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Start ELT News Fun, Easy, Interactive and Free Online Opportunities

Fun, Easy, Interactive and Free Online Opportunities

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Available now:  Online learning is as fun as watching YouTube videos, as simple as listening to podcasts and as educationally valuable as finding tips on taking the IELTS exam.

The British Council is working closely with the Austrian organization, Education Group, to provide new and interesting online activities for students in and outside of the English language classroom.  The Education Group says they have the biggest structured repository of learning objects and links for English language learning and teaching in Austria. The Group uses British Council English learning and teaching content, describes and relates it to the Austrian curriculum, recommends teaching/learning scenarios and makes it available on their portal for schools at http://e.schule.at/

When you go here, you will find British Council material in all sections of the content tree. Beyond that Education Group provides weekly e-learning tips to English teachers of the “Neue Mittelschule” which often include British Council content, selected by the “e-pilot for English”. There may be links to the LearnEnglish site described below as well as to this one:  www.teachingenglish.org.uk which is a big help to teachers.  It has many sections that are valuable.  One section has specific help for CLIL teachers.
Another offers teachers the possibility to listen to seminars for teachers done by, for example, Jeremy Harmer.  Downloadable material is also available. Under the primary section, (as well as in all the others), there is more material and additional links.  Check out:  http://learnenglishkids.britishcouncil.org for more games and fun ways to learn English for kids.

The site:  http://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/ has lots more free online activities.  I went to the site and did the first quiz that came up:  pick your wits.  It was too tempting to NOT attempt so I tried to guess what animal was in the picture.  After I finished the game, it immediately connected me to my Facebook account to publish the results there.  It gave me the option not to publish, for which I was thankful.  Students, though, would surely enjoy the challenge of beating their schoolmates and when it automatically goes to Facebook, the other people would also be introduced to the site and might look into other aspects of the English language provided.  And there are many areas that are of interest to the general learner.  A whole separate section exists for the business learner with podcasts and articles and videos – a great resource for teachers as well as the self-learner.  I found the section about IELTS something that I could immediately forward to a student who needed to study for the test.

Another part of this website that has jokes – most of them play on the different meanings of words, but some of them aren’t very good – but it is possible to make comments and interesting to read both what people say and where they come from.  Believe it or not, the site also encourages people to go to the island they have created for a Second Life.  For this part you must register and you must be over 16 years of age, but then you are on your way to meeting new friends from all over the world using the English language.

Europe is full of other languages, and the website http://languagerichblog.eu/ allows the user to find out about some of the 7,000 languages that still exist throughout the world today.  An interesting video on Cornish explains that there are more Cornish speakers today than 30 years ago.  Another article talks about how twitter is now available in a seventh language:  Korean – up until 2011 it was only possible to twitter in:  English, French, German, Italian, Japanese and Spanish – but the Koreans have increased their use of the site by 10% in the last year alone, a good reason for the new language to be added.  For more interesting details on languages – including why it is good to have more than one foreign language on the job market, check out the website.

For sports enthusiasts there is even a site sponsored by the British Council that puts football (soccer for Americans) and English together:  http://premierskills.britishcouncil.org/.  Right on the first page there is a section on how teachers can use the site and when I looked at the first video I was hooked, and I am not a football fan.  However, this video shows a series of interviews with football players from around the world talking about their expectations and the reality of living in the UK.  Not only did this one little video give insight into Britain, it also used authentic language, from football stars the students would probably know, to make the impact of the language activity more motivating for students.  I think it is especially important that this site might be more attractive to the male student since there are not as many exciting and motivating materials available for the young male English learner. 

On each of the British Council websites there is a Cambridge online dictionary available in case any word is not understood – just type it into the little box and the meaning will appear.  How much easier and quicker it is to use this tool, instead of when reading a book and needing to have a “hard copy” dictionary close at hand, yet still requiring a lot of thumbing through pages until the word is found.

A last website provides interactive tools and a reference guide to assess, compare and see ways to improve integration policy.  Go to http://www.mipex.eu/.  These interesting pages let students make their own charts and graphs about integration, but also allows them to find out how Austria, for example, compares with the rest of the EU.  Should a student want to learn more about how the EU deals with the various aspects of integration, this is the place to be.

If you innocently start out looking at one of these websites, you are sure to spend more time than you anticipated playing games and listening to podcasts, or watching videos.  Imagine what would happen if your student did the same thing!

Sponsored article written by Candy Fresacher


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