Guide to digital tools

Nik Peachey has done a huge amount of work in recent years on developing ideas for using digital technology in language learning.

This introduction to some tools is well worth having a look at. Find the ebook on

Here is a short video showing the book overview:


Creating dynamic learning materials

The range of possibilities for creating learning materials online that are interesting, motivating and accessible, keeps changing as more ideas and technologies are harnessed for education. You might be interested in ways to create infographics and animated images – so have a look at

Nik Peachey has give an introduction to what you might do with

Adding embedded photos and videos from YouTube

When you want to add photos or videos to your blog, you can do that in two ways:

  • upload the media to the blog storage section (in “admin” go to the media library and follow the link to upload)
  • embed a link from another site.

The first possibility is easy and quick if you have a small file size, but if you upload too many files or if they are large files (e.g. videos) then you will run out of free storage on your blog!

If you want to use a video (with permission) from YouTube, it is easy to link to that. First go to the YouTube video site and then copy the URL. Go back to your blog, and start a new post or page; where you want to add the video you can go to “add media” and then find the space to post the URL.

This is a video from YouTube

You can also embed – e.g. photos that are on flickr. Go to the host site (flickr in this instance) and find the media; find the link to “share” and then “embed”. You will be given a code that you should copy. Now, on your blog change the editor from “visual” to “text/html”. Paste the code and return to “visual”. Save your post/page, and the embedded media should show.

Here’s an example of an embedded photo:

This is what Edinburgh looks like from Fife

sunrise to edinburgh

videos on blogs

Ever thought about doing a video to post on a blog? It was quite trendy a few years ago to creat “podcasts” – regular audio clips about a topic. There are still some good ones out there (I have a look every so often at Stephen Fry )

Here’s a You-Tube video made by Scott Thornbury. It’s part of his alphabet of EFL idea – focussing on the letter “p” he has decided to talk about the PPP model. I think it’s really interesting to see someone like Scott and have him talking directly about a topic, although I wonder if he could have varied his approach or maybe added a different background at some point?

If you want to embed a video from YouTube in a blog post, here’s the way to do it in WordPress (it will be similar in other blog hosting sites):

  • first, get the URL (the web address) from the YouTube site; copy it onto the clipboard (highlight the whole address; on a PC hold the Ctrl + C keys)
  • start a new blog post in your blog
  • make sure the cursor (the mouse on the screen) is at the place in the blog post where you want to post the video
  • click the small icon in the editing screen next to upload/insert – choos the one for “video”
  • you will get a window with instructions; follow the link for embedding a Youtube video
  • finish editing your post and save – the video will not appear in the editing screen but will appear when you look at the saved blog post in the blog

Starting to use blogs

With a new course, we are starting to use blogs – although for the first year qutie a few people have already got blogs up and running and have been using them for some time. It will be interesting to see what they use them for, and why they would decide to create a new one (or not).

Once you’ve created a blog, the next difficult bit is deciding what to write in your blog. Before doing that, it’s probably quite good to have a browse and see what other people are doing. Then when you find a blog you like, you can keep a note of it on your own blog so that you can visit it again easily. That’s what I’m doing now with the new blogs you are creating.

To do this, you need to open the dashboard or admin area of your blog. There should be a link to “links”; click on that. Then you will see a new page on which you can type the name of the link (you can do whatever you want) then paste the URL. On this blog, I also created a new category to help to keep the blog in order. I called this “blogroll 2010-11”. In the new link for someone’s blog on my blog, I made it fit the category “blogroll 2010-11” by clicking on that category name.

Are these instructions clear? Please leave a comment …