The British Council has been providing an incredible service for English Learners worldwide through their LearnEnglish website. Of all the sites, apps, and services that ZapaTECHISTA has reviewed, this is by far one of the best and most comprehensive…and it’s free, unlike BrainPOP ESL.
LearnEnglish is geared towards the adult learner community, although it can be used with middle school and/or high school age students. It includes a podcast/audio soap called Big City Small World that follows the lives of 20-something immigrants trying to make it in London. The content, or course has a distinct British feel, but the content is at the intermediate English Level and should still be accessible to most students within this range.
Big City Small World also has all the episode scripts in an easily downloadable format. At the end of each episode is a quiz to test for auditory comprehension that could be done as a whole-class excercise. Each episode also includes pre-listening vocabulary activities, and several interactive “tasks” that help the student make sense of the material.
The interactivity is fluid and fast, not clunky nor dated like a lot of the grammar activities found online these days, which seemed like products of the 1990s.
LearnEnglishKids, on the other hand is full of engaging activities, songs and stories for the Pre-K to early elementary level. Like its more adult counterpart, it has simply too many features to cover here. The content is colorful and rich in visual detail, and the activities are comprehensive. Although it is geared towards ELD or ELL students, it is obvious that the site offers something for all English learners, even native speakers, or students who might be working below grade level.
Parents might find it a useful and engaging addition to their current panoply of digital learning options.
And…as if this were not enough, the Council also released a TeachingEnglish portal for teachers who wish to make sense of all the available resources. It includes more downloadable materials, professional development options and more.
Overall, they definitely earn an A+ and a tag of “Indispensible”.
(More to follow as we plan to test this out with some of the newcomer students )