Jing: get rid of language anxiety

1) What is the technology/ What does it do?

what: Jing is a basic tool to capture your screen for up to 5 minutes. It allows you to upload your video to a video e-portfolio screencast.com. Via this website, you got a link that can be sent to anywhere and also got a code used for embedding to web page or blog.

how: go to Jing, download it for free. After installing, it will appear at the central top of your screen. What you should do afterwards is choosing a scale you want and select capture image or video. Done!

2) Why is this particular tool or technology relevant to language learning? What approaches to language learning or research underpin the use of this technology?

As far as I am concerned, if this tool is used in a connected classroom (first raised by my tutor Russell Stannard), it is really a good 'shot' to lower anxiety. In detail, Ss can use it at home either receiving tutor's video feedback (assume it's negative), being less face-threatening, compared with receiving it in person;  or pointed to the given feedback, Ss can record their own reflections and practice before sending, to their tutors without worrying about e.g. ineffective retrieval of vocabulary.

You might argue if your students is a group of people with high language proficiency, then there is no need for anxiety reduction. Might be WRONG. A study conduced by Onwuegbuzie et al (1999), found that there is no considerable relationship between the anxiety and language level. However, there is a negative correlation between anxiety and L2 performance. That is to say, all L2 learners are more or less influenced by language anxiety, from perspectives of input, processing and output (MacIntypre and Gurdner, 1991).

As with input, high anxiety will lead to problems of TL (Target Language) receiving and encoding. Krashen's effective filter (1982) can explain this idea. some of the information fails to entre the cognitive processing system, with high effective filter. In terms of processing, understanding L2 could be problematic, due to disorder of storing, organizing and assimilating  L2. As to output, learners might use inappropriate vocabulary, wrong grammar or even can't respond when writing or speaking the L2.

BACK TO OUR JING, therefore, Jing is a great facilitator, which helps Ss charge themselves in the greenroom e.g. at home and facilitate them to performing well in the front-stage e.g. classroom.

3) How might you use it to foster language learning in class/outside class?

You can use it to give feedback on writing. You can send your feedback of a particular piece of Ss' work and send it via email to your Ss. Then, your students can also give their views about your feedback via the same way. This is really good form of feedback delivery that is friendly to Ss.

Firstly, by watching your video, they can look back and forth and repeatedly review the point they want. In that case, it avoids the embarrassment that Ss ask tutors for repetition more than once in face-to-face feedback tutorial. Secondly, Ss can mediate their language and organize their thoughts before sending tutors their opinions. On the one hand, this is a good way for students to get rid of anxiety. On the other hand, it is also a good chance to practicing speaking.

4) What limitations can you see with the use of this technology?

The time limit could be a big concern (5 mins)


Kranshen, S. D. 1982. Principles and practice in second language acquisition. New York: Pergamon.

MacIntypre, P. D., and Gurdner, R. C. 1991.  'Language anxiety: Its relationship to other anxieties and to processing in native and second languages'. Language Learning 41: 513-534.

Onwuegbuzie, A. J., Bailey, P., and Daley, C. E. 1999. 'Factors associated with foreign language anxiety'. Applied Linguistics 20: 217-239.

If you like, you can check my JING Video, talking about my writing plans before the deadline:


Wordle tells you a story of Word Power

Do you ever think about the power of words that can brings to you, teachers? A research conducted by McNaught and Lam (2010) suggest that Wordle can be a supplementing tool to faciliate preliminary analyisis in educational research. Based on the data of classroom talk, they can tell a research direction concluded from the data by visilizing some big-sized words. Unbelievable, right?? !!

1 What is Wordle?

It is a tool for generateing 'word clouds' from a text you choose. The more consantly appeared words are shown in a bigger size. You can change the layout, size and color whichever you like. Also, you can share the final version with friends.

Attention! it is very simple to use. Go to this site Wordle. Just follow three steps. 1. click 'Create'; 2. paste the text you want and GO; 3. see your production! (Oops, Java is needed ).

2) Why is this particular tool or technology relevant to language learning? What approaches to language learning or research underpin the use of this technology?

The visulized version of word display gives readers a general taste of a reading text itself. Instead of giving a boring WORD tag to your students to guess the main theme of a reading material, wordle gives you an opportunity to entertain your students before giving them tough work to do.

To a large extent, wordle is much more related to motivation and language learning, givin its fabulous outlook. In other words, students will be attracted at the first sight and would be motivated to do language learning related to this tool.

3) How might you use it to foster language learning in class/outside class?

Besides, what has been mentioned to give students a text guessing task, wordle could also be used in vocabulary learning. It can be a reasonable resource to facilitate vocabulary remembering for three reasons. Firstly, unlike traditional vocabulary list,  this visulized picutre might raise students' interests in terms of its flexiable layout and font. Secondly, students can just focus on frequently-used words  so that to equip them with basic vocabulary range in daily conversation, given those words will stand out by their bigger size. This is good for beginners' level. Thirdly, students not just learn isolated words but know the words that are associated with. It is good when learners actually apply words in real life.

4) What limitations can you see with the use of this technology?

But, although there are massive layouts to choose, it seems only horizontal type is friendly to read. Addtionally, it could be possible that students could lose interests after they see this words toy several times.

Anyway, now I will present you a word cloud from a topic I am interested in today. 

So, can you guess what the content is, then? Haha, Happy Valentine's Day! (The text is from the definition of Valentine's Day, wikipedia.)

McNaught, C and P, Lam.  2010. 'Using Wordle as a Supplementary Research Tool'. The Qualitative Report 15/3: 630-643.


StrugglING for improving speaking? MailVU is just for YOU!

1) What is the technology/ What does it do?

MailVU allows you to send video emails up to 10 minutes. You just need three steps to finish.
a) click
You need a webcam and a micophone and then click the 'allow' button to get the equipments standby.
b) record
Click the 'record' button to start. You can check your recording by click 'play'. If you are not satisfied with the previous recording, just click 'record' again to give a new try.
c) send
When finish recording, click the 'send' button. Type in your name, your email and your recipient's email address. That is! You even will be informed by email when the recipient see your recording.

2) Why is this particular tool or technology relevant to language learning? What approaches to language learning or research underpin the use of this technology?
Apprently, this tool is good for speaking activity for both learners and teachers. For learners, as long as you record your speech, you have opportunities to review it as many times as you like. You can jot down the weakness part and practice many times until you are satisfied. For teachers, they have a chance to review students' speaking output on individual basis. Therefore, students have the opportunities to receive personal feedbacks.
Genearlly speaking, this tool makes the production part of speaking possible. In detail, when a teacher follows Presentation- Practice- Production approach, it is common that there is little time left in the final stage, production. By using mailVU, teachers can put production after class which make PPP complete.

3) How might you use it to foster language learning in class/outside class?

This tool could be an alternative monitor to push students to practice speaking after class. The speaking activity could be a follow-up task based on the content and grammar points introduced in the class.

4) What limitations can you see with the use of this technology?

It is likely that students get bored to use it when they lose their curiosity of this new tool. The main reason could be that they are not invovled in an interactive context to practice speaking. In other words, it is mainly form-based learning.

Perhaps, if teachers give feedback also by this tool, there could build a fairly equal interaction context (a Video Community). Moreover, students can get the chance to practice listening as well from teachers video feedback. Or, if students like, they can send their recording to their peers and ask their fellows to give video feedback.


Teachers, why not Dvolver?

Have you ever thought about being a director? Look at this fabulous movie, can't wait to have a try, right?

1) What is the technology/ What does it do?

Dvolver is a movie-making tool. The procedure is very simple. Just follow the instruction of the website. Firstly, select backgrounds and sky followed by choosing characters. Then you choose a plot among the provided four kinds. Throw out dialogues. Of course, add your favorite music and don't forget to name your title and leave your NAME. OK, that is all! You are a director now. Notice! you can send links of your movies via email OR copy the code and embed them to your personal virtual space like blogs here ^^

2) Why is this particular tool or technology relevant to language learning? What approaches to language learning or research underpin the use of this technology?

This tool is a fantastic facilitator of language learning. Firstly, it is a good resource for writing, which requires higher language mastery, compared with reading. In detail, learners are trained to use the language coherently, precisely and appropriately when making up dialgues. Swain (1985) explains this in his Output Hypothesis, stating that output such as writing pushes learners step from semantic processing to syntactic processing, compared with input such as reading. Secondly, this tool provides meaningful tasks which is an essential of learning, supported by H. Jonassen and Rohrer-Murphy (1999). 'Being meanful' here means that the acitivity should have goals, rules and larger community. Pointed this tool, it got a goal of making a movie. The rule is its procodures including adding background and music. The larger community is the potential audience. They can be teachers and peers. They can also be the online larger audience if movies are emebeded in for example blogs.

3) How might you use it to foster language learning in class/outside class?

Teachers could use it as a warm-up and post-activity. Based on the topic of current chapter, invite students to make up their own dialogues as a group activity at the beginning of a class. By this means, teachers could have an overall understanding of Ss prior knowledge both in the content and in the language such as vocabulary. Based on the existed knowledge, teachers could scaffold them by add "1" to their 'i' (refer to 'i+1' in socio-cultural theory by Vygostky). At the end of a class, students could be asked to make another movie, but this time use language point that teachers present in the class for example past tense. The whole class can vote the best movie then!

4) What limitations can you see with the use of this technology?

A limitation of this tool is that the provided scenes are too limited, especially the plot (only 4!). Ss might soon get bored.


H. Jonassen, D. , L. Rohrer-Murphy. 1999. 'Activity theory as a framework for designing constructivist learning environments'. Educational Technology Research and Development 47/1: 61-79. 

Swain, M. 1985. 'Communicative competence: Some roles of comprehensive input and comprehensible output in its development' in Susan M. Gass, and C. Madden (eds.). Input in second language acquisition . Cambridge, MA: Newbury House Publishers. 

Scoop.it: build your online e-portfolio

Today, I am enlightened by a definition of learning when I read about connectivism theory. “[L]earning must be a way of being – an ongoing set of attitudes and actions by individuals and groups that they employ to try to keep abreast to the surprising, novel, messy, obtrusive, recurring events…” (Vaill,1996:42). Considering rapidly altering information online, how can we keep current while at the same time be well-organized in terms of our interested knowledge? I just dig a NEW tool called scoop.it which serves as an e-porfolio to gather related info together. 

1) What is the technology/ What does it do? 

Joining: Sign up for free with your facebook or twitter account. For me, my domain (EFL network) lays on twitter therefore I choose my twitter account. Then, what you should do is just type in e-mail address and password, of course. Next time, only these two info is needed for signing in, easy as other social tool.

Performing: You are right on the starting line! Keep in mind that you already got a social network either from facebook or twitter which means you are definitely not alone in this NEW virtual space. So, you can firstly check what others have scooped, and decide whether to follow their topics. Like twitter, you got an interface that gathers all the topics you follow. Unlike twitter, it has image and longer text. Better than twitter, it allows to create your own topic. THAT IS!! why this tool is so amazing. Go the dashboard label, type your topic, add description, add tag and add icon if you like. DONE! Then, it is very important to install the Bookmarklet and drag "Scoop.it" button to bookmark toolbar. Finally, you are ready to scoop every piece of on-line source, ranged from audio, video, or text to your curated page. 

EnjoyingSince many well-known people and event got their scoop.it page. For the people, it is not as simple as that you follow that people so you should scan about everything s/he scoops. NO! You are the decision maker. You just follow the topic you have interest. For the event, you got the most updated information. More reader-friendly than those events' official page. Why? because it looks like informal magazine style but actually conveys first-hand sources. For example, Glasgow IATEFL Bloggers

2) Why is this particular tool or technology relevant to language learning? What approaches to language learning or research underpin the use of this technology?

In my view, Scoops.it provides fruitful online materials for educators. The sources are from various social websites such as Guardian.com and social network such as twitter. Some sources are good for rethinking about teaching for example an article from Guardian titled 'Learning through crowdsourcing is deaf to the language challenge' and Some are good for teachers' communication '20 Twitter Hashtags Every Teachers Should Know About'.

Furthermore, it also provides loads of on-line learning resources for learners. For example, go to

It gives you learning websites like elllo (English Listening Online) or learning tips like the ten best vocabulary learning tips.  

Actually, this tool is a nice application of connectivism raised by Siemens (2004). This theory states that learners keep current in their specific area, relying on connected others. This requires the skill of self-organization which is a micro-process in institutional environments. In our knowledge economy, the capacity to form connection is of vital importance. Scoop.it just is positioned as a 'mediator' to scaffold students to develop this skill, starting from raising a topic, to grab related information into a single page from massive online resources. 

3) How might you use it to foster language learning in class/outside class?

For me, I will use scoop.it as a language teaching resource, which is next to the concept of portfolio. I do not google my topic just a day before my class but prepare for the potential usage on  daily basis. If I find any interesting topics that will motivate my students, I will then present it out and it is really depending on the actual class process. (U will never predict what your Ss ask you!)

The next usage I am not so sure. Perhaps, I would use this tool as a pre-activity. For example, at the beginning of a term, I will invite my students to create their own topic in scoop.it. Perhaps two weeks later, I ask the whole class to vote for the best scoopt.it topic. The standard lies on the topic itself and the gathering info. The successful Ss can be my teaching assistant for the purpose of teaching a lesson around that elect topic. What about those who do not succeed?  If they like, They could give presentations on their topics based on the gathering info, in order to persuade their classmates to voting for them as the next teaching assistant. They could choose to present their topics via podcast, mailVU or youtube. The final decision is made by their classmates. In this sense, scoop.it is regarded as a research database.

4) What limitations can you see with the use of this technology?

Something that worries me in terms of this tool is whether Ss will change its advantage into disadvantage. It means whether scoop.it contributes to knowledge filtering or just another composition of the crowd itself. Users should pay attention to select what to follow in case of getting missing among the self-contributed information flood.


Siemens, G. 2004. 'Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age.' Retrieved from http://www.ingedewaard.net/papers/connectivism/2005_siemens_ALearningTheoryForTheDigitalAge.pdf

Vaill, P. B. 1996. Learning as a Way of Being. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Blass Inc