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Language Acquisition
Resource Center
San Diego State University

Tech Tool Discovery:

A Monthly Newsletter

November, 2014 - Issue No.6

Google Sheets:  More than numbers
Have you ever thought of using spreadsheets for language teaching? We did, and this is what we put together: The Vocabulary Spiraler.  It's a way to systematically recycle random vocabulary from prioritized vocabulary lists in Google Sheets.  Have a look at our video tutorial to find out more, and download the template to try it out.

SoundCloud: Time-stamped comments
Audio files with student speech in the target language can be difficult to give clear feedback on. How can teachers be sure students know to which section a comment refers? SoundCloud is a site for loading, storing and sharing sound files.  For language teachers, Sound Cloud offers a useful feature: time-stamped comments. With this feature, teachers can bring a new level of precision and review-capability into feedback on student audio recordings.

VideoNotes: Time-stamped comments
Now you're thinking, "I wish we could have SoundCloud's comments in online video." We have good news: it's both possible and free! is a Google Chrome app that enables you to take notes while watching videos. Notes are time-stamped and linked to the relevant clip in the video, and integrated with GoogleDrive. In you can highlight key words and phrases in context. is also good for feedback on student video work, as well as commenting on pedagogical practice in recordings of classroom teaching.

Reading + Thinking > Reading
A huge congratulations and thanks to the EdSurge team on their Tech For Schools Summit in Silicon Valley this month.  We met great people, learned about exciting companies, and tried out many useful, innovative tools.  Two of the tools that stood out were oriented towards reading.  ActivelyLearn is a tool to help students engage around reading content through embedded questions, comments, videos, and notes. ActivelyLearn also enables teachers to view analytics and get a better picture of how their students are engaging around the texts. Similarly, Ponder is designed to help students engage around reading content or video, but works differently.  Through "micro-responses" Ponder helps scaffold the critical thinking that is necessary for students to take the steps from reading comprehension to analytical production.  Ponder offers students a quick, scaffolded way to respond to content and share their thoughts. Ponder also gives teachers a view of how students are engaging with content.

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