Jamie Keddie

Jamie Keddie has a new book out. The ebook is available for download which will keep me occupied over the next few days..


Whilst working in Spain I had the opportunity to see Jamie talk on a number of occasions and they were very memorable experiences.  His presentations are always engaging and extremely interesting.  His 2009 book, Images, is one of the few books I’ve taken with me on my journey working in different countries.  It offers lots of ideas on how to exploit images for language learning in the classroom.


His latest book, entitled Videotelling,  focuses on the use of multimodal media in the classroom.  Arguably the best video video-sharing website online is YouTube which is why it gets a mention in the title.  Keepvid is a great website which allows you to download videos from YouTube and keep them on your computer in case you have any internet connectivity problems.


I’ve always used Lessonstream as a source of great lesson plans.   One of my all-time favourite video lessons is Mr W. which can be found on Lessonstream.  The theme of this lesson is the creative use of videos in advertising and it is great for getting students talking about their favourite adverts, past and present.

Another favourite advert relating to the benefits of a good English teacher is this one:

Would your students get it?


Alan November

Educational Innovators

During a recent webinar tutorial in which we were discussing the use of technology in learning the name of Alan November popped up.  I had never heard of him and so spent some time finding out who we was and found these videos which I immediately identified with:

Who owns learning?

21st Century Learning – a Deep Dive into the Future

I am currently reading Alan November’s book, Empowering Students With Technology, and hope to find more time to read through it over the holidays.

The point that technology can be a powerful motivator for some students who do not succeed in traditional classrooms is pertinent and not only relevant to teenagers as the story of Yves with which Alan November opens the book alludes to.  I have found it can be a powerful motivator for many of my adult learners.  

The story of Yves reminds me of a quote often attributed to Einstein which berates state education systems:

(Here’s the view of someone who really disagrees with this quote and rightfully questions whether Einstein would take this view.)

Dr Ruben Puentedura

Educational Innovators

Dr. Ruben Puentedura is the Founder and President of Hippasus, a consulting firm based in Western Massachusetts, focusing on transformative applications of information technologies to education. He has implemented these approaches for over twenty-five years at a range of K-20 educational institutions, as well as health and arts organizations.

(Hippasus of Metapontum, was a Pythagorean philosopher. Little is known about his life or his beliefs, but he is sometimes credited with the discovery of the existence of irrational numbers.)

Dr Ruben Puentedura is the creator of the SAMR model for selecting, using and evaluating technology in education, which currently guides the work of the Maine Learning Technology Initiative, as well as projects in Vermont and Sweden.

His current work explores new direction in mobile computing, digital storytelling, learning analytics and educational gaming, focusing on applications in areas where they have not been traditionally employed.  He can be reached at rubenrp@hippasus.com/’

Ruben R. Puentedura’s blog 

The impact of SAMR

How to Apply SAMR

Michael Carrier – Re-defining access to language learning: using handheld and mobile learning

I recently watched this British Council produced webinar given by Michael Carrier who spoke about extending language learning through the use of handheld mobile devices.

He believes that in-class reading and grammar activities are often unproductive; they are better carried out at home.  This is something I whole-heartedly agree with and is supported by a recent questionnaire I gave to my students.   Four questions were sent to the students in my group, 9 out of 12 students responded.  No student chose reading as a skill they would like to develop in class.

Reading tasks are best set as homework and then can be used for vocabulary work or developing speaking skills in class.  All of these students did however declare that they are thinking of doing the IELTS exam in the future so banning reading skills completely isn’t in their best interests.

I often set reading tasks as homework and then do vocabulary activities in class and move onto discussions relating to the text.  For grammar focused work I set the students the task of reading the grammar rules at home and trying some exercises at their own pace (more along the lines of a guided discovery approach).  When we meet in class we work on what the students have understood and try some controlled speaking practice followed by freer speaking activities.

Tsunesaburo Makiguchi

Educational Innovators


This quote from Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, a forward-thinking educational theorist from Japan, was one that particularly struck a chord.   By educating our learners on how to use the technology available to them we can help them become more autonomous learners.  I liked the idea of a key unlocking the vault of knowledge.  Often when I find a really good website it does feel like a very valuable treasure trove has been unearthed, and when you find something like that, it is best sharing it with friends, colleagues and students.

‘The aim of education is not to transfer knowledge; it is to guide the learning process, to equip the learner with the methods of research. It is not the piecemeal merchandizing of information; it is to enable the acquisition of the methods for learning on one’s own; it is the provision of keys to unlock the vault of knowledge. Rather than encouraging students to appropriate the intellectual treasures uncovered by others, we should enable them to undertake on their own the process of discovery and invention.’