Planning lesson by gathering Youtube videos

There are various teaching videos on Youtube which you can use for your lesson plan. But you may find it annoying to continuously switch windows from Youtube, your powerpoint or word processor. The good news is, there is a website called (see the link: turn any video from YouTube into a complete lesson byadding context, objectives, questions, extended notes and resources links or discussion topics. Besides each video clip, there are four main sections “watch, think, dig deeper, discuss”. This will really engage students in the lesson being delivered by the video clip. 

Ted has been going since 1984, it originally was a conference gathering greatest thinkers of technology, entertainment and design. Now, as the education initiative,  Ted has been the synonymousness of minded expanding lectures. 

Apart from using Ted to plan the lesson, Ted can also be viewed by students. Anyone can access, flip and enjoy the lesson already posted by the community. And the lessons are updated daily. 


Using technology to translate

Normally, the online translate tool being mainly used would be Google translate.  Its fast and convenient and contains vast number of languages. However, if you ever used it, you may find out that the translated script may not be 100% correct, even hard to be understood. Because sometimes Google translate only translates word by word without correct pattern and grammar. As a result, you might need to guess the meaning and even misunderstand them.

The BBC program CLICK (see the link: ) had showed a simple demonstration that one Turkish speaker and one Italian speaker used Google translate app and itranslate app to try to have a conversation. Firstly, the speakers would speak. The results showed that sometimes the translated English had been added some unintended content which was quite confusing and the speaker had to paraphrase and say it again. So the conversation did not go as smoothly as hoped.

Secondly, when they typed they got a better result. So “it is something the web is doing far better when written down than when spoken. ”

Shalmon Lappin, Professor of computational linguistics at King’s College of London explains that for the computer translate system, it is even really difficult to recognise the voice. So does translating only according  to sound.

It is important to learn the pattern of a new language, not just the words and phrases. So when we start translating, we d better know some basic rules of language first.  Some player like google and bing, they are looking at the whole internet. The translation database has millions of documents had already been translated  by human into different languages.The computer will spot the patterns that how languages work and how they related and connected. The more patterns we know, the more accurate we can translate.

Letter writing template online

If you are a non-native speaker, you might have the concern that whether your letter is formal enough, especially the complain letter. You might not be familiar with the opening, the ending or the format. But no worries, here are hundreds of thousands letter template online.

I found some useful resources when I tried learning to write a complain letter to bills company or train company. For instance, a website called citizen advice bureau provides several different kinds of sample letters, such as: consumer, debt and money, and work. Each kind of letter has the specific name as well as its descriptions, you will easily find what you want (see the link below):

Not only the letter template, this website also guides you write your own. In detail, there are four steps for each kind of letter. First is the introduction, which introduces the specifications of each letter and show you what a sample letter is like. Next, you will start writing letter. Dont worry, you dont need to start all on your own, the website will finish the format automatically, all you need to do is just fill in the gaps. Lets say, if you are writing a letter about problem with goods bought with a hire purchase agreement, what you need to do is just fill in your name, your address, trader’s name, trader’s address, account number, date of agreement, what you bought, name of supplier and problem and history. After filling in all above, the website will automatically finish the letter. Of course you can preview, edit and download at the end. Easy huh?

Apart from complain letter, if you are an international students and you want to invite your family or friends to the UK to visit you, you will need to write an invitation letter if they are required to apply for a visitor visa. Just type in “invitation letter visitor visa” on google search, there are quite a few results satisfying your needs:  (see the link below)

To end, dont be afraid if you are not familiar with different kinds of letters which have different functions. Dont forget there is one thing called google research and normally you will find what you need easily. 

Skema-learn to code, learn from peer, and learn to be happy

The BBC propgram CLICK (see the link below) has interviewed the founder of Skema Education, which discovers how children with ADHD or other difficulties can learn to code, teach their peers and learn, importantly, to smile. Rather than being the consumer of technology, the aim of Skema is to enable young people from the age of six to be the creator of technology as well as the facilitator in the process by working with teachers.

Apart from the permanent staff, Skema education also has a few assistant teachers between the age of eight and sixteen, to let students can learn from each other.

Practice first/second conditional by using films


The first conditional refers to present or future time. and talks about situations we think are real or possible.

eg: I will stop if it turns red! / I cant stop now even if it turns red!

The second conditional also talks about the present or future, but talks about situations we think are imaginary or impossible.

eg: If I was rich, I’d have a car like that./ If I were rich, I’d be happier!

If I didn’t have five children, I could afford a car. / I wouldn’t need to use the bus!

Notice that in the second conditional, we use the past tense although we are talking about the present or the future.

There is a demonstration video on Youtube, presented by

 Johnny Grammar | Learn English | British Council

Please click the link:

Now, let’s do more excises!

There are various fantastic short clips on Youtube, the directors might film them for art purpose, but they could be used for English learning as well.

Try this one :




Technology in TEFL

Theme: How would you choose your first laptop?


You are about to go to university and you are desperate to own your very first personal computer-laptop, for either academic or leisure use. Your parents would provide the financial support as they thought this could be a reward of your university offer, so there was no such a strict budget. But they really anticipated seeing you are eligible to choose a multifunctional, price reasonable one. So the first step would be, how do we know those multi functions? What is hardware and what is software? The task you are going to complete today will allow many of you to research the different sorts of laptops, get to know these terminologies and make a decision to pick up the one that suits you the most, by discussing and sharing ideas with classmates. In the end, you are required to conduct a presentation in groups of four and been evaluated by other groups.


  1. By the end of this task, you are anticipated to learn 10 new items of vocabulary which will be checked through your presentation to make sure you understand are able to use them correctly.
  2. By the end of this task, you are anticipated to develop your reading skills through both skimming and scanning massive information from the internet.
  3. By the end of this task, you are anticipated to practice and develop your speaking skills while doing group discussion and conducting presentation.
  4. By the end of this task, you are anticipated to recognise, understand and use the comparatives and superlatives (eg:-er, more/less than, -est terms).


  1. In your first task, you are required to make a survey in class to gather your classmates’ ideas about their anticipations and needs for laptop and then search online for laptop’s specifications from different manufactures’ websites.
  2. In your second task, you are required to work in groups of four to discuss both of your class survey and internet research results and then agree to choose the most suitable laptop of your group. Justify your decision by critically evaluating both resources.
  3. In your final assessment task, you are required to do a group presentation (the same group as when doing discussion) to demonstrate your choice: the most suitable laptop and explain why and how you would choose it by illustrating those specifications. The presentation will be evaluated by other groups. Afterwards submit a group report about your choice of laptop based on both survey and internet searching results to your teacher.


  1. Survey.

You will make a survey in class to gather your classmates’ ideas about their anticipations and needs for laptop, so follow the instructions:

a. Work in groups of three to find out the definitions of the following 10 items of vocabulary by using the links:





5.Hard drive

6.Video Card

7.Optical drive


9.Primary battery

10.Warranty  Use this link to figure out the correct definitions of these terminologies  Use this link to get more detailed images in case you find it hard to understand by only word explanation

b. Work with your two partners and list 5 questions that you are going to use in    your survey to find out your other classmates’ needs of laptop.

c. Walk around in classroom to ask and answer questions with other groups. You will start your internet research after interviewing two or three groups.

2. Internet research

According to your class survey research results, you are going to find out the specifications of different brands’ laptops by visiting different manufacturer’s websites. The links are shown below:|semd|se|google|lenovoukdirect|z1D630|s

3. Critical evaluation

Once you have finished online searching, compare your class survey results and online research results and discuss in groups of four. Try to choose the most suitable laptop by evaluating both search results.

4.Group Presentation

a. Preparing presentation

Work in groups of four to prepare your presentation: choosing your first laptop and to present in class to explain why and how you would choose it by illustrating those specifications. You are required to use PowerPoint when presenting your ideas. By learning from a teaching video, you will use the comparatives and superlatives (eg:-er, more/less than, -est terms) as follows:

-small, smaller, the smallest

-big, bigger, the biggest

-beautiful, more (less) beautiful than, the most beautiful

-expensive, more (less) expensive than, the most expensive

-good (well), better, best

-bad (badly), worse, worst

-effectively, more (less) effectively than, the most effectively

-as fast as

-as well as

-as clever as

-as lucky as

-not so happy as

-as much as

-…….buy a more expensive one…….

-…….owns a bigger one……

-…….have the best…….

-…….worked much harder than……..

-……..doing well, although….. doing better

-……..worked more efficiently

-……..was as clever as…….

-………was not as lucky as……

-……..was not so happy as……

-………did twice as much as…… this is the video from which you could learn to use the comparatives and superlatives.

b. Group evaluation

After finishing the presentation, your group will be evaluated by other classmates. The students’ evaluation will be according to the following rubric:


The rubric is taken from: Manchester Metropolitan University. BALP programme, languages department.

5. Group Report

Finally you are required to write up and submit your group report regarding your choice of laptop based on both your class survey and online research results. You are required to use Microsoft Word. The report will be assessed by your teacher according to the following rubric:


6. Role play

If time allowed, work in pairs under a scenario in which one of you will act out as a customer who wants to buy a laptop and the other one will act out as a salesman who tries to introduce the specifications of different laptops and persuade you to buy one.

7. Individual self-evaluation

This is an optional homework. Answer the following questions by using Microsoft Word and email to your teacher:

  1. What did you learn about the topic?
  2. Have you been familiar with those new vocabularies through online searching?
  3. Have you managed to use those phrases by learning from teaching video and utilizing in both presentation and report?
  4. What did you learn about the class survey and internet research?
  5. How would you think of this web quest?