If you are an ESL student and interested in improving your English language listening skills, then please visit www.elllo.org

                Below is my review of the website.

             

Website Review

1.  Site description

Site title: English Language Listening Lab Online

URL: http://www.elllo.org/index.htm

System requirements:
Sound card necessary? YES NO Plug-in software required? YES (Specify:
For some of the audio clips you need to have Real Player installed) NO

Site Author:                                                                                                                                                             The name of the person authoring this web page is not directly found on the page. After clicking on elllo blog (in the lower right hand corner of the site)>About Todd, I found the author’s information. Todd Beuckens is the person that runs the site and he is an “English teacher currently working in Japan. He started ELLLO so his students could listen to more authentic listening activities. ELLLO began in the summer of 2003 and has been going strong ever since.” As for the site’s maintenance, there is conflicting information about that. The homepage of the URL address itself mentions that the site was last updated on Feb. 28th, 2006. But, under This Week, it shows that this particular page was last updated on March 6th, 2006.

Subject Area(s) 
Reading Vocabulary Grammar Listening Speaking All language areas Culture History Other content area (Please specify:
not really a content area, but there is a lot of English dialects and accents presented in the site. Therefore, students are presented with authentic language pieces that they must be able to decipher and understand)

Target Audience :
Intensive English students university students adults all ages K-12 ESL learners K-12 learners
Is the target audience specified or implied ? (Click inside the appropriate box.)
The target audience is not specified, because most of the audio clips include topics that would only interest teen students and older.

 

2.  Summary:                                                                                                                                                          The site is devoted to helping students with their listening skills. It provides authentic audio clips along with comprehension quizzes/questions in order to help students evaluate their own understanding of what they have heard. There are many activities that students can participate in and some of which include This Week!, Mixer, News Center, Songs, Listening Games, and Speakers by Country, where students have the opportunity to listen to a variety of audio clips of English speakers from around the world that are then followed by some questions about the audio sample. Students can also select to read transcripts, instead of listening to audio clips, and then answer their corresponding questions. Overall, the site is full of wonderful images and lots of great and authentic listening comprehension activities.

3.  Contents:
a. Educational objectives of the site.
                                                                                                                    The main objectives of this site are to improve and/or develop students’ listening comprehension skills by analyzing and interpreting the slow verbal communications in the sample audio clips.

b.  Organization/structure of the site.                                                                                                                  The site includes eight categories/links/activities of which students can select from. Four categories are listed on each row and above each of the categories’ name there is an image representing the activity involved. On that same page, in the upper left corner, there are five languages that students can choose from in order to help them navigate through the site. Also, on each page throughout the site there is a link that can direct students back to the homepage.

5 languages w/their corresponding links

 

 

    This Week!                  Mixer                      News Center             Songs

 

 

 

  Listening Games     Speakers by Country             Search                      Links

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c.  Content/type of activities that the site offers. 

There are six major activities on this web site.

1. This Week!

In this page, the author includes new interviews of people and between people, from different parts of the world. In this category there are three links, which include; Watch, Quiz, Text-MP3. After listening to the sample clips, the student can choose to listen to them again, read the transcript or even listen to the clip and take a quiz as he/she go along. There is also an audio clip called Angry Guy, where students are presented with a situation about an angry gut trying to get a cheap hotel room. In this, students have to decipher what the conversation is about and try to answer comprehension questions about the listening piece. In Mixer, students listen to several peoples’ opinions, which have different English dialects, with regard to a question posed by Todd (the author of the site). Again, after listening to these opinions students are asked some comprehension questions. These comprehension questions, I must mention, are strewn throughout the activities on the site. Finally, in This Week, students can listen to a news clip, which is not authentic, and play a guessing game. Overall, this page is designed to hold new and updated material.

2. Mixer

In this activity, as mentioned above, students listen to several peoples’ opinions, which have different English dialects, with regard to a question posed by Todd (the author of the site). Again, after listening to these opinions students are asked some comprehension questions. If the student answers the question incorrectly, he/she are automatically directed towards listening to the audio clip again and will then have the question posed to them once more, which is commonly done in any of the other questions around the site. Also, instead of listening to the audio clip, students can read the transcript and practice their reading skills.

3. News Center

In this link, students can listen to news clips and answer their corresponding questions. These news clips are not authentic and a bit outlandish, which contradicts what the author says about these clips, in that they help students “prepare for tests such as the TOEFL, TOEIC, and IELTS.”  Probably the author has not realized that the new TOEFL exams are aiming at presenting students with authentic listening tasks. But, the author does provide a link to authentic and current news clips, http://www.breakingnewsenglish.com/,  with their corresponding lesson plans and two levels of difficulty options; easy and difficult. See screen shot below.

Also, in Issue #23 under News Center, I found a tool bar filled with a whole slew of links that are not found in any of the other issues that I searched through. They include :

Back to This Week / Dictionary / Audio Help / Download Info / Study help / Theme Page / Links / Task Town / About / Team ELLLO / Contact / Mailing List / Home

I will not go into detail about all of these links, but in order to listen to some of the audio clips, in Theme Page, students need to install Windows Media Player 10. Also, under Team ELLLO, there is more information about the five people that work behind the scenes of this website. I posted a screen shot of them below.

4. Songs

Well, the author has done a great job in explaining this page in http://www.elllo.org/music/music.htm

Songs are a great way to learn any language. The song pages can help students develop understandings of grammar, pronunciation, and idioms. Students can also work on their reading speed and learn to read in chunks, rather than word by word. There is no interaction on the flash files. Students should just listen for pleasure and and enjoy these great songs.

It is true that songs are a great way to learn language. But, most of the songs that are on this site are dreary, dull and plain old boring. The author could have at least uploaded a couple of songs from today’s biggest hits, which would have motivated me to listen to them. Also, some comprehension questions would have been nice. In these comprehension questions, students would answer questions about grammar, idioms and spelling. A cloze exercise to help students in memorizing the songs would have also been beneficial.

5. Listening Games

In this activity, students can select from a variety of topics from which to listen to. When a student selects a topic/image and clicks on the play button, they are presented with three pictures. As the student listens to the audio, he/she must decipher whom the speaker is talking about and the audio clips continue playing if/when the student answers the questions correctly. This is a very simple activity that beginner level ESL students can complete.

6. Speakers by Country

In this activity, students are presented with several different listening samples of interviews between the author and other people. The author mentions that:

With these English listening activities, students have three choices. They can listen to the audio non-stop in either the slide-show or flash audio formats. Slide means there are pictures that go with the audio as it plays. Flash audio means there are only pictures of the topic at the start of the activity. Both activities are good for extensive listening. Quiz activities have questions that appear in the audio segment. Students must answer each question correctly to move on. These segments are good for improving test taking skills, such as for the TOEFL or TOEIC. The text page has the transcript and an mp3 file that can be downloaded (execpt for flash text).

It is important to know the effects that different accents/dialects have on listening comprehension. Thus, I agree with the author in that this part of the web site is critical in helping students better prepare to take the new TOEFL exam and is also important in helping students become acquainted with the different spoken forms of the English language. 

 

4.  Site Evaluation

a.  My thoughts about the site. I address the following questions.  Does the site achieve its educational objectives? Is it motivating? Is it easy to use (for the student/teacher)? Is it attractive? Does the site provide meaningful experiences?  Is it culturally biased?                                                                                                                                                        The web site that I evaluated is very well developed and very well organized. The author does achieve the educational goals that he set up and provides authentic listening material for the students (except for the News Center). Navigating through this site was fun and interesting. It was nice that the author placed a picture of each of the speakers. It made the experience more interactive and added a personal touch to the speakers’ comments. Both students and teachers will have an easy time exploring the site, because of its uncomplicated layout of links and simple one page screens. As to whether this site is attractive or not, this depends on the person. I can conclude, from thoroughly navigating through this web site, that it is meant for teen ESL students and older. Attracting young ESL students to this site is not the goal, but older students, yes, because it covers topics that the teen/adult student can relate to.  The site is very meaningful, due to the fact that it provides plenty of listening comprehension activities that are both authentic and diverse. Diverse in that, the author interviews people from different parts of the world. He asks them questions about themselves and/or about their cultures. So, in my opinion, the author does not seem to be biased to his listeners. However, young ESL students would not be attracted to this web site.

b.  Advantages/disadvantages. Errors/problems/frustrations that I encountered.

Theoretical and pedagogical strengths/weaknesses/limitations/concerns.

The site’s overall usefulness.

·        I have included some of the advantages and disadvantages of this site throughout this paper. But, I would recommend that the author create longer conversation/interview pieces with a little more fast paced speech. After students listen to the whole audio clip, they can then answer several questions about the clip, instead of just one-by-one.

·        This site is a very useful tool for ESL students trying to improve their interactional English language skills. It provides great authentic language and interviews of people form all over the world. Thus, in order for students to become fully familiar with the spoken language, they need to understand the different accents/dialects of the English language.

·        Overall, the site is very useful if students take the time to go through the audio clips and try to answer their corresponding questions. It provides students with everyday language and simple easy to understand clips.

 

          Thank you, for visiting!