Thursday, July 17, 2014

Support Learning with Apps

 Support Learning with Apps_a digital walk, by Raquel Gonzaga

This post is in collaboration with The 30 goals challenge, by Shelley Sanchez Terrell

Goal: Learn with an app
To accomplish this goal, learn with an app or help your students learn with an app

Motivation to go digital
A quick time-travel is required here. The year was 2011. The very beginning of smartphones & tablets epidemic in Brazil.
I realized I had something in my hand called smartphone, which was said to have many resources and possibilities, so I decided go check it out.
I got fascinated by the number of free resources that could be adapted for an educational purpose and decided to give it a try. How was I then to share my findings with colleagues and students?
A blog seemed to be the answer and then the idea turned into 'InformedTeachers', my channel to share my app suggestions and other tech-related EFL activities.

For each learning purpose, an App      

The first thing to do after you get your handheld device (regardless of the brand) is to check the App store.
And then browse through an unlimited number of apps for all sorts of purposes.
I started by indicating a voice recognition app and then homework organizers, dictionary , video apps, and a very useful one which has proved to be a resourceful one, the QR Code.
Related :  Using QR codes in the classroom
               QR codes in education, an innovative way
One thing I have learned is that indeed, there is an app for each learning purpose, but in order to organize your learning one has to choose their main apps.
Apps for language acquisition
The apps I have used for classroom routine and recommended as a support for home study:
* Monoligual (English-English) Dictionary,
*Vocabulary/Lexical book (I also like to call it Note-taking dictionary)
* Pronunciation Checker
* electronic notebook
*QR code reader
* Read it later app
* electronic flashcards
* Language Exams Apps
In order to facilitate their organization, encourage my teenage and adult EFL students to have a kit which they could quickly refer to.
A very important thing to say here is that the choice of app is a personal decision on the hands of the student.I do the research and suggest the apps, but the students make their own choices.
I also have observed more intensely over the past two years is that, once they realise the app can be an extra practice opportunity, they feel like using that on a regular basis and creating their own kit.
There is also the concept of BYOD, which stands for : Bring Your Own Device. The teacher then counts on the available devices students have. There is also the possibility of group work where one device can be used to work in a pair or trio if you choose to work with resources such as QR Code or e-flashcards for instance.
Here are some of the most popular posts  from my blog:
Apps for EFL studying_this is the kit
Apps to study grammar
Apps for Listening &Pronunciation

It is very rewarding to see that after being exposed to the benefits of Apps, even students with a simple handheld device can make use of them to improve their language acquisition outside the classroom, when they are on their own.
Becoming a tech-savvy teacher has helped me bond and motivate my students to take a step ahead in their foreign language acquisition, and encourage them to become independent learners.
Some classroom moments with handheld devices 

Who am I ?

Raquel Gonzaga, Brazilian EFL teacher and EdTech blogger.
I'm Tech-savvy and passionate about motivating students to go beyond their limits and trust their learning potential.

Currently teaching and working as an academic helper  at Cultura Inglesa São Paulo and Ed Tech blogger at  and Teaching English British Council where I write about apps for the EFL class and the importance of tech literacy for teachers.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Keep up your English during the holidays_EFL Apps

  •  Are you a student of English as a foreign language (EFL student)?      
  •  Are you on vacation from your English course ?
  •  Are you an adult learner who needs English for communication in      work-related situations?
  •  Would you like extra classroom practice and challenge?
  •  Are you in a very crucial moment of the English language learning process: pre-intermediate or intermediate level?
If you answered yes to any of the questions above, chances are that the two apps below can help you practice and expand your English.

How is that ?         
Personally I recommend you have a go at the Listening and Vocabulary topics at first, because there are many practical situations there such as : 
  • Business conversations, 
  • Interview, 
  • Flight details, 
  • Health, 
  • Shopping ...

Here are the apps, both available at iTunes and Google Play.

The developer is
Apps are a convenient way of practicing, learning new things and challenging yourself.
If you are a student, that may work to keep up your English, especially during vacation time.
If you are an EFL teacher, you could suggest the apps for a different kind of homework or as extra practice.

Leave a comment below and follow Teacher Raquel 
Twitter  @Rach_Gonzaga

Related :
Apps to study grammar             


Monday, June 9, 2014

Bolsas de Intercâmbio_Connecting Classrooms

British Council abre inscrições para bolsas de intercâmbio
Instituições participantes do programa Connecting Classrooms podem inscrever seus projetos até 30 de junho 2014

Estão abertas as inscrições para as bolsas de intercâmbio do Connecting Classrooms - programa do British Council que une salas de aula do mundo inteiro, apoiando o aprendizado de assuntos globais. Para participar, professores brasileiros devem elaborar um plano de trabalho com uma escola no Reino Unido, escolhida dentro do programa.

Connecting Classrooms é o programa do British Council voltado para escolas públicas e privadas, do ensino infantil ao médio, que une crianças e jovens do mundo inteiro, apoiando o aprendizado de assuntos globais e a formação de jovens atuantes na economia mundial.

Os melhores projetos serão selecionados para viajar, com um prêmio de £1.500 (1 mil e quinhentas libras). O mesmo valor é oferecido às escolas britânicas, para que conheçam seus parceiros no Brasil. As inscrições estão abertas até 30 de junho e devem ser feitas no site do programa (

Como resultado do edital anterior, que premiou sete parcerias entre escolas brasileiras e britânicas, chega em junho em São Paulo o Sr. Raymond McFeeters, diretor da escola Castle Tower School, da Irlanda do Norte. Dentre as atividades programadas, está a visita ao colégio Estadual José Chediak, para conhecer seu colega de trabalho, Prof. Carlos Pires, e interagir com os alunos. Festas juninas, canções populares e lendas brasileiras serão apresentadas, estabelecendo uma rica troca cultural.    

*  Veja o programa implementado numa escola estadual no estado de São Paulo:

“O professor é fundamental para o desenvolvimento do programa na escola. Ele tem a chance de conhecer professores de outros países, trocar boas práticas educacionais e desafios”, explica Fernanda de Medeiros, diretora adjunta do British Council. Ela afirma também que os professores estrangeiros ficam impressionados com a criatividade dos brasileiros ao criar e desenvolver os projetos juntos.

Para saber mais, acesse:

Essa pode ser uma experiência profissional de enorme impacto para sua escola !


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

At the doctor: Explaining symptoms

How to explain common symptoms at a doctor's office or E.R. (Emergency Room).
There's an integration of video sitcom, audio recording of a doctor-patient typical dialogue and infographics for pair or group work activity and qr codes!
Feel free to use everything as a class sequence or choose one of the activities to integrate with your class.
This is very suitable for pre-intermediate levels and what I liked most is the fact that there is room for expanding on vocabulary and also having fun with the typical Friends jokes that come up.

Elicit from students common causes of stress nowadays and typical symptoms people have because of that.

Show video up to counter 0:56

Vocabulary Noticing
Elicit from students the symptoms Phoebe is having due to job stress. I suggest you pause the video after these sentences: 
My chest hurts 0:31, 0:34
And now I can't breathe 0:37
Chandler asks : Phoebe, are you having a heart attack?
Phoebe: Would I have shooting pains up and down my left arm ?
You could also have students report what is happening:
*Phoebe is having shooting pains up and down her left arm.
What does Phoebe ask Monica to do ? (dial 911)

Recap with students typical heart attack symptoms shown in the video.

Describing symptoms of Phoebe's heart attack

Her chest hurts
She can't breathe
She is having shooting pains up and down her left arm
She asks Monica to call 911

Watch the continuation scene and take notes of the other jobs suggested by her friends.
salary in the high six-figures X chump change  (irony)

 Discussion: How is Phoebe feeling during her stay at the hospital? Is quitting or changing a job the solution to tackle stress ? What's your view ?

Conversation prompts

Infographic_Workplace stress   Focus on the signs of stress listed and treatments suggested.

Infographic_Workplace wellness: suggestions to cope with work stress  Have students read the tips given and share their experience on what they agree and disagree with the infographic suggestions.

Students can also have the option of scanning these QR Codes and having the infographics directly on their handheld device if possible.

QRCode Infographic_Workplace stress

 More on Infographics in the ELT classroom

QRCode Infographic_Workplace wellness

Here is an E.R. dialogue between a doctor and a patient. The audio is also available.

Ask students to scan and act-out this dialogue between a doctor and a patient at the E.R.





This was a successful lesson in my pre-intermediate group of adult learners.
I'm confident you and your students can have a meaningful learning experience too.
Leave a comment to let us know how your experience was integrating the suggested resources  :)

Follow me at Twitter   @Rach_Gonzaga

                                                                                Raquel Gonzaga

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Friday, April 4, 2014

IATEFL_Social Networking & Mobile Technology highlights

    ^ IATEFL  ·

InformedTeachers on the blogging coverage of IATEFL Harrogate 2014 !

The selected videos focus on Social Networking, Mobile Devices in the EFL classroom and going beyond the "hello"by networking.
The bullet points indicate the issues explained in each interview.

Ann Foreman and Paul Braddock
 Teaching English website and Social media

  • CPD (Continuing Professional Development)
  • Social media, the impact in teachers'development.
Gamification : Feedback, Participation, Goals. 
Key elements to make things more motivating and have people engage more.

CPD is flexible and a way of getting support thanks to technology.

Teaching with mobile devices: choices and challenges  È
Points for discussion:
  •  Should students use their own mobile devices or should there be class sets at school?
  • Activities in and out of the classroom
  • Part of school policy or up to individuals?

Watch Nick's session here

Framework to use mobiles in the classroom
  • Apps in mobile devices
  • When learners are mobile
  • When the learning experience itself is mobile
QR Codes as a prompt. Something slightly more complex: geotagging
     Suggested App: Woices
Institution looking at how the staff can start working with mobile.
Mention of a clear implementation of mobile device use.
Take technical challenges into account.
The fact that parents need to understand the purpose of using mobile phones, how it is a tool to enhance learning.
Ownership: The fact that students prefer to use their own devices.
CPD for teachers on an institutional level.
Classroom management challenges.
How to bridge the in and out of class divide.

  • How to network with the people you meet
  • The importance of having an international presence
  • Networking to establish an identity and a global presence
  • The different dimensions and levels, coded speech
Watch the interview here

There are many other fantastic interviews on the different fields of ELT all of them worth watching.
We can attend the conference too, online : 

Raquel Gonzaga

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

IATEFL 2014_Interviews


This post provides you with the main topics covered in each interview.
On average each video lasts for seven minutes.
We, the online attendees can also feel the vibe of IATEFL Harrogate 2014 J  

Caroline Moore,member of IATEFL eletronic committee on developing webinars for different ELT purposes, "Afterhours"webinar projects, promote interaction, social networking via Facebook and Twitter
Interview with Caroline Moore

Nik Peachey, IATEFL 2014 Interviewer and moderator of SIG (Special Interest Group) pannel on digital skills for teachers, talks about crowdfunding, guidance on writing and publishing EFL e-materials, potential for e-books.
Interview with Nik Peachey

Gwendydd Caudwell, on Aptis criteria  for assessing and developing teachers'proficiency level , feedback received from teachers and the importance of being aware of the different teaching conditions around the world.
Interview with Gwendydd Caudwell

Eric Baber, vice-president of IATEFL, on how organizations operate, personal and team management skills, Joining the SIG committees,cross cultural issues.
Interview with Eric Baber

Adrian Underhill , on Open Space Technology concept (OST) of organizing a conference people come without prepared talks or programmes but with burning issues.
Interview with Adrian Underhill

Barry OSullivan on his participation in Testing SIG, Assessment Literacy, the development of tests,
Interview with Barry OSullivan

If you want to get informed on the different IATEFL Special Interest Groups, SIGs, refer to this link:

InformedTeachers on the IATEFL Harrogate blogging coverage :

Raquel Gonzaga

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