How to embed things on a blog

In our Celta Course session, Tuesday, we looked at the above video, from VideoJug.

I suggested that, before watching it, learners could brainstorm a list of things you should do if you want to be able to get your own way with another person. We then used those learner-generated lists as our "listening comprehension" questions, and ticked off those mentioned as we watched.

Why would you want to embed a video
You might want to "embed" such a video on your own class blog — "put" it there, if you prefer — as then you have greater control over what else your learners will see. Currently displaying on the same VideoJug page are videos relating to "how to get out of a car without showing your knickers" and "how to have sex in public without being caught", for example.

You probably don't want your young learners to see or watch those…!

If you want you learners to be able to post things on a class blog (and I would suggest that you do!), then teaching them how to embed things (nice things ,-)! is a way of giving them control over what they watch and talk about in class.

How do you embed a video

Copy that line of code!

To embed a video, you need first to copy the "embed" code, highlighted above. Ensure you copy all of it: if you right-click on it, you can then "select all" to make sure that you do.

Paste the code into right place!

All you then have to do is paste the code on your blog. Make sure that you paste it in the right place: if you are using Blogger.com, you will have to use the "Edit Html" tab, shown above.

Again, you want to make sure it starts with the code object… and ends …/object>. If it does, you should then be able to preview it, and find that it will play correctly.

Needless to say you don't need to understand what any of that code means… !

>> Another video: Dance moves: an emergency guide for men

A card reader for getting photos off a camera

Don't have the right cable? You want a card reader…

Someone asked during my workshop the other day how problematic obtaining photographs off digital cameras was likely to be if, as I had suggested, some of your learners bring their own cameras but forget to bring the appropriate cable with them.

You download photos from a digital camera by connecting the camera to a USB port (the same slot you put a USB memory drive into, that is). Cables for most digital cameras are fairly standard but a card reader (approx. cost 12-20 euros) is sometimes useful — and very easy to use.

You simply remove the memory card ("A" in the photo, above) from its slot on the camera ("B") and place it in the right slot in the card reader ("C"). In most cases you are probably using an "SD card", which — not surprisingly — goes into the "SD" slot.

All you then have to do is plug the cable ("D") into the USB port on your computer and then either view the photos directly from the card or else download the pictures on to the computer.

That is possibly the easiest way to share photos with a class and the same can be done directly from the camera, if you do have the appropriate cable.

If you have a projector and can turn the photos into a literally wall-sized image (simply by clicking on them), your learners can then orally "present" photos that they have taken, in class, for homework, of their families, from their holidays…

You could do the same with your photos, but photos the learners have taken themselves are surely much more meaningful to them…

Would you still hate Micro$oft if you took full advantage of it?

Dare to explore those menus!

Everyone hates Micro$oft, don't they? I'm not actually one of them, myself, as I wonder how people would do their jobs today without it.

One of the things I like Micro$oft for is its Insider Newsletter, which you can subscribe to and get tips and tutorials and links that will help you to learn more about Word and Powerpoint and Outlook and so on.

I always read it when it lands in my mailbox, and make a habit of actually picking at least one link in it and going to check see if I can learn something new about programs I've been using fairly proficiently for years — and I can and do (like copying and pasting multiple items, or things I didn't know about using BCC in email…)

Most people — myself included — use only a small proportion of the potential of their computer programs. They learn the basics and then they just stop learning, and make-do with the basics (not something they would encourage their language learners to do).

On the training courses we run at IH, I always suggest the following: explore the menus in whatever program you use (Micro$oft or otherwise), try some of the things on them.

Using Word (or whatever) is like being in a restaurant in a foreign land: are you just going to eat chicken and chips every mealtime, or are you going to try something new that is there on the menu. Try something new, I'd say: you might like it — and find that it's useful to you!

And here's a thought for you: why do people hate Micro$oft but love Google-is-Evil…?

Technology assistants: help is at hand

Toni Walton Atela (15) tells his sister (12) about a job he's volunteered for at school — being a "technology assistant".

You're getting hot and sweaty in front of your class, trying to get a PowerPoint presentation to open on the beastly piece of junk that masquerades as a computer (which seems to work fine for other people…)? If you were teaching in my sons's school, help would be sitting there in the classroom next door…

It might not work as well in a language school (with kids there only a couple of hours a week) but, if you work in a "normal" secondary school, it takes some of the pressure off the teacher. You're not that good with technology…? You're afraid it's not going to work…? Get some help…!

And it puts the responsibility on the kids. Now, that's got to be a good thing, too…

What's Second Life? What's an interactive whiteboard (etc)?

I've been teaching on "technology for teachers" seminars for the last three weeks (and a very late "Hello" to you all if you are attending!).

Many of the questions that the teachers ask begin "What's…?" Blogs, interactive whiteboards, ipods, mp3 players, podcasting, smartboards, Second Life… What are they, and how can you find out what they are?

Places to go to find out
Fortunately, there are places to go where you can find out what a particular piece of technology is. Note, again, how far down my list Google-is-Evil comes.

  1. Ask a colleague, some in the family, one of your kids (your own or someone in your class)
  2. Wikipedia, which is great for the basic information, and will provide links if you want to find out more. Wikipedia gets slammed for being inaccurate, but it provides you with information and has no interest in selling you anything, unlike Google and the sites that appear on it
  3. YouTube, on which you can find great videos (ok, and some that are dreadful) of the technology in action
  4. Teachertube, on which you will find the same, with videos designed particularly for teachers and teaching and learning
  5. Somewhere else on the web, a blog like the one you are reading now, or a directory like TeachingEnglish.org.uk
  6. Last and least, Google-is-Evil