Monthly archives: January, 2017

Web-based dictation tool for most any language ( is a free and easy way to go from audio to written text. Available in a multitude of languages including Korean, Lithuanian, Spanish (of many varieties!), Greek, and almost every other language taught in LCSL, this web-based transcription tool is surprisingy accurate when used with good quality audio and even uses context to automatically correct its errors. Other than simply dictating notes, can be very useful for creating a transcript of an audio podcast, a YouTube video, or even a film clip, from which you can create activities like dictations, quizzes, and worksheets – just play the audio and use your computer’s microphone to capture the sound.

Visual representations of data with Google Forms

Google Forms ( are a tool that you might already be familiar with, but they’ve just unveiled some new features that make them even more useful for teaching. The new Google Forms automatically create colorful visual representations of the data they collect, making them great for in-class use. One or two question forms could be assigned as homework allowing you to both prepare for discussion and integrate these visual representations into your lesson. You could ask students which character they found most sympathetic or most deceitful or to choose the elements of a text that make them doubt the narrator. You could also ask them to sort different aspects of the culture they’re studying as similar to their own or completely different, or you could ask them to rate their agreement or disagreement with a series of statements about a character, a story, or a cultural practice. The whole class’s answers to all of these can then be collected and presented as colorful, easy-to-read, dynamic graphs and charts that provide a wonderful starting point for discussion.

Online whiteboards for student collaboration

Limnu ( is free service that allows you to use your computer like a whiteboard. Just as with a real whiteboard, you can draw, insert images, and add sticky notes to your Limnu boards. This can be particularly useful for making tutorial videos or in cases where you simply need a whiteboard but don’t have access to one.

Limnu boards are also collaborative. You can invite people to edit your boards or allow them to edit as guests via link. This can be a great way to have students collectively brainstorm or add comments to images or notes.

With a free account, Limnu boards expire after 7 days, but Limnu offers free premium access to educators (, which allows you to keep your boards forever. This means you can post your boards to Blackboard or add them to other websites for your students to access.

Visit our sample Limnu board to give it a try! (Click Guest Login at the bottom of the page.)

Interactive timelines – no dates required!

Hstry ( is an easy-to-use tool for creating interactive timelines. Unlike other timeline tools that use dates to organize events, Hstry doesn’t require or even use dates. This means that you can use Hstry to have students summarize and retell events from a novel or a film in their own words, to write stories using course vocabulary, or to create self-presentations. Additionally, you can post any media (text, audio clips, YouTube videos, pictures, etc.) in a timeline. There is also an option to include small quiz tiles with ungraded multiple choice questions that allow you to give instant feedback and check comprehension, and “Did you know” pauses for supplementary information.
Hstry allows for sign-in via UIC Google Apps and has step-by-step instructions for everything including setting up the timeline and
account management that anyone – instructor or student – can follow.
With Hstry, you have multiple options for sharing with your students. You can create and manage a class in Hstry where you can post class timelines you create and have your students, who must create a Hstry account, post their timelines. Alternatively, Hstry timelines can be shared through a link or embedded into most areas of Blackboard, which does not require students to create an account.