#WiP #DigitalClassroom

An Independent Language Instructor's Digital Tool Belt

In 2007, I found myself in a very unexpected situation: I had a front row seat as my employer filed for bankruptcy. #Yikes, everything gone! Not just a paycheck, but everything:

  • Network of friends
  • Sales department
  • Materials department
  • Marketing department
  • Legal department
  • Office equipment
  • Stationery
  • A place to conduct business
  • Payment system
  • Resource & Development
  • A product/solution
  • A system
  • et cetra and so on and so forth. All the stuff your employer provides.

Needless to say, it sucked, but it was what it was and I had to move forward. I focused mainly on developing a solution and a sound system. Being broke AF, one uses what one has at hand: a computer with a bunch of built in tools and enough personal knowledge of scripting and computers to work some magic. Here are all the tools I have utilized over the years:


  • Terminal.app: Stuff
  • bash scripts: automation of various tasks
  • nano: note taking.
  • say(): text to speech (I generate listening content on the fly.)
  • afplay(): audio playback
  • Markdown: note taking
  • XML Generator: rss/xml generator to deliver audio recordings via podcasting.(https://github.com/iMorpheus/XML_Generator)
  • CamTwist: Picture-in-Picture to display slides
  • ooVoo/Hangouts/Skype: Video chat
  • Hindenburg: Audio recording
  • Keynote: slides
  • SoundCloud: Listening practice (Sample - https://soundcloud.com/user-671851813/sets/of_dictation/s-iRlOa)
  • Twitter: student progress — https://twitter.com/dla_eng
  • Dropbox: Notes and stuff.
  • Podcasting: Production stage of each lesson + serves as an audio log of progress.

It’s a total hack, but it works.

NEAR FUTURE: I will be adding the following tools this month

  • JSON: Checklist/Markoff sheets for each student
  • jq: filtering and modifying JSON
  • Discord: Online Language Lab (Temporarily shelved but not forgotten.)


  • Swift on the command line
  • JavaScript
  • iOS

And with that, I return you to your day.