Here's an improved and updated version of the Christmas quiz I made last year. There are 30 questions (mostly multiple choice) divided into six categories. It works really well as a final Christmas lesson activity with groups of students. You can either put the students in teams and get each team in turn to choose a question, or, if you want to keep everybody involved, you could get all the teams to answer simultaneously (getting them to write their answers on small whiteboards, for example).
If you're a teacher, you probably use classroom quizzes with your students from time to time. Of course, you can always create a quiz using PowerPoint, but there are several online solutions available. The best one I've come across is FlipQuiz, which I've mentioned before on this blog. I find that my students really like the competitive element and it's a good way to review vocabulary or promote discussion. You can see some of the quizzes I've created here. Anyway, I thought it would be interesting to get in touch with FlipQuiz creator Marcus Burnette to find out more about the site, and he kindly agreed to answer my questions. And that's not all! Go ahead and check out FlipQuiz at FlipQuiz.me and they’ll take 20% off ANY FlipQuiz PRO plan upgrade when you use the code "englishblog" at checkout!
Marcus Burnette, founder of FlipQuiz
EB: Can you tell us a bit about your background?
MB: Well, my name is Marcus Burnette and I am the Founder of FlipQuiz™. I am also the Sr. Front-End Developer for an advertising agency in Orlando, Florida. I’ve been designing and developing websites for small-to-medium-sized companies for the last 10+ years and have a genuine passion for helping people and creating stellar user experiences online. I have a beautiful wife (who I’ll talk more about in a minute) and two wonderful daughters for whom I do all this work.
EB: What is FlipQuiz?
MB: FlipQuiz is a website created for educators to create their own custom test or assessment quizzes that we call quiz boards. You can create better, easier, and prettier Jeopardy-type boards instead of having to use markers/paper or complicated PowerPoint templates. And they’re saved in an account for easy access from anywhere, any time.
EB: How did FlipQuiz originate?
MB: Back to that beautiful wife of mine. Mrs. Burnette (as the students call her) is a middle school Language Arts teacher. Many, many years ago, she asked me to make something that resembled a Jeopardy board that she could project onto her white board in the classroom. As someone who was new to web design, I was delighted to give it a try and I whipped something up pretty quickly that had numbers in columns that she could click on to flip them over. Unfortunately, she ultimately still had to read the questions aloud from a sheet of paper in-hand and keep score on the board.
Fast forward a few years and I had learned to build more sophisticated web applications. With the rise in popularity of content management systems and some schooling under my belt, I set about creating something better for her - something she could manage and update on her own for her classes.
Once I had the foundation laid and she had a way to log in and create these boards, it felt only natural to open it up to everyone who wanted a fun way to create a quiz review, assessment, or trivia game!
It’s always been important to us to keep the site ad-free, so to cover hosting costs and put a few bucks in my family’s pocket to make it worth the time spent away from my wife and daughters, we launched FlipQuiz PRO about three months after our initial launch.
EB: What's the difference between the free version and the 'PRO' version?
MB: The difference is in the feature-set. While the FREE version of the site has plenty of features to make it a great tool on its own, we had some ideas for bonus features that would take time to develop and add costs to our hosting (like for image uploads).
Currently, FlipQuiz PRO offers in-game scorekeeping, private boards, image uploads, student flashcards, priority Support Requests, and more. For more information, readers can check out this page: http://flipquiz.me/pro
We’re always working on additional ways to make FlipQuiz better, both through new FREE and PRO features. There are some neat things on the roadmap for this year, but we’re always open to new ideas and feedback!
EB: How big is the FlipQuiz community now?
MB: Well, we’re still young as far as EdTech companies go, but we’re growing steadily. Within the FlipQuiz website, we have members from 190+ countries and see about 300,000+ pageviews per month. We’ve also seen some nice growth on Twitter (@flipquizme), which is probably our most active social network, though you can also find us on Facebook (facebook.com/flipquizme) and Instagram (@flipquiz)!
EB: What sort of reaction have you had from users?
MB: The reaction has been overwhelmingly positive - and we’re super grateful for the passion our members have, not only for the site but for EdTech in general! We recently sent out a survey for #GetToKnowYourCustomersDay and the comments, feedback, feature requests, and overall ratings blew us away. There are so many people out there that love the site and are excited to see what’s next.. not to mention willing to fill out an online survey for us!
MB: We’ve got some great things planned for both our FREE and PRO members, but our main focus as we wind down this school year is shoring up the site’s performance and mobile-friendliness. We’ve gotten lots of requests for sound effects and board customization and we’ve been working behind the scenes to make some of that a reality, but we want to make sure we can scale the site well and serve everyone with a fast, reliable experience. Again, if any of your readers have any suggestions for the site, we’re all ears! We have a lot of ideas as well, but we love hearing from you.
EB: Thanks Marcus. We look forward to seeing what you come up with.
It's now less than ten weeks until Britain's destiny (and possibly that of the Europe Union) will be decided in the EU referendum. In case you're still unsure what is at stake, this video from BBC News provides a good overview. After watching, you can test your knowledge of key vocabulary by doing the quiz below.
TRANSCRIPT On 23rd June, voters in the UK will be asked if they want to continue being a member of the EU. Voters will be asked one question: Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union? The referendum will be organised just like a local or general election. Those registered will be able to cast their votes either by post or at a polling station. We've had a referendum like this before. In 1975, we voted to stay in what was then the European Economic Community. This referendum is happening because David Cameron promised to hold one if the Conservatives won the last general election. Before announcing a date, David Cameron negotiated with other EU leaders some changes to the relationship between the UK and the European Union. If we vote to remain in the EU, things stay pretty much the same. If we vote to leave the EU, the details of what would happen next are unclear. For more answers to EU referendum questions, go to bbc.co.uk/referendum.
Today is Good Friday, a Christian religious holiday commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death at Calvary. Unfortunately, Good Friday is not a public holiday in France (unlike in my native UK), so I'm stuck here in my office writing this ... Still, it's raining outside, so I don't feel too bad about not having the day off. Anyway, enough about me, let's turn our attention to more important matters ... like the story of God.
TV promos are usually pretty straightforward, with footage cut from the shows they're pushing. But a new ad from National Geographic Channel puts original footage to great use in promoting The Story of God with Morgan Freeman, a documentary series coming in April. Sadly (or perhaps mercifully), the show isn't a sequel to Bruce Almighty, in which Freeman actually played God. The minute-long ad, by creative agency Holman + Hunt, opens on the Western Wall, the controversial Jewish holy site in Jerusalem, and includes shots of group ceremonies from other religions around the world, Christianity and Islam among them. [Source: Adweek]
TRANSCRIPT Since the birth of humanity, across cultures and throughout the ages, we have prayed. Why do so many of us ask for help from above in our time of need? What is it that compels us to believe in something greater than ourselves? And why do even non-believers find a prayer on their lips from time to time? I want to understand this instinct that unites us all. Join me on a journey through history, science, and belief to discover the heart of the human condition, and tell the story of God. It's going to be quite a ride. The Story of God with Morgan Freeman, coming soon only to National Geographic.
Here's a stylishly witty new ad for the Galaxy S7 phone. If you're a teacher, see below for some suggestions on how it could be used in class, and if you're a learner, try the quiz!
LESSON IDEAS 1. Show the ad and stop it at 50s (right after the voiceover says "there are only two things you really can't live without"). Get you students to guess what the two things are. 2. Show the rest of the ad and then go through it again focusing on vocabulary and grammar (there are several examples of the zero conditional). Note the double meaning of 'hot' - feeling the heat, and sexy. 3. Discuss other desirable smartphone features. 4. Brainstorm other possible uses of water.
TRANSCRIPT You live on a planet that is mostly water. If you don't put water inside your body, you die. If you don't put it on the outside of your body, you get disgusting gross diseases and your skin falls off. Some people fill giant bags with water and sleep on them. And sometimes water just starts falling out of the sky. You think this model's hot, but she's mostly just water. 72 per cent water. 73 per cent water. And smart people like this person say there's about to be even more water. People think it's really funny to find water people don't want to be in, and then push those people into that water. If you're religious, your goal is at some point to be forcibly submerged in water. When water freezes, people play on it. When it bubbles, people sit in it. When it moves, people slide down it. In fact, there are only two things you really can't live without. Water and your phone. So why in the world would you get a phone that can't get wet? The new water-resistant Galaxy S7 Edge.
Donald Trump uses grammar in his political speeches at a level suitable for an 11-year-old, a new study has found. US researchers made their findings by analysing the language used by the property tycoon, as well as other fellow Republican Party members Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. Linguists at Carnegie Mellon University found that Mr Cruz and Mr Rubio used grammar which would be suitable for children aged between 11 and 14-year-olds. Meanwhile, Democratic presidential candidate hopefuls Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton used language reflecting the knowledge of 15 to 18-year-olds and 11 to 14-year-olds, respectively. So, how do your grammar skills measure up to an 11-year-old's? Take this quiz to find out.
COMMENT I'm pleased (relieved) to report that I got 7 out of 7, so my reputation is intact! One or two of the questions were quite tricky, however.
NOTE The most linguistically sophisticated president was Abraham Lincoln. George W Bush emerged as the president with the most primitive grammar, but his vocabulary was as polished as that deployed by Barack Obama, who is considered to be a good orator.
This ad, which is part of a new campaign for online travel agency Travelocity, features some beautiful scenery and a voiceover that contains a lot of useful language for learners of English.
LESSON IDEAS This would be a good ad to use if you're doing a lesson about travel and tourism or holidays. The script contains quite a few vocabulary and grammar items that are worth looking at in more detail, and the images could also be exploited for vocabulary or grammar work. For example, "What's the man going to do?", "What's he wearing?", "What's he carrying?", "Describe the landscape", etc., etc. By the way, it's the gnome that's supposed to be speaking. Read this article to find out more about the gnome.
TRANSCRIPT Do not mistake this for a vacation. This is a journey. A journey where maps give way to meandering. And schedules are left a time zone or two behind. So go ahead. Do something you've never done. Be your own guide. Wander. You won't get lost. You might just find yourself. Or at least someone who looks really, really familiar. But tells much more interesting stories. Travelocity - Wander Wisely.
I often use videos in class, but sometimes I like to take my EM Normandie students to the multimedia lab so they can work on a video in more depth at their own pace. Of course, you can always provide a printed worksheet, but I find it's more effective and motivating to create an interactive video with integrated questions, comments, and feedback. There are several sites that allow you to do that (Zaption and PlayPosit, for example), but to make this video I used Edpuzzle, which is easy to use and free. You can find the original video here. If you don't have a multimedia lab, you could get your students to work on an interactive video as a flipped classroom activity at home. I also created a quiz based on the transcript, which I've embedded below. To finish the lesson, I used this Travel Agency Simulation, which is always fun.