I NEED a new toolbox!


Image from: Global Digital Citizen Foundation

There are many EDtech tools that I am learning about in this course. Wow! I am amazed at what is available at my disposal of the many different educational purposes and the possibilities of tools. I think I need a new tech-toolbox or a team of robot teaching assistants. Maybe I should email R2-D2 from Star Wars, I’m sure he comes with all those tech tools.

Everyone in the course has shared so much about the technology used in their classrooms. I haven’t even touch the surface of what I want to do in my classroom, now that I am learning and discovering these tools. They are all so exciting to me! I’m still learning how to use the new technology and as I try them out I wonder, “How can I apply this technology to what I teach and share with my students? What is accessible to the students? Do they own ipads, tablets, internet…etc?”  Through this class, reading and learning about the tools, I am beginning to identify which tech tools would be useful and helpful and which ones that may not fit for my purposes of language teaching.

In this blog, I am going to discuss the pros and cons of a couple of the tools I am familiar with, have used, and continue to use in the classes and courses that I teach.


LiveScribe Pen – Central to the Livescribe platform is the smartpen, a ballpoint pen with an embedded computer and digital audio recorder. When used with Anoto digital paper, it records what it writes for later uploading to a computer, and synchronizes those notes with any audio it has recorded. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Livescribe

livescribe-pen-picImage from: Amazon.in

I have used the LiveScribe Pencast technology to share material with students in my university courses. I find this technology useful for uploading documents or topics online that require diagrams and explanations, as you would see in a real life classroom setting.

Here is a picture from my class for explaining and making diagram of the Cree Demonstrative Pronouns:demon-pronouns-livescribe-pic



  • Soothing sounds of my voice while I’m writing notes with a pen
  • Diagrams normally done on a chalk/white board can be done in a recording for later use to the students
  • Ability to move the cursor to where ever you want to start listening from, so you don’t have to listen to the whole presentation.
  • Good for taking notes, writing music lyrics with singing.
  • Personal reminders
  • Class notes with lecturer’s voice


  • You have to download the latest adobe reader and most times students tell me they are having issues with downloading to audio and video, which is pointless to share if it doesn’t work.
  • You have to find a quiet place to write with no distractions (but the good thing about hearing kids, dogs barking or any natural noises in the background is if you’re teaching an online class, then it at least lets the students know that you are human, not a machine)


FHQTC Cree Language App -This app offers learning, practice, games and quizzes in many everyday categories such as greetings, phrases, vowels, expressions and much more! Learn your language so that it will be kept alive for generations to come. File Hills Qu’Appelle Tribal Council of Fort Qu’Appelle Saskatchewan https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/cree-fhqtc/id839720921?mt=8


The FHQTC Cree Language App requires iOS 6.0 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. I work for the File Hills Qu’Appelle Tribal Council (FHQTC) as a Cree teacher at Payepot school.  It is recommended that I use this language app to teach at my school and promote to the students for reference or as a resource. There are a few other Cree Language apps online. Some are similar in design to the FHQTC Cree Language App and are produced by the same company. Here are other free online resources for the Cree language: www.creedictionary.com , http://tansi.tv/mycree/ , http://samsoncree.com/maskwacis-cree-language-app , https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/cree-words/id863549863?mt=8 , http://www.ogokilearning.com/manitoba-cree-app/ , www.giftoflanguageandculture.ca .


FHQTC Cree app Images from: iTunes – Apple


  • You get to hear the local Cree speaking within the audio of the app.
  • It has a recorder where you can record yourself and compare to the original recorded Cree words.
  • It’s visual with audio.
  • You can learn the words, play games and quiz yourself
  • A couple of level features like: easy, medium and hard
  • Games for kids: has a character with sound effects when you get the answer correct and a sound for when you get the answer wrong


  • You need an ipad or an iphone for every student participate, which not every class owns.
  • An option and actually a good way for students to follow along is having a projector or smartboard with audio to enlarge the pages.
  • You need a digital AV adaptor to project the pages from your iphone or ipad.
  • The app doesn’t come with an evaluation or testing feature to keep track of the students’ progress. The follow up has to be administrated by the teacher which is time consuming.


Snagit Screen Cast – is a screenshot program that captures video display and audio output. Originally for the Microsoft Windows operating systems, recent versions have also been available for Mac OS, but with fewer features. It is created and distributed by TechSmith, and was first launched in 1990. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snagit

snagit_13_logo Image from: Blue Gurus

I have used this software and continue to apply it to the notes I share with my students. I like the screen capture ability of this software. I find it very useful to have the ability to use other applications on your computer or access the internet while describing the process, actions, or intended outcome.


  • The students get to see your digital notes and hear you lead them through the information you are providing.
  • Having access to all the applications on your PC.
  • It is step by step and there are options of rewinding and forwarding the video to where you want to start.


  • You need to have an account on You Tube to share videos.

Any suggestions for EDtech language software that creates audio, text and/or video for language instruction? Some software doesn’t recognise the characters of the Cree language such as macrons and syllabics.


5 thoughts on “I NEED a new toolbox!

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