Transforming teaching and learning for the 21st Century

Tools to engage students and teachers

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I’m finally back after an extended Christmas break. I would feel guilty about being neglectful (especially after all my good intentions) if I didn’t have a really good reason for my absence over the past few weeks…bett2017

I’ve been working on an exciting new project to help develop and accelerate learners’ speech and language skills in L2 with @hellochatta and was lucky enough to get invited to #Bett2017 to present it.  

Apart from meeting lots of amazing people involved in education and bumping into a few old faces (very small world,) I picked up some interesting ideas and learnt about some great tools to engage and inspire my students.  

There was so much going on, it was impossible to see everything, however these are some of the things that caught my eye over the four days:

Top of the list is Explain Everything.  This is a tool which has been on my “to try” list for a long time… After seeing it in action at the Bett show however, I will definitely be giving it some class time.  

A design, screencasting, and interactive whiteboard tool with real-time collaboration, you can animate, record, annotate and collaborate.  There are a bank of resources you can access for inspiration…Looks great!

On the Norwegian classroom stand, I found Creaza and Kahoot.  Kahoot, I had already heard of too but haven’t tried out yet .  “Kahoots” are fun learning games based on multiple-choice questions to which you can add images and video to make it more engaging. Students don’t need an account but they do need a pc or mobile device to answer the questions on.  If you’re short of time, you can access lots of ready-made Kahoots on the website.  Looks like a good revision tool.  

I have never heard of Creaza on the other hand.  It consists of four different tools for creating mind maps, presentations, cartoons comic strips, movies and audio productions.  It is web-based and can be used for teaching any subject or topic.  It does come at a price however, although you can sign up for a free trial.

Lesson Up

This is an open, online lesson platform for teachers and students at all levels.  You can create your own lessons or look for lessons which have already been created. Students can join the lesson and answer quizzes and you can see the results in Lesson Up reports.  

Plotagon AB

A storytelling tool to create an animated movie through the act of writing.  You can use on a pc, ios or android device.  There are various pricing options and you can request a free trial.  Looks quite intuitive. There are two versions, Plotagen Story and Plotagen Education.


A platform for creating, sharing and using interactive rubrics to evaluate student work. I’ve tried a few online rubric creators, some better than others. This one looks attractive and simple to use.


Video creation software.  Cloud-based, you can use it on your browser, on ios or android and there are various pricing packages including a free one (although it is quite limiting.)  I have noticed that some of my students have opted for this tool when making videos.


I’m not really a video games kind of girl these days, however a lot of my students (teens) are definitely into them, which is why this caught my eye.  Wibbu is an “educational video-game studio” who claim to be “attempting to modernise foreign language-learning”   They are launching a new game Ruby Rei in March.

Wibbu has taken the journey of the language learner as a force for good in the world, and blown it up on a galactic scale! In Ruby Rei, players guide the eponymous Ruby as she travels across an unknown world, trying to get home. As a character, Ruby embodies all of the things it takes to be successful in learning a new language; she is fearless, adventurous, curious, excitable, and ready for a challenge. Ruby wants to make new friends, explore new cultures, and find new and exciting ways to express herself. (

Looks like it could be interesting for the gamers/language learners out there…

Innovate my school

And lastly, not related specifically to EFL, but nevertheless, looks an interesting place to find the latest ideas and trends in education.  You are invited to join the community (which I have just done) and share your best ideas and practices. There are lots of great articles offering tips and advice on a variety of subjects related to education

Well that’s about all folks.  There was so much more stuff to explore and discover and interesting talks by people making a difference in education, I just didn’t have the time… I thoroughly recommend going to the Bett Show in 2018 if you get the chance (but put on your hiking shoes, it’s huge!)  

Happy belated New Year to you all, here’s hoping it’s full of great teaching and learning!

Author: lisajwood

I am an English language coach and Neurolanguage Coach® I current teach adolescents and adults. My areas of interest include brain-friendly learning, flipped learning, student-centred learning and promoting lifelong learning skills. I am also a keen advocate of using new technologies to facilitate the learning process.

One thought on “Tools to engage students and teachers

  1. Cheers! Loads of stuff to try out!

    Liked by 1 person

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