Thursday, February 28, 2019

(Student writing B2.2) Technology and Accessibility - by Karin

I’ve been visiting the A-Day (Accessibility Day) in Austria for years now and it is still interesting to be there. You may wondering what this has to do with technology. Let me explain.

The “A-Day” is a conference for exchanging experiences and information about diverse topics related to accessibility, from physical disability to blindness and deafness. The whole conference is accessible, and everything that is said is interpreted in sign language and written text.

My first time at this conference was a strange experience. I’d never seen anything like this before and I was deeply impressed how technology has transformed the lives of people with disabilities. Starting from tools like screenreaders over wheelchairs with joystick control and prosthetics up to working on a computer via eye-tracker - all these things were used or introduced during the conference. I was never aware that a simple conversation between a blind person and a deaf person is not possible without technology, and this is just one example.

Here are some key facts about disability:

·      Around a billion people worldwide have a disability - this is one in five people in Europe and America
·      Many of them are excluded from work and social life
·      Their poverty rate is about twice that of other people

So as the conference shows in a very impressive way, for this huge group of people technology is not merely welcome but vital. It can improve their quality of life significantly and help them to contribute more in both work life and social life.

In the listening about facial recognition this week we heard about the risks of this technology. But the same technology can help some people to access a computer screen. There are benefits and risks in nearly every technology. The question is, who takes the responsibility in how to use them? Moreover, how do we make sure that all this creative, innovative and amazing technology is affordable for people, such as the disabled, for whom it will be most useful?

Thursday, February 21, 2019

(intermediate Grammar SPIN) If I Fell (Conditionals)

Song dictation:

If ________________ you
________________ to be true
And _______ understand
__________ in love before
And I found ______________
Than _________________

______________ to you
I _________ sure
From the _________
That you __________ more than her 

______________ oh please
Don't ____________
____________too oh please
__________ my pride like her 
______________ stand the pain
And I __________ if our new love was in vain 

So I _____________ that I
____________________ you
And that she _________
______________ we are two
______________ with you




If I fell in love with you
Would you promise to be true 

And help me understand
'Cause I've been in love before
And I found that love was more
Than just holding hands 

If I give my heart to you
I must be sure
From the very start
That you would love me more than her

If I trust in you oh please
Don't run and hide

If I love you too oh please
Don't hurt my pride like her 
'Cause I couldn't stand the pain
And I would be sad if our new love was in vain 

So I hope you see that I
Would love to love you
And that she will cry
When she learns we are two

If I fell in love with you

Monday, February 18, 2019

(Pronunciation) Consonant blends

Listen to the video for words with consonant blends. See how many you can write down...

Image result for tornado







blew open




blasted open













hydraulic spikes


Think of a word with this sound in the middle











Think of a word that begins with this sound







Think of a word that ends with this sound












Monday, February 11, 2019

(Advanced) Shh! Plot weaving

One of my favourite episodes of one of my favourite shows.


Adventure Time - Shh!

Before watching

1. What is "suspense" in a story? Which TV shows etc have fantastic suspense?

2. How does suspense happen?

3. What's the connection between humour and suspense?

4. What about other things that make a story entertaining - what shows, novels, film etc have....

Surprises and twists?

Neat story ideas?

Funny digressions from the main story?


5. How do you think writers go about creating great stories?

6. Out of twists, ideas, digressions and suspense, which is the most important?

7. Discuss the story map below - how could this help a writer develop a story?


Watch the episode of Adventure TimeShhh!, referring to this story pyramid.

Discuss the exposition

1. What is the idea?

2. What is the inciting incident? Who are the main characters, what are their flaws?

Pause and discuss

3. What is the complicating factor (the conflict) - how will it help drive the story?

4. What is the secondary plot line? What does it bring into the story?

Pause and discuss

5. There is a sequence that deviates from the main story, what does it add?

6. Predict how the secondary plot line and main plot line will converge in the climax.

Pause and discuss

6. What actually happens during the climax of the story - how do the show's makers get the most from this moment?

7. What happens in at the reversal stage?

8. What is the resolution?

1. But, So

Compare these two sequences

Cinderella was a kind, beautiful and happy girl. Her mum died and her father was lonely. He remarried. Cinderella got a cruel stepmother and two ugly sisters. They were mean to her and she tried to be nice and they were still mean. Her dad died and they were even meaner and made her do all the cleaning. Cinderella's life was hell. One day a letter came from the palace and they were all invited to the ball and they all dressed up and Cinderella was sad because she had no dress and couldn't go. They all went without her and she sat down and wept....

Cinderella was a kind, beautiful and happy girl. But then her mum died and her father was lonely. So he remarried. But Cinderella's stepmother was cruel and her stepsisters were also cruel and mean to poor Cinderella. But Cinderella still tried to be nice, but this just made them even meaner. So when Cinderella's dad died, the stepmother and stepsisters became even crueler and made poor Cinderella do all the housework. So Cinderella's life was hell. But one day a letter came from the palace inviting them all to a ball. So they all excitedly dressed up. Cinderella wanted to go to the ball too, but could not because she had nothing to wear and so she couldn't go. So off the others went. But Cinderella was left behind. So she sat down and wept.

If you want to give the events in a story power you need to constantly show these connections not simply through sequence, but through differentiation. 

Stories are basically kept alive by contrast (buts) and consequence (sos).

With "so"s and "but"s, character intentions and actions in a story are continuously interrupted or transformed in a way that builds... suspense. The audience invests their interest or hopes in lines of action or character intentions that are almost guaranteed to be messed with, and consequently they become increasingly involved in the story.

2. Meanwhile

The word not to forget when planning a story is "meanwhile". This is called "plot weaving". Instead of thinking of a story as one single line of causation, think about it as a bunch of streams flowing down from the mountains. They start in different places but slowly they all meet up and converge into one river.  When this happens you might say there's a climax.

Many writers know exactly what this main climax is before they start writing. They know what the big moment, or the big twist, in the story is gong to be. The art of telling a story is to make the process of reaching and coming down from that climax worthwhile for the audience.

Many writers spend longer planning a story than executing it.

Work out one scenario to a point where people are going to want to know what's going to happen next. Then stop right there. Start another another scenario, the less obviously related the better. In the Cinderella example above, we could perhaps have stopped before the letter of invitation arrived and gone over, meanwhile, to the palace to learn more about why they have decided to organise the ball. When Cinderella finally meets the Prince and dances with him, it's like two streams meeting and forming a river.

'Meanwhile-ing' is one of the most fun parts of storytelling and you don't need to be a good writer - you just need good ideas and an ability to plan. The audiences likes it when you drop a plot line, because they're looking forward to its return later.

3. Grammar

When telling stories we often rely on the continuous aspect to draw out a scene in detail.

The Hobbits were running up the rocky slope, as fast as they could, but the Orcs were closing in on them. The footsteps of the orcs were growing louder and louder. Suddenly they saw a cave. They hesitated for an instant, wondering whether to enter. But there was no other escape. A moment later they were all scampering in the dark over the rocks.

Notice how this tense puts us in the moment, rather than giving us a summary of the events. 

We use the perfect aspect to move away from the strictly causative or chronological chain of events.

As she left the station, she realised that she had left her handbag on the train.