles mainly because the main language of communication for me is English.
6.   What makes you laugh?
Many things and situations. I actually like laughing and can find something funny in everything.
7.   If you could spend a year focusing on research, what would you research? Why?
What effect online/blended learning might have on children diagnosed with so called ADHD. I still doubt the existence of such a thing and I would like to know if these children could cope with learning better in an online mode.
8.   How do you keep track of your digital files?
I save them in Google docs, Dropbox and Diigo.
9.   When was the last time you danced?
On 25 December we were celebrating Christmas in the office. I put some music on and we danced a bit before our lessons started.
10.    Who do you admire and why?
There isn’t just one person I admire. I admire those who don’t give up if they encounter problems and try to make a difference. Perhaps because I myself don’t give up, I dislike it when people break without even trying to do something. 
11.    Are you good at setting goals? Do you follow a certain process to set your goals?
I think I am usually good at setting goal, although I can be too ambitious sometimes, especially when it comes to doing various courses. I might sometimes choose to take more courses than I can actually handle and then try to complete them. There is n certain process, I think I mainly just prioritize the important ones.

Answer’s to Sanja’s questions (I might be cheating here by answering two bloggers’ questions, but  I am trying to save time ūüôā )
1. What are you going to do differently in the new year (at least during the first month)?
I am not sure how successful I am going to be but I am planning to get enough sleep. 
2. If you could get a free ticket to any destination in the world, where would you like to go?
To South America – if I get a free ticket to one of the South American countries, I can make my own way to the others. I would really love to go to Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Uruguay, etc.
3. If you could choose to live all year in one season, would yo choose winter or summer?
I would definitely choose summer, I really dislike winter and the cold weather that goes with it. 
4. What do you find hardest to teach your students?
Assimilated sounds. They find it hard to understand why sounds change, etc.
5. What do you like about the space you teach (your classroom)?
I think my classroom is welcoming and I really like everything about it. I also like the fact that I don’t share it with anyone and can design it the way I like.
6. Which is the most important quality you look for in a community of practice you belong to?
The most important quality for me would be the openness of the community members and the readiness to share and cooperate. This is how we develop as teachers, I think.
7. If you weren’t a teacher, what would you do?
Not really sure, but perhaps a lawyer as this was my childhood dream.
8. What is the best way to share what you learn about teaching?
Through blogging and Facebook group. 
9. What do you never go to work without?
I don’t have to take anything to work, to be honest, as I have everything I need in my classroom. 
10. Can you think about and share one thing that people usually don’t know about the part of the world where you live?
The capital city, Yerevan, although very small, has three micro-climates: it might be snowing in the north of the city, raining in the central part and sunny and warm in the south.
11. If Santa was to bring you only one gadget you can use for teaching or in your free time, what would you wish for?
Lenovo Yoga 11 IdeaPad – I have fallen in love with it, although I don’t really need one.

Task 4. Nominate 11 bloggers

1. Dora Bozanic
2. Rose Youssef
3. Hakan Senturk
4. Merve Oflaz
5. Elvina Castillo
6. Adam Simpson
7. Silvia Heshiki
8. Sara Rodriguez Arias
9. Kristina Smith
10. Ana Rivas
11. Claudia Carrill

Task 5. Ask 11 Questions.

1. What is your favourite book genre?
2. Which film have you seen many times and can still watch again? Why?
3. If you could choose any country to move to, which country would you choose and why?
4. What’s your favourite drink? How often do you drink it?
5. Which English language course book do you like most and why?
6. Which web-based tool do you like most and why?
7. What’s the most difficult for you in your job?
8. What’s your favourite place in your town/city? Is there any place you dislike?
9. If you could change one thing in your house/flat, what would you change and why?
10. What’s your favourite dish? Can you cook it yourself?
11. What don’t you have enough time for?

I look forward to your replies!!! ūüôā


Word Cloud Generators

Word clouds have become quite popular tools for visualizing texts. Words in the cloud are single word tags, that show how frequently a word has been used in a text which is useful for understanding main ideas or concepts. Words that are bigger in size and thickness are the ones that are frequently seen in a text.

When we hear word cloud we mainly think of Wordle, but there are many more word cloud generators that could be better or worse than Wordle. So why not give them a try?

1. Tagxedo 

The site doesn’t require¬†registration. You start by typing/pasting in a URL, or a twitter/ ID, a keyword in the news or RSS. Then you choose the shape, layout, font and theme and click ‘submit’. After the word cloud has been generated, you see a panel with more editing choices. When you are happy with the cloud, you can save it as JPG or PNG in different sizes or simply share it on the web.
2. ABCya!

A nice tool which doesn’t require registration. You simply type or paste in the text and it creates a word cloud. This site doesn’t accept links to articles that you would like to create a word cloud of. There is no choice in shapes but layout, font and colour can be selected. The generated word cloud can be printed immediately or saved, but in this case don’t forget to add what format you want the image to be saved as. for example, I just add .jpg after the name of the file to save it as JPG image. If no format is specified, the image doesn’t open.

3. WordItOut

The site doesn’t require registration but when you have finished creating your word cloud it asks for an email address to which a link to your word cloud is sent. You just click on the link and can either download the image or share on various social networking sites. There doesn’t seem to be an embed code but a picture can be uploaded onto any site, so that doesn’t really matter.
Font, colours and size can be customized, but there is no choice of shapes and the layout of word tags is only horizontal.

4. TagCrowd

This tool doesn’t require registration either. Word clouds can be created by either typing/pasting in a text, pasting a URL or even uploading a file which is quite handy. However, the word cloud created cannot be customized: there is no choice in font, colour, layout or shape. All word tags are horizontal on white background and of different shades of blue. The word cloud can be saved as a PDF file, but not as a picture. It can be printed and HTML code is also provided (but it doesn’t embed an image, just a list of words), to add a sample image I had to make a screenshot of the cloud.

5. Tagul

You have to register first before you can start creating word clouds, but this is not a long process. You are sent a password which you can change after logging in.
To create a word cloud, you can either enter the text you want or the URL of the text you need..Next thing to do is to choose appearance, font, colours and click ‘Visualize”. When ¬†the image appears, you can manually edit tags to get rid of articles, modal or auxiliray verbs, etc. After saving the changes, you need to click on ‘Grab and Share’. Here you can either download the image as a picture file, print, get the HTML code or the link.

6. ImageChef
ImageChef Word Mosaic -
You don’t have to register with the website to be able to create word clouds. However, if you want to save your creations onto “My stuff”, you should. The site allows creation of not only word clouds but also of visual poetry, banners, sketchpads, etc. Before you start creating a word mosaic, you can choose a shape, a background and word colour and font. You need to type or paste in a text (but a small one, it doesn’t work with longer texts) and the word mosaic will be generated. You can choose the size of the image, you can share it on almost every social networking site, embed it and grab the link. By dragging the image onto your PC desktop, you can also save it as a picture file.

7. VocabGrabber

This is a very useful tool for language learners. It doesn’t require registration. All you have to do is paste in a text and click ‘Grab Vocabulary’. It creates a word cloud a screenshot of which can be seen on the left.

It also shows how many words have been found in the thesaurus and allows you to create a wordlist.

And the beauty of it is that the word cloud created is interactive. When you click on a word, the site creates a snapshot of a visual thesaurus for that word;

provides the definitions of the word;

and gives sample sentences with that word in them.

8. TagCloud

No registration required to use this site. You cannot type in a text, you only have to paste the URL to convert whatever is on the site into a word cloud. The result is a very nice looking flash word cloud that can be downloaded as a zip file. I have taken a screenshot of the cloud because it cannot be added to the blog as it is, i.e. a flash word cloud. It also provides an embed code, but it only comes up as a list of words as can be seen below.
learning resources blended approach face classroom instructionalmaterials course time online addition used state blend students content higher

9. YouAreYourWords

The site doesn’t require registration. All you have to do is to upload a picture whcih you want to be the background of your word cloud, then paste the text and choose colours from a limited range. You can also choose the font. You can then share your word cloud and/or download it as image. The product looks nice, but I am not so sure about its use in education as it is a bit difficult to read the text.

10. Wordle

This site doesn’t require registration. The downside is the size of the embeded image – it is very small. To solve this problem, you can either click on ‘print’ and then save it as a PDF file, or, alternatively, you can make a screenshot of the image after saving it to the public gallery.
Another problem with this site is getting word tags using a link. If the site, the URL of which you have pasted into the bar, doesn’t have Atom or RSS feed, Wordle cannot create a cloud. However, pasting in a text usually bypasses this problem.
Font, size, colours and word tag layout are customizable, but the shape cannot be selected.

And finally, a Slideshare user vreed17 has added a presentation with 40 ideas for word cloud use in education.

<div style=”margin-bottom:5px”> <strong> <a href=”; title=”Forty Interesting Ways To Use Wordle In The C” target=”_blank”>Forty Interesting Ways To Use Wordle In The C</a> </strong> from <strong><a href=”; target=”_blank”>Vreed17</a></strong> </div>

Word Clouds generated using the article at PennState