Category Archives: listening

Digital tools for developing Listening skills

During this week, I have come across an awesome variety of digital tools for developing students’ listening skills. I have worked in EFL/ESL contexts before so I will list the tools appropriate for this context first.

ESL CONTEXT

I explored Listen and write which is an online tool that allows students to listen to a news item. They can listen to the whole story and then listen to parts of it while typing the story. They can have the excerpt repeated many times which allows for developing listening for detail. I found this tool was quite specific and accommodated an old-fashioned theory of language learning. I would only use it for a specific purpose.

I also had a look at other tools for ESL listening skill development called “Backbone” and Amny interactive. Both websites allows students to listen to a whole text to get the general idea of it (listening for gist). I liked Backbone because as a teacher you could choose one of the stories of everyday people and do some comprehension activities on it. They come with a few options to just play a video, or the audio and you can also get the script for it. Under resources, there are a couple of other activities teachers could choose to use with some of the stories. On the Amny interactive site, although it is quite “interactive”, I find the site only focuses on allowing students to listen to a variety of English (NY American English) which is quite restrictive. However, it could be useful for teachers whose students will be travelling to NY for example 🙂

L1 CONTEXT

I teach in Primary schools and High schools. In Sydney, primary students do literacy, numeracy, science and physical education (I have simplified this for better understanding). I found a couple of tools that may be useful to develop children’s listening skills in L1.One of them is Wordia. Using this tool, students can watch an excerpt on a topic (topics are also arranged into Subjects, which is quite handy), and do some activities such as games and spelling activities. I really like the “make my own game” question which allows this website to go beyond the little kiddies practice website to permit older students (years 6-8) to make their own games. I really liked the Smories website and was dreaming about applications in Primary school. I think kids will be really engaged with these stories, developed to make their imagination fly, with no pictures! Stories could also be embedded on lessons prepared on the interactive whiteboard which will allow students to practice other skills smoothly. I loved Smories!

I also enjoyed experiencing the “Teaching with TED” wiki since it comprises both TED talks and activities for each talk to explore with mature students. I would certainly use some of these talks with HS English students to develop listening skills and also to discuss, argue a point, develop critical thinking, etc. I also discoved “TIME 10 questions” which I didn’t know it existed either, and would use the “Robin Williams” one on how to conjure up a character in a Drama unit. Very interesting!

Smories. Listen to stories read by kids

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