Friday, December 19, 2008


This will be my last post before Christmas so I will take the opportunity to share a tool I enjoy using when I have some spare time.

StumbleUpon takes you to random web sites based on your interests (these might be educational or personal interest). When you sign up for an account, you have the opportunity to register your interests and when looking at websites you are taken to you can vote on whether you like the site - Stumbleupon's engine learns what you like, and it will also save those you vote for so you can go back later.

I wish you a very happy Christmas and will be back blogging on 5th January 2009.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Visual Search Engines

If you are prefer information presented as images rather than text you may find one of these new types of search engine useful.

Searchme presents the web pages as search results rather than just some text from the webpage. When you enter your search term, categories appear that relate to your search term. You can select a category to narrow down your search. Then you review the web pages by flicking through them as they appear on the Internet rather than just textual information taken from the pages.

Search-cube is a different visual search engine that shows the web search results as web pages each presented as small squares in a larger 3 dimensional cube shape. Although reviewing the search results on this search engine might seem less intuitive ( you have to flip the cube to see the images on different sides) it does make searching feel more like a game of exploration.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Mind Maps is an easy to use, free web application that lets you brainstorm online. You can use it to create your own mind map or to share it with others online.

There is a helpful video showing how to use this created by Tech Bites.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Crossword and Hangman Puzzles - Online

The Linguaspectrum website enables you to create crossword and hangman puzzles which can be completed online. It is easy to use. To do this you need to register and then enter your answers and clues for the puzzle. Once you have completed this you need to submit it for publishing and wait for a confirmation email with link (it took less than 24 hours for mine to be published online. You can have a look at ones I created yesterday: You can find my puzzle here and my hangman game here.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Creating Puzzles

Today, a change from subject focused websites.

Puzzlemaker from Discovery Education enables you to create and print a range of word games.

When you access the site, you will see the option to purchase a CD OR to create the free puzzles.

To create the free puzzles, be sure to select the type of puzzle you want to create on the left then follow instructions.

To print the puzzles you will need to copy the puzzle and paste it to a word or similar document which you can then print off and use for your teaching.

Friday, December 12, 2008


ThinkAnatomy website was the idea of Vanessa Ruiz and developed from her studies for her Master’s in Biomedical Visualization at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Having found lots of useful resources, she decided to make these available to others through this website.

Rather than wasting time searching for good anatomy resources online, Vanessa has shared her collection of links to some of the best anatomy resources on the Internet.

The site contains: dissection manuals and videos, games, illustrations, lectures, podcasts, quizes, study guides and much more.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Livemocha - learning languages

Livemocha is another language learning website, offering interactive lessons and exercises and the opportunity to participate in an online community of other language learners, native speakers and tutors.

You will need to register to access all the facilities but once you have, you can learn at your own pace on a range of different activities to learn or develop your English, Chinese, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese (Brazilian), Hindi, Italian, Russian, or Japanese.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Virtual Careers

Have you ever wanted to know more about some careers? Virtual Work Experience is a website that provides careers information and allows you to go into 6 different virtual worlds and try out different jobs online.

Customer contact centre - Explore the range of careers within the Customer contact centre environment.
Food and drink production - Explore the range of careers within the Food and drink production environment.
Hair, beauty and nails - Explore the range of careers within the Hair, beauty and nails salon environment.
NHS - Explore the range of careers within the NHS environment.
Passenger transport - Explore the range of careers within the Passenger transport environment.
Retail - Explore the range of careers within the Retail environment.

A fun website to explore or recommend to students unsure of possible career options.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Babbel - learning languages

The friendsabroad social networking website introduced language learners to native speakers of other languages enabling them to support each other's language learning and build up relationships.

This site as now been taken over by Babbel another language learning site. Babbel a multimedia learning resource. In addition to the learning packages, Babbel facilitates interactions with native speakers or learning partners which enables members to practice and develop their linguistic skills. Languages supported are English, Spanish, French, German and Italian.

This is worth trying if you want to learn a language or if you teach languages.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Instant Anatomy

Instant Anatomy is a specialised website aimed originally at medical students and created by Robert Whitaker, a retired surgeon and lecturer at Cambridge University. Based on his own notes, this insightful website provides detailed diagrams, tips, mnemonics, lectures, podcasts, questions and answers about human anatomy. This site will be useful to anyone teaching or learning medical, biological and anatomical subject areas or those with an interest in anatomy.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Compulsive Traveller

If you want to access videos about travel, the Compulsive Traveller website is worth investigating. This site provides videos from around the world and provides an outlet for the videos taken by self confessed compulsive travellers with an option for users to add new ones. The videos can be found under themes such as people, places, great chefs of the world and funny videos and the site provides additional information about the featured destinations.

This site might be useful for projects about countries or tourism or in preperation for student residential visits, planning a holiday or just for interest.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Free Images

Finding appropriate images and photographs for teaching resources or for personal use can be quite time consuming. Windows on our world provides over 5,000 royalty free online images with a geographical theme. The site receives support from the Royal Geographical Society. The images are divided into a subject categories or can be found using the search tool. The site also welcomes comtributions of new images from readers.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Email College - Short courses

Ever felt you really wanted to learn more about a topic but do not have the time to go to a class? Email college might have the answer for you. This site offers free courses: from advertising to listening skills, from mystery shopping to childrens story writing, from how to complain to starting an ebay business. In short there are so many courses here you are almost certain to find one that interests you! The courses are done by email and last an average of 8 days. There might even be a course that you think is worth recommending to your students.

The site also provides a wide range of additional resources for when you want an instant answer to your problem rather than a mini course. These include publications and web links covering running or starting a business, information skills, work skills, self development, finding a job, or making an extra income.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Show World - visual maps

Show®World was launched in May 2008 by Mapping Worlds. The website provides a new way to look at the world by resizing countries on a map according to different data sets. For example, if you select the data for rural populations North America shrinks and India, China and Bangladesh grow. If you select data for Soybean crops USA, Brazil and Argentina grow and other countries shrink. Although the map is visual, running the mouse over countries shows the country name and data relating to it. The site allows users to download and share the datasets, maps and animations.

This may be an interesting starting point for discussions or even a fun way to learn more about the world.