This site provides 12 free video clips that deal with topics in US culture.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
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.
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.