Digital Innovation 2020 finalists - tips and resources

Access top English language teaching tips and open-access resources from the ELTons Awards 2020 finalists for Digital Innovation.

The ELTons Award for Digital Innovation recognises resources that use new cutting-edge technology or resources which make innovative use of existing technology.

Half of the people in the world are connected to the World Wide Web, invented by Tim Berners Lee in 1989 to connect people and help them understand each other. We carry it in our pockets. It has created momentous changes in our lives and how we learn. Technology has proven ever more invaluable in the circumstances brought about by the global pandemic. But the best digital innovations are those with tried and tested teaching and learning methods.

This year’s finalists focus on experiences tailored to you – what you want to learn, when you want to learn. Apps, gamification, smart use of artificial intelligence and online courses. Automated, instantaneous test results. Usefully, at the learner's convenience.

Finalists of the ELTons’ Digital Innovation Award 2020 share their tips and open-access resources for teachers and learners below.


Keep track of students' learning progress  

Busuu English Smart Review | Busuu (UK)

Advise students to record every word and every piece of language that they find. Being able to keep track of the new words and the new phrases that students are learning either on a notebook, on a flash card or some online app allows them to really see the progress that they are making and that’s a major motivator. It’s a great way to develop a curiosity for language as well.

Teachers and students can sign up for free for the Busuu English Smart Review app via: 


Getting idioms right can really boost your students' confidence

Journey 2 Basic Skills: pre-beginner | Klik2learn with City College Glasgow (UK)

Idioms are a fun topic for all students. ‘You can’t have your cake and eat it,’ is in everyday use but idioms are not often found in textbooks. 

Klik2learn believe strongly in visualising learning. Watching an animation makes idioms easier to understand and remember. It helps students understand the context and avoid embarrassing mistakes. Getting idioms right can really boost your students’ confidence.

Watch the Klik2learn video on colloquial language. Klik2learn have put together some well-known idioms for you to try out here plus a few phrasal verbs for good measure!


Embrace artificial intelligence (AI) teaching solutions

Learning Sugar | Beijing Educapple Technology Co., Ltd (China)

Two key points for children learning English as a Second Language (ESL) are an all English-speaking environment and gamification of learning. Children can find fun and build confidence in learning English through games. 

Beijing Educapple Technology’s Learning Sugar is a full path English enlightenment course for kids that embraces those principles. The content is taught by AI English teachers entirely in English, with games, animations and picture books as the main content.

Download the open-access AI English Teacher - Learning Sugar app (currently only available for registration with mobile numbers from China).


Use games and awards to praise students’ achievements

Macmillan Navio | Macmillan Education (UK / The Netherlands / India) 

Praising your students’ achievements is an essential part of teaching, but the COVID-19 crisis has challenged that vital teacher-student communication. Using gamification and awards can create a classroom experience which grabs students’ attention and keeps them focussed, all of which helps to improve that all important teacher-student communication.

Download Macmillan Education’s little book of Gamification for useful tips on how to gamify your classes and improve student engagement.


Gamify vocabulary learning

WordUp app | Geeks Ltd (UK)

Geek Ltd.’s top teaching tip is to help your students learn words in order of how useful they are. This maximises the pace students pick up vocabulary and increases their learning motivation.

One way to do this is by introducing your students to our AI-powered app WordUp. It ranks all English words in order of how useful they are, so users learn the most useful - the most frequently used - words first.

Download the WordUp app for free on any mobile platform. Complete the easy registration steps and embark today on your English learning journey.


Watch a video of the finalists' top tips below

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