Sunday 24 February 2008

Picture phrases

Phrasr is an interesting new website that allows users to input sentences, phrases or even entire paragraphs and then turn them into illustrated slide shows using Flickr images. All you have to do is type in your phrase and click, you then get an image for each word. If you don't like the image you get then you can change them and when you are ready you just give your work a name and title a click to publish. What you then get is like a slide show of images with words.
Here's an example of what it produces. This one is based on the old expression;

Here's another based on the first verse of a Shakespeare sonnet (130)
Once you have created your picture phrase you can either send it to a friend by email or go to the archive and find it to copy the URL.

If you want to see just how quick and easy it is to create these then

How to use this with students
This is going to revolutionise learning, but I can think of a few nice tasks you could use this for.
  • Get students to illustrate a short poem or haiku.
  • Create some idiom movies to help students remember them.
  • Use the site to make revising / presenting grammatical structures structures a bit more interesting.
  • Get students to write a short story and create an image version of it.
  • Discuss why certain images seem more or less appropriate to illustrate various texts.
What I like about it
  • This is a really simple free site that you can use to quickly create materials
  • Nice variety of images

What I wasn't so keen on
  • It would be nice to have an embed code for these so that you could add your finished sentences to your blog, rather than a hyper link back to the site
  • Be careful some images are not appropriate for younger learners
  • Some people tend to abuse sites like these, so be careful of inappropriate sentences or immature students who tend to play around.
Hope you enjoy this simple tool and find some good uses for it. Drop me a line if you have any others to suggest




Ana Maria Menezes said...

Hey Nik,

I have rediscovered your site. Great posts! I have even tried the Phrasr and the teleprompter you suggested. Have included you to my feevy feed reader, won´t lose you again.


Nik Peachey said...

Hi Ana

Thanks for the feedback. Always good to know that the stuff I'm publishing is actually useful!! I often wonder.



Ali Boumoussa said...

Hi Nik

Thanks, again.
Don't worry, I am sure many readers out there find your work very useful even if we don't publish our feedback.

I think that at this stage, Phrasr may well be of use to beginners and lower intermediate students, especially if we could add voice. A bit too slow for more the more advanced. Also, I wish we could highlight phrases and longer segments rather than focus on single words.

Keep sharing!


Anonymous said...

Dear Nik,
Thanks for the amazing lead. Nobody knows any of these sites in our school here in Turkey, not even the computer department. It would have taken too long for me to find these through sufing. I found you through Russel's site. Yes- add your voice-better and a nice personal connection. Question: I have set up a wiki but it is outside the dept.'s comfort zone;they are afraid students will want to use a curse word, etc. so any ideas as to how others get around this and make it work?

Nik Peachey said...

Hi Aisha,

Thanks for the kind words, I'm really glad the sites and idea are useful and really doable.

As for your Wiki problem, this is a common problem and a realistic one. I think there are two ways you can deal with this and reassure your colleagues.

1. Make sure that students can't post anonymously and make it clear to students that any comments made can be identified back to them. You can make this sound a bit less threatening by pointing out that you will be able to identify who they are in oder to give them credit for their contributions.

2. I'm not sure what kind of wiki you are using but there is usually an option to 'pre-moderate' this means that you can check any contributions before they are published.

It's sad that both of these options impose some kind of censorship, but if that is what you need to do to keep the project running then .... It does also help to protect the students who really want to be involved in the project in a responsible way. You could even form an editorial group of students to approve or reject postings to the wiki.

Hope this helps and that thee project goes well.



Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot. that was a cool site, and I could use it for my students studying idioms. But some of the picture to word connections seemed really deep. Is it always this way?

Nik Peachey said...

Hi Les

I think the connection between the picture and word varries a lot. It is based on the meta tagging that the owner of the image used when uploading it. You can use this to your advantage to generate more conversation with higher levels, but with beginners it can be potentially quite confusing, so...

Anyway. Glad you enjoyed it.



MarcusJPotter said...

Hey Nik

Just stumbled across your blog(s) great stuff!!!

"Always good to know that the stuff I'm publishing is actually useful!! I often wonder"

I know the feeling, I spend hours blogging away myself - I guess it just goes to show - when someone stumbles over your excellent work and really gets it (one deserves to get a quick note!)

Nice to see a range of useful blogs/posts you have made! Keep it up for ESL & technology! (big smile)

Nik Peachey said...

Thanks Marcus

A well timed comment as I was feeling a bit down about the whole blogging thing. It's great to know that people do actually read and appreciate the ideas.



Rachel said...

Hi Nik,
I couldn't leave without saying a huge thank you. Your site is fantastic, and truly inspiring. I'm an upper elementary teacher who finds herself recently back in the classroom ... and now it's full of computers. I'm trying to integrate technology into my everyday, in meaningful and academically relevant ways. Your site is terrific! I have so many ideas now I'm just not so sure where to start.

Nik Peachey said...

Thanks Rachel

Hope it goes well and that the ideas work for you. Good luck and have fun.



Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing your knowledge with us. it's been of great help all your advice and tips.
i'm very grateful.

Peace said...

Hello Nik, I am very happy that I know your blog. Thank you Michael my teacher in the Web.2.0. Thank you Nik for this valuable blog. I learn a lot and I got a lot of information and websites for myself and my student. I will spread peace and tell everyone about your blog.Thanks a million for your effort helping English teachers and helping students in the world. I hope that all teachers in the world know this blog and learn from it. I wish you all the best.

Thank you !

A.Salam Al-Makradi

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