Joshua Underwood

Joshua Underwood

Location Northern Spain


  • Thanks for sharing :-)

    I'd never seen that before. I think my students might find it interesting and now you have me thinking about how I could maximise the language practice and development opportunities and how I might use this in team guessing games with students...

  • Thank you for joining us and for all your contributions, Izabela :-)

  • Me too. For strategies for older (secondary age) students I often use information from the learning scientists web pages.

    Sometimes I get groups to research 1 strategy each and then present what they learnt to the others.

  • Thanks. I hadn't seen that random story generator before, it seems fun. I'm thinking about how I might use it with my students now...

  • Hi everyone,

    Well done everyone for getting to this step and thank you for joining us on the course.

    We recorded a brief chat about our new 'start', 'stop', and 'continues' from this run of the course on flipgrid. You can see it here and record your own there too if you feel like it.

    Happy learning and teaching...

  • @HallaHassan thanks :-)

    I love that idea. In fact, I'm wondering whether once groups of students have written their own short mysteries and I have helped them improve them, they might enjoy trying to put in order and solve other students' short mysteries...

    I think I will be trying your idea out soon :-)

  • @SmithaBadam , ye, very important.

    How can we communicate this appreciation most successfully in remote teaching? And how can we help students communicate their appreciation for one another?

    In speech, writing, through gestures, emoticons, etc. I guess I try a variety of these things and to some extent model them for students. I think one of my concerns...

  • Gestures and facial expressions are important and online and/or in masks this can be even more complicated.

    I like to work with students to discuss these complications and share ideas about how we can better communicate both online and with face masks on.

    Whether and how we can use emoticons, clap symbols, hold thumbs up to the camera, signal that we...

  • Getting the time distributed to activities can be difficult and particularly online when what groups are doing in different breakout rooms can be very difficult to monitor.

    I send regular broadcasts to all rooms to remind them to message me if they need more time and/or feel they have finished a task.

    What do other participants on this course do?

  • Good luck :-)

  • Happy online teaching to you, Julia :-)

    I'm fascinated and would be really pleased to find out about how you can adapt the structure here to help you with teaching financial literacy.

    In a strange coincidence, some of the content-oriented English language learning material looks at financial literacy and tries to involve children in projects to try out...

  • That's great to notice and encourage self and peer-correction :-)

    Do you tend to do this after activities in reflection phases? I sometimes assign a role in a group speaking activity for one student to make a note of language related issues to reflect on and/or ask the teacher about later.

  • That's great :-)

    I came across this article recently explaining an example escape room style activity
    and I noticed one of the ELTon award finalists was an escape room inspired resource...

  • We are grateful you joined us and shared your thoughts :-)

  • @ryansimpson oh yes, that's another one I had forgotten about. I think this is the one I used to use most frequently -
    My students like the sound effects but it has quite a lot of advertising and changing from time to time helps :-)

  • I do similar and I also try to incorporate text entry fields for them to identify things they liked and found useful and also for them to suggest how I and/or we could improve our future sessions together.

  • That's great and brave and give you an opportunity to involve them in helping 'design' better learning experiences for them :-)

    Do you ask them in front of other learners or privately or do a combination of both?

  • I'm so sorry to hear that Genesia and I have no idea why that might be.

    Does it help to switch down the quality using the HD button below the video? Or maybe try the download link?

  • Thank you :-)

    I just noticed a new initiative that helps to connect cultures and young people and thought I would share that here in case this useful and useable by any of you.

    "Link Online Learners is more than a zoom hangout of young people from 35+ countries. It is a global youth network where young people (ages 10-18) can join together at the global...

  • I like this approach and try to remember this when starting a session - to connect the current session to previous work.

    In doing this I try to involve the students and elicit what they remember and understood from previous sessions. This certainly can give me insights into what stood out for and was memorable for them and can inform what I decide to do...

  • @DarronJenkins yes, that's important, especially if you are using a spinner to chose students or groups at random and don't want to end up choosing the same ones more than once.

    I think you can do that in most of the spinners I know ( e.g. ) but I do sometimes forget to do it and last time I was using student picker in...

  • @SumaiaAlhawar so true. In fact, I think I may incorporate that in my 'session reflection' activity. I usually ask my students to each explain one thing they have learnt in the session and I am thinking I should be doing the same - what was my 'Aha' moment from this class?

    Maybe even sharing what I learnt with the students...

  • You can also watch our reflections on An advantage of watching there is that there should soon be fairly accurate captions. You can also easily add your own video reflections there if you feel like doing so.

  • Thank you for joining us :-)

  • @SuSanLwin ooops! So sorry, the link I was trying to share was this one to the solar system song -

    I've edited it now :-)

  • @AmaraBrown I'd like to hear more about how your buddy system works too. I'm thinking of doing something similar in one of my classes.

  • It's great that you are having success helping your students understand and accept differences :-)

  • That sounds like a really useful combination of tools for teaching online.

    I would like to use seesaw for sharing student work from class with parents in my face-to-face classes.

    Can you say a bit about how you are using it for homework?

  • Thanks for sharing @SuSanLwin I think that is an effective approach :-)

  • Yes. I think making a screencast or explanatory video can be really helpful and in the long run saves time :-)

    What did you use to make your videos? I like screencastomatic but there are lot of options.

  • Well done - keep up your good work and good luck!

  • That's great :-) I hope things continue to get better for you and your students and wish you every success.

    What things have worked particulalry well for you?

  • Thank you :-)

    I love that song but my favourite from there has to be the solar system song
    I like to use it to introduce a planets research and poster poster project with my primary classes.

  • That is great to hear. I would love to know how you are using what you are learning :-)

  • @LoredanaDanciu thanks for reminding me of openlearn. I love the OU too. I'm glad you had a good experience with them :-)

  • I do similar. If I am asking a question to check classwork for example, I might start by asking one child "Anna, what do you think the girl in the first picture does?" and then ask her to ask the question to another student for a different picture, etc. Partly to give them more practice speaking and partly to get them using one another's names quickly.

  • Thanks for sharing. Those are some of my favourites too.

    I totally agree about not overwhelming students. I think ideally I would try to be encouraging students to be using well and consistently no more than 3 or 4 tools like those and preferably integrated within one environment. However, I guess there is some argument for giving students choice and...

  • Absolutely. I think it also helps to have written and spoken instructions. I tend to have key instructions written on slides and ready to paste into the chat.

    Also, for tasks we want students to do independently away from class or with the help of their parents it can be very useful to provide 'screencasts' demonstrating and talking through what we want...

  • Yes, sometimes it simply isn't possible for us to solve technical issues and I think we need to develop a certain resilience to that kind of situation.

    I find it helps for us all to discuss such issues and develop empathy both for those suffering from the connectivity issues and those trying to manage a class, continue to teach, and simultaneously help...

  • Thank you for your participation and appreciation :-)

  • I think it also helps to talk explicitly about the value of 'talk' for learning and to get students to adopt roles in group work with a view to helping one another contribute and make the most of the opportunities.

    I find this guide from the British Council helpful in that respect -

  • @IzabelaTrofin I think this depends a lot on the context and especially the number of students present.

    As Claire mentioned in her reflection in week 1, I feel that I sometimes don't give students enough time and space to think individually and prepare what they want to say and particularly in small classes or 1 to 1 they can feel very under pressure. I'd...

  • I think there is a lot in what you say about the right time, place, people. I would consider that to be 'context' and all my pedagogic actions are contingent on my understanding of the current 'context'.

    So, place, time, people, tools available, constraints on interaction (very different across different online platforms and face-to-face), and of course...

  • Hi @JohannaTyrrell ,

    We're so pleased this is new and useful for you :-) I think that although I had exposure to Krashen's ideas in my training the emphasis was also largely on communicative approach and production and I partially forgot the importance of meaningful exposure.

  • Yes, I like that they have included the possibility to listen to the essays read aloud and also that they support switching to fonts to one that some will find easier to read.

    There is a very extensive guide about the app for teachers that suggests some ways to use it and explains the design clearly -...

  • That's great that they shared pictures of favourite things :-)

  • Here's something else I have come across this week and think looks really useful for me, though I haven't yet thought about how I would use it in online classes - any ideas much appreciated.

    CIELL App – Visually Enhanced Learning of Writing Structures

    The link is to a web page/app that presents answers to essay questions in comic...

  • Thanks for sharing :-)

    I like this for free materials at various reading levels -

  • I'm so please you find the course friendly :-)

  • That's great to hear, thank you for telling us :-)

  • Thank you for joining us on the course :-)

  • That's great to hear @SuSanLwin I hope you will find week 2 useful too :-)

  • Thanks Claire, I needed that reminder about giving students space & time and I love your background :-)

    I think particularly online I am sometimes so focussed on trying to make sure everyone is interacting and speaking as much as possible that I forget to give people enough time to engage quietly, individually, and thoughtfully. I forget that I personally...

  • @EfrossiniZoniou absolutely agreed. One of my favourite activities is to get students to prepare to present and share one of their passions.

    I guess what I mean is when I am presenting stuff, which I try to keep to a minimum, or having individually or small group conversations I would like to refer to and integrate examples using the characters and media...

  • @EfrossiniZoniou that's a good point about mobility and being tied to where the camera and microphone are. When possible I prefer to use a wireless headset in this kind of class so I can move away from the camera and classroom PC and remain audible to the online students. I have occasionally also joined the video call from a mobile device so that I can use...

  • Here's something I came across this week and wanted to share

    Should We Leave Cameras on During Video Lectures?

    Is there evidence to suggest it is better for learning to have cameras on? It looks like maybe, yes. The article looks at a study that seems to demonstrate improved learning with cameras on...

  • What a great set of keywords - thanks :-)

  • I really like this - "the ones who really stand out in my memories are the ones who allowed their students to feel heard and active in their own education."

    I too find it important to maximise opportunities for students to engage actively and to make sure they feel we (teachers and other students) are really hearing them and listening to what they want to...

  • @VivianaC there is a 'menu of ideas for online lessons' in the publication here as well as many other helpful sections for teachers going online.

    Hope you find that useful :-)

  • Absolutely :-)

    I's great to focus on the positive opportunity to connect with others. I really hope you will find interesting opportunities to exchange ideas with other educators from all over on this course.

  • @NafisaTuraeva Thanks for sharing :-)

    Others that work well for me at the moment are:

    Quizizz -
    Similar to Kahoot but less synchronous. Individual students can go at their own pace.

    Baamboozle -
    Fun team 'competition' for classes to play altogether. Display the questions on a shared screen,...

  • Thanks @NafisaTuraeva , that sounds like a great idea :-)

    Listening to music, drawing, describing, maybe also connecting the lyrics to the images and their meaning.

    It reminds me of something I haven't done for a long time - that is to make 'lyric videos'. Students choose a song they like, find and explore the lyrics (maybe using -...

  • Good advice. I think we often don't know enough about the circumstances learners are in when they participate in classes. I have found getting them to talk about where they are, who they are with, how they feel there, and their 'set up' - whether it is comfortable and appropriate can be helpful and useful speaking activities.

  • Yes, I think this is very true. I feel I often need to help some learners take better control of themselves and realise how they can make better use of their time.

    Here's a lesson idea that has worked really well for me around mobile phones and helping students take control -...

  • I guess we all have bad days from time to time. I'm glad speaking to her parents worked and that everything went ok after that :-)

  • Enjoy your journey :-)

  • Actually, I'd forgotten you can use to make random wheels and I can embed that in :-)

  • I find Random Wheel and similar really useful too - for choosing students, for random question, etc.

    These days I most often use Classroomscreen for choosing students but animated random wheels are more attractive and engaging. I'm trying to find one with no advertising on it...?

    Does anyone have a suggestion?

  • @ThảoNgô thanks for sharing that idea.

    Being able to 'private' message students in live classes is one of the things I most like about online teaching. It is easier to do than in class. I like to prompt and help quieter students to contribute in group discussions using private messaging.

    How else do participants on the course use private messaging in...

  • Thanks for sharing :-)

  • I don't really know but my guess is that some went because they were made with *Flash and Flash is now not supported by most/many/any browsers. I might be right because when I searched for Trolley Dash I got a page with a Flash error message -

    *Flash was a tool for authoring and distributing...

  • Just to remind anyone reaching the end of the first week, today, Wednesday 3rd November, you may be interested in joining the 'live' conversation we have scheduled for 11.30am UK time.

    To find out the time in your time zone and how to join and/or leave questions for us see

  • Hi Ekaterina,

    Me too - I always find this course is useful for picking up some new tools and also sharing ideas. I look forward to reading some of yours.

    Here is one tool that I have been finding really useful for online 'synchronous' teaching - Prezi video. I use the 'free' version just to be able to display text and/or screen share within the same...

  • Hi Manga,

    Welcome to our course. It is fantastic to be able to exchange thoughts with and learn from educators from all over the world :-)

  • Joshua Underwood made a comment

    Today, Wednesday 3rd November, you may be interested in joining the 'live' conversation we have scheduled for 11.30am UK time.

    To find out the time in your time zone and how to join and/or leave questions for us see

  • Hi everyone,

    If you are just joining us today, Wednesday 3rd November, you may be interested in joining the 'live' conversation we have scheduled for 11.30am UK time.

    To find out the time in your time zone and how to join and/or leave questions for us see

  • @EfrossiniZoniou absolutely and I do do that. I guess what I mean is that they then start to mention TV series, books, music, cartoons, etc., which I am not familiar with. I then wonder about whether I can spend the time and how I can become more familiar with the media that they find interesting and make better use of it in my teaching. That was easier when...

  • I would agree that this is one of the bigger challenges.

    I tend to think that prompting those students to think about what we and they can do to make it better for them can help. For example, as suggested in the comment above -

  • I love that - "boring lessons are evil" ;-)

    It's a hard ask. I know that my lessons are not always interesting for everyone however hard I try but I do make an effort to gauge everyone's engagement and try to make adjustments to involve them.

    On the other hand, I also try to prompt my students to take more control of their learning and to do what they...

  • @EfrossiniZoniou absolutely.

    I think that kind of hybrid (some students in class, some students online) is a real challenge. However, it has sometimes worked really well for me.

    All the same, I certainly feel I need more experience of that situation and more sharing of experiences with others in order to improve my pedagogic strategies for maximising the...

  • Great to have you on the course with us, Chelsea :-)

    Hope you find some useful ideas and connect to other educators you can learn with.