In the end I decide to make a film about the practical ways you can use powerpoint in the class:

In the end I decide to make a film about the practical ways you can use powerpoint in the class:


I mentioned in my first posting (and in the video) that the training you need to use it is minimal - one part of that training could be 'custom animation', or the way and the order you make text appear on the powerpoint presentation. Here's a short two minute video to help with that - in this case showing how you can use it to make a powerpoint file for simple revision games:


Rob - at Middle East Technical University, Northern Cyprus Campus, ( a number of teachers use 'virtual' FLASHCARDS in a similar way to your suggestion of using PPT.  This might be of interest to your blog followers.BackgroundThe School of Foreign Languages at METU.NCC installed computers in the classrooms this year, with Internet access and a data projector.  

Integrating technology in and outside of class

  1. Some teachers took this idea one step further to integrate technology as part and parcel of learning. 
    • So, as in your case, when words come up in the lesson, the teachers (or as you suggest, students) make a simple list of the words and definitions (or a gapped example sentence).  Basically a variation on the old 'vocabulary box' idea many teachers use, but instead of ink on paper, we are using pixels on a computer monitor. :) 
    • So, rather than writing words on the board or for a vocabulary box, they write them up in WORD on the computer in class, using a TAB to separate the new word from the defintion/example.  Of course, lots of teachers use online resources as well, such as the DEFINE 'new word' option in GOOGLE.  Also, the auto spell check makes sure that students enter accurate defintions in terms of spelling.  
  2. When the lesson finishes, the teacher just highlights and copies the list, goes to  the online flashcard site (we use and and pastes the new word list there.  
    • These sites have mobile APPs, so as the students leave for the break, they can download the flashcards to their smart phones, and start using them literally as they are making their way to the canteen for refreshments.  
  3. Here is an example of this in practice created by Erhan Guzel for one of his beginner level classes in the School of Foreign Languages English preparatory school:
    • Here is an account of this in another blog post at -- note that StudyStack offers lots of games, like Hangman, which are generated from the flashcard stacks themselves. 
    • Great little vocabulary fillers.  Also, with StudyStack, you can 'combine' several stacks together, so students can use the cards in stacks cumulatively.
    • Quizlet has a much more sophisticated 'social flashcard networking' interface, but Erhan reports that his students prefer the simplicity of StudyStack.
    • In both StudyStack and Quizlet, you can allow the cards to be copied, downloaded, and if you are adventurous, you can make them open to be edited and added to by anyone you share them with.

Thanks to my colleagues Talip Karanfil and Erhan Guzel for sharing their experience in this.  As we move more and more to mobile devices, integration of what we do in class and our students' lives outside of class will become more seamless, as Talip and Erhan demonstrated with their students.FOR TEACHERS WHO DON'T HAVE COMPUTERS IN CLASS:  This idea can be used by any teacher, even if they don't have a computer in class.  If you have a laptop, just bring it to class and get students to 'build' the flashcards on your computer.  When you take it home, you can upload it to the Internet while you are making a cup of coffee.  Then students can download the flashcards on to their smart phones (or to their computers if they have one at home).  Then, later in class, if you don't have a data projector to play the HANGMAN or other games, you can get students to test their friends knowledge by using their smart phones--since the flashcards can be downloaded to the phones, the students don't need to activate their phones telecommunciation link, so it is safe to use the flashcards in class.

Thanks Elena and Steve for your comments.Steve - thanks very much too for giving all the detail on this, which sounds like a really simple but effective way of extending what's going on in class. I'm going to investigate Study Stack in the new year.I blogged recently too about mobile learning, and specifically Evernote, as I think it has enormous potential because the learner is in control of how they organise their learning. However, as you say on your Teacher Development blog, it's often the simplest ways which are the best! All the bestRob

Looking forward to hearing what you think of StudyStack and Quizlet.  

  • I fell in love with Quizlet, but in terms of using the flashcard stacks in class, hard to beat the activities that StudyStack has on offer, especially after seeing how Erhan Guzel and Talip Karanfil employed it with their students
  • I haven't read your blog post about Evernote, although I have seen a number of other references to its use in a general education context.  Will delve into that when the marking is done...we are nearing the end of the semester here at Middle East Technical University, Northern Cyprus Campus.

What strikes me about all of this stuff is that we are entering an era where the computer is no longer just a 'blank' piece of paper, but it is fast becoming an 'active' writing (and in some cases, speaking) partner.  

  • I was blown away by GOOGLE scribe (which has suddenly vanished from ...still waiting for MR GOOGLE to put it back where it belongs), and I introduced it to a class of ELT teachers-in-training that I work with her in the ELT programme--they were really taken with it as well.  
  • Now, in SCRIBE's absence, I'm looking into -- part of the new and emerging set of tools I call "corpus assisted language production" CALP. :)
  • But the list goes on...see for a note on a 'revolutionary' new word processor that actually learns from you as you write, and starts to finish your sentences. 
  • In fact, I'm doing research with Alev Ozbilgin here at METU.NCC on the idea of the 'individual corpus' (iCorpus) as a tool for self-directed language development.  Our findings suggest that learners could perceive their own language development with an enhanced perspective based on an analysis of their iCorpus, but the tools we were using were 'clunky' to the current generation of computer users. It seems that the technology has zoomed ahead of what we could barely imagine a year ago.  No idea what the future holds in store on that front. 

This is all part of the advances in artificial intelligence and the burgeoning growth of corpora.  

  • You probably know about ALICE ( and the ELT 'bot' that Dave of "Dave's ESL cafe" produced.  
  • My colleagues and I are toying with the idea of developing our own 'bot' to deal with the particular issues tha face the majority of our students, who share Turkish as their mother tongue.  So far, we've just set up our own bot (see -- for free, by the way.  We know have to 'teach' it how to behave as a typical ELT teacher.  
  • In fact, in all these areas of artificial intelligence for language learning, the most difficult part is determining the classic problems students face and the mistakes they make.  We hope to share our experiences on that front, and then it is a relatively straightforward task to 'train' the bot based on these parameters.

Whether it will improve the quality of education is another question.  I have a list of ACUTE principles I follow when considering how to apply technology.  A - Acceptability (will students actually use it)C - Cost (the 'educational' return on investment of any capital expenditure, or ongoing licencing)U - Usefulness (Does it actually promote learning)T - Time (Time for teachers to learn, for students to do)E - Ease of Use (Is it intuitive)Sometimes, I get too caught up in the heat of the technology to actually consider how the technology stacks up against ACUTE principles.  IWBs are a good case in point.  Love to have one...but would I spend the money out of my own pocket to get one?  Not likely.  When you measure  the Interactive White Board according to these principles, one wonders about the wisdom of such a huge expenditure on a technology that delivers so little.As you say, sometimes the simplest ideas are the best.  When it comes to interactive whiteboards, I think that there are some really simple ideas that got left behind -- see 

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