Hi there tout la gang,

We don't have much to say about research in practice at the Café right now

but we are talking policy and practice over here now: Literacy Enquirers.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

equal time for the cbc

Have you seen the CBC ESL pages?
They host a series of short video clips. The clips are classic Canadian content. Each clip is accompanied with ideas for activities developed with Carleton University Applied Linguistics to do before listening, during listening and after listening.

You can watch longer documentaries at CBC Home Delivery. This is a service the CBC offered in 2003. They discontinued it but the archive is still available. Amazing topics.

And in case you missed this, here is the lighter side of Canadian content.

Here is the real Hinterland Who's Who site. Sorry about that ;-)


Adult learner said...

I tried the CBC website. It's pretty sharp. I liked it because Terry Fox is helping people. I would use this at home to learn. More of the story of Terry Fox would make it better. The one on Bethune was kind of hard. A lot of the words were too hard.

Wendell said...

A learner and I tried the CBC - ELS webtool. Although she liked it over-all (comment above), she would have become frustrated trying to navigate it without my help. This is normal: things always look self-explanatory to the designers, and that's why we do beta testing. What's unclear is if this tool is in beta.

There are two parts to online learning tools: the learning content and the software / interface. They both have to work very well. This site's software/interface still has bugs - including correct answers as incorrect. (Again, the learner would have stalled if I hadn't explained that it was a software problem, not her comprehension mitake.) This is a "small bug" in term of the complexity of the programming, but a huge bug in terms of being useful to learners. Imagie an email system that correctly delivered emails 4 out of 5 times.

I hope the program's in beta, because it has real potential. But, right now, it's a tool with limited use.

literacies publisher said...

adult learner and wendell: thanks for your reviews of the site. i am sure others will find your feedback helpful when they are deciding whether to try out these activities.

and sorry - i should have said that i had not done all the activities with learners - i tested a couple myself only. it drives me crazy when you put in the right answer and the computer tells you you are wrong!

Wendell said...

The CBC-ESL site describes this as a "pilot project." That's usually code-talk for one-time funding.

But then they state "We will assess use of these web pages over several months to decide whether to expand this service." Finally, they ask for "thoughts and suggestions on the topics and study exercises to help us improve this web site."

This is very promising. If they can get the bugs worked out, people will try it and respond positively. I'm going to try the site with some other learners and then send in our comments to the developers.

Nancy said...

Thanks for sharing this site Tracey and for your comments Wendell and your student. I'll be meeting with a student tonight who is studying for her citizenship, so we'll check this out and I'll let you know how it goes.

If we get this far, maybe she will post her comments here as well.


Nancy said...

Heh, my student cancelled face-to-face so we worked over the phone and did SkillsWise instead. Next week I hope we can check out the CBC activities.


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