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Podcasts

http://www.podcasts.com/

Reviewed Winter 2010

Reviewer: Kelly Pan

Recommendation: Recommended with Reservations

Description

The podcasts on this site are audio recordings in English which you can listen atonywhere in the world. You can listen to the podcasts online or download them onto your computer or mp3 player. All podcasts are free for language learners and teachers, but only members receive the learning English worksheets, vocabulary tasks, Web quests and transcripts. Podcasts in English is a website with two aims. The first is to improve the listening skills of EFL/ESL students. The second is to help EFL/ESL students learn English. The podcasts have three levels: level 1 is for elementary students, level 2 is for lower intermediate and intermediate students and level 3 is for upper intermediate students and above. Most of the recordings are conversations or interviews with a range of different accents. All the podcasts are supported by worksheets which have a variety of listening tasks. These encourage students to listen for general meaning as well as detail. Language work includes vocabulary and grammar tasks.

Evaluation

For a teacher, the podcasts can be used in the classroom or computer lab to supplement course book listening. The conversations are more authentic and the language sounds natural. They, therefore, provide a refreshing alternative to scripted recordings. Worksheets include pre-listening activities that students can do individually or in pairs or groups. There is a range of listening tasks and listening skill lessons including pronunciation; there is also a range of accents with conversations between native and non-native speakers of English. Included is a range of topics that can be linked to course book units and vocabulary worksheets which consolidate the language in the podcasts.  Podcast are ideal for homework or to listen to at your leisure. Also included extra vocabulary worksheets that are linked to the topic of the podcast. These are perfect for a teacher to assign as homework or to introduce a podcast.  In conclusion, Podcasts is a very useful site that is truly designed for both English learners and teachers. 

Subject Headings: ESL/EFL students, English teachers, listening

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