Amazon Releases Beta Version of new Kindle Textbook Creator

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This could be a fun opportunity for any teachers who create their own classroom materials (which is most teachers, right?): Amazon has released a Beta version of it Kindle textbook Creator, which allows authors to convert PDFs into eBooks and include visual content like graphs and charts. The eBook created is supported across multiple platforms, including Kindle Fire, iOS, and Android devices. This may not be the best solution for language learning “workbooks”, but we’ll let you try it out and report back to us! Authors retain the rights for their content and can earn up to 70% in royalties.

Learn more anout KDP.

“We’d Rather Sell it than Count It” Holiday Sale – 2014 edition

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So much on sale, so little time! December 18th to 23rd, 2014.

Download the sale flyer.

The full sale is available in person at our Toronto showroom. However, if you are not able to come to the showroom, a 20% discount will be applied to all web orders placed during the holiday sale (you won’t see the discount in your cart, but it will be applied when the order is processed. If you would like to take advantage of some of the “These just became old editions” or “we have too many of these” sale items, please call or email to place your order.

A Linguist’s Obsession with Food Gives Fascinating Insight

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I recently stubled upon this book and while it’s not one we are stocking here at English Central, I thought I w0uld would share it because it is the kind of book that most English Language Teachers will appreciate. Here are some fascinating tidbits:

  • as far as restaurant menus go, every increase of a letter in the average length of words used to describe a dish represents a 69 cent increase in the cost of the dish. Also, for each positive but vague word like “tasty” that is used, the dish is typically 8 cents cheaper.
  • at one point, toasted bread was involved when people drank and made toasts

I haven’t read the book yet – it is now officially on my Christmas wish-list. However, I did find Dan Jurafsky’s blog, which has all sorts of fascinating posts on the language of food. I just read about the different marketing language used on bags of expensive potato chips versus the language used on cheap chips. Think about what the differences might be, then read the post.

Undoubtedly because I used to specialize in teaching pronunciation, I found the post prior to the potato chip one equally fascinating. In a discussion of ice cream flavours, Jurafsky touches on “sound symbolism” and words (in many languages, not just English) with front vowels (i, I and e) tend to suggest thin, light and small things. On the other hands, words with back vowels tend to sugegst large, thick or heavy things. Compare “teeny” to “huge” in English, “petit” to “grand” in French or “chico” to “gordo” in Spanish.

I love it when someone makes you consider things that you always lived with but never thought to consider before!

The Fluidity of Language: as Old Ones Disappear, New Ones Emerge

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In a recent Garnet Education newsletter, they linked to an interesting article on the evolution of language. Many languages have disappeared in relatively recent history, and while we might assume that in many cases people are speaking English instead, this is not the case. The article looks at indigenous peoples in Australia and how many groups have evolved a language that is a mixture of native language with English. These “new” languages are almost incomprehensible to English speakers and highlight how creativee, fluid and complex language is. Read the full article… it is extremely interesting!

Macmillan Education Online Conference

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The Macmillan Education Online Conference returns for a fourth year running, bringing you 5 days of talks to inspire your teaching and support your professional development.

Featuring 12 talks from ELT experts and authors including Steve Taylore-Knowles, Jill Leighton and Adrian Underhill, and 4 interactive Google Hangouts, our 2014 event promises to be better than ever!

All conference delegates will receive a certificate of attendance, plus a FREE Sherlock Holmes Graded Reader from our brand-new eBooks store after the event.

Watch our trailer on YouTube and join in the conversation at #MEOC2014.

Teaching Evaluations: Consumer Satisfaction not the Same as Product Value

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It would be difficult to imagine an educator who does not have an opinion on the subject of teacher evaluations. If you would like to consider a mathematical critique of teacher evaluations, you should read a recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education. This article considers a recent paper written by two University of California Berkeley professors titled “An Evaluation of Course Evaluations”. For an interesting read on the false security that numbers give, read the article.

Satisfaction Level Tied to Nationality

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A recent survey of international students in the USA, the UK and Australia reveals that while students are mostly satisfied, students of certain nationalities tend to be less so. European students were the most satisfied, while students from Hong Kong and Saudi Arabia were the least satisfied.

Analysis also suggests that when there are large numbers of international students from one country on a campus, they tend to integrate into the general population less and, as a consequence, become more dissatisfied.

Read the article “Are International Students Satisfied?” in Inside Higher Ed

Series of Free Professional Development Webinars from DELTA Publishing

Delta Publishing logoDELTA Publishing (which is distributed in the USA and Canda by English Central) is offering a series of exciting webinars with top authors this fall. Webinars include:

  • Teaching Unplugged: 50-free with Luke Meddings
  • Storytelling with our Students: Techniques for Telling Tales from Around the World with David Heathfield
  • Pronunciation for Listeners with Mark Hancock
  • Going Mobile with Nicky Hockly and gavin Dudeney
  • Teaching Pronunciation: Challenges and Opportunities with Jonathan Marks

Go to DELTA’s website for more details, dates and to register.

Good to know: if you can’t make the times, recordings of the webinars will be posted to DELTA’s site a day or two after!

 

44th Annual NYS Conference. Empowering ELLs: Equity, Engagement, Enrichment

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Carrie Purcell wil be heading out to Albany for this year’s NYS Conference. The conference is November 14th – 15th at the Albany Hilton. Be sure to stop by to say hello to Carrie and check out all the great new resources we have.

For more information on the conference, go to NYS TESOL’s website.

TexTESOL in San Marcos

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English Central is excited to be exhibiting at this year’s TexTESOL conference in San Marcos, November 13th – 15th. To find out more about the conference, follow this link. Nicole Graham will be representing English Central and she hopes to make as many new friends as possible!

Nicole will also be presenting “Increasing Motivation, Confidence and Communicative Competence with Authentic Video”.  The session is tentatively scheduled for Friday (Session 4 at 2:12 in Veramendi room I).