WHATello is a fantastic website that mainly focus on the listening skill, in conjunction with other skills. It has a vast collection of audio of various topic from personal to world knowledge acrross culture.
For second language learners, listening to native speakers might be a rare oppurtunity in own country. ello provides a medium to listen to how English is spoken all around the world by native speakers and non-native speakers too. Besides, students may familiarise with different accents and use of language.
The different activities provided allow students to choose what they would enjoy most. Some might enjoy listening with visual while some might enjoy listening to a video. The power to choose what they want and the fact that it is acessible outside classroom encourage the autonomy in learning.
Taking control of their own learning, by choosing the topic of their interest make them engage to the learning. They become interested and take part in the activity. It means they have higher possibility to acquire the language effortlessly through meaningful learning.
EXAMPLEIt is divided to few sections:
Topic:1139 'Sea Turtles'
Speakers: Dusty (US) and Mike (Canada)
- Views: It is basically a conversation between two people giving their view of a certain topic. The conversation is real and authentic (may include pauses, fillers and back-channelling).
- Transcript tab - The transcription of the audio is provided. The speakers information are also given (name, picture and country). You may choose whether you want to hide or show the text.
- Audio slide view tab - Listen to the audio with the help of visual slide. The whole text is divided into few shorts sentences, and subtitle is provided.
- Vocabulary tab - It explains the word or phrases in the text, in details with few examples. You could listen to the explanation and read it at the same time.
- Activity - On the right hand side, there are exercises to check comprehension and test vocabulary. Students could check their answer after doing the task.
- Further information - Related topic/link and video response of the topic is also provided for further discussion.
Topic: Mixer 121 'Favourite Proverb'
- Mixer: It has few speakers (with various accents from different country) and the opinion given individually with no interaction to each other.
- Transcript tab - The audio transcription. You could also click the words in blue to listen to the explanation or meaning.
- Audio slide view tab - You can choose among the speakers and listen to their speech. A picture is provided in relation to the text. In this case, the picture of Confucious is shown when the speaker is talking about a proverb by him.
- Vocabulary tab - Similar to the view's section, it gives further explanation of a difficult word.
Topic: G70 'Yoga Pose'
- Game: A listening game, where users have to listen and choose the right image of the topic being discussed.
- Choose the right image: Students will listen to Jeff description of yoga pose and listener need to identify which picture fit the description.
- Full audio and transcription is provided.
- Audio downloads - The download link for the audio, vocabulary, and notes are provided
- Activity - There are exercises provided (vocabulary, reading and speaking quiz) as well as answer.
Topic: 1032 'Should the man pay for everything on the first date?'Speaker: Steve (UK)
- Videos: It is a recorded video of various english speaking users all around the world about various topic. It is interesting because we could see the view of people about random topics.
- Watch the video - Click to watch the video and choose whether you want it with subtitle or not.
- Transcription is provided on the right column.
- Activity - Video Quiz (multiple choice questions) to check understanding.
- Further Information - A link for related topic is provided for further discussion.
Topic: 1 'an oil spill, a theft, a long walk, taxes and a new book'
- News: It is a newscast of six different topics.
- Animated cartoon with quiz - There is a quiz section with cartoons and multiple choice question after listening to a short information.
- Transcription - They could also listen to the whole news and read the text as well.
- Activity - On the right, there is some excercises focus and vocabulary and listening (gaps fill and short answer questions).
- Real languages - ello use authentic language where English speakers from different background participate in the activity. Meaning, it provides various accents of English speaking. It prepares students with real communicative language and make student aware that meaning is what count in a conversation apart from correct use of language.
- Different approaches - It has few different sections, such as Game where students would enjoy it. Rather than listening for comprehension, they would also choose listening to answer quiz.
- Printable document - teachers and students could benefit from the exercises in classroom. For example, teachers provide listening, and hand out the printable exercises for student to answer. In other words, no technology is needed.
- Downloadable audio - This audio is in the format of MP3 and can be played through mp3 player, if interenet access is not available.
- Interesting activity - Teacher could create different classroom activity for students base on the topic provided in ello. For example after listening to a group of people about their favourite proverb, students could also discuss on their own favourite proverb.
- Easy and Free - It is easy, accessible, and free for all internet users.
- Skills Development - Most of the listening activity could then be extended to to other idea of teaching where students make a group discussion about the opinon given or write a summary of what is said by the speakers.
- Post Discussion - Most of the sections in ello provide a related topic and in 'view' section, there are also video responses from random speakers. This will allow more creativity for students who wish to extend their knowledge about that particular topic. The idea of differentiation is applied here.
- Topics cover many aspects -Obviously, it encourage personalisation because interesting content is chosen to fit students level and interest.
- Answers - Answers are provided so that students could check it straight away.
- Repeated exercises - The exercises here is repeated and students may find it boring after a few tries.
- Searching topic - There is no tag or label that make the topic searching easier.
This is a very useful website for teachers and students. For teachers, they may have some teaching ideas base on the activity or topic provided. Meanwhile, students could learn from here by themselves for their own pleasure rather than for learning purpose. It will surely assist in autonomous learning, a very important concept of language learning.