Friday, 28 October 2011

British National Corpus (Week 4)


The British National Corpus (BNC) is a 100 million word collection of samples of written and spoken language from a wide range of sources, designed to represent a wide cross-section of British English from the later part of the 20th century, both spoken and written.

BNC webpage

How to use it?

Step 1: Go to BNC website and you can see as above
Step 2:
Type a word or phrase in the search box and press the Go button to see up to 50 random hits from the corpus.
Step 3:
You can search for a single word or a phrase, restrict searches by part of speech, search in parts of the corpus only, and much more.
Step 4:
The search result will show the total frequency in the corpus and up to 50 examples.

Suggested activities:

1. Pronunciation activity. Teacher can check students' pronunciation of the words. This is because the tool is describing the authenticity language use by native speaker.

2. Teacher can make a concordance games in a classroom. Teacher line up all the students and ask one another the concordance of words. If they are correct, they will get a point.

I like it because:

1. It shows to the students the word usage 'as it really is' which is an authentic examples
2. It shows a pattern of word grammar
3. The Corpus is not just a teacher or expect opinions, it is based on an evidence.

I don't like it because:

1. students may get confused because it gives a lot of example for one word.

Relevant site:

A video on Youtube gives you an idea of how to use BNC.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Listen and Write (Week 2)


Hi, today we are going to look at the next tool in learning language which is 'Listen and Write.' It is a simple but very useful site for learners of English. It helps students in dictation practice where you listen to a text and then you have to write down every word you just heard. The users' work is checked in real time and they have to spell each word correctly. If they make a mistake, they need to try again until they get it correctly. The users can stop and play the text again as many times as they like. There are a lot of different levels of difficulty, so the users will find their own suitable texts based on their level.The activity is suitable for secondary school at the age of 13 to 17 years old. It can be used by the teacher as a classroom activity or as a homework.

Listen and Write webpage

How to use it?

Step 1: Go to the Listen and Write website and you will see a webpage as above.
tep 2: Choose a story that you want to listen. There are different types of difficulties available such as Full mode, Quick mode or Blank mode
Step 3:
After that, click the play button to listen and at the same time try to write words in the box provided.
Step 4: If you unable to spell the word correctly, you can click the hint button. A red 'good' will appear at the end of line if you write correct sentence.
Step 5: You can also submit your own oral recording as part of the bank of recorded items.

*If you want to have a clear instruction on how to use the tool, you can visit Russell Stannard Website

Suggested activities:

1. Teacher used it as a listening activity. Teacher can ask students to work individually or in pair. Students listen to the audio transmission and fill in the blank to complete the text. The process of doing it may help students to become better listeners in real-life situation.

2. Besides, teacher can give a homework for students where they need to find an article on internet and record it. Then, they will exchange the recording with the others to transcribe. It makes the learning process becomes more meaningful for the students.

3. Autonomous learning can happen when the students have free time and practice a listening skill by their own, outside classroom environment.

I like it because:

1. It can add on students' vocabulary by referring words to the dictionary.
2. Students are expose to the authentic language because there are lots of articles available on it.
3. It can develop students' autonomous learning where students practice the language by their own.
4. It is free and everyone can use it
5. Students can choose their preferences level based on their competency in a target language
6. It is a fun way of learning a new language
7. Students can evaluate and assess themselves after doing the activity

I don't like it because:

1. Unreliable sources of text as everyone can contribute to post the article
2. Students can get distraction with the other links on web
3. Some students may not have a proper technology facilities such as internet connection
4. Teacher does not know the progress of the students if it is an autonomous learning. This is because there is no form of feedback can be given to them.
5. Students may use a 'Hint' button to complete the task without trying it first.

Related Link

Listen and Write on YouTube

Sunday, 9 October 2011

LyricsTraining (Week 1)


Learning a new language is not easy and the traditional courses that make you memorize vocabulary and grammar are too boring. LyricsTraining is a website that makes learning a new language easy by listening to music and lyrics. It is an easy and fun method to learn and improve your foreign languages skills through the music videos and lyrics of your favorite songs. You can use it to learn English, Spanish, French, German, Italian and Dutch.

How to use it?

Step 1: Go to Lyricstraining Webpage and you will find the page as shown above
Step 2: Choose a song based on your interest. Then, choose your level such as beginner, intermediate and expert
Step 3: You need to complete the blank lyrics to continue playing the music (The music will stop playing to give time for you to write)
Step 4: To listen again to the last line, press backspace key. If you get stuck, you can click the 'give up!' button and see the word.
Step 5: If you could not understand a word, you may press the tab key to jump to the next.
Once finished filling all the blanks, you can check your score.

*If you need a clear instruction on how to use Lyricstraining, you can visit Russell Stannard Website.

The example of Lyricstraining:

Suggested activities:

1. Lyricstraining is very useful in a spelling activity. Teacher can form a group of students and they need to spell out the words correctly in order to complete the song. The fastest group that able to finish it will be declared as the winner.

2. Lyricstraining can be used as a homework. Teacher provides a list of song and students can choose which song they prefer to do it at home. It encourages the students to do their own learning outside classroom. Thus, it is an autonomous learning!

3. Teacher can check students' pronunciation in a target language. They can do it in a karaoke mode by singing a song with a correct pronunciation.

I like it because:

1. It is a multitasking activity. It requires students to use two important skills in learning a language which is listening and writing skills.
2. Besides, it encourage autonomous learning.
3. It is fun method of learning a target language as it is totally different with traditional type of learning language which is memorization of words.
4. Do not need to register or sign up to use it
5. You can still check the your score even-though you are not register
6. There are other languages that students can try to master such as French, Spanish, German, Italian and Dutch.

I don't like it because:

1. Inappropriate use of language through the lyrics as it comes from various kind of songs
2. There are some video clips that not suitable to be watched by the students
3. The lyrics of certain song may be difficult for the students to guess. It can demotivate them to continue the activity.

Related Link

Lyrictraining on YouTube

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Dvolver (Week1)

Hello and welcome to my blog. For my first entry, I will explore a tool that can help students learning language through Dvolver.


Dvolver is a website where you can make a cartoon comic strip type movie online using pre-made graphics. It is a combination of moviemaker and animations. The dialogue in a movie will appear in a form of bubbles. Students can explore the process of making the movie as an activity in a classroom or as a homework. The tool is suitable to be used by the primary or secondary school students range age between 8-17 years old with different levels such as beginner, intermediate and advanced.

Dvolver Moviemaker page

How to do it?

Step 1:
Go to and click on the Moviemaker balloon
Step 2: Select a background and sky and click Next
Step 3: Select a plot and click Next
Step 4: Select characters and click Next
Step 5: Type in what you want your characters to say. Click Next
Step 6: Select music and choose between adding another scene (and repeat above instructions) or finishing movie
Step 7: Select the movie title design and give the movie a title and director’s name
Step 8: Press Preview and Send and complete the emailing details to send your movie to someone.

*If you need a clear instruction on how to use Dvolver, you can visit to Russell Stannard website.

Suggested activities:

1. Teacher can ask students to make a comic strip on their own. It depends to the students to choose a suitable topic for the movie such as their experience at school or their plan for summer holiday. It can motivate students to learn the language more as it is something that they enjoy doing it.

2. Teacher can ask students to make a summary of a text that they had read into a mini movie using Dvolver. It is important as teacher can check students' understanding of a text. Students' understanding of text can be interpreted into a dialogue between characters.

3. Teacher pair up students and let them explore the website. In order to form a grammatical sentence, the collaboration between students can help them to improve their understanding of a language in a fun and interactive way.

The example of Dvolver

The advantages of Dvolver

1. It enhances students' creativity in using the target language.
2. students expose to the real life communication.
3. brings variety of activities in learning a language.
4. encourage autonomous learning by the students.

The disadvantages of Dvolver

1. students may use an appropriate language in it.
2. lack of ICT facilites especially in rural area
3. time consuming for teachers

I like it because:

1. It enhances students' creativity in directing the movie.
2. Brings variety of activities in learning a language.
3. Encourage autonomous learning by the students.
4. It is free and do not need to create an account or sign up
5. The 'product' of learning can be sent to others via e-mail or post it on blog.
6. Students take fully charge on making a movie such as in choosing a background music, settings and the characters

I don't like it because:

1. Students may use an appropriate language while using it.
2. Once students published the movie, it cannot be edited. Students need to make a new one if they do not satisfied with the first attempt.
3. Time consuming for teachers and students if it is being done as a classroom activity
4. Certain character may not suitable for students such as Hottie which is a bit sexy.
5. There are only three scenes available for the movie and the text entry is limited to write.
6. Lack of
ICT facilites especially in rural area such as internet connection

Related Link

  • The following link may help you with troubleshooting that you encounter CLICK HERE