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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


English Insight

 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

4 stars
Content Quality: 5 stars
Effectiveness: 4 stars
Ease of Use: 5 stars
Reviewed: Oct 10, 2003 by World Languages Editorial Board
Overview: This site provides 12 free video clips that deal with topics in US culture.
Learning Goals: Acquisition of English via video and corresponding tasks
Target Student Population: The intended audience might include advanced and high-intermediate ESL/EFL
students, older teens and adults, participants in EAP courses, IEP, community
courses, individual study, and language lab coordinators.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Some English, moderate technology skills to set up, basic technology skills to
use.
Type of Material: This is a multimedia program with 12 short video clips from US news broadcasts
and filmmaker Michael Moore (4-8 minutes each) to provide students with
opportunities to discuss and explore interesting political and socio-cultural
issues. The site also provides exercises, questions, vocabulary lists, and
suggestions for further work.
Recommended Uses: It can be used for courses in listening-speaking, conversation, composition,
critical thinking, and US culture. Teachers will need to make supporting
materials such as comprehension questions, vocabulary, and projects.
Technical Requirements: Students need access to computers outside the classroom, CD players, sound
cards, speakers or headphones, MS Internet Explorer, and MediaPlayer or
QuickTime, an unzipping program like Winzip.Internet access is needed to
download the videos; once they are unzipped then Internet access is no longer
needed.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: This site provides opportunities for students to improve their English via
video. It contains 12 free video clips on different topics, among which there
are such themes as crime, racial discrimination, drugs, religious freedom,
parental rights, wedding customs, economic issues and many others. The main
purposes of this site are to familiarize ESL learners with US realities, to help
them learn certain vocabulary items in context, and to improve their listening
comprehension abilities. The site is well organized. Each video is provided with
vocabulary lists which include US idioms, expressions and collocations common
in US media, such as ?cop on the beat?, ?to get the job done?, ?to take to the
airwaves?, etc. The preview activities focus on specific social issues that are
developed further in the videos. The follow up questions are well structured,
starting with general questions and followed by more specific questions
requiring attention to details.
Concerns: The site would be more powerful if it provided links to the Internet sites where
students could obtain more information on the topics presented in the videos.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: These videos and activities can be easily integrated into ESL instruction as a
supplemental activity for teaching vocabulary on certain topics and providing
visuals. It is certainly engaging and can help trigger students? interest in US
culture.
Concerns:

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: The site is easy to navigate. The video boxes can be made larger and moved
around. The quality of video and audio materials is excellent.
Concerns: The site design is too simplified. It is not very attractive. Choice of color
and font size could be improved. In general, materials containing questions and
exercises look like MS Word documents.

Other Issues and Comments: