My Favourite Tools by Alexandra Francisco

Part of the Cool Sites weekly series!

Like most of us, I have only just recently (about a year ago) began to use web2.0 tools in my classes. It wasn’t easy at first. There is a myriad of tools at our disposal and new ones keep emerging at such speed that it’s enough to make your head spin. So, when I choose a tool to use I always try to think of what my students can get out of it, how tool A is more beneficial to them instead of tools B, C or D. I have tried quite a number of tools and I’m sure I’ll try many more, but at the moment my personal favourites are:

English Central – I love this site, because it allows my students to practice their speaking/reading skills, providing them with immediate feedback. HERE you can check the sort of assignment I give them.

Glogster – I guess this is already an old favourite of many of us. My students love the possibility of putting text, images, audio and video together in one place. HERE are some glogs they created.

Animoto – Simply brilliant! You upload your photos (and now even short videos!), add some text and music, let Animoto work its magic and you’re given back a wonderful video that you can post anywhere. No fuss, no muss! HERE are some examples.

GoAnimate – The possibilities are endless. From digital storytelling to book reports or simple vocabulary practice, you think it and GoAnimate will bring it to life! HERE are some of my students’ animations.

MyStudiyo – Great tool to easily create multimedia quizzes. I usually get my students to create the quizzes themselves and then use an interactive board to get the whole class to try out the quizzes. HERE is one.

Vocaroo – I use itΒ  to give my students extra practice on their reading and speaking skills. They record themselves as many times as they want and then just post or e-mail me their recordings. Here are some examples.

VoiceThread – A recent favourite. Great tool for collaborative projects and to provide students with their own niche where they can practice and interact. HERE is my first project.

Last, but not least – Livetyping – It allows me to witness my students’ writing process, showing me what they corrected and rearranged before submitting their final text.Β  HERE are some examples.

So here you have it, my favourite tools. Am Looking forward to reading about yours! πŸ˜‰

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Shelly for giving me the honour to contribute for her Cool Sites series, and also to express my sincere gratitude for all that she does for all of us.



Alexandra Francisco is an EFL teacher in Madeira, Portugal. She has been teaching for 15 years at the secondary level and has only recently began to be involved in the teacher training area, providing short (25 hours long) workshops on the use of web2.0 tools in EFL classes.

You can follow her web2.0 experiences at her tech blog: ZarcoEnglish – Tool of the day. You may also check her assignments blog and her students’ showcase.


  1. Hi Jonathan,

    Thanks for the link to Glogster EDU. Will look into it. As far as Wordle goes, yes, I do use it and I’m a huge fan of David Deubeldeiss’s “What the wordle” games. However it’s not something I get my students to use frequently that’s why I didn’t put it among my favs. But I deeply appreciate your input. πŸ˜‰

  2. Shelly, I love this series of interviews that you have done. Maybe I should interview people πŸ˜‰

    BTW, it’s great to see all my online friends on here, these are all the people that inspire such as Alex, Ana and many others.

    Perhaps you can put a christmas hat on all of them 8-P

  3. Hi Alexandra and Shelly

    Over two years ago I started reviewing Ed Tech software and hardware for different magazines. It seemed sometimes I had to scrape to find reliable websites and usable software. Now there is a plethora of websites, online services and software/hardware available. The problem teachers, parents, and students face is finding what works, what’s reliable and the time to review.

    Please take a look at my website (, as I’m able to provide third party reviews on Ed Tech software, hardware, online services and downloads.


  4. I like how you did your interview, I would love to hear from your learners and will see how they learned from you. Great post indeed.

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