Thursday, 13 October 2011

[W2] Listen and Write: a CLIL Approach

One of the substantial roles played by language teachers is that they need to help learners to brush up their language proficiency as well as help them to build their knowledge about the world. This approach is well-said in the Content-Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) approach which acknowledges the use of authentic materials in developing learners proficiency of the language. The concept of bringing up the current news and events happening in the world into the language class is applied in the website Listen and Write in which students are allowed to practise their listening skill while hearing to the latest news around the world.

This website provides learners with three different types of activities which are; Full Mode, Quick Mode and Blank Mode. In Full Mode, learners are asked to listen to the recording and type the full words in the box provided while in the Quick Mode, which is much easier, they can just type the first letter of every words mentioned. The Blank Mode on the other hand allows learners to fill in the blanks with the suitable words.

  • Learners can choose either or not to make an account in order to use the tools in this website. Having an account allows learners to save and view their score history later.
  • Users who own an account can build groups so as to share listening archives that are available only for their group. Apart from that, making groups allow users to conduct group discussions and view statistics of members activities. 

  • Users without an account can only play the Full Mode and they can never use the other levels. 

[W2] Lyrics Training

Lyrics training is one of the famous websites that tackles language learners, especially teenagers who are keen to music to improve their language. This website allows learners to transfer their listening skill into other important language skills such as spelling, through an easy and fun method. Learners of foreign language can improve these language skills by completing the lyrics of thousands of music videos provided. Lyrics Training allows learners of different ages and language levels ability to choose the different levels of challenge and difficulty that are suitable for their own pace. It provides 3 different levels of exercise which are beginner, intermediate and expert. For the beginner level, learners are asked to fill in the blanks in which only 10 percent of the full lyrics are removed whereas for the intermediate and the expert level is 100 percent.  

Currently, Lyrics Training provides videos of seven different languages (English, French, Dutch, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and German) besides a translation button to help learners check the unsure vocabulary.

  • Lyrics Training lets another method of teaching that regards young learners' interest and thus link it with learning approach. 
  • Lyrics Training allows learners to record scores and analyse their performance by creating account. Learners can choose to use this website either by registering for free or without registering.
  • While completing the blank fills, Lyrics Training allows learners to pause the song if they are not sure of the correct words and also, it is automatically paused whenever it approaches a blank so that learners have ample times to type down the answer. 

  • Since there is a skip button (Tab) where learners can leave the unsure vocabulary that they have heard, there is a possibility that learners may become demotivated to try and tend to use this assistance tool.  
  • There may be a small distraction towards learners' attention while using this website since there is a Facebook social plugin at the right site of the page
  • Language teachers may have to deal with the inappropriate content of videos which opposes to the society for example videos and songs that promote yellow culture and abusive behaviour.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

[W1] Dvolver: Students as the Movie Director

Dvolver is a fun moviemaker website for language teachers to teach students on how to produce creative movies for the communicative purpose. This website provides plenty of selections of styles, settings, characters and music which allow students to construct dialogues while creating stories. This website is suitable for secondary school students of age 13 and above since teachers can modify the instruction of activities according to their students' language level. The idea of making this website as an interesting approach in language learning is that students can practise their language within the context for the communicative purpose through a fun way.

Here is an example of video that students can create using Dvolver:

  • Dvolver allows learners to embed the movies to their blogs (if exists) and also, they could send them into the preferable email address. Therefore, learners could send their homework straight away to the teachers' inbox.
  • Dvolver involves several characters and scenes that might be unsuitable for students of the school level age as it involves obscenity. Therefore, teachers need to do extra work by telling them which characters that they are not happy with and are not allowed to be used in the movies.