(reviewed Fall 2008)
Reviewer: Paul Williams
English Media Lab is an informative Web site that provides learning exercises and resources for ESL/ EFL students and teachers. The site was originally formulated for teachers to share and exchange ideas for free. With many theories and philosophical ideologies, the site grew to serve as a learning hub for all aspects of second language acquisition. This Web site is content based and the site creator believes the success of this site is a direct correlation of informative, descriptive, and creative content. The site is organized in the following manner: English Media Lab, Free English Video Lessons, ESL Online Puzzles, Gap Fills and Cloze Exercises, Business and Survival English, Pronunciation Exercises and Listening, Commercial Area, and EnglishMediaLab.com Partner Sites, which are followed by exercises and quizzes that teachers can sample for ideas when creating lesson plans. English Media Lab was created in 2003 by Futonge Nzembayie Kisito. He graduated from the Anglo-Saxon University of Buea, Cameroon with a BS degree in Journalism and Mass Communication and a diploma in Political science. He worked as reporter for newspapers and as radio broadcaster for a few years after graduation. Despite his communication studies, Kisito had a strong desire to teach English and pursued and received his teaching certificate in English. Kisito has taught ESL in China since 2003 and runs the site with the help of colleagues and donations.
English Media Lab is a great Web site with current learning resources and content, and I recommend this site despite a few reservations. Although the site provides learning and teaching techniques for teachers, the abundance of information can be overwhelming, and the Web pages are too busy with supplementary content that can be distracting to many of its possible users.
The access to videos, audio and power point features will be an added benefit to users as the upgrades in technology are constantly improving. The videos start at the beginning level, progressing to higher levels and this is mutual with the audio. The power points are very informative models for instructors to either use while teaching or revise to meet the needs of their students. They come in variations with lectures, review questions, quizzes, ending with section tests.
With all the positives that this site includes, the only downfall to this site is the abundance of information presented on the home page. Every element of the site is categorized, but separate pages would give the site a more organized presence. In addition, being that the site has corporate sponsorship, advertisements are available in all corners of the Web pages. This makes the site more congested than it needs to be. Some of the advertisements are supplementary to the study of ESL and EFL, but others pertain to different realms of educations such as online classes, mp3 downloads, and more online degree information.
Overall, this site is recommended for use by teachers of ESL and EFL. The site appears to be maintained regularly and creditable information about the site author is readily made available. This site will definitely be of help to new teachers, as much of the comments and suggestions are from other instructors in the field that have experienced success with many of the donated material.
Subject Headings: ESL teachers, ESL materials, multimedia resources