A web site for the developing language teacher

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2009 - issue 1/09


Welcome to the January/February Newsletter


7. PS - Internet/computer-related links


1. Hello - a belated Happy New Year!
As you can see this is a bi-monthly edition, a format which we may continue.

We are starting the year with the chance for three of you to try out Moodle for a month free of charge.
As you know we offer web hosting to language teachers at Developing ( & one of the hosting plans is the online course hosting with Moodle software. With this you can provide a meeting place online, courses, lessons, forums & a host of other things with this content management system.
So if you would like to try it for a month, send an email to with 'Moodle Trial' & we will get back to the first three emails that arrive.
If you don't get chosen, don't worry as we will offer the same with the next issue of the Monthly Newsletter.    

You can find out more about Moodle at:


A couple of articles: 

Do you speak 2009? The IoS Buzzword Glossary

Want to stay in the loop for the next 12 months but are worried that you won't understand the lingo? David Randall reveals the words and phrases you'll need to keep your street cred intact this year

Sunday, 4 January 2009

The New Year was so young it was barely on solids when the words reached us. And they were not just any old words. These were buzzwords – words so trendy they squeaked; expressions so full of sociological meaning they hurt your eyes when you read them: micro-boredom, digital diet, energy dashboards, negawatts, geo-fencing, GRIN Tech, instapreneur, and many more.

They were in a chart produced by Future Exploration Network, trend-spotters to American cutting edgistas (our own feeble attempt at buzz-word coinage). A few were faintly familiar; most were new; all threaten to represent trends that are the very height of zeitgeist. Intrigued, we went in search of more upcoming words and phrases. The result is this, the IoS 2009 Buzzword Glossary.


Co-rumination: Excessive chattering about problems, real and imagined. Leads to the amplification of real anxieties, and creation of new ones. Has increased markedly in recent years, as email, messaging, texting, and Facebook have given the self-obsessed a multitude of outlets.

Junior moment: Flip-side of a senior moment. Can be committed by adults, with a sudden lapse into immaturity; or by youth, displaying the lack of thoughtfulness, sense or self-preservation we oldies associate with them.

Extended financial families: Several generations of the same family living in one home. Love and devotion might be the glue that keeps them together, but it's more likely to be the need for care or child minding, with the added benefit of cash savings.

Micro-boredom: What we used to call downtime, now increasingly filled by fiddling with mobiles or BlackBerrys. Those who market these devices, or the services they use, see it as an opportunity to sell us something. Potential victims of this can be recognised by their adoption of the:

BlackBerry prayer: The hunched-over, self-absorbed pose adopted by those fingering their Blackberry, or texting on their mobile. Often accompanied by facial expressions to match tenor of the message being sent.

Digi-necker: Driver who, when passing a road accident, whips out their mobile and takes a picture.


Nano-solar: Sunshine absorbers that don't need expensive, silicon-using panels, but use a thin film of solar cells that can be applied to any inorganic surface – windows, roof tiles, even metal. The predicted effect is that the cost of solar power will be reduced to a third of the cost of coal.

Energy dashboards: Control panels that monitor performance of your heat, light, and power use, in the same way a conventional one does for your car. Will be net-enabled so you can see what energy you're using, and at what cost, and come into their own when you have full device convergence, and you can talk to your appliances, and they can 'talk' back to you, and to the power source.

Negawatts: Latest word for energy efficiency, coined by the public utility commission of California. Greenies also use the term fifth fuel.

Edible estates: Phrase coined by US campaigner Fritz Haeg for digging up your lawn and growing in its place something you can eat. After all, we did it in the war, when the Dig For Victory campaign increased the land used for food production by 80 per cent. For examples, see any traditional cottage garden, or back yards in Switzerland, Italy, France, Germany – where grass is for sport or ruminants, not something to be made a fetish of.

Eco-embedded: The idea that business and government adopts eco-friendly practices that leave the consumer no choice. A ban on plastic shopping bags, for instance, or other plastic-free zones (such as a shopping centre in Balgowlah, New South Wales), carbon emission laws, or 'green' credit cards where consumers pay a little extra to offset the carbon cost of their purchase.


Geo-fencing: What you do when, via a GPS system or mobile phone, you set a physical boundary to where someone can roam. If they exceed it, you get a warning. Used by delivery companies to be notified when drivers stray off designated routes (which sounds Big Brotherish, but could also alert a firm to a hijack). There are also geo-fencing services that can track your child's mobile, sending you a message if they deviate from their usual haunts.

Cloud computing: Use of the huge capacity of corporate computers by individuals or small businesses. Corporates have sophisticated software, and you have broadband that lets you connect with this computer 'cloud' floating above you. In other words, software will not be something you buy, but rent and access.

Telepresence: Fancy word for video conferencing. A few firms now have special rooms where life-sized images of off-site participants allow a meeting that satisfies every sense except that of touch. Not to be confused with teleporting, which only happens in sci-fi movies.

GRIN Tech: Genetic, Robotic, Information and Nano Technology. Mostly it means those breakthroughs which have yet to find a practical, cost-effective application. But, we're told, they're coming. Er, probably.


Austerity 2.0: What we're all about to experience in 2009, if those dubious think-tank predictions come to pass.

Flexenomics: Our word for the economy growing up to support the need, in times of far greater uncertainty, for people to keep their spending and consuming flexible. More of us will rent homes, white goods, TVs and entertainment systems, or lease cars. It also covers contract working, and reduction of all but essential financial commitments – which will help relieve that already established condition: debt stress.

Brickor mortis: Property market where few homes are being sold.

Upcycling: Recycling disposes of things that might (repeat, might) be reconstituted rather than left to rot; upcycling gives objects a new use. Its American advocates cite an example of chair cushions made out of old ties, which doesn't bode well. For examples of less frightening upcycling, visit The concept is popular with Imbys, who favour anything local, until, of course, it threatens their space and privacy, whereupon they become the far more familiar Nimbys.

Staycation: A vacation without the travelling. Or the expense. Or the tan.

Enoughism: The creed that holds that we over-consume, amass far too much "stuff" that only ever provides a fleeting pleasure, and ought to cry "Enough!". Experts like John Naish and Oliver James argue this incessant acquisitiveness leads to dissatisfaction that can develop into mental illness. Been around for a while, but fast gaining currency.

Unplugging: Technological wing of the above, where someone realises that the time they spend online, on the mobile, curating the Facebook page, etc, is no substitute for living. So they put themselves on a digital diet, and possibly even cultivate an interest in things without keypads. Like other people. What we all need, probably, are more islands of tranquillity, or thinking time, as it used to be known.


Instapreneur: Instant entrepreneurship, via online shops and selling services, allow anyone with something to sell – even a design or idea – to go into business right now. The online service takes a rake-off, but the instapreneur does not even have to invest the financial, or time, cost of making or buying stock. Via, you can even submit a book manuscript to and start taking orders almost immediately. There are also sites for T-shirt designers (, and much more.

Crowdfunding: Financing of ventures or projects by a number of individuals brought together, usually via the net. Disaster relief funds are a form of crowdfunding, and this old concept is now being used in new ways, especially in the US. Examples include ArtistShare, where musicians can raise cash via online micropayments (four years ago Maria Schneider became the first ArtistShare beneficiary to win a Grammy); BeerBankroll, a brewer managed by its online community (membership as low as $50); and, which allows people to submit a need or wish, with participants then voting which ones get the donated cash.

Pinkwashing: The dark art favoured by certain companies (you know who you are) of using ostentatious support for breast cancer research to promote your products or services.

Perkonomics: Small add-on benefits offered to you by firms to get or retain your business. Examples include fast-track guarantees for theme parks or car hire, and mobile network Orange giving users access to concert tickets 48 hours before they go on general sale.

And finally...

If buzzwords enrage you, then write a book about it. You will thus contribute to the rising tide of books about things that make the author angry, known, of course, as Wrath Lit. There is, it seems, a buzzword for everything.


An article from No 10 Downing Street on the lauching of a new British Council site & related services that promote the learning of English
in India & China:

A response to the article:


The pity of a child's dictionary that junks words of imagination

We have moved from a roaming childhood to one that is lived indoors and must wrestle with such dull concepts

The Observer,  Sunday 14 December 2008

It is difficult to read the list of words excluded from the new Oxford Junior Dictionary without a sharp sense of regret. Here are some of the words that have been culled: catkin, brook, minnow, acorn, buttercup, heron, almond, marzipan, ash, beetroot, bray, bridle, porpoise, gooseberry, raven, carnation, blackberry, tulip, catkin, porridge and conker.

But you are likely to be overwhelmed by a greater sadness when you see the words that have elbowed them out. They include celebrity, tolerant, vandalism, negotiate, interdependent, creep, citizenship, childhood, conflict, bungee jumping, committee, compulsory, cope, democratic, allergic, biodegradable, emotion, dyslexic, donate, endangered, Euro, square number, block graph, attachment, database and analogue.

Aside from the loss of the plain euphonious vocabulary of the natural world, words which do not simply label an object or action but in some mysterious and beautiful way become part of it, what we are witnessing is a gradual triumph of abstract words over objects that can be seen and experienced.

We have moved from a roaming childhood to one that is lived indoors and must wrestle with such dull concepts as attachment, citizenship, committee, dyslexia, interdependent and - oh, sweet Jesus - database.

These are all very well but we should remember that the Junior Dictionary may be one of the few dictionaries a child will ever encounter, and that the selection will influence his or her use of language for life.

The newly ascendant words come from the language of technophiliacs and bureaucrats, people who may never know that the delightful word sycamore (excluded) can spark the memory of the sticky honeydew excreted by aphids lying in their millions on the underside of sycamore leaves in early summer, the curious moles acquired by the foliage in high summer and the spinning sycamore seeds in autumn. The word triggers the recollection of experience and observation and fills the mind with colour in a way that I suggest 'export', 'broadband', 'voicemail' may not: if you don't know the word for the tree, your mind is unlikely to be lit up by its associations.

However necessary these dull newcomers to the Oxford Junior Dictionary may be, it must be true that with each word and experience excluded, the 21st-century child is minutely deprived. Language becomes more functional, the interior life more arid and the opportunities for rich expression and playfulness fewer.

Lisa Saunders, an alert mother who spotted the trend in the Junior Dictionary when her child asked her what 'fern' and 'moss' meant, established that since 2003 the words associated with Britain's landscape, its creatures (ferret, stoat, starling, newt, weasel and wren) and plants (poppy, oats and pansy) had all been quietly pushed over the cliff. She also grasped that words associated with Britain's traditional festivals (Whitsun, mistletoe, holly, ivy and Pentecost) were being smothered in their beds, which she took more seriously because she reckoned some kind of purposeful linguistic cleansing was underway (also gone are sainthood, disciple, aisle, bishop).

The editor of the dictionary, Vineeta Gupta, answers her critics by saying that fewer children are brought up in the semi-rural environment and therefore have no use for conker or willow - which is half a good argument, I suppose - but then she adds with more than a hint of politically correct primness that 'our understanding of religion is within multiculturalism'.

It seems odd that multiculturalism, which surely embraces and includes, ends up being the pretext for exclusion, but I am not going to have that argument now because what is regrettable about her policy is the effect it will have on the reading and writing of creative literature, on metaphor and imagery.

Doesn't she know that in the urban environment there are many of the excluded 'weasels', 'spaniels', 'piglets' and 'stoats' to be found among the human population? People 'ferret' and they 'bray' and they 'bridle' and very occasionally they look like 'newts', or at least the word seems to suit a certain type you meet in the local council offices.

But it is her war on Anglo-Saxon simplicity that I most disagree with. When I wrote my children's book about Christmas, The Master of the Fallen Chairs (available at all bookshops still in business), I mostly followed George Orwell's advice not to use a Latinate word when a word with an Anglo-Saxon origin was available. Orwell has been accused of chauvinism, which is manifest nincompoopery because the rule is good for most fiction unless the author is hell bent on inducing a nervous rash in their reader.

In one of my favourite passages from Huckleberry Finn, you see all Mark Twain's virtues of elegance and simplicity:

'We catched fish and talked, and we took a swim now and then to keep off sleepiness. It was kind of solemn, drifting down the big, still river, laying on our backs looking up at the stars, and we didn't ever feel like talking loud, and it warn't often that we laughed - only a little kind of a low chuckle. We had mighty good weather as a general thing, and nothing ever happened to us at all - that night, nor the next, nor the next.'

The rhythm is important too. There are no words more than three syllables long and hardly an abstract, Greek or Latin derived word in sight. I am sure all the words he used are in the Junior Dictionary but the point is that it should be a place of prescription that nudges towards expressiveness and precision. It is a land of accidental discovery of the type made by the Princes of Serendip, who were always finding things they weren't looking for.


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Chinese New Year lesson plan:
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The Doctor Lukman - a short plan by Michael Berman

Man had hardly appeared in the world, before he began to think how not to die of hunger, how to get warm on a bitterly cold day and how to find medicine against illness. The more people there were, the more illness appeared.

So, around that time, there also appeared a doctor by the name of Lukman. He conceived the idea of relieving the suffering of people, of finding a remedy for illness. Lukman searched for various medicinal herbs and roots in the fields, in the ravines, along banks of rivers and streams, and in mountain pastures. For the healing of wounds he found akhurbgits (plantain), for the treatment of Siberian ulcers, ashkhardan (a medicinal root), for the relief of malaria, adjakva (a winter multi-flowered plant), and he discovered the medicinal properties of a great many other herbs. With flowers, with leaves, with roots he cured people of all kinds of ailments. There was only one that he did not know about: how to cure a toothache.

On one occasion a snake crawled to him and began to beg him, “I frequently have terrible headaches, cure me!” Lukman agreed to help him, but at the same time he asked whether he knew a remedy for toothache. “If it is not possible to soothe the tooth with medicine, then it is necessary to pull it out, since there is nothing worse than this suffering”, answered then snake.

“Yes, I understand”, said Lukman, “but the trouble is that I do not know with what and how one ought to pull the teeth”.

“You can pull a tooth with something similar to my head, with a contraption that would be able to open and close”.

“That is good advice. In gratitude for it I will instruct you of the most sure remedy for a headache. As soon as you have a headache, lie down on a highway, rolling yourself into a ball, pressing your head to the ground and closing your eyes. Simply lie motionless, trying to sleep, not paying attention to anything. After about an hour the headache will pass completely.”

“Thank you friend”, said the snake, and it crawled into the bushes, in order to instruct all the snakes of the remedy for headaches.

This is why snakes, even today, after rolling themselves into a ball, settle themselves in the middle of the road; and people, creeping up to them, kill them.

On one occasion, Lukman, after pelting rain, wanted to get across a river which was a swollen torrent. The narrow little bridge, thrown across it, was slippery, since the water was coming up through the cracks from below. Lukman slipped and fell into the river. With difficulty he managed to clamber out on to dry ground. Most of the medicines, which he was carrying with him, were lost, and only a few items were deposited by the current on to the bank. Lukman gathered up the surviving medicines, and with them he cures people even to this day.

The story was taken from Bgazhba, Kh.S. (1985) Abkhazian Tales, Translated from the Russian, with new Introduction by D.G. Hunt. (Russian edition published by Alashara Publishing House, Sukhumi). The collection can be found in the University College of London library, and it was donated to the library by the translator.

Notes for Teachers

Pre-listening: Have you ever stopped to ask yourself why illnesses exist? Once upon a time there was a cure for every known illness but unfortunately many of them got lost. How did this come about? In groups write a story to explain how this happened.

While-listening: Then listen to the original version of the story that your teacher will read you to find out what the one cure was that the Doctor Lukman was unable to find until the snake came to his aid:

Pause after the words “As soon as you have a headache” and ask the learners to predict what comes next.

Post-listening: What alternative remedies do you know of for some of the everyday illnesses and complaints that people suffer from? Working in small groups, make a list of them. Then make sentences about them using the structure IS (or ARE) BELIEVED/ CLAIMED/SAID/SUPPOSED/ THOUGHT/ TO BE. For example: Guarana from the Amazon is said to give you an energy boost and drinking camomile tea is claimed to be a good cure for a hangover.    

To view the article:


The Three Most Critical Factors in ELT by Neil McBeath


This paper demonstrates my belief that the three most critical factors in ELT are the learners, materials and teachers. It was inspired by Manuel Martinez-Pons (2006), and has been influenced by Brian Tomlinson and Hitomi Masuhara’s work on the importance of affect.

Finally, I was interested in Michael Swan’s (2006; 45) statement that “two out of three ain’t enough”, so I will begin by exploring the implications of that statement.

Two out of Three

If we accept my premise about the three most critical factors, then we have to see how these factors interact, and examine the different scenarios that arise when only two of the three factors are satisfactory.

In the situation of weak learners, but good materials and good teachers, then some kind of result from the teaching process can be expected. Educational history is full of examples where this has happened.

At one end of the spectrum there are people like Victor, the Wild Boy of Aveyron (Lane: 1975) and, more famously, Helen Keller, who both overcame extraordinary physical, mental and social disabilities because of the diligence and care of a particularly dedicated teacher.

At a different level, in Britain, The English Speaking Board has been able to pioneer oral assessments with inmates in Young Offenders institutions, often giving them their first formal qualification, and a tool with which to diffuse potentially threatening situations.

The second scenario occurs when good students and good teachers work with sometimes inadequate, frequently downright bad, materials.

I received my secondary education in a highly selective boys’ Grammar School in Scotland. The students at that school had been chosen because they were going to succeed, and go to University. Simply getting a job was regarded as failure.

This was despite the materials. In the 1960’s we were still using recycled, dog-eared “War Economy Standard” texts. One of these was English Today (Rideout 1947), a book crammed with print, devoid of illustration, and principally devoted to clause analysis. Readers were Nelson Classics, small enough to fit in a jacket pocket, printed in minute type on flimsy paper. Worksheets, printed on Roneo machines, had gaps in the text and invariably omitted either the first or last line on every page (and sometimes both).

In the third scenario, where there are good students and good materials, then some of them will learn even without good teachers. Autodidacts like Frederick Douglass prove this point, but again, I noticed this at my Grammar school.

As the students got older, they were given increasing responsibility for their own learning. That is a good thing. On the other hand, this policy was sometimes reduced to the distribution of Roneo worksheets with the instruction “Be quiet. And get on with your work.” That cannot be classified as “good teaching”. That approach only works with students who are prepared to focus on long-term goals.

So what do these three scenarios show us? They demonstrate how it is possible to get by. They prove that it is possible to compensate for weakness, which is interesting, but not satisfactory. We can do better. Each of these scenarios can be improved, and so we must now examine the component parts.

To view the rest of the article:


Using Photographs To Inspire Writing II by Hank Kellner

Note: to view the photos being referred to in the article, please visit the article at the site:

Less is more. There’s really nothing complicated about the photo shown below.

(photo - figure stands silhouetted against a gray-to-black background)

A figure stands silhouetted against a gray-to-black background. In the far distance, a bright circle hovers over the horizon.
One fist appears to be clenched as the figure stands with its feet apart. Is the figure male or female? Is it facing the horizon, or is it facing the camera? Does its posture suggest anger, rage, or hostility? Why is the subject standing alone in a space that’s delineated by shades of gray?
If you showed this photograh to students to inspire them to write stories or poems, you might ask them the questions cited above. Alternatively, you might simply show the photograph and allow your students’ imaginations to kick in and guide them as they create their compositions.

By the way, if you’re a photography buff, you’ll probably want to know that this photograph was created using a Leica M-3 and Plus-X film back in the days when silver-based photos were king and digital imaging wasn’t even on the drawing board.

Some people maintain that as time passes, people and their pets begin to resemble each other. Many students who view this photo-graph will certainly comment on the similarities between the man and his parrot. Others will speculate as to where the two subjects of the photograph are standing and why they are there. Still others will be inspired to write papers in which they discuss the relationships that exist between people and their pets. A few will write about their own pets and how the pets affected their lives.

In this photograph a woman stands alone on a city street, her arms folded, her face a study in anger or hostility. Why is she alone? Why is she angry or hostile? What kind of family does she have? Is she married? Does she have children? Why do people become angry? What are some things that make you angry? How do you cope with your anger?

(photo - woman stands alone on a city street)

This photograph—or one similar to it— can trigger many questions that can in turn stimulate students’ imaginations and provide the perfect antidote to help them get over the “I don’t know what to write about” blues.

Photographs can also lend themselves to teaching specific skills. At Columbus State Community College, for example, Sheila Dickson uses graphic images to focus on point of view as a writing technique. She writes, “Being a ‘flower child’, I show images of the Kent State shootings in 1970.” First, Dickson asks students to write descriptive paragraphs from the points of view of a participating student, a National Guardsman, or an observing student. Then she directs them to write another paragraph from a different point of view. Finally, she tells the students to develop one of their choices into an essay. “Using this technique,” she concludes, “I’ve received some of the best student writing I’ve ever received at the high school and college level during my thirty-six years of teaching English.”

At Independence High School in San Jose, California, English teacher Martin Brandt shows his students side-by-side photos of two women and asks them to respond in writing to the following five questions. (1) What does each photograph show? (2) How is each woman dressed? (3) What do you notice about the environment surrounding each woman? (4) What do you notice about the condition of each woman? (5) What do the two women have in common? In this way, Brandt helps his students develop papers based on comparisons and contrasts.

From the Boston Writing Project, Peter Golden reports that in one of several photo-related exercises he uses with students at South Boston High School he projects a photo of Marilyn Monroe (a Norma Jean photo) and asks the students to write down their responses and share them. After the students arrive at a general description of the subject, as in shy or sophisticated,

Golden presses them for details. Then he directs them to write descriptions of Norma that convey their conclusion (shy or sophisticated) without using that word. “In other words,” he writes, “the readers should come to the same conclusion just by reading the description.”

“One of the projects my students and parents are most proud of is a project I do with my high school freshmen,” writes Jennifer Sluss, Tech Liaison for the Mountain Writing Project. To help teach purpose and audience in writing, Sluss’s students create visual personal narratives/memoirs that she fondly refers to as the Me Mini Movie. In this exercise, students compile photos that tell a story or present an aspect of their lives that they value. “We then add a song to the photos in Movie Maker or Power Point. When we do this, the students must focus on matching the music to their message. We also talk about tone, audience, and the purpose of the Me Mini Movies.” Sluss also uses representations of abstract art to help her junior English students relate to the themes and plots of novels.

Carol Booth Olson is the director of the UCI Writing Project, a member of the National Writing Project Advisory Board, and the author of The Reading Writing Connection. Olson has created a “memory snapshot” exercise for use with her students. First, she asks them to select photographs that they associate with significant memories. Then she directs them to create written snapshots that capture a you are there feeling in the reader by using rich sensory details. “I point out that the goal is not to tell about the event but to show what is happening by dramatizing the event,” she writes.”

Photographs are wonderful teaching aids. They can be used to elicit responses from the most reluctant students. They can be used to trigger the imaginations of students from elementary school through college. They can be used to inspire either expository or creative pieces. When you use them to encourage writing in the classroom, never again will students complain that they have nothing to write about.

To view the article:

From now until February 15, 2009, Cottonwood Press is offering a 20% discount ($5.00) on orders for Write What You See: 99 Photos To Inspire Writing. Note that you must use Promotion Code H9X2WY when ordering. For single copies, please order at or Toll Free at 1-800-864-4297. Don't forget to cite Promotion Code H9X2WY. For multiple copies, please use the Toll-Free number (1-800-864-4297). Again, use Promotion code H9X2WY. Discount offer ends February 15, 2009.


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BBC Radio - Michael Rosen explores the world of words and the way we use them.
'The OpenLearn website gives free access to course materials from The Open University. The LearningSpace is open to learners anywhere in the world.'
The Study Skills section - excellent for all our learners & especially for our EAP learners.
Free video conferencing site.
Mentioned earlier in the year.
50+ Sites for Book Lovers
Videos on teaching speaking to younger learners from the British Council/BBC site.
What is Forvo? Forvo is the place where you´ll find words pronounced in their original languages. Ever wondered how a word is pronounced?
The Plagiarism Checker
'LearnEnglish Podcasts are a way for you to practise your English language listening skills. You can listen on your computer, or download to your mp3 player. We've got something for everyone - from kids to adults and from elementary to advanced level learners. They are free, and if you subscribe we will send them to you every month.'
'Podcast Alley is the podcast lovers portal. Featuring the best Podcast Directory and the Top 10 podcasts, as voted on by the listeners.'
Google dictionary
Top 100 – All languages
10 Amazing Free Stock Photography Sites
'This blog is devoted to graphics showing how to do something, how something works, or a formula for something...
What unites most of the images is their simplicity. When it is necessary to show how to do something, the simpler the image, the better. Perhaps there are more than a few illustrations we could function without. How many of us really need to see how to close a sandwich bag or put a letter in an envelope? Nonetheless, these and all the others aspire to make our lives a little easier.'
Free online photo editor.

If you've visited a site that you think would be beneficial for all or would ike your site to appear here, please get in touch. Thanks.

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A few days, among many, to plan your lessons around in January, February & March:

1st - New Year's Day
6th - Three King's Day
7th - Coptic Christian Christmas .
8th - Elvis Presley's official birthday
20th-ish - Martin Luther King Jr Day - 3rd Monday of Jan.
25th - Robert Burns' Day - Scotland's national poet
26th - Indian Republic Day
26th - Australia Day
Eid ul-Adha - on the tenth day of the Islamic
Month of Dhul Hijja - varies in the Gregoriancalendar
Chinese New Year

2nd - Groundhog Day
6th - Waitangi Day - New Zealand
14th - Valentine's Day
21st - International Mother Language Day

1st- St. David's Day - Wales
2nd - World Book Day
8th - International Women's Day
10th - United Kingdom Commonwealth Day
17th - St Patrick's Day
20th/21st - First Day of Spring
26th - Independence Day of BangladeshTo see the list of Days:

Wikipedia's excellent focus on days of the year:

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You've probably heard lots about Moodle, the framework for providing online courses. Have you thought about having your own? At Developing (a sister site of Developing we provide you with your own Moodle for only $12/month or $60/seven months. Your Moodle installation comes with 500mb of space & 10gb/month of bandwidth.

We set it all up for you & you provide the courses. You don't need to provide the actual course, this can simply be an online presence, a way of keeping in touch with your students, a meeting place with individuals or whole classes, an extension of your lessons.

We like it so much that we run our own online development courses at Developing with Moodle. For more information:

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'Classical Comics is a revolutionary new series of graphic novels which re-tells classic literature for learners of English. Graded at intermediate to upper-intermediate (B1-B2) levels, the fresh blend of contemporary storytelling and captivating artwork ensures that students will want to return to these stories time and again.' Excellent graded readers.' See the review:


7. PS   General internet/computer-related links

A few computer use rules of thumb:

- make copies of all
- important files
- run scan disk & then defragment the hard drive
- use firewall software - use a virus scan & update the files
every week
- install security patches that software providers offer
- update your DirectX files regularly
- don't open attachments without scanning for viruses first
- don't respond to spam
- just delete & forget
- don't send personal or bank information by email
- turn off your computer at night
The Whole Earth Catalog online.

20 Amazing and Essential Non-fiction Books to Enrich Your Library
'vloud is a free audio tool - upload quiet mp3s, and get louder ones back'
Enjoy a warm fire.
'Wubi is an officially supported Ubuntu installer for Windows users that can bring you to the Linux world with a single click. Wubi allows you to install and uninstall Ubuntu as any other Windows application, in a simple and safe way. Are you curious about Linux and Ubuntu? Trying them out has never been easier!' is a social media search tool that allows users to search for conversations surrounding the topics that they care about most. Whether it be your favorite sport, favorite food, celebrity, or your company’s brand name; can help you join in on the conversations that you care about most.
100 Best Non-fiction - from Random House
The Top 100 Photography Blogs
'You get bored at work, we get bored at work; the difference is, we don't get sacked for playing these games. Not yet, anyway. Collected below are some of our favourite games on t'internet, so get stuck in and putt, kick, or skate your way to the JobCentre.'
Most Popular How-To Features of 2008 - Tech stuff
50 best websites to download free mp3 songs
Astronomy North.

12 Universities Offering Free Business Courses Online
Common misconceptions - from Wikipedia.
Most Popular Free Windows Downloads of 2008
Very happy Gentoo penguin
The 80 Best Lifehacks of 2008
The job - short video that sees the present climate turns the tables.
Store, reference and organize your notes. It's a portable personal wiki that looks great. No fees, no charges just download and start using straight away. Tiddly Backpack is the usability of a Web2.0 application applied to TiddlyWiki. It's portable. You can carry it about on A USB stick. You can email it, ftp it, it's all in one file. The whole lot, everything.
Many Eyes is a bet on the power of human visual intelligence to find patterns. Our goal is to "democratize" visualization and to enable a new social kind of data analysis. Jump right to our visualizations  now, take a tour, or read on for a leisurely explanation of the project.
We7 is an outstanding new music destination where you can listen to, share and discover music for FREE, legally and safely. You choose the music you want to hear and play full tracks and albums online, on-demand at anytime.

34 Essential Tutorials To Get Started With Digital Photography
Top 20 Twitter Posts of 2008
Take the survival quiz.
The idea for NationMaster arose as I was surfing around the CIA World Factbook. It's a great read but I felt the individual figures (like number of TV's, or kilometres of coastline) didn't mean much on their own. They'd be more illuminating if they were placed alongside other countries and shown relative to population.
100 top sites for the year ahead
Best Of Product Design 2008
Five Best Portable Applications
How long could you survive in a vacuum of space?
30 Unforgettable Title Sequences
Graffiti creator

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Disclaimer - all of the recommendations for computer-related software are personal recommendations. We take no responsibility for anything that might go wrong when downloading, installing or running them - not that anything should, but you never know. It's your decision, your responsibility. The same applies to the jobs mentioned above. And anything else that you can think of that we might be responsible for as a result of this newsletter!

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