Monday, 29 July 2013

Celly and Remind101 outside the USA

Remind101 and Celly both offer a way for teachers to keep in touch with students and parents of students by using SMS on US mobile phones. This makes them impossible to use outside the USA, you would think. I haven't found a way to use Remind101, but I think I have for Celly.

These  two systems are similar to WhatsApp, but with some important differences. The most important one is that Celly and Remind101 both screen mobile phone numbers, so your students can't phone you and you can't phone them. In many teaching situations this is legally necessary.

There are apps for both systems, but you can't download the ones for Remind101 outside the USA. With Celly, it is much easier for two reasons. One, you can download the apps (at least) in Spain and the other is that you can use Celly in a web browser.

The procedure to follow is explained in this 'training video' I've made for my students:

Unable to display content. Adobe Flash is required.
I've made a much smaller version, but it is still very slow to start.

Basically, you go to and sign up for an account as a teacher and create a cell for each of your classes.  Then you ask your students to go there and sign up using their real names, or possibly their first name plus an initial from their surname.

The students can then ask to join the cell you've created for them. Here's one I've created that you can ask to join:

Don't invite students to join your cell. Just tell them the name of the cell they should ask to join. Thay way they won't have to use SMS at all.

I have the Android app working on my Samsung Galaxy S3 and on my HTC Wildfire S, I can use the web browser and log in to

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

e-portfolios with ipadio + WordPress or Blogger

Here are some instructions I prepared this evening to give to trainees and students:

Setting up a Blog to post your spoken and written English to.

Sign up and create a blog
Use a title like My e-portfolio of spoken English, Chris Fry's e-portfolio of spoken and written English
Make a note of these three things:
1. the URL of your blog e.g. 
2. your username e.g. chrisfrybarcelona
3. your password *******

Send me your URL e.g.


Sign up and creat a blog
Use a title like Chris Fry's e-portfolio of spoken and written English
Go to Settings, Mobile and email
- Select  Publish email immediately
Make a note of Posting using email e.g. chris_fry_barcelona.*******

Send me your URL e.g.


Setting up ipadio to record yourself on.

Install the ipadio app on your iphone or Android phone.
- Make a note of your pin
- Then go to
- Sign me up

or, if you can’t install the app, go to
Sign me up

Send me your Channel Homepage e.g.

Go to Share Media
Click on the Wordpress icon
Enter your WordPress URL, username and password below (the three things above)

Click on the Blogger icon
Enter your unique Blogger email address below (go to Settings −> Email & Mobile and look under "Posting using Email")

Click on the first icon 'Preferences'
Blogger Yes
WordPress Yes

Go to Privacy
Select yes for all of these (or at least these*):
Show broadcasts on public listings page
Make channel page public *
Enable live broadcasting on this channel
Turn on Speech-to-Text on this channel *
Allow comments on this channel
Email me comments on this channel
Allow other people to embed my broadcasts *

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Experimenting with ipadio to collect material for e-portfolios

I'm more and more convinced that ipadio is the ideal way for students to record themselves in class. There are apps for iPhones and Android phones and a service for simple phones that is completely free. 

It is easy to embed the recordings in Edmodo as a response to an assignment and then I can give feedback privately to students. I see my students sending me their best recordings every week or two weeks and as they should be making at least two recordings of themselves speaking every week, they won't be short of material to choose from.

Edmodo is a closed system so students won't be able to create portfolios there that they can take with them when they leave my class and today I experimented with setting up autoposting from ipadio to Facebook, Blogger and Wordpress. I had tried it with tumblr before but wasn't happy with the result as it only added a link: there was no embedded audio.

With Facebook, Blogger and WordPress autoposting worked well. The audio was embedded so you can listen without leaving the site. I liked the look of the Blogger embed:

This is the original ipadio post:

This is the Facebook page where it appeared, but Facebook doesn't want you to use links to posts, so you'll never find it after a few hours:

This what it looked like initially and then when you click on 'Play'

A second reason for wanting (selected) ipadio recordings to be auto posted to somewhere like Blogger is that ipadio is perfect for audio, but I would like some written work in the students' e-portfolios, as well.

Getting students to create their e-portfolios is hard enough, but it is even harder to get the maximum possible benefit out of the process......

Saturday, 26 January 2013

My new mobile phone - I have hardly used it as a phone yet!

I finally got my new mobile phone on Wednesday although I wish it had come a week earlier as the following day one of my sisters and her family came to stay for a few days, making it inappropriate to spend much time getting to see what I can now do that I couldn't with my old phone.

The advantages of a Samsung Galaxy SIII over an HTC Wildfire S are that I can seemingly install endless apps and start experimenting with them; it is very fast downloading and installing, the screen is twice the size and very high definition and it doesn't need recharging so often.

The disadvantages are: the price; it's more awkward to hold in landscape mode; I'm much more worried that someone might like to steal it.

The day after I got it I used it to video three of my students acting out a couple of scenes from the DVD accompanying our coursebook, while another student videoed another group. The students did it really well and the quality of the picture and sound was great and I'll probably never borrow the mini video cameras I pushed for the school to but three of - we can do it with our mobiles!

The following morning I left my phone at home while we went for a walk and when we came back the two videos were safely uploaded to YouTube using out home wi-fi. I then edited the titles and descriptions and sent the URL to the whole class in Edmodo.

It was done really spontaneously, when I thought "Why not?" and asked one group of students how they felt about filming themselves doing their improvised version and putting it on YouTube and when they said "No way.", I said it would be unlisted so the only people who could see it would be people who had the URL. They said "OK"and we took advantage of an empty adjacent room to split into two groups and I filmed one group while the other group, who had 4 students and 3 roles filmed themselves with a different student filming using their iphones.

One of the students said he had a YouTube account and would upload his recording and post the URL on Edmodo, although he hasn't done it yet, sadly, and the other said he would use his DropBox account to let me download it and upload it to YouTube. I'm afraid he hasn't done this yet either.

I enjoyed the whole thing and the students looked as if they enjoyed it, too. I look forward to getting their reactions to the videos when they watch them. Many of them use their mobiles to check Edmodo, so they may not have wanted to use their data plan to watch the videos.

Monday, 14 January 2013

eportfolios - posts I have made on Edmodo 3 tools for eportfolios of mainly spoken English reworking of post below: My reply to Mrs. Monteiro Silva, who had posted about 3 replies from me to Sue Hellman who was asking for ideas about portfolios (You must be one of my connections) me talking about how posterous can solve the problem of Edmodo only having a native player for .mp3 and .wav audio files my reply to Nira Dale, who wants to use Edmodo public pages for student eportfolios me about ipadio, posterous and chirbit all embedding or linking to produce audio players in Edmodo Dr. Helen Barrett's site (You must be one of my connections) me talking about retelling videos and recording this (site gone)

Friday, 4 January 2013

Testing embedding posts from posterous

How easy would it be for my students to use Blogger to create a display portfolio using artefacts from their posterous repositories?

I can't see any way of them doing it without using HTML....

What about from Tumblr?

Maybe ipadio would work:

Let's see.