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Updated by skil on Jul 22, 2016
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Curated Digital Library

Garnet Education’s English for Specific Academic Purposes (online resources)

Description

To supplement its series of ESAP textbooks, Garnet has collected a well-curated body of online resources (“unit-related links”) organized by subject of study (e.g. mechanical engineering, environmental science, etc.). For example: http://www.garnetesap.com/elecindex.php

What’s more, Garnet also generously provides links to “professional bodies” of real communities of practice for each subject of study (e.g. “Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers”)

English for Specific Academic Purposes “is an award-winning series of skills-based courses designed to help students enter into English-medium tertiary-level study in a wide range of academic disciplines” Garnet Education.

Confidence Level Rating

Level 2: Pretty confident

Every link is described in terms of its usefulness and application. Links are from reputable sources.

Biographies for the authors of the series are provided, and indicate in depth education and various areas of expertise.

The English for Specific Academic Purposes book series won the The 2009 Duke of Edinburgh ESU English Language Book Award

Usefulness

Finding material that is tailored to specific disciplines is a challenge, so having the resources divided by subject of study is extremely helpful.

However, perhaps the greatest advantage of Garnet’s online resources is its collection of “professional bodies”, which provides students (and teachers) valuable access to real communities of practice, and the opportunity to engage with them directly.

Price: 100% free

The Conversation: In-depth analysis, research, news and ideas from leading academics and researchers.

Description

The Conversation is an independent news site, through which academics and experts work together with news editors to provide “informed news analysis and commentary that’s free to read and republish” (The Conversation). Their slogan is “Academic rigor, journalistic flair”.

Confidence Level

Level 2: Pretty confident

Every article is extensively researched and presented by an expert or academic who is knowledgeable in the field.

“We are a global media resource providing cutting edge ideas and people who know what they are talking about. Search our database of 36,000 experts. Plus, our content is used by 22,000 sites under Creative Commons. Absolutely free. That way, everyone gets better information.” The Conversation.

Usefulness

An ongoing challenge when creating materials for EAP is finding material that is suitably academic without being beyond the understanding of the students (or the teacher!). Semi-authentic?

Price: 100% free

Mind Tools: Online Management, Leadership and Career Training

Description

MindTools is a website that provides a free toolkit of 16 essential skillsets to help achieve career success and happiness.

Each skillset is divided into categories, under which learners can take individual ‘lessons’, where learners can read and engage in interactive activities. For example, a category under “Communication Skills” is “Negotiation, Persuasion, and Influence”.

The site also provides free templates, worksheets, self-assessments, videos, infographics, expert Interviews, forums, hundreds of blog entries, a Career Café, and a smartphone app.

Confidence Level Rating

Level 3: Somewhat confident

The MindTools website does not provide references for its lesson units, but rather appears to be written by experts from the business/corporate world.

Although most of the resources are free, there is an attempt to get the user to upgrade to the premium members only version.

Usefulness

Many students may believe that they are unfit for management level positions, and so should instead ready themselves for a future where they are subservient to some kind of workplace authority. Consequently, the language they (and their teachers) focus on tends to avoid concepts like leadership and team management. If they were to offer more time to exploring those concepts, it wouldn't be the self-fulfilling prophecy it is now.

Price: “Freemium”

EAP Vocabulary Tools

Description

EAP Foundation is a website that provides a variety of practical resources for helping students in EAP programs. In addition to podcasts and blog entries, the website also offers AWL and GSL tools:
Finder: gives detail about a single vocab word
Highlighter: highlight all the AWL or GSL words in a text or website
Tag cloud: similar to Wordle.net
Gapfill: makes a fill-in-the-gap activity

Confidence Level Rating

Level 3: Somewhat credible

The AWL and GSL are well-known in EAP. The website author, Sheldon C H Smith, has written a textbook on EAP.

Usefulness

A major impediment for students learning English, especially academic English, is that they don’t have a wide enough vocabulary for understanding and communicating. Students need multiple opportunities to see and use a word before it becomes familiar enough to recognize and use it themselves. These tools from EAP Foundation are a great complement to a flashcard program like Quizlet.com.

Price: 100% free

Candy: A flexible and visual way to organize the best things from the web.

Description

Candy is a web browser add-on/extension that helps users collect and organize information that you gather while browsing the web. Like a regular bookmarking application, Candy stores the websites that you’ve bookmarked. However, it also allows you to highlight individual blocks of text from the site that you find significant or noteworthy. It then allows you to organize your “candies”, as they are known, into “Storylines” that can be shared with others.

Confidence Level Rating

Level 4: Like it, but has little support

Usefulness

I have only just begun to explore this tool myself, but I am especially fond of its ease of use, its beautiful display options, and the ability to cite others accurately. I can see students using this in their research, and possibly even to build digital stories to share in an online presentation.

Price: “Freemium”

Padlet.com and List.ly are great alternatives.

Piktochart

Description

Piktochart is a web application for making infographics, visual diagrams for explaining data. Rather than presenting a single pie graph or chart, and infographic tends to present a wider range of information, often in a colorful and creative way.

Confidence Level Rating

Level 4: Like it, but has little support

Usefulness

Although I have yet to use Piktochart, I can see students using this program for making infographics much like they would make a poster or slide presentation. The ability to analyze data and explain it in a way that is interesting and meaningful is an important skill that is often overlooked. Multimodal literacy is a 21st century skill that is still excluded from many classroom curricula.

Price: “Freemium”

Canva is great alternative: https://www.canva.com/

Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day...

Description

Larry Ferlazzo is a prolific blogger who reviews websites and technology that help teach/learn language. I have used his blog to read his review of an app or website resource I’m looking at using with my students. While looking into one resource, his blog often sends me off checking out other interesting websites.

Confidence Level Rating

Level 3: Somewhat confident

Over the years, Larry Ferlazzo has garnered a significant reputation as the go-to blogger for all things related to language, education, and technology.

Usefulness

I chose Ferlazzo’s blog because of the wealth of experience he brings to his reviews. Much like how I would read restaurant reviews before spending my time and money on a dinner out, I check Ferlazzo’s blog to know what’s worth my and my students’ time.

Free Tech 4 Teachers is a good alternative: http://www.freetech4teachers.com/

Price: 100% free

Nathan Hall

Description

A TWU MA TESOL grad and all-round nice guy, Nathan Hall -- like Ferlazzo -- provides in-depth reviews of the latest education-related technology. However, he also writes thoughtful commentary on education-related issues, and uploads his presentations from conferences.

Confidence Level Rating

Level 3: Somewhat confident

Nathan is a TWU MA TESOL grad! Along with his regular reviews, he sometimes links theory and concepts from SLA to the products he’s reviewing.

Usefulness

I really like Nathan’s insights into technology: how it’s perceived, how it’s used, and even practical matters, like whether or not a web application requires registration.

Price: 100% free

EdSurge - Product Reviews

Description

EdSurge’s database of product reviews are helpful for finding and choosing the right technology for your group of learners.

EdSurge describes itself as “an independent information resource and community for everyone involved in education technology” EdSurge

According to their About page, EdSurge “report[s] on latest news and trends in the edtech industry to help:

Entrepreneurs who build new products and businesses;
Educators who use these tools;
Investors and others who support companies and schools”.

Confidence Level Rating

Level 4: Like it, but has little support.

EdSurge does provide research, but it is of a non-academic variety, looking more like a report on the marketability of products rather than their educational worth: https://www.edsurge.com/research/.

Usefulness

EdSurge’s product reviews are categorized in a visually intuitive way, making it easy to find what you need. Each product review is broken down into user reviews and defining characteristics. Fun and easy to use.

Price: 100% free

10

Quill

Quill

Description

Quill is an LMS that helps students improve their writing with a handful of online applications that focus on teaching grammar, vocabulary, or proofreading.

The site provides instantaneous feedback to students, while teachers can monitor student progress.

Teachers can customize a syllabus from a library of specially crafted “activity packs”, which can be organized by Common Core standard, school level, or theme.

Confidence Level Rating

Level 2: Pretty confident

Quill is based upon the Common Core, and its creators consulted teachers via websites BetterLesson, ShareMyLesson, and LearnZillion. It currently employs a panel of education advisors, including best-selling author of education-related books, Peg Tyre.

The application is free to use, but there is an effort to make the user upgrade to the premium version.

Usefulness

Quill differs from other online grammar resources in that it places greater focus on the act of writing. Rather than simply clicking the correct answer, Quill requires the learner to re-type the entire sentence in its correct form, and will consider a sentence wrong if it is not 100% accurate. This is important in developing accuracy, which is especially important in the EAP context.

Price: “Freemium”

No Red Ink and Grammar Flip are good alternatives.

Grammarly Plagiarism Checker

Description

Despite its name, Grammarly does more than check for plagiarism. It also highlight errors related to writing issues like grammar, spelling, and word choice. Users paste text into the checker and the application automatically highlights errors and indicates to what degree the text may have been plagiarized. It also provides useful feedback in the form of short explanations.

Confidence Level Rating

Level 4: Like it, but has little support

Grammarly provides a “Grammarly Research” page, which is basically a list of infographics created by Grammarly indicated how credible it is -- but without any references.

The application is free to use, but there is an effort to make the user upgrade to the premium version.

Usefulness

Although teachers might be hesitant about introducing students to an application that points out errors for students (“Hey that’s my job!”), I think Grammarly is exactly the kind of tool for promoting student independence. By highlighting errors, it raises awareness about common mistakes and allows students to notice what they could do better.

Price: “Freemium”

Spell Check Plus is good alternative and doesn’t require signup: http://spellcheckplus.com/

Paper Rater is also a good alternative: http://www.paperrater.com/free_paper_grader

The YUNiversity: A–Z

Description

The YUNiversity is a fun and humorous collection of grammar points that are explained and playfully illustrated with silly animated gifs referencing pop culture, in particular, music, comic books, K-pop idols, and anime. My students love it!

Confidence Level Rating

Level 4: Like it, but has little support.

Not sure where The YUNiversity gets its information, but who cares? It’s fun!

Usefulness

Fun, memorable, free.

Price: 100% free