This site provides learners with interactive grammar and vocabulary exercises based on CNN's daily thirty-minute broadcast "Newsroom." Exercises may be scored, printed out and/or emailed to instructors.
To improve a learner's grammar and vocabulary skills
Target Student Population:
College Students, primarily ESL learners
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Basic computer/internet knowledge in order to navigate the sight
Type of Material:
Evaluation and Observation
The site has a clear purpose to provide ESL students with practice and drill in grammar and vocabulary based on the 30 minute CNN "Newsroom" broadcast. The content is primarily current events and is authentic, which makes it particularly engaging for students and allows them to keep up with current events while learning vocabulary and grammar. The language is represented in context and there is an adequate amount of material. The content of the site is very well organized, with practice activities and drills that are easy to navigate and understand. All content of the site is based on the video that can be pre-recorded for use in the classroom. The site can also be utilized without the video, although it might not be as productive for students. There is also a very helpful and useful feedback form for submitting ideas, criticism, and technical difficulties.
Not having the video pre-recorded or available for playback may cause some confusion and prove to be difficult for ESL students. Although it is not essential to use the video, it certainly enhances the purpose of the site and provides effective practice and drill.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
This site would be useful in the ESL classroom or as independent resource/practice for students, provided that students had access to the CNN "Newsroom" broadcast. The fact that it is based on current events makes the site and activities engaging. Integration into the classroom would be easy as long as the instructor taped the segment for view in the classroom, all or part of the half hour broadcast could be used, depending on the class. The content of the video and the site could easily be incorporated into the social studies curriculum. The site appears to be complete,
no dead links were found, and the material covered is adequate for the ESL student. It would be easy to make use of this site in the ESL classroom or as an independent study.
Access to CNN "Newsroom" broadcast may be problematic for some learners.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The site is very easy to use. The simplicity of the site and the lack of glitz allows the ESL student to focus on content. Learners can navigate easily through it. The site contains no audio and the quality of the video is dependent on environmental controls. The layout of the buttons and menus is simple and consistent. It is virtually impossible to get lost within the site as long as the user is familiar with the back button.
The only concern with the site is the starkness and lack of visual stimulation. Although it is important not to distract the ESL student from the content of the site, some color and graphics may prove to be visually stimulating.