(reviewed Fall 2008)
Reviewer: Yisha Yang Gao
The main page is very simple with just 7 main hyperlinks. The Web site is aimed at students to help them experience fun exercises organized into different categories. The purpose of the Web site is for students to be visually stimulated while learning new English language skills. The site touches upon subjects such as grammar, vocabulary, listening and reading, but mostly for advanced levels. Because the levels for some of the activities are very advanced, this Web site is limited to only a particular group of students. However, there are exercises on expressions and vocabulary that all levels of students can use as a practice resource. The contact for this Web site is Rich McGirr who is an ESL teacher at Miramar College in San Diego.
This Web site is FUN! All of the activities include active visuals. The Web site has flashing animated 'Wrongs' or 'Excellent' as positive and negative reinforcement for the students as they navigate through a quiz or exercise. There are MANY still illustrations which keeps a student's attention (especially in the vocabulary quizzes). Even though these sections are titled quizzes, they were not intimating and feel casual because the animation is positively and properly exaggerated to fill the whole screen when you complete an answer right or wrong. The process of clicking from one question to the next is kind of addicting. The quizzes are short and can be repeated often. There is a large list of expressions (idioms, etc.) that are a good selection because they are commonly used and interesting. The listening clips are a minute or so long, which is a good length for to keep a student's attention.
The Web site is very simple and not overwhelming with a lot of content. There are only a few reading passages aimed at advanced speakers which could be intimidating for lower level students. There are not a lot of useful links in the links section of the Web site. The sections of the Web site are clearly tabbed at the top of the page. Each page is in a listed format so students don't have to look all over the place to find various activities.
All in all I enjoyed the Web site. The really fun sections of the Web site were more advanced sections such as the reading (very interesting topics) and the vocabulary (slang words and expressions were my favorite). It was interactive, colorful, and silly. I think this site is a good reference for students after a long day of systematic classroom learning.
Subject Headings: ESL students, self-study materials