Update: ESL in the ROK (Teachers)

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Daniel Strong

October 4, 2021

I'm very excited to finally be releasing a major update of ESL in the ROK today. This has been in the works since April and to say I've been eager to see what people have to say about it is an understatement.

I won't bore you with the technology changes behind the scene, but if you're interested I'll link that in this post in the coming days. In this post, I want to focus on you, the teachers, the end users, and highlight some changes that benefit you and others that are no longer supported.

New Design

The first thing you'll notice is the site redesign. Out with the old design, which was pieced together when I had very little design experience and in with a new, custom design made from the ground up. This redesign allowed me to brighten up the site with more color and add more features whilst improving the layout, something I think will greatly benefit new users.

The other main differences can be split into two categories based on one thing: if you have a user account.


Yup, we now offer the ability for you to make an account. Teachers who are required to teach in different classrooms will benefit greatly from an account. Keep in mind, you don't need to make an account to use the site!

The new accounts feature is pretty cool, I think. We use passwordless logins, so all it takes to create an account is just verifying your email. To sign in, enter your email and use the link/code that we send you! Therefore, you can sign in on another classroom's computer, check your phone for the code, and enter it on the computer.

So what to you get with an account? Saved lessons and customized fonts.

Saved Lessons

Previously, we used to only store past lessons used on the machine you were using, so you couldn't use them across multiple computers. Now, with an account, when you're signed in, when you create a custom lesson or edit a pre-made lesson enough we'll give you the option to save your lesson. Saved lessons can be viewed, edited, shared, and deleted in your past lessons area.

  • We only allow a maximum of 30 saved lessons
    • this should be more than enough, but let me know if you think it should be raised
    • we run on a free storage tier to keep costs low, so this is just a precaution
  • Lessons will automatically be deleted after a half year of inactivity
  • To receive the option to save a pre-made lesson, there must be more than 10 changes made
    • anything less and we believe it's quick enough for you to do again

Customized Fonts

A feature that not many people knew about, was the ability to pick and use different fonts. For this release, I wanted to build it out even further. Now if you have an account, you can pick and choose from over 1,200+ fonts on Google Fonts and add them to your account. In addition, you may choose a default font to use when you load up the site.

If you don't have an account, you can choose another font that we've preselected in your settings. Furthermore, we'll randomly choose a font from our list when you visit the site now, so each visit will feel a little more unique.

The Future

I have over 15 game ideas that I've scribbled down that I or someone can work on. You can actually view some of them on the ESL in the ROK repo and contribute if you know how to code. We're always looking for new ideas or people who are good at designing. You don't need to know how to code to know how to design. We use Figma to design game images, SVGs, etc. Even if you don't want to contribute, I believe teachers should learn a bit about design and Figma is the perfect playground to practice.


Not that I expect many readers to actually notice, but I don't even show an error message on Internet Explorer 11 anymore, so it's not supported at all. We do support Microsoft Edge now though.

Finally, there's bound to be problems and weird edge case issues with a release of this size, especially with the amount of custom components and styling. Please report your issues, so I can resolve them ASAP.

If you enjoyed the content, feel free to share it. If you noticed something incorrect or want to discuss this post, you can contact me directly.