5 Great YouTube Channels for Learning English

September 2 , 2015
Youtube is undoubtedly a great source of educational content to use in class with your students. It also hosts tons of channels that provide instructional tutorials specifically tailored for different learning needs and styles. We have already reviewed some of these channels in previous posts and today we are sharing with you some of our favourite YouTube channels for learning English. You can use them with your ELL/ESL/EFL students to enhance their grasp of English in different areas: speaking, writing, listening , vocabulary, and  grammar.

1- BBC Learning English

‘Do you want to learn how to speak English? Then join us here on YouTube for great grammar, drama, news, study, pronunciation, vocabulary, music, interviews and celebrity videos. Everyday we have a new video to help you with English. We also produce regular 'extra' videos across the week so come back every day to see what's new.’

2- Learn American English Online

This is another great YouTube channel that provides free English language instruction. It covers a wide variety of linguistic features with more focus on grammar.

3- Speak English with Misterduncan

Misterduncan is an English teacher who has been creating video tutorials and instructional clips to help learners from all around the world learn English.

4- Learn English with Let's Talk 

Let's Talk is a convenient way to learn English that combines audio and Video lessons. Our mission is simple: to make learning easier by taking advantage of modern pedagogical principles and the latest web technologies.

5- Jennifer ESL

‘Whether you're currently enrolled in a language program or not, take advantage of free online instruction from an experienced teacher. The lessons will introduce new content to some and serve as a review for others’.

6 New Google Drive Features Every Teacher Should Know About

September 2 , 2015
Google released today a bunch of powerful new updates to Drive and Classroom. We have gone through these new features and created the overview below. We will also cover some of these features in separate posts to show teachers how they can use them in class. Stay tuned.

Voice Typing
Voice Typing is a speech to text feature in Google Docs that allows you to record your ideas or an entire essay without having to touch your keyboard. This functionality supports over 40 languages and can be activated from the Tools menu when using Docs in Chrome. Watch the video below to see Voice Typing in action

See New Changes
This a wonderful collaborative feature that allows you to see all the new changes added to  the Doc you are working on with your peers. You simply click on ‘ See New Changes’ and you will be able to access all the modifications added to your document.

New Forms Layouts
Google Forms has a major facelift with the introduction of colourful new themes. You can even create your own customized form using your own photo or logo. New forms lets you easily insert images and videos and include a variety of questions formats.

New templates for Docs, Sheets and Slides
Google released a new collection of templates in Docs, Sheets and Slides. You can choose from reports, portfolios, resumes and many more.

Explore in Sheets
This new feature ‘creates charts and insights automatically, so you can visualize trends and understand your data in seconds on the web or on your Android.’

Share to Classroom Chrome extension
This new feature ‘make it easy for teachers to share a website with the entire class at the same time—no matter what kind of laptop students have. Now the whole class can head to a web page together, without losing precious minutes and focus to typos.’ Watch the video below to learn more about this extension:

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8 Great Android Apps to Unleash Kids Creativity

September 1, 2015
Below is a collection of some excellent Android apps to unleash kids creativity and expand their imaginative  powers. These apps are all featured in Google Play’s top free and paid  creativity apps. They range from drawing apps to game editors where kids can build their own games and explore 3D simulations.

1- SketchBook - draw and paint

‘Autodesk SketchBook is an intuitive painting and drawing application designed for people of all skill levels, who love to draw. We reimagined the paint engine, so SketchBook delivers more fluid pencils and natural painting than ever before, all while keeping the interface clean and simple. With SketchBook, capture everything from your smallest doodles to your biggest ideas, all in one place, no matter where you are.’

2- Stop-Motion Movie Creator

‘The Minecraft Stop-Motion Movie Creator app makes it easy to produce your own stop-motion movies starring your favorite Minecraft Mini-Figures. In just a few simple steps, you’ll be bringing Steve, Creepers and other Minecraft characters to life!’

3- Scratch Draw Art Game

‘A scratch drawing game for scratch artists of all ages. Fun for little artists too! With more than 350 backgrounds to let your imagination run wild!’

4- Book Creator

‘Use Book Creator to create a personalised story for your child, or arrange family pictures and art into a beautiful eBook. Then pass your tablet to your child and watch their imagination run free!’

5- Minecraft: Pocket Edition

‘Minecraft is about placing blocks to build things and going on adventures. Pocket Edition includes Survival and Creative modes, multiplayer over a local Wi-Fi network, infinite worlds, caves, new biomes, mobs, villages and lots more. Craft, create and explore anywhere in the world so long as you have hands spare and battery to burn.’

6- Toca Builders

‘This creative building game for kids allows you to make a whole new world in one fun app!
If you can imagine it you can build it with the six Toca Builders!Join your new Toca Builders friends on an island far away and create a whole new world with blocks. Jump, walk, roll and rotate the builders to use their unique skills, and they will help to build whatever you can imagine!’

7- Exploration Lite

‘Build your own base, mine, castle or whatever you imagine! Exploration is a game - editor which allows you moving, building and transforming the terrain in the 3D environment.’

8- Peppa's Paintbox

‘Peppa's Paintbox is a drawing application designed specially for Peppa fans! It brings together traditional drawing tools and some magical surprises that little ones will love. You can draw straight onto canvas or choose a background or character to colour in. Peppa and George will pop in from time to time to see how you are getting on and once you are done drawing, you can have your very own exhibition at Peppa's school!’

Interactive Mini-quizzes and Tutorials to Teach Students Coding

September 1, 2015
Besides the various coding apps and tools we have shared here in the past few months, today we are featuring another two important iPad coding apps that have recently made the news in the EdTech world. The apps are ideal to use with your students to introduce them to the world of programming and coding through the use of interactive tutorials and engaging mini-quizzes. Both of these apps are free to install and the introductory tutorials are also free but to unlock other content you will have to do an in-app purchase.

1- Swifty

Swifty provides over 200 simple interactive tutorials to help you learn everything you need to start programming. The tutorials range from the basics, and advances topics like classes, optionals and tuples. The first chapter is free. Unlock all others with a single in-app purchase! Once purchased, you'll be eligible for all future additions and updates. Pretty sweet, huh?

2- Lrn

Len is an iPad app that teaches you coding through interactive min-quizzes.  It offers over 50 free mini-quizzes and another 120+ mini-quizzes can be unlocked in the app. ‘You will gain an understanding of how to read, write and speak the language of programming. No experience, internet or keyboard necessary. It is time to become fluent in code!’

One of The Best Apps to Use in Class to Annotate PDFs and Pictures

September1, 2015
Skitch is one of our favourite apps for annotating pictures and marking up PDFs . It is also one of the apps that have made it into our  last year’s ‘Top Educational Apps for A New iPad’. Skitch allows you to easily capture your screen and share it with others. You can also use it to annotate images and PDFs by adding shapes, arrows, stamps, text and many more.

As a teacher, you can use Skitch for a variety of purposes. You can, for instance, use it to mark up a PDF document and highlight important parts you want your students to focus on. You can also use it to create annotated visuals to include in your instructional tutorials. Skitch is also a great tool to use to give feedback and share ideas with students.

Skitch is free of charge. However, the PDF Markup feature requires an 'Evernote Premium account. Also, an  Evernote account is required to save to Evernote. All other capturing, mark up and saving and sharing functions are free and do not require an Evernote account.'

Skitch is available for Mac, Windows, Android, and iOS  device

Watch the video below from Gresham Brown to learn more about how to use Skitch in your classroom.

A List of Some Good Teacher-tested Tools to Try in Your Class

August 31, 2015
More back-to-school goodies. This time a collection of some interesting educational platforms to try with your students in class. These resources, curated by edshelf, are teacher-tested and can help you a great deal in your instruction. Check them out and share with your colleagues. Enjoy

Standards-aligned engineering lessons and activities.
Standards-aligned science lessons and activities.
iPad app for creating interactive project-based assignments.
 Multi-platform system for managing your classroom, lessons, and students.

Want more? Check out these shelves of tools .

Tools and Resources I Use 
This is curated by special education teacher Kathryn Oleszkowicz.
This one is  curated by assistant principal Stephanie Bonneau.

- Mike Lee, Co-founder of edshelf

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