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Review of the Three Online Materia Sources

Three online material source which can improve L2 instruction are introduced in this presentation.

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Review of the Three Online Materia Sources

  1. 1. Review of the Educational Websites and Online Teaching Materials Zahra Shafiee Spring 2014
  2. 2. Preview This review takes account of three online teaching materials, namely, ‘Randall’s ESL Cyber Listening Lab’, ‘Winkball.com’, and ‘SchoolTube.com’. Each website is first introduced; then the teaching/learning approach of it as well as the addressed groups of learners are discussed; finally, a brief evaluation of the site as a teaching material is provided.
  3. 3. I. Randall’s ESL Cyber Listening Lab
  4. 4. An Overview to the Website This website is designed to develop listening comprehension skill through providing a variety of listening input, listening comprehension quizzes, vocabulary lessons, life tips, culture points, and long conversations. An introductory view to the website is provided as follows.
  5. 5. Daily ESL: Provides audio files, the transcripts with key words in boldface, vocabulary exercises, role play, discussion question as exercise, interviews to be listened, and online investigation of the topics. Topics are about daily face-to-face conversations and real-life language functions. The audio flash player file in the site enables to adjust the speed of conversation.
  6. 6. EZSlang: Introduces several topics using an audio file, transcripts with key vocabulary and quizzes, as well as related collocations, expressions and jargons.
  7. 7. Train Your Accent: This link teaches how to recognize reduced syllables by audio files accompanied with actual transcripts and reduced transcripts. short quizzes also are meant to evaluate learners’ comprehension.
  8. 8. English Voices: This link aims at practicing how to improve language skills, with focus on using language forms like gerunds and infinitives. A fill-in-the-blanc exercise should be completed. Audio and video links are downloadable.
  9. 9. Culture Videos: The link on the up-left part of the home page provides culture notes through video files.
  10. 10. ESL Study Tips: It is in the mid-left part of the home page.
  11. 11. Quizzes A series of links cater for evaluation of the learners’ listening comprehension skill via quizzes including a downloadable audio file, a pre-task, and a multiple choice quiz which can be scored. They are explained as follows.
  12. 12. -‘General Listening Quizzes’ at three levels of easy, medium, and difficult - ‘Basic Listening Quizzes’ at three levels of easy, medium, and difficult - ‘Listening Quizzes for Academic Purposes’ at three levels of medium, difficult, and very difficult
  13. 13. - ’20-minute ESL Vocabulary Lessons’ at medium level - ‘Language Learning and Life Tip’ at medium level - ‘Long Conversations with RealVideo’ at three levels of easy, medium, and difficult
  14. 14. A Sample Quiz from General Listening Quizzes
  15. 15. Some points Regarding the Activities and Quizzes • *All the audio and video files are downloadable • * Quizzes are in multiple choice type. • * Scoring and correct answers of the quizzes are provided.
  16. 16. The Target Audience and Pedagogical Approach of the Website, challenges and Thorny issues  The website provides a rich source of input for the adult learners at all proficiency levels (i.e., at three levels of easy, medium, and difficult). The topics including at the airport, distance education study abroad, swimming, hotel reservation, etc., indicate that the addressed learners are ESL learners who go abroad to live, study, and on business. The website also addresses EFL learners who want to go abroad on trip, business, education, and for immigration purposes, as well as for people who need to use English as a lingua franca for their business.  The topics of exercises and quizzes encompass the functions and activities that an immigrant, student, or tourist needs to deal with daily activities and real life. The tasks follow the TBLT stages of pre-task, while-task, and post-task. However, post-task activities and quizzes don’t receive any feedback from the website. The only feedback is on the scoring a few multiple choice questions and showing the correct answers.  The tasks can stand as a rich source of input but they encourage little, if any, output. The limited output elicited in the quizzes is answering multiple choice clear-cut questions without using analytic test tasks like inference questions. It seems if learners refer to the website as a standalone source of listening skill, they end up with a seemingly function-based and task-based approach that follows the narrow result of structuralist approach. Consequently, at the best, the website should be integrated with an EFL/ESL course and the activities should be led by a teacher in communicative and interactive way. That is negotiation of form and meaning need to be included; otherwise the learners will be caught and stuck in a behavioristic trap using the input only in isolation and receiving feedback on the few answers to multiple choice test tasks which only indicate the lowest level of input recognition in isolation.  In terms of applicability of this site to classroom practices, since the files are downloadable and the tasks and tests can be printed, they are applicable to any classroom which is at least equipped with a CD player. However, receiving test scores requires an internet connection, though it can be compensated with checking the scores in the classroom by teacher or peers.
  17. 17. II. Winkball.com
  18. 18. An Overview to the Website Winkball.com is a website designed for sharing video interviews shared by people about all kind of their concerns. The sites has a claim of making the global communication evolve easier and faster through these video interviews. People share their opinions and involvements using a webcam on a computer or cell phone and by uploading their recordings as if it’s a face-to-face interaction. Thus, people can share their ideas to the world by recording, saving, and uploading them on Winkball to generate a global face-to-face-like communication. This website offers video interviews in a variety of topics including: • Entertainment • Proms • Sports • Events • Gigs • theatre • Art & Fashion • Football • Music • Festivals like Pentecost Festival In addition, it has links to create or take part in Campaigns and Megawalls as well as Winkball Business services.
  19. 19. Campaigns and Megawalls People can join to share their concerns regarding: Politics Festivals Celebrities Carnivals Nations like South Africa World Cup
  20. 20. Winkball Business services This page represents its video interviews as a means of close communication for businesses and organizations with all of their potential or real costumers. It invites organizations and businesses to use Winkball’s videos to promote their businesses via knowing people’s views, emotions, and interests.
  21. 21. The Target Audience and Pedagogical Approach of the Website, challenges and Thorny issues  The rich collection of video interviews presented by Winkball.com are not mean for ELT purposes. Winkball is just a platform to let people voice out their concerns and interests. Most probably, the purpose behind this website is getting to know social concerns to promote financial organizations, to gain more efficient social control, etc. However, since the interviews usually run by native speakers, they include a substantial source of authentic language input about real-life issues. This source of language input can be used in ELT for different purposes. For one thing, the topics include social and cultural events, so the interviews can be used for teaching culture and social issues. Since the files are downloadable and not, yet, filtered, they can be easily accessible for the majority of the learners.  There are limitation for using these files though. One of the limitations is the learners’ age and level of proficiency. That is to say, the topics and interviewees encompass adult concerns. So young learners, especially kids are not addressed. Another constraint is that the authentic language, the rate of speech, and accents are not convenient for beginners to intermediate levels. Thus, the site is helpful for the adult learners at the intermediate level upwards. A third issue with this website is the accents of the interviewees; not all of them are native speakers. Some of them speak a Black English and some are immigrants. This latter issue may be the source of inaccuracy and fossilized errors.  Since Winkball.com is not an education-oriented website, I cannot attribute any pedagogical approach to it; however, the interviews can be applied in ELT with different approaches. You can use them from a GTM approach to a functional-notional, to task-based, etc., and from a conventional to critical post-method view. The interviews comprise a rich source of authentic language, compatible with adult upper-intermediate to advance levels of proficiency, primarily for ESL learning. They can be source of data for vocabulary learning, Grammar, language functions, and discussing social, cultural, and political issues for improving critical thinking, speaking skill, not least mentioning pronunciation.  Since the interviews are downloadable and can be played via a CD or DVD player or any kind of player using a flash memory, products of this site are applicable to classrooms even equipped with the least instances of technology. Thus, almost all teachers can enrich their instructional practices using Winkball.com.
  22. 22. III. SchoolTube.com
  23. 23. An Overview to the Website • Academic & Education • Animals & Wildlife • Arts & Entertainment • Autos & Vehicles • Careers & Tec. Ed. • Community & Public Service • Contests • Conventions • Elementary • Films • Food • Funnies • Green & Environment • Health & Wellness • History • Music • News & Journalism • People • Science • Sports • Student Clubs • Technology • Travel & places • Weather SchoolTube is a website designed for ELT instruction. It contains English student-generated videos that their content is moderated by teachers. The videos are gathered from K-12 schools which register to the website. Due to the teachers’ cautious moderation of the videos, the content of SchoolTube is approved by schools as safe for the K-12 young students and as an appropriate platform for classroom instruction. In addition to videos, instructional games like math games, are provided in the website. The videos include the following topics:
  24. 24. IV. SqoolTube.com
  25. 25. An Overview to the Website As a wide-ranging source of input and instructional materials, this site incorporates a large variety of activities including: • Videos • Learning Games • e-Books • Book Related Sources • Printable Sources • Free Interactive Whiteboard Activities • Free Web-Based Tools and Education-based Applications for Teachers • Teacher Resources
  26. 26. Videos
  27. 27. Learning Games
  28. 28. Page of Interactive Whiteboard: (It needs to be downloaded in case of being subscribed.)
  29. 29. The Target Audience and Pedagogical Approach of the Website, challenges and Thorny issues  Apparently, the audience of this substantial website are K-12 students who are either English native speakers or ESL learners. The language proficiency for ESL learners begins from beginners upwards. The videos, games, and other sources teach curricular content like math and physics. Thus, ESL learners can learn the content through the medium of English. Moreover, the interactional games are considered pedagogical tasks which enhance English for EFL learners. Thus, as for ESL/EFL learners, this site provides a content-based and also a task-based source of language instruction. Videos also comprise a substantial source for listening comprehension and teaching culture.  The videos are played by the students, so both the content and the language, that is both instruction and the medium of instruction are appealing to K-12 students. This means a great deal of motivation for language learning. Furthermore, the content is learnable or even familiar for the target audience, which can be considered as a context-rich content. As a result, the language is no longer cognitively- demanding, and this contributes to the efficiency of language learning.  Since this website is designed for the schools which subscribe to it in some countries like U.S and U.K., the site can’t be used in countries for which the use of this website is embargoed. That is to say, unless we use an anti-filtering tool, we cannot use it in classrooms. Moreover, the games run online so the classrooms should be well equipped with education-technology means, i.e. the Internet connection and computer. Personally, I couldn’t download videos. In case this is not mu connection problem and they are not downloadable anywhere, videos cannot be applied to our classrooms’ instructional materials.  There are many other sections in the website, like interactive whiteboard, which I couldn’t view due to limitation of access even with anti-filter since they needed to be subscribed from a school or educational organization. Hence, the applicability of all parts of the SchoolTube.com and/or SqoolTube.com couldn’t be entirely covered. By the way, I couldn’t understand the difference between SchoolTube.com and SqoolTube.com, comes from the differences between the sites of they are two sects of one big website. Anyway, I reviewed both in this part parallel to each other.

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