Friday 12 May 2017

Recap for enouraging reflection on learning

One of the true keys to learning and developing any ability is the willingness and capacity to reflect on what we have learned.

So how can we encourage our students to reflect on what they have learned? Generally we want them to reflect from a slightly more distant perspective of time rather than more immediately within the classroom and this is where Recap can really help.

Recap is a cross platform app that allows teachers to create classes and manage students and set them reflection questions that they can respond to using video on their laptop webcam or smart phone from their own home.

How does Recap work?
To create a class and add your students just register on the site as a teacher.

Once you have registered you click on Add Class and complete the class details form. You can also decide at this point whether you want your students to register with a PIN or an email. Email is a better option for older learners, whereas a PIN is better for younger ones as this doesn’t require them to have an email, but you do have to add all of their names.

Once the class is created you get a link and a code that students can use to enter your class. I’ve set up a dummy EdTech class, so feel free to join and try it out as a student if you wish. Just use the code shown in the image below.
Once your class is ready you can add two types of tasks, a Recap or a Journey.
When you click on Add Recap you can type in and / or record your first question.
You can then click on ‘Next’ and set the length of recording for your students’ response and the due date for the assignment. You can also decide if it goes to the whole class or individual students and enable to do some self assessment of their recording.
Once you click send the task becomes available to the students.  Once they have replied you can click on the student list and then select each student to see their responses.
You can also click on ‘Assess’ and access all the student responses and respond back to them or watch a ‘showreel’ compilation of their responses.
Once you have responded to their comments they can reply, so this can set up a kind of discussion chain.

The second type of task you can add to Recap is a Journey. This is a question based around a sequence of materials with links to different media and video stimulus that you can record on your webcam or phone to help engage with students.

To do this just click on ‘Add Journey’, allow access to your webcam and microphone, record your video and then add steps and links to media you want your students to explore.

The video you record has to be very short so this isn’t a tool for delivering lectures, it’s more of a tool for setting students up to discover things for themselves.

Once you have created your ‘Journey’ activity for your students you ca share it with them, but you can also add it to the Recap ‘Marketplace’ this allows you to share or sell your ‘Journey’ activity to other teachers, so this is a great way to potentially make a little money (the maximum sale price is $0.99).

 You can also find ‘Journey’ tasks that you can use with your students there.

How to use Recap with students?
  • Set a Recap task each evening after class and use it as a form of learner diary.
  • Use Recaps for action research and get students to tell you how they feel about what and how they are learning.
  • Set Recaps as short pronunciation assessment activities by getting students to read short texts.
  • Use Recaps to build a more positive dynamic and get to know your students a bit better and discover their motivation and interests.
  • Set Recap tasks to check students remember the vocabulary they learned during previous lessons.
  • Create Journeys based around infographics to get them researching and reflecting on the information within the graphic.
  • Use Journeys to get students doing research before coming to class for debates or for information sharing in class.
  • Use Journeys to share SOLE type questions that students can research.

What I like about Recap
  • Students are often shy to speak and ask questions in class so this is a chance to get them talking just to you.
  • Actually having the opportunity to listen carefully to each student during the class can be difficult, so Recap can provide you with the ability to fairly assess your students speaking.
  • The video clips your students submit are stored on the site, so over time you can see how they are progressing.
  • It’s a safe and controlled way for students to communicate with you through video.
  • You can actually get to know your students a bit better and give them some one to one time.
  • It’s great  to be able to give students speaking homework and for students to see themselves speaking and reflect on their own performance.
  • It’s free and works across platforms (there are apps for both Android and iOS).
  • It offers teachers the opportunity to make some money from their work.
I hope you find Recap useful to help develop your students’ ability to reflect and your own ability to develop a closer understanding of your students’ needs and abilities.

You can find lots more video based apps and activities in my award winning ebook - Digital Video - A Manual for Language Teachers.

Related links:

Nik Peachey

Friday 21 April 2017

5 Free Edtech and ELT eBooks

This is just a quick post to share 5 very short ebooks that have been taken from my award winning ebook - Digital Video - A Manual for Language Teachers.

Winner of the 2016 British Council Award for Innovation in Teacher Resources

The ebooks come from chapter 9 of the manual which contains 12 more entries like these. As well as the explainer text, which shows you how to use the tools and gives suggestions for tasks you can do in your classroom, each ebook also has a video tutorial.

Each ebook is available either as PDF from Payhip or from the iBooks Store. I hope you enjoy these free ebooks and find them useful.

Digital Classrooms - TedEd

TED Ed is a great tool for creating online lessons around videos. It enables you to structure a sequence of interactive activities around the video clip that guides the viewer towards a deeper understanding of the content. It’s an ideal tool for building blended learning.

Digital Classrooms - MoveNote

MoveNote is a great tool for getting your presentations online. It enables you to add a talking head with voiceover to guide your students through the materials. These can be embedded into online courses or webpages. It’s ideal for creating flipped learning.

Digital Classrooms - MailVu

MailVu is a great tool for creating asynchronous interaction in either an online course or as part of a blended learning unit of work. It enables asynchronous interaction with just a web-browser and a webcam or there is a free mobile app that runs on most platforms.

 Digital Classrooms - VideoNotes is a great tool for building your students’ digital literacies and their abilities to use video to study online. It enables students to take time stamped notes while they watch video content and save them alongside the video file.

Digital Classrooms - Wideo

Wideo is a great tool for creating simple animated movies. It enables you to create a range of teaching materials that explain simple theories. It’s also easy enough to use to get students creating their own animations.

I hope you enjoy these ebooks and find them useful. If you like them then please check out more of my ebooks at: and sign up for my Edtech & ELT enewsletter to be kept up to date on all that's new in digital learning.

Related links


Nik Peachey

Tuesday 11 April 2017

12 Tips for training older teachers to use technology

There is an assumption that persists in the educational community that more mature teachers are much more difficult and reluctant to be trained on the effective use of educational technology. To some degree, I think this assumption has been built on by the digital native vs digital immigrant myth. But as someone who has trained teachers of all ages all over the world I would say that, from my own experience, this hasn’t been the case.

What I have found to be the case is that more mature teachers are:
  • Less likely to lured by the shiny hardware and the seemingly wonderful claims made to go along with it.
  • More critical and sceptical about the way technology is used in the classroom.
  • Less confident when using various apps and websites and less likely to explore the different features.
  • More easily discouraged by failures.
  • Less familiar with various tools, applications and services that have become part of every-day life for younger users.
  • More likely to be able to see through “technology for technology’s sake” classroom applications.

So how should trainers approach the challenges of working with these teachers? Here are a few tips from my own experience of training older teachers to use technology.

Be sure of your ground pedagogically

So many edtech trainers are great with technology, but much less versed in educational theory and pedagogy. More mature teachers are more likely to have a stronger theoretical understanding, so be prepared to back up your ideas with sound pedagogical insights and try to relate your training back to theories of learning and pedagogical approaches.

Make sure training is hands on

Running through a list of tools and ideas in a presentation may have some value, but it doesn’t come anywhere close to the impact of giving teachers hands-on experience and the chance to actually work with the tech to create something.

Here is a collection of some of the activities I've used in my training sessions: 20 Tech Enhanced Activities for the Language Classroom

Give solid examples of what you have done

Being able to speak from experience about how you have used tech with your own students will have far more impact than theoretical applications of “You could do blah blah blah with your students.” Sharing anecdotes of how you have used technology in your own classes, the challenges you have faced and how you have overcome or even been overcome by them can really lend credibility to your training.

Manage expectations

A positive attitude is great, but be prepared to also point out weaknesses, potential pitfalls and talk about your own failures. This might help your trainees avoid the same mistakes and stop them from becoming disillusioned.

Make time to experiment and explore

Don’t be tempted to cram in as many tools, techniques and activities as possible. Incorporate project time into your training so that teachers have the chance to go away and explore the things that interest them most and get their own perspective on how they can use them with students.

Back up technical training

Learning to use new tools is getting easier all the time, especially on mobile, but it’s still quite easy for teachers to forget which button to press or which link to follow. So back up any demonstrations with either an illustrated step-by-step guide or a video tutorial that teachers can come back to later.

Make their lives easier

Using technologies that can make what they already do a bit easier or a bit quicker is a great way to start. For example, I have a link to a tool that really quickly creates a cloze test activity. Sharing tools like this that start from what teachers already do can really help to get them on your side.

Do things that can’t be done

One of the most common remarks made by more mature teachers about technology is: “Well that’s fine, but you can do that without tech by …” If you can show examples of technology use that go beyond what is already possible in the classroom, then you are much more likely to get capture their enthusiasm. One example of this is the use of collaborative writing tools like PrimaryPad and its ability to track, record and show how students constructed text.

Solve classroom problems

Being able to spot a genuine classroom problem and show how technology can solve it can be very persuasive. One example of this is gist reading which can be very challenging to teach because students tend to ignore time limits. I show how using a free digital cue prompter can give teachers control of the text and push students to gist read at the speed the teacher chooses. Problem solved.

Plan with long term and short term goals

However inspiring your training session is, and however short or long it is, you should make sure that teachers leave it with a plan. SMART plans are great if you have time to work on them with the teachers. If you don’t have time to get them to create individual SMART plans, at least get them to think about the first step or the first technology application they will try in their classroom and what they will do with it.

Tech can be implemented in CPD

One of the reasons many mature teachers feel less confident with tech is because they often only use it in the classroom. Showing how technology can become part of their own self-guided CPD and professional practice, and helping them to build their PLN can really help to energise their technology use and make their development much more autonomous and long lasting.

Make sure everything works

I can’t emphasise this enough. Make sure you have updated all your plugins, browser versions, etc,and check the network and connectivity and make sure everything runs smoothly. Nothing puts teachers off more quickly than seeing the trainer fail.

Having read this list of tips you are likely to be thinking: “But all technology training should be like that!” Yes, you are right it should, but the truth is we are more likely to be able to get away with lower standards when working with teachers who are already more enthusiastic about tech. So the next time you walk into a training room and see a number of older teachers there, don’t groan with disappointment, but welcome the opportunity to test your skills and understanding with the most critical audience. If you can send them away motivated to use technology then you know you are on the right track.

This article was first published at:

Related reading

Nik Peachey 

Monday 2 January 2017

Digital Tools for Teachers

Over the last few months I have been working on a new book project and finally have it completed.

The new book is Digital Tools for Teachers.

Digital Tools for Teacher Cover

This book has been written and designed primarily with English language teachers in mind though the majority of the resources and tools contained in the book will have much wider use than just language teaching.

The book is available at the introductory price of £1.99 from:

The book contains more than 70 tools and resources and these have been hand picked because they represent a broad cross-section of what is at present available.
The chapters of the book are divided into simple pedagogical tasks that most teachers need to carry out or help their students with and the descriptions of the resources are suitably concise to make the book easy for a stressed teacher to access and browse in a few spare moments between classes.

The sites, apps and resources within the book have been divided into the following chapters:
  • Reading Tools
  •  Writing Tools
  •  Speaking Tools
  •  Listening Tools
  •  Grammar Tools
  •  Presentation Tools
  •  Poll & Survey Tools
  •  Infographic Tools
  •  Course Creation Tools
You can download the first two chapters free here:  Digital Tools for Teachers

At present each chapter contains between 5 – 10 different sites that have been selected to help you make a quick choice of the tools you need.

All of the tools and resources selected for the book are either free or have a useable permanent freemium offering, so you will never be forced to pay for any of these resources in order to sustain the work you are doing with your students.

Over the coming years it is my intention to regularly review and expand on the contents of this book. If you would like to be involved and assist in this process you can do so by:
  •  Suggesting tools to be included in future editions
  •  Writing an entry about a tool you have used and found useful
  •  Reporting a dead link or a tool or resource that has become commercially unviable for teachers
  •  Reporting a typo or factual error.
Anyone who contributes in any of the ways above will get a brief mention in the next edition of the book along with a link to their own blog or website.

Related links


Nik Peachey

My eBooks and Lesson Plans