I was once sitting in an meeting of the Gaming Special Interest Group at a CALICO Conference (I mention these details because this is a great group within a great organization — check them out) when we got to the point in the agenda where we needed to collect the names and email addresses of everyone in the group.
Rather than passing around a pen and a pad of paper, I whipped up a Google Form on my iPad and passed that around instead. Not only was it so quick and easy that I had the form created and the information collected before the end of the 30-minute meeting, but I didn’t have to try to decipher anyone’s handwriting in order to get their email address.
The simplest Google Forms look like online surveys. As the form is completed, the answers are uploaded to a Google Spreadsheet. And, like all of the different types of Google documents in Google Drive, the form and the spreadsheet can be made public, private, or unlisted and multiple collaborators can be given various levels of access from owning to editing to viewing. Of course, private information entered into the form is still archived by Google. If your institution, like mine, has protocols involving what information can and can’t be stored in the cloud, you may want to investigate those before using these tools.
If you’ve never created a Google Form, take a look at the above video for a 5-minute walkthough. Then open Google Drive, sign up for a free Google account (or sign in if you already have one) and create your form. It’s easier than you think.
I don’t recall how I came across Rachel’s English but I was instantly impressed and have yet to explore its entire depth.
The first thing I found was the list of sounds represented by the phonetic alphabet. There is also a sound chart that lists every sound a letter can represent. Both of these have links to YouTube videos like the one above, which detail how to pronounce the sound. I especially like the portion of the video that compares pictures of Rachel in profile as she pronounces the sounds with her teeth, tongue, and other relevant anatomical features drawn over top (for example, see the 3:50 mark in the above video.) These photos are also available in the mouth positions section. There are also other interesting exercises and a blog.
In addition to being a useful pronunciation resource, a lot of attention is paid to linking everything from various sections appropriately. It doesn’t matter if you are looking through the sound chart or pictures of mouth positions; you can always link to the relevant YouTube video for a quick 5-10 minute tutorial on a given sound.
This is a useful site for students to work through on their own. Perhaps more importantly it could be something teachers recommend to students to supplement classroom instruction. If students are having trouble articulating a particular sound, email them a link to the video, then suggest they follow up with one of the exercises. Working through some of these clear and informative tutorials might be just the extra help they need.