Since I moved my teaching entirely online, I have been experimenting with different online tools and websites to see if I can find something to use on a regular basis. Wordwall (great but most of my students said they needed a printable copy to revise at home), Baamboozle (love it!), WheelDecide (one of my most used tools), Jamboard (kind of a free alternative to Wordwall), Padlet (good for webinars)… And obviously, I have also tried various resources that provide lesson plans and online exercises based on authentic videos – a great way to save time on adapting YouTube videos if you are a very busy teacher (which I sometimes am).
This lesson is based on one of the videos I found on the Sensations English website. What I especially like about this resource is that each video comes in 5 levels and can therefore be used with many students at once as long as you differentiate the tasks. I used it with my B1+ student (I went for the B2 version of the video to add a bit of a challenge) and it turned out to be a really nice and engaging lesson, so I hope your students enjoy it too if you decide to give it a go.
As someone who teaches pronunciation on a regular basis and prefers to do it with authentic materials, I have to edit tons of audio and video files. So here’s my selection of the best tools you can use for editing audio and video.
There are many online tools similar to this one, but mp3-cut.net is my ultimate favourite. It allows to trim your audio as precisely as possible by adjusting the start and end time manually. Pay attention to the last number: it’s deciseconds, guys, and it’s amazing. You can also fade in or fade out your audio. Finally, you can change the speed, volume and pitch of the audio. For more advanced users, there’s an equalizer function, too.
This tool is provided by the same platform as the previous one and has similar functionality. Before joining the audio files, you can trim them if necessary as well as fade in / out or crossfade them. Another good thing is that you can choose the format for your output audio file.
If you need more format choices, you can use this audio joiner tool instead but keep in mind that it doesn’t have the trimming function.
3. Voice Recorder
There’re various options available here. I know many teachers use Vocaroo, and it’s a good one with basic functions like retry recording, remove background noise and auto-adjust volume.
This voice recorder has a nice add-on: you can trim your recording if, for example, there’s a long pause at the beginning.
However, if you want to have some fun, go for this one. It allows you to modify your voice to sound like a man (if you’re a woman), a robot, or even a space squirrel.
If you already have a video and need to trim it, this is the best tool you can find. The functionality is impressive (for a basic user, of course): manual input for start and end time; rotation, speed and volume change; and other functions like cropping and looping your video.
Another great way to use this tool is when you do decoding practice with your students. By adjusting start and end time, you can play and re-play precise bits for your students to listen to be it just one word or a whole phrase (I found it wat easier to use than Aegisub).
Now, this is something I’ve discovered recently, and it’s a real gem. Before, I used to add subtitles manually using a .txt file and time coding (to get precise timings, I was using Tool #4). I then reformatted the .txt file into the .srt one and added it to the video using a corresponding function in the video player. However, this tool allows you to do this much faster. It’s pretty intuitive: you type the phrases in the boxes on the right and then adjust the timing for each box at the bottom. Easy-peasy!
That’s it. I hope this info helps! These tools have made my lesson preparation easier and I can’t see why they can’t do the same for you 🙂
I don’t believe in P.A.R.S.N.I.P.S when it comes to teaching adults. Things are happening in the world, and they’re not always great, so why should we avoid discussing them? That’s why I decided to bring up this topic in class and see where it gets us.