Wednesday, 30 November 2011

elllo - English Listening Lesson Library Online


ello 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.

It 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'
Speakers: Various
  • 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'
Speakers: Jeff
  • 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).


      1. 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.
      2. 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.
      3. 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.
      4. Downloadable audio - This audio is in the format of MP3 and can be played through mp3 player, if interenet access is not available.
      5. 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.
      6. Easy and Free - It is easy, accessible, and free for all internet users.
      7. 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.
      8. 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.
      9. Topics cover many aspects -Obviously, it encourage personalisation because interesting content is chosen to fit students level and interest. 
      10. Answers -  Answers are provided so that students could check it straight away.


      1. Repeated exercises - The exercises here is repeated and students may find it boring after a few tries. 
      2. 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.

      Wednesday, 23 November 2011

      Audioboo - A podcasting tool

      LINK :


      Audioboo is a nice webpage that allow students to record their voice and upload it on the internet, shared through itunes and twitter. I would like to introduce you to the idea of podcasting. Podcasting is a recorded audio that is shared through internet for anyone to listen to. It use a similar concept of radio show where there is a speaker and audience to listen to the podcast.

      Whenever there is a real audience, there is a tendency for the speaking activity to be real and meaningful to the students. This is how audioboo benefit english language learners. It function as an audio social network where internet users could listen and comment on students recorded voice.

      Podcasting is an interesting concept that may benefit language learners. In English learning, getting the students to use the language is important for students to acquire the language  naturally. It can be set as a homework, to get the students to speak about a certain topic. Using audioboo, students might be more concious of their own pronunciation after listening to the recording, due to the fact that it is published in the internet (which mean, it is accessible for every one). They have the tendency to speak correctly, with extra attention to the grammar and right use of vocabulary.


      Topic: Audioboo in language learning
      Speaker: Myself


      1. Start recording OR Sign up - via Twitter  or e-mail adress.  
      2. Click the 'Make the recording/Upload file' button.
      3. Start recording OR upload the audio file (if you prefer to record your voice using other recording tool, rather than audioboo)
      4. Add title, (required) tags, and picture (optional).
      5. Publish

      1. An audio social network - It works almost like other social network (facebook, twitter, etc) where you could add you twitter/facebook friends and comment on each other podcast. 
      2. Comment - Your comment can be in the form of audio or typed, encourage communicative language.
      3. Similar properties as youtube - you could search for related audio and visit the uploader's page for more audios.
      4. Shared - The audio can be shared on itunes and twitter account - invite more audience.
      5. Keeping in touch with others - You could follow others or being followed to keep in touch with the uploader's latest podcast.  
      6. Embedded function - you may want to embedd the audio to your own website or blog. 
      7. Email  the podcast to others - If you wanted someone who does not have an account to view your audio, you could email them the link.

      1. Limited time for recording - you have to pay for longer recording. 
      2. May not be of interest of some students - they would enjoy pictures and words, rather than listening to a podcast. 


      Initially, the speaking may be scripted and not using real language. Regardless, it is a good start to get the student to speak. It is better than no speaking at all. It is a nice oppurtunity to have a go on it. For example, teachers could have students comment the content in the classroom through audioboo, rather than directly give their opinon on the subject matter. It allow a passive students to involve as well.

   - A fun and interactive english learning


   is a Franch webpage where it provide interactive tool for learning language. It provides you with all kind of interesting language activities suuch as listening activity, mix and match, reading, language games and comprehension check. It comes with attractive sound and nice graphic.

            This is a very good website for young learners because it contents that is cute and colourful, which make it approachable to the learners. It is also motivating for it interesting background and for language learning, motivation is what keep the students engage to the learning. 

            Some of the tasks are repeated, which in my opinion a good approach. Drilling may not be a fashionable teaching method but it could benefit students to some extents. If the grammar is present repeatedly, students have the tendency to remember better.


            As you could see, it is using bright colours to attract younger learners especially with an interesting sound. There few infos regarding this site:
            • Students level - The upper right hand side button is for the students age and you could choose the proficiency level appropriate for the intended group of students. 
              • Web infos - In the middle, the links there will direct you to the information about the webpage and some teachers and students guide. Unfortunately, it is in French. 
                • Level content - There is also an information about the content for each level, where if you clicked it, it will direct you to this page. It provides you with the content for each level which include lexical, grammar and cultural references.

                  • Printable document - If you look at the P button, it will direct you to the list    of printable documents. 
                  • The H button will direct you to the homepage.


                  Topic - 'In the Park'
                  Level - level 2/easy
                  • It requires student to click on the image of what is referred by the sentence. It will make chime sound for correct answer and monkey sound for wrong answer.

                  • Further, it then require students to answer yes or no question.
                  • The questions started to become more complicated where it requires students to type the answer. If there is a mistake, a rule (not in English) will pop out saying how should students use 'is' and 'are' in a sentence. Spelling mistake will be counted as a mistake.

                  • In the next level, it requires student to fill in the correct answer for the usage of 'a' and 'some'
                  • Then, the use of 'there is' and 'there are'
                  • Practising the use of ' not a...' and '...are not any...'. Students will have to type the whole sentence in the box. Example is provided.

                  • At the end of the unit, mark is given which is counted base on the frequency of mistakes done by the students.

                  1. Interesting - interesting use of graphic, presentation and sound. 
                  2. Interactive
                  3. Diferrent level - It carters students with different level of proficiency. (Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced)
                  4. Various topics - There are many topics provided such as environment to world knowledge ()
                  5. Skills development - There is reading and listening activities for language enhancement. Spelling and vocabulary is stressed.
                  6. Rule presentation - The rule or grammar is presented before the exercise. It gives student general idea of how a grammar is used before practising. 
                  7. Printable handout - For teachers as classroom activities or students if they preferred paper rather than on screen exercises. 
                  8. Easy and Free - It is acessible for everyone and anywhere.  

                  1. Practical issues - some task does not allow users to go to the previous page or skip a sub-task. Users may stuck in a question and could not skip the part. 
                  2. Not attractive for adult learners - Though there are suitable for different level of proficiency, the task type (e.g. gaps fill, click the right answers, etc) is not challenging enough. 

                  It may not be challenging enough for adult learners but it provides a very good oppurtunity for younger learners. They learn in a simple and fun environment (by clicking, typing etc) that would give less pressure in learning. It is worth to give it a try.

                    WordSift - Isolating important words


                    Wordsift - just like its name, this website is a brilliant tool of 'sifting' or isolating the important or useful words and group it as one. Now, could you imagine how this tool contribute to lesson planning?

                    It is useful as a pre-reading activity where when you have a long story or article, and you can let this tool choose the important words from that. It delete common words and the words that give the gist of the article stay.

                    It is not sifting the important words alone, it has also has supportive function like visual meaning and thesauraus. For a student, it will surely help them doing reading preparation because rather than isolating the important words, they would also able to quickly look at the meaning of a difficult words in one click. Easy tool motivate learning.

                    The context of the way a word is used is also provided in one page through sampling. This is very useful where teachers may help students to further understand the meaning of a word through context. 


                    1. Paste the text into the box.  Text can be taken online. (poems, short story, journal, extract, etc)
                    2. Click Sift


                    Text: Poem by Joey Rodriguez, 'Tears, Pain and a Happy End'
                    • I sift the long poem and it gives you a gist of its content.

                    As you may notice,
                    • Sorting - You could sort out the words from 'rare to commmon' or 'A to Z' and vice versa, depending on your choice.
                    • Frequent words - The most frequent words are bigger than the rest

                    • Visualise the word - through google image search engine provided. 
                    • Visual thesauraus - where the thesauraus of the word is shown.
                    • Sample Text - you could take out the sample of how a word is used in the text. Example below shows how the word 'upon' is used in a text. 

                    Jay Rodriguez

                    Poem Source:
                    Jay Rodriguez

                    Poem Source:
                    • Classroom activity - A good tool for pre-reading / pre-listening activity. 
                    • Instant meaning - If students wanted to know a meaning of a word, they could easily click the word, and the associated words will appear in the Visual Thesauraus box. 
                    • Visual meaning - There is a visual section where  some words are better explained through picture rather than another definition.
                    • Sorting words - I find this interesting because we can choose to sort the words from common to rare. In other words, it helps teachers identify the difficult words that need to be taught. 
                    • Sampling - It could take out the sentence where a particular word being used. Students could refer to the usage of a word.


                    This is a suggested website for both students and teachers. Students could use it as a reading preparation and teachers may want to come out with an idea of teaching using the information given here. Worth a try!

                    Tuesday, 15 November 2011

                    Wordle - Word Cloud

                    Wordle is a tool to generate word cloud as shown below. It makes the most frequent word larger than the rest. What is best with this tool is that you could choose how do you display the words.

                    The frequent words are larger than the rest, make students pay attention of the particular word that is also an important content to the text. It is suitable for pre-reading activity.


                    Text: 'I Believe I Can Fly' by R.Kelly

                    Wordle: Untitled
                    As you could see, it is presented in an interesting way. 

                    • Go to the page. You will be directed to the website. 
                    • Create your own - There is a little explanation of what the web is about. Few examples are shown as well. You could click the 'create your own' link to start making your own. 

                    • Paste text - As you could see, you could paste the text in the space provided. 
                    • Paste URL - Besides, you could also paste a URL of webpage and it will create a wordle of that page. For example, I use this blog URL and it will generate a word cloud of my blog. 'Student' is one of the most frequent word in my blog.
                    Wordle: ict

                    • Click 'submit' button - You will be directed to this page:

                    Using the same text, there are few editing that could be performed if we want to. 
                    • Edit - you could undo the editing
                    • Language - you could leave the word as spelled, or guess the word (this is for ...). Make the word upper case or lower case.  Besides, you could also delete the common words and words in another language.
                    • Font - various fonts 
                    • Layout - this is useful editing tool to avoid word crowded if you choose to a very long text. You could choose the maximum words and the less frequent words are not choosen. Re-arrange them in alphabetical order, horizontally or vertically.
                    • Colour -Make it colourful 
                    • Right click - If you right click the word, you could remove the word from the text. 
                    • Randomize - basically it gives you choices of different layout.
                    Besides editing,
                    • Print - Print it directly
                    • Save - Save it to public galerry to be viewed by all internet users, as well as share it with your friends.
                    • Embedded code - Once you save it, there is a code that could be embedded in your own blog or homepage. This link will direct the users to the wordle site. 

                    • Useful for pre-reading or pre-listening activity. Since we could edit the amount of words shown, and also its ability to make the most frequent words bigger than the rest, it works well as a summary of a long text. Students get the gist of the text before proceeding to the next activity. 
                    • Colours and different shape. 

                    • There is no URL link provided but only embedded code. 
                      This website promoting a more interesting way of presenting a text. I would use it for variation in my classroom activity because it comes in shape and colours. So, if it could light up the mood, it will surely come in handy.

                        Monday, 14 November 2011

                        myBrainshark - making video presentation



                        myBrainshark is another fantastic tool for teachers and students to be used as one of classroom activities. myBrainshark is an online mobile video presentation, where you can transform any document, for example Power Point presentation into video presentation. Our voice for each slide is recorded by using this online software.

                        It is benefecial in language teaching especially for speaking activities where students could create and share their own presentation online, making it assessible to everybody, anywhere.

                        The key concept of this idea is getting people to communicate through video presentation  that could be accessed anytime by target audience. The idea is useful in classroom activities and save teaching time where a student could make a presentation without having a face-to-face interaction. Instead, the presentation is accessible at home, by students, and also by teacher for evaluation.

                        It could also lower the anxiety and make student focus more on speaking fluently and carefully pronounce the word. It will also help students in discourse to make the presentation flow nicely. They are all important skills in language learning 


                        Topic: A video presentation about myself
                        Presenter: Myself

                        1. Sign up - It is free
                        2. Upload - upload your content (power point, document, PDF file, videos etc)
                        3. Add audio - to your presentation (through telephone or recorded via microphone)
                        4. Create - Create  the video presentation and save it to your profile

                        • Free and easy to use. 
                        • Save time - What I mean here is, teachers do not necesserily did the presentation in class where it can be time consuming, but speaking can still be evaluated. Besides, it is possible to play few video in class and have the students to talk about it.
                        • Lower the anxiety of the presenters - What I like most about this website is it could lower the anxiety of having to speak the target language in front of others. Students will be more confidence to record their presentation, rather than presenting it directly to their peers.
                        • Reviewable - Since it is recorded, it can be reviewed by the teachers. Teachers could make a thorough evaluation of students' speaking ability by reviewing the video presentation. Unlike the live presentation, teachers may miss out important points.

                        • Technical problem - Student may not have an internet access or computer at home.
                        • Audience participation - It is a one-way communication where the presenters may not be able to respond directly to the audience for any unclear points or imformation. 
                        • Tendency to read from a script rather than giving a presentation - Students may have high tendency of writing the script in advance and read from it. It may be useful for beginners to lower their anxiety but not for communicating practice.


                        Regardless, myBrainshark is a useful website that is anticipated by teachers for their language activities. It could save time and might be of high interest among students because they could overcome the direct presentation which could affect their speaking. I would strongly suggest this as one of the classroom activity and teacher would provide more oppurtunity for students to practise speaking. 

                          Thursday, 3 November 2011

                          Bubblr- Visual Presentation


                          PimPamPum Bubblr is tool to make a photo strip, using images from Flickr. It is a website that help us putting bubble of words on the selection of pictures from Flickr, and present it in the form of photo strip. It is beneficial for students to create a visual presentation and may include writing activity.

                          It is an activity that should be considered because it is simple and students do not waste much time looking for a picture in Google image or arranging the slide for presentation. All they have to do is type the keyword and drag the bubble to put words.

                          This activity encourage descriptive writing because they have to describe the picture, and also use a simple but precise vocabulary to give the message. Any writing activity give students more control of language because they have time to think and put the meaning into words.


                          Topic: Brighton

                          ... or maybe you may want to click to this link below, and it will direct you the website! Brighton is cool by Liyana.

                          • Search picture - Type your desire picture in the search box (eg. beach) , and it will provide you to a plenty selection of  beaches from Flickr.
                          • Add the bubbles - drag the bubble to anywhere in the picture and start typing. 
                          • Publish - you will be asked to write your name and the tittle for the visual presentation. 
                          • Send - You could send it to an email address and also posting it to your blog, by clicking 'blog this'. 

                          1. It is easy and free - Students and teachers would be able to assess this easily without any complex steps.
                          2. Enjoyable - It is enjoyable for students to choose picture and create words bubble on the picture. 
                          3. Writing and Speaking - It encourages writing and speaking if students are going to present their work. 
                          4. Free from copyright

                          1. Time consuming - Due to plenty of pictures, students may take time searching for right image. 
                          2. The use of language - Students may not use the target language while preparing the slide, and have a tendency to write a shorter sentence. 

                          SIMILAR TOOL - BOOKR
                          Besides bubblr, another similar tool is bookr (click here) where it use the same concept except it is in the form of e-book.

                          The most important aspect of these website is, it is a quick and easy tool for image description and used as an alternative of traditional image presentation in classroom.


                          I find this an interesting website because it is very simple for a quick presentation. The topic should be wide like 'beach', 'mountain' or 'waterfall' rather than focus on specific place like 'Amazon rainforest'. Simplicity is the best policy. :)

                            Tuesday, 1 November 2011

                            British National Corpus - Learning Real English


                            British National Corpus is a useful website for teachers and students to find how to use a word/vocabulary in a sentence in a correct way. It is a word collection of sample of written and spoken language in British English from vast sources.
                              90% of it are written English collected from newspapers, journals, books etc while the rest are spoken language transcripted from informal conversation and spoken language from different context.
                                I would suggest this website as a reference to look into an unfamiliar word that is rarely used in writing. Teachers may want to show students how a word is used rather than give the definition.

                                In language learning, it helps in promoting spoken language which suits the context and situation of where it has taken place. It also consider culture and appropriateness of the use of the language in different event. It encourage the usage of real language.

                                • Enter word - type the text in the search box and click 'Go'.

                                • Sample of text - If I type pretty in the search box, it will provide you with the examples taken from various resources of the use of the word in British English. 

                                1. Useful tool to search for the real usage of a word in real life.
                                2. Sources are trustworthy. 
                                3. Quick and simple.
                                4. Advance search is available where users could search the words by part of speech or also looking for phrases. 

                                1. Some of the sample is quite complicated and may not be of a good sample.


                                One of the language teaching aims is to prepare students for real life communication, which is beyond classroom context. Learning new vocabulary has been a necessity for students to enhace their command of language. However, the priority on correct use of language and passing exam may discourage the use of real language for communicative purpose. In other words, students may have difficulties expressing themselves in real communication.
                                This is a recommended tool for teachers and students to deal with any unfamiliar words that may cause communication failure if it was used in a wrong way.