Thursday, June 24, 2010

Feedback feedback.

We have had a large amount of feedback on our site. Some of it has been good, some bad and some just strange. I think it is only fair to give this feedback some feedback.

I will begin with

The Good.

"The songs are simply great! My students love them! Congrats
on the awesome work! Lilian Marchesoni from Brazil"

- Thanks so much. We had a lot of fun making the songs and the videos for them.

My name is Julie Mejia. I am an American citizen who is
currently living outside of the United States. I have a 7
year old daughter whom I don't ant to forget her
English thus I am always looking online for different
websites in which she can use to practice. She thus far has
been able to keep up her speaking skills but of course do to
her studies here in Colombia being in Spanish is not yet
able to read or write in English. I am also an English
teacher at a private academy here in Colombia and I would
like to say that I think this website is simply amazing. I
do plan to sign up and hope that others like me find use of
your website.

- Wow. Thanks so much for that. It is always great for us to hear good feedback from teachers.

"I love it! Will do a sample lesson with my students and
recommend a site to them!"

- Great. We really hope they enjoy it!

"Yes, it is interesting and didatic."

Wonderful. Those are the two main things we are trying to achieve.

That is more than enough praise. Let's get to

The Bad

"The sound quality is not clear "

- Yes. We did have some sound quality issues in the earlier shows. The sound quality does get better though. Sorry.

"Searching ....searching ability is missing on this site "

- We have thought about introducing a search function to enable users to search by skill type, ie grammar, phonics, dialogues etc. We are still looking into how to implement this.

"I hate it because you have to pay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

- Sorry. We need to get some money for all this hard work so that we can continue. We have done lessons 1-10 there are still lessons 11-50 to do!

"I liked it. It is a pity I can not use it, since I do not
have either credit card or PayPal. "

- As is we have only these two payment methods. Perhaps you can ask someone with a credit card to pay for you (not me).

"It's in a UK accent. I need an US accent."

- In fact we use people from the UK, US, Australia, South Africa and even Canada in our content as we feel it is important to be able to understand English globally.

The Ugly

"hi there wat are u at" - Guest

- Erm...Hi there. We are at Taiwan.

"what about the french langauge"

- It is a great language that has had a large effect on English but it is still French and we are an Online English site. If we managed to finish our full course in English perhaps we will look to other languages, but I think Chinese would be before French in the line. Sorry.

"what can't we" - Guest

- Don't think like that! What can we!

"I feel funny"

- Me too. However, my friends tell me I'm not that funny at all.

"I think you are all our feature"

- OK, now you have really lost me.

"eggs milk" - Guest

- This is my favorite by far. Thanks.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

New YouTube Lessons

Followers of our blog will know about our YouTube page and the videos we have posted there.

When we started adding videos our plan was to add lessons 1-10. Having added all those videos, 114 in total, we have now decided to plow on into the next set of lessons.

Lessons 1-5 are the beginning of our Online English Learning course. These lessons teach much of the English basics.

Names - He is/ she is...

Classroom Objects - It is/ They are...

Classroom Actions

Colors - It is [color].

Body Parts

3rd Person Actions

And much much more.

Lessons 6-10 will teach:

Present continuous tense.
Outdoor Actions with can and can't.
Fruit and Vegetables with like and don't like.
Adjectives and opposites.
Using adjectives in descriptive sentences.
Countable and non-countable nouns.
Questions of quantity.
Feelings and emotions.
Food with want and don't want questions.
Comparatives and superlatives.
and much more...

So look out for the new videos being posted to the channel. Lesson 6 has already started and is about actions and can/can't questions.

Come and subscribe to our channel at

Friday, June 18, 2010

PayPal Payment

We have two methods of payment, credit card and PayPal.

Here is a quick explanation of how to pay with PayPal.

Step 1 - Buy Now

Step 2 - Select Pricing Plan

Step 3 - Get Started

Step 4 - Select PayPal

Step 5 - Continue to Checkout

Step 6 - Creditcard Details

Step 7 - Comfirm Payment.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Grey or gray?

We recently had an email from a user saying that our site was great but there was one small error, "The grey balloon was shown but the spelling was spelled as “gray” instead of grey (the correct spelling)". It seems to be a bit of a grey/gray area.

This is an interesting point. We are British and American educators based in Taiwan. Due to the fact that we are based in Taiwan we have chosen to use the US spelling, most of the time.

In our material we use 'color' and not 'colour'. This is the American spelling.
We also use 'dialogue' and not 'dialog'. This however, is the British spelling.

So as you can see, we are consistent with our inconsistencies. But jokes aside, English is becoming more and more globalised/globalized. Spoken as a first language by over 300 million people around the world, English is shifting and changing all the time. So most essentially, is it a doughnut or a donut? These questions and more will satisfy our mental hunger for years to come. What is most important perhaps is the awareness of the differences. I mean some people spell 'Pumkin', 'pumpkin'!!

I found this great test about the differences between the two.

Here is a great blog post about the different types of English.

There is a good guide here for the differences between British and American English.

Thanks to

Monday, June 14, 2010

Carrots, Sticks and Elephants

As a child I was never very fond of carrots. I soon found them to be infinitely better than sticks however. If you thought carrots are hard to eat, try eating sticks! Carrots and sticks also refer to different methods of encouragement. A donkey may be tempted to continue walking with the promise of a carrot to eat on arrival. I'm not sure how you tell the donkey but it's not my theory. Otherwise you can hit the donkey with a stick to encourage it to keep walking.

I should hasten to add that at Pumkin we do not condone the stick approach so we went with the carrot. However, carrots are not all that exciting so we chose reward games and animal cards instead.

In Pumkin's online world students explore worlds and set animals free by completing their English learning activities. On finishing an activity, students can play a reward game. This is a game where coins will move across the screen. Students will try to grab most of the coins!

All five planets have different themes to their reward games. World 2 is an underwater theme for example. World five has a bouncy theme! As you can see, coins fall in this game and bounce off the walls. Try to get the 10's and 5's, they are smaller but worth that much more.

Once the coins have all gone you will be presented with the 'Game Over' screen. It will tell you how many coins you caught and how many are still left in that game. You can do the game again to get the rest of the money (This is a great way for us to encourage reviewing past lessons).

So having made all this money what should you do? Well, you can save it if you want and just let your money build up. Or you can go shopping! As you progress through the maps on the planets you will set animals free that have been trapped in eggs. These freed animals will become available as cards in the shop.

The shop will have the animals you have set free from all the planets (See the tabs on the left). Animals are not all the same price as some are rarer than others. Ones towards the end of the planets lessons are harder to get and hence are more expensive. Remember you are collecting the cards for the animals you have set free and not the animals themselves. They have been set free to live on their planets as they wish.

When you first start there is one animal on each planet. These guys will help guide you around and don't need to be set free as they didn't get trapped in the eggs. The dog and cat are two examples of these.

The more you move through the course more rare and exciting animals will become available. If you study hard and collect the coins you will be able to get cool animals like this!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

World Cup 2010

The World Cup of football is here. Some people have been waiting for four years for this to happen. The time has come.

Countries from all over the world have qualified for the World Cup finals in South Africa. Some of the favorites; Spain, Brazil, Argentina and England have found their places in the finals. There are also some of football's smaller nations including North Korea and New Zealand. All of them will play for the title of World Champions.

Interactive Map

All the teams have been split into 8 groups of 4. All group members will play each other. The top 2 teams from each group will go through to the knockout stage.

Here is a really cool calendar for the games.

One of the best things about the World Cup is the different fans from all over the world. Fans dress in the colours of their country's football team, paint their faces, sing and play music to encourage their teams to victory.

Here are some great activities based on the World Cup to help you study English.





A big thank you to

Who do you think will win?

Monday, June 7, 2010

One, No One and One Hundred Thousand

'One, No one and One Hundred Thousand' is the title of a great book by the Italian author Luigi Pirandello. It also describes our life on YouTube. When we started our channel a few months ago we had one intention, to bring our English teaching to the interwebs. Yet, no one had viewed our videos. Now we have had one hundred thousand views of our videos. That's 100,000 for those of you who have trouble with words and prefer numbers.

Why do people love milestones so much? It is a little strange. We love to get to a new big number. Milestones are good because they give you something to aim for. However, when you achieve one milestone you seem to be looking for the next one straight away. So, what is our new milestone going to be? 1,000,000. That might take some time. I am thinking of 654,321 hits. Why? Well, because it looks cool and I always liked counting down. 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1...Lift OFF!

If we are to reach this very important milestone of 654,321 views we will need more people to subscribe to our channel. Tell your friends. Help us get to our next milestone.

Kids Online English Channel

Thursday, June 3, 2010

It's Good To Talk and Chat

There was an old TV advert some time ago in the UK for British Telecom and the tag line was "It's good to talk". Bob Hoskins was in the adverts and I always liked them as I too love to talk.

On the occasion that you can not talk, it is also good to chat. Not the chin wagging type, (Chin Wag) but the online typing one. Chatting with friends online is very popular these days. It is a great way to get quick answers to questions rather than waiting for a reply to an email.

It is due to this need for swift information that we have added our Live Chat Service to our site. The idea is to allow people who are interested in our service to get swift answers to their questions.

The service is also available to users who are online and using the service. So if any questions crop up they can seek a quick response.

The service has been up for one day so far and we are keen to see if it is used by our customers and potential customers. So far we have just had a few people using it and some of them were people in the office trying to be funny. (Not me, honest)

Should you have any questions just talk to "Cindy" our online chat helper. If you are unlucky enough to get me at the other end, followers of this blog will know I am not the fastest typer in the world so be patient!

^^This is not me typing!

Puzzling Puzzles

Some of our users have found our dialogue puzzles a little puzzling to use. So we have made a brief 'how-to' for them. We hope this helps.

Click images to enlarge.

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