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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


CNN Newsroom and Worldview for ESL Web Exercises

 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

5 stars
Content Quality: 5 stars
Effectiveness: 4 stars
Ease of Use: 5 stars
Reviewed: Feb 06, 2003 by World Languages Editorial Board
Overview: 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.
Learning Goals: 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:
Recommended Uses:
Technical Requirements: Netscape Communicator 4.5 or higher or Internet Explorer 4.0 or higher.
JavaScript

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: 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.
Concerns: 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

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: 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.
Concerns: Access to CNN "Newsroom" broadcast may be problematic for some learners.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: 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.
Concerns: 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.

Other Issues and Comments: