Category Archives: Listening

Reflections on a Course: Post 2 (Week 3)

It’s been a busy week in the course. We’ve talked about social bookmarking, listening skills and CALL. Thats’s a lot of food for thought!

photo credit: Frederick Md Publicity via photopin cc

Nowadays, knowledge in the Internet is being spread and disseminated via different channels (blogs, professional websites, forums…), but probably the most effective way to share this knowledge is through social bookmarking, which has become a paramount element in this big world of Internet. Users can build their own framework of sources of information out of different types of platform. Pure social bookmarking platforms like or diigo let you create lists of favourite sites and store these lists in a referring library. The big issue is called tagging. Bookmark libraries can become massive lists really hard to manage. Tagging resources with relevant terms related help us search for the sites we need according to our needs (Secondary education, listening, ICT, interactives, edugames…). We only need to type the tags and the site will display those links that contain the tags we requested.

Other ways to share knowledge are sites such as Symbaloo (site where favourites are organised in visual libraries -webmixes- containing links of the same field or topic; is a service where users can build a page with brief posts where they mention a website or a resource, with an image, the link and a description. In most cases provides with a possible descriptive text that can  be edited. Tagging is also paramount when we want to find our “scoops” within the page.

photo credit: Fey Ilyas via photopin cc

This week we have also analysed the approach given to listening and speaking skills through CALL. The issue has moved between the use of speech analysis software, more focused on prosody, phonetics a more scientific approach of the learners pronunciation, and the use of websites whose main goal is to help students improve their listening skills through the comprehension of real English and “lab” recordings. Many websites offer scores of recordings covering different subjects and levels. Improving our listening skills through songs is also extremely relevant, and our old ways with the cassette or CD player have been replaced by websites where we can read the transcript as we watch/listen to the song and even do fill-in-the-gap exercises (Lyrics trainingBatlyrics).

We could conclude that all these different approaches make up for the feeling that ICT in language learning is here to stay!



Memrise is a new application to improve our vocabulary skills. It has a very clear interface and encourages students to take up the challenge of learning new vocabulary through memorisation as words keep coming out on the screen in a caroussel…


Those words we learn and practise start as seeds…


…and these seed grow as we practise them and show our knowledge…


Students earn points and are ranked in a social network interface… really catchy!! There are different languages available.

We can add new words and mnemotecnic rules to help other people learn the words.

Grammar Challenge

The BBC has a very good website where ELT students can check about their doubts when it comes to understanding grammar issues: Grammar Challenge


Grammar issues appear listed and with just one click you find a page where an ELT specialist gives you a clear explanation on the grammatical point you need to understand, as well as clear written examples. Explanations can be downloaded as mp3 files so that students can listen to them on the go. It is quite suitable for intermediate/advanced students.
There is also a teacher’s section with ideas to get the best of this website in class.

Big City Small World

Here we are with some new wonderful stuff from The British Council. Now it is time for listening activities.


Big City Small World is a series of listening clips related to a group of young people from all across the world who live together in London.


Every unit deals with different topics and it contains different tasks which can be downloaded, printed and distributed among your students. You can optionally read the transcript of the audio as you do the activity. The topics are really catchy and up to date… very interesting drills basically created for teenagers and young adult learners.

Word on the Street


Word on the Street is an extremely good website by The British Council and the BBC.

A series of chapters dealing with everyday situations with a set of definite sections which make students learn as they enjoy these nice clips.


The episodes are divided in sections: Those which help learners to focus first on comprehension, where we can watch everyday situations dealing with different topics.


These are followed by sections more focused on linguistic aspects which are exemplified with parts of the previous clip.


Some brief explanations are highlighted on the screen in order to clarify those linguistic aspects that must be learnt.


Finally, these clips are followed by some drills to help students evaluate what they have learnt in the episode.

This website will really fulfill the needs of those students who need some reinforcement on their listening skills as well as those who want to use some good-quality self-access material. Great production and crystal-clear explanations. for those who find it difficult, they can also see the transcript as they watch.



Time to say your thoughts instead of writing them down. AudioBoo has been created for users to create short audioclips and publish them online… brief thoughts and ideas to share with the rest of the world, or the rest of our classmates! Our Batxillerat/K12 students can register with their Tweeter accounts, and share thoughts about what they see in a given outdoors route, or what they watch on the TV/Listen to on the radio regarding some specific event, conflict or any other piece of news.

Free Audio Books


Have a look at this page. Download free audio books from Books Should Be Free and have your students listen to them and solve mysteries on the go:

“Listen to the following section of the book and find out who broke the window glassw ith a stone”, for example… or “Listen to this excerpt and write down the names of the two main characters of the story”.

They can also read the text as they listen (there’s always a link to the written version).

Many different books to choose, I’m sure you’ll find one for your students!