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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


Repeat After Us

 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

5 stars
Content Quality: 5 stars
Effectiveness: 5 stars
Ease of Use: 5 stars
Reviewed: Nov 24, 2004 by World Languages Editorial Board
Overview: Repeat After Us is an educational tool specifically geared towards ESL students
that can be utilized by educators, students, and families to help improve a
speaker's language skills. It is a database, or library, of free audio clips
that allow an ESL speaker to practice their pronunciation and conversational
skills. It is a collection of stories, rhymes, quotes, nursery rhymes, etc. of
combined text and audio clips that play over an audio player on the computer to
say the phrase or words in the English language. This is a great tool to use in
practicing pronunciation through repetition by listening to a native speaker of
that language. It is geared towards various age levels ranging from texts and
audio clips pertaining to nursery rhymes, stories, songs, etc. It also provides
links to other language learning web sites and resources like Dave's ESL cafe in
order to help promote language learning and ESL curriculum and development.
Learning Goals: To Learn English as a Second Language
Target Student Population: ESL students of various ages
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Minimal English, ability to download audio software
Type of Material: Audio Clips, and Written Texts
Recommended Uses:
Technical Requirements: Computer with speakers, and audio player

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: The purpose of the web site is very clearly expressed: to promote the
enhancement and development of ESL by using audio texts, repetition, and written
texts. There are more than enough clips and usable authors on this web site to
utilize this on multiple occasions. Certain authors have at least 2 clips
recorded and a complete A-Z listing for the students to browse through. The
material is well designed and appears to have no glitches with the recording
clips, and the written text is concise and accurate.

The excellent site organization facilitates ease of use: Information is
organized in several ways to accommodate user needs. The A-Z browsable listing
of authors, titles, genres, and recorded texts can be searched via type of
text/clips (e.g., nursery rhymes or stories), difficulty level (beginning,
intermediate, and advanced), and even by sound clips by a specific reader. The
site also contains a well organized page providing links to contacts, other
educational links and resources, as well as, a searchable database including
dates, and names of authors. The media is well organized and precise. The
written texts are accurate. The audio clips are clear and easy to understand.
The content of each clip is clear and precise.

The language represented is the English language and is written in common
everyday
language. The language in audio clips and written texts is maintained in its
original context and language; For example, nursery rhymes are unchanged and
remain in their original state of creation. The language used to describe and
navigate through the web site is everyday English. Although the external links
are not required, they are an excellent resource for educators and students.
Both can navigate the web for more sources to improve their teaching skills or
their ESL skills using other sites to practice their reading, speaking, and
conversational skills.

Concerns:

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths:
The Repeat After Us Online Library and Language Lab is an excellent and highly
engaging teaching resource that can be used in a group setting by educators, as
well as for student individual study. Parents can use this web site to help
their children improve their ESL skills, as well as, practicing their own.
Students can use this site to practice their own listening and speaking skills,
as well as, reading comprehension skills. Educators can utilize this as a
resource to improve their teaching methods or as a tool in the class to coincide
with individual or group work as a method of enhancing the student's ESL
skills. The students can work together and listen to each other's pronunciations
and help correct each other by listening to the native speaker. But educators
can also use it as a tool to grade the students by doing 3-week studies of the
student's progression in listening and speaking comprehension while promoting
interaction in the ESL classroom.

The multiple paths to get to the information, as outlined earlier, make this a
resource that can be easily integrated into various learning activities. Audio
clips reinforced by written text make it a useful teaching resource that can be
readily incorporated into a lesson plan. Not all the text is recorded, but
enough of it is to make this a wonderful audio-visual resource for ESL learners.
Students and teachers just need to make a selection and then click on the
uniform icon of a blue talking head profile with the text ?Repeat After Us.?
This uniform icon is displayed on every link to an audio file, which aids in
user expectation of the features of the site (i.e. they know when to expect to
hear an audio clip as opposed to just reading it). The combination of audio and
text files augments learning as students are able to hear and read the text at
the same time.
Concerns:
This site features quotes from many world leaders. It might be helpful to add a
glossary for brief background information, although this might be beyond the
scope and purpose of the site. Another helpful addition might be a way to
search the prose fiction by traditional genres: they are all currently clumped
together as one ?Prose Fiction? category

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: The visual interface of the web site is consistent, with muted colors of three
shades of blue, pale yellow accents, and black text. The content pages are
constructed within tables, topped with a uniform banner, and buttons that
resembled notebook dividers. This visual display is one in which students can
relate. The combination of subdued color and structured layout makes for easy
reading. These colors may not be as visually exciting to some age levels,
however they do fall within the guidelines of good website design (i.e. avoid
eye strain and too much busyness). Appropriate javascripts are applied for
rollovers and drop down menus with site links. The site also employs
appropriate use of graphics, but like the colors, the stencil drawings may be a
little too subdued for some age groups.

In addition to a search capability, there are many paths to the same
information, which is another wonderful aspect of the site. One excellent
feature is that, like some search engines, web portals, and databases, this site
shows the exact path the user followed to get to specific information. For
instance, one way to get to Hillary Rodham Clinton?s quote about forgiveness, is
to click on Contents, then Author, then Hillary Rodham Clinton, and then
Forgiveness. This path is displayed on the top left corner of the page. This
is helpful if the user would like to record how s/he got to the information for
future visits.

The website designers adhered to design elements of purpose, audience,
authority, navigation, and aesthetics. The purpose and intended audience of the
site is clearly stated. The ?About Us? page provides links to articles and
information about the founder and manager of the site, with a list of
contributors and their affiliations. This goes to authority. The site
organization fosters ease of navigation: the user can easily maneuver between
pages and move in and out of the site at will. In addition to providing links
to the major site pages on both the bottom and tops of every page, the site
points users to excellent external resources through the ?Links? page.
Additionally, a link to a free download of a selection of audio players is
provided on every page. There is a contact form as well as a page of feedback
from other users.
Concerns:

Other Issues and Comments: