Tech Tool #1 – Vocaroo

Vocaroo is an audio tool that can be used to create mini recordings which can be downloaded to a computer as an audio file or embeded into web pages, wikis, blogs, etc. No registration is required which means that elementary students can use it without the concern that an account needs to be created. This is a great tool for targeting the proficiency level descriptors of the English Language Profiency Standards (ELPS) or simply for practicing speaking and listening. Of course, teachers should still be cautious about keeping their students’ information confidential and should provide guidelines for their students when posting text, graphics, and audio (e.g. not to post personal information such as full name, school, address, etc.) in order to comply with CIPA (Children’s Internet Protection Act).

Some ways students can use Vocaroo in the classroom are
1) present 30-60-second summary of a story
2) present an audio infomercial of a country or some other topic
3) practice reading sentences to improve fluency
4) practice speaking sentences/phrases in a foreign language

Search Engines for Vocabulary Enhancement

I stumbled across an article entitled, “Broadband, Big Screen! Enlivening English Language Learning.” The article highlights different technology integration strategies used in a fourth grade class. Of the many ideas shared, one stood out above the rest only because it is a tool that I frequently use without realizing the educational advantage. Bob Moore, the teacher featured in the article, gives an example of how his class uses the Google Image Search as a visual dictionary. He asked his students to tell him what a microbe was. When no one answered his question, he instructed his students to find an image of a microbe using the Internet. Immediately his students were able to see and understand what he was talking about.  This is an excellent way to integrate the use of this tool in your classroom.

Technology Tip #3

If you are a user of international symbols for typing in other languages such as Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, etc., you can use keyboard shortcuts to save some time.

é Alt+130 á Alt+160
í Alt+161 ó Alt+162
ú Alt+163 ñ Alt+164
Ñ Alt+165 ¿ Alt+168
¡ Alt+173 É Alt+144
â Alt+131 ç Alt+135
ä Alt+132 Ä Alt+142
à Alt+133 ã Alt+0227
å Alt+134 Å Alt+143
æ Alt+145 Æ Alt+146
ê Alt+136 ô Alt+147
ë Alt+137 ö Alt+148
è Alt+138 ò Alt+149
ï Alt+139 û Alt+150
î Alt+140 ù Alt+151
ì Alt+141 ÿ Alt+152
Ö Alt+153 Ü Alt+154

Microsoft has a list of shortcuts for international characters. It is a little different from the list above. Instead of using the Alt key + number, the accents can be created using the Ctrl and Shift keys + symbol on your keyboard. For a list of these shorcuts, visit this site.


Technology Tip #2

Keyboard shortcuts can come in handy and save you time as you type.  Below are some commonly used keyboard shortcuts:


New Ctrl+N Hyperlink Ctrl+K
Open Ctrl+O Left Align Ctrl+L
Save Ctrl+S Center Align Ctrl+E
Cut Ctrl+X Right Align Ctrl+R
Copy Ctrl+C Justified Ctrl+J
Paste Ctrl+V Font Ctrl+D
Bold Ctrl+B Grow Font Ctrl+>
Italicize Ctrl+I Shrink Font Ctrl+<
Underline Ctrl+U Print Ctrl+P

For a list of more keyboard shortcuts for Microsoft Office 2003 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint), visit the following site: