Monday 27 January 2014

Top 10 Tools for Creating Teaching Materials

UPDATE: Featured blog of the month!!  
I am very proud to announce that this post has been awarded the 'Blog Award for Innovative Teaching Ideas' by Teaching English British Council.

I am absolutely over the moon!  I would like to take this opportunity to thank Teaching English  for all their support and thank everyone who voted :-)

This week I set out on a mission to find some quick and easy ways to create interesting teaching materials.

Multisensory Materials:

When planning a lesson I always take into consideration the fact that students process information in different ways, so I need to use a variety of instructional approaches to reach all of them.  Some students are visual learners, they need materials that contain pictures, videos and diagrams.  Other students are auditory learners they benefit from the use of music, discussions and recordings.  There are also the kinesthetic learners, they learn by 'doing', so activities that involve movement are necessary; using games, acting out expressions and allowing students to create their own quizzes/presentations can be beneficial.  

In this post I will 'put forward' some free and easy ideas on how to create original teaching materials: 

I have used a selection of 8 phrasal verbs with the verb PUT in order to demonstrate how the tools that I have discovered can be used to create original, multisensory materials and activities. 

1. Exam time mind maps: 

Very user-friendly, excellent for creating visual materials for visual learners. 
Free and easy to use. Creates modern colourful mind maps.

You have to sign up to use it, but it only takes a minute.

2. examtime Quizzes:

A very quick and easy way of creating original interactive quizzes. You can try the multiple choice quiz that I created below.

Free and user-friendly. You can embed your interactive quiz on your website or blog. 
You have to be signed in to 'examtime' to be able to see your final score at the end of the quiz.

by emma_segev

3. eltpics photos for teachers: 

The website explains exactly how it all works, but basically, eltpics offers photos, free from copyright for non-commercial use by teachers.  You can view the sets of photos here .  In point 4 you will see how I used photos from eltpics to present different PUT phrasal verbs in a PowerPoint presentation. 

Free and easy. You can also join their Facebook group and send your own pictures to add to their sets.  
The only disadvantage is that you have to add image attribution to each photo, but that only takes a minute. I think in future I will add the attribution as text to the picture, then you can reuse the photo without having to copy/paste the attribution to every document.

4. Author Stream PowerPoint converter: 

Author Stream is a great tool for sharing your PowerPoint presentations on the web. You simply upload your presentation and it converts it to a file that can be shared or embedded. Presentations are great tools for teaching.  

Free and easy to add PowerPoint presentations to any website or blog.   
You do need to sign up, but it only takes a minute. I only tried this once, but I've just discovered that during the conversion process all the punctuation and speech marks are in the wrong place. 

PUT phrasal verbs

More PowerPoint presentations from Emma Segev

* Note: In this presentation, I used pictures from the eltpics website and word clouds from Wordle.

5. Present.Me A video presenting platform:

An incredible platform!  You simply upload a PowerPoint presentation and then you choose whether you'd like to add video or audio to accompany your presentation slides. There are so many possibilities for creating original materials depending on your teaching style and you could certainly get your students to create presentations in this way too. Click the link below to view my first attempt at adding audio to a PowerPoint presentation:

Free and easy to use and great fun. Endless ways of using this to create lessons online and in the classroom.  
You do need to sign up, but it only takes a minute. Unfortunately, you cannot embed a presentation on your blog or website.

6. Blabberize Animates any image with a moving mouth and audio.

I really like using quotes in my lessons and this is such a fun way of bringing a quote to life.  You upload a picture and then record audio. The mouth of the picture moves in time with the audio.  I used a quote by Thomas Jefferson "Never put off until tomorrow, what you can do today":

Quick, free, easy and so much fun.  Students will love creating their own.   
You do need to sign up, but it only takes a minute. It took me a few attempts to get the mouth in the correct position.


7. Tagxedo Creates beautiful word clouds.

I used this wikihow webpage to get me started and then had difficulty stopping. It's very user-friendly, fun and quickly creates beautiful word clouds.

Quick, free, easy and so much fun.  
No disadvantages, apart from that it's addictive.

8. Creates interactive infographics

I used a simple chart to demonstrate the vocabulary.  When you move the mouse over each word, an information box opens with a synonym or explanation.  You can also add photos and videos.  

Creates very professional, interactive infographics that can be added to blogs and web pages for free.  
You do have to sign up, but it only takes a minute.  

9. Animoto Creates videos with photos, music and text.

In just a few minutes you can create a short video with a number of images, add text and music and then combine them in the style of your choice. The free version only allows you to create a 30-second video, but the results are fast and impressive. 

Creates great videos for transmitting information.  It's so fast and easy to use. You can embed the videos directly into your blog or webpage and use a number of different options to share.  
The free videos are very short.


10. Piktochart Creates quick and impressive infographics.

It's quick, easy and I love the results. It's very user-friendly, you can create detailed infographics in 30 minutes. I will definitely be using this tool again.

Creates very professional, modern looking infographics that can be saved as JPG's and added to blogs or web pages for free.  
I haven't found any yet.

Any comments, feedback or recommendations would be greatly appreciated.  If you are a Google+ member please comment below.  If you're on Facebook please message me there and of course, you can always send me an email:

Thanks and I hope you found this post helpful :-)

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