Language Sensei

A Language Teacher's Journey

My Back To School “Tech” Supply List…


Pad of Paper & PenIt’s back to school for me today and I’m primed with some of my favorite supplies. I thought I might offer up some of my best ‘go to’ tools that I look to for the year – some ‘old’ and some ‘new’.

Evernote – last year I decided to put my lessons – all my lessons – into Evernote as a way to centralize what I do. I organized my units in the Evernote trunk, adding files, audio, video and photos. I continued to tag and clip webpages as well. My blog posts (here, here, here, here, here  and here) chronicled my journey as I learned to work “in the cloud”. I look forward to refining the process this year..and add another course into the trunk!

iMovie – when I can’t find a clip for something – I create it. I’ve used it to make quick introductions to everything from sumo to the tea ceremony. Source images from the public domain on the web, link them together and add some music and –  voila – a quick 1 minute visual to set the stage for whatever you are studying. This year I am opening with a ‘movie trailer’ for my courses that I hope will inspire my students.

iTunes – we love music in my class – and we listen as a whole class. I source Japanese iTunes cards via White Rabbit Express and legally purchase our song of the week through iTunes Japan. There are so many great activities out there to do with it – and I always open the first week with a pair activity using a song in the current iTunes Top Ten Singles in Japan. – a new 2.0 tool for me this year  – is an easy to use infographic site . After seeing another teacher’s great course outline infographic on Twitter I was inspired to try my own. I used one of’s templates to create a basic infographic for my classes. (grade 12 class sample here) I know that this will continue to evolve but the reaction and feedback from admin and fellow teachers tells me I am on the right track.

Remind101 – another new app for me as well with the ability to send key reminders to students by ‘blind’ text (they don’t see my real number and I don’t see theirs). I don’t want to be doing this daily – I do have a website but think sometimes there are key things that need extra reminding. It’s my intent to have a discussion with my students as to what this should be used for. At this point I will be using it only with my senior classes – grade 11 and 12.

Tellagami – I thank my Twitter PLN for this fun app that creates a short animated video. As of now it is a fun introduction of me – I enjoyed making it – that is in the form of a QR code on my door. Once it is scanned there is a link to the Tellagami introduction of who I am and what I do.

Audio and Printed QR Codes – I use text and audio QR codes in my class – to link to review sheets, provide further info on a topic or even bios for our ‘song of the week’ artists. Print codes are easily created on many sites (I use the one at and “audio” QR codes in many languages here at QR Voice.

Quizlet – Vocabulary for each chapter of each course is loaded into quizlet, as well as the required characters for that course. Students access at home on their computers, or on their phones via the Quizlet app and many print out the lists for paper study as well. Easy to create using the import function from word and ‘once done – always there’.

The year is only starting and the list above is what get’s my class train “out of the station”. I haven’t even touched on my screencasting tools to create my YouTube channel. There are so many more great apps, 2.0 and software tools out there. I discover new ones all the time through the work of my great Twitter PLN at #langchat and #mfltwitterati….I’d be a less creative teacher without them…

Off I go….



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