Tuesday, December 21, 2004

What Are Blogs?

Obviously, you are reading one now. But here is a very short list of Blogs which will give you a better understanding of this Internet medium:

Blogger.com - what Blogs are about, what they can do for you.
Barbara Dieu's Students' Blog in Brazil Barbara has used Blogs extensively with her students in Brazil.
Iraq Blog - A Blogger In Baghdad None other than the famous Raed who wrote a secret Blog in Baghdad while Saddam was still in power. He continued writing for some time after Saddam's fall.
Iranian Blogs - from a fascinating country Blogs are an important means for the Iranian opposition to make itself heard, often at some risk to the Bloggers themselves. The women's blogs are of special interest.
Call Centre Confidential - boring job, interesting Blog. The world of work exposed.
The London Underground Blog. Experience the Underground through your computer.
The New Tanuki: a blog by EFL teacher Aaron. Very comprehensive list of links. My Blog should be like this.
How to start your own Blog

That's all for now. I will be on holiday as from tomorrow, 22 December. However I will post new messages during the holidays whenever I have access to a computer.

You are very welcome to post a comment to any or all of these postings. You should use the "Anonymous" option unless you have a "Blogger" account. Just leave your name at the end of your message.

Have a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year 2005.

Michael Ivy

Monday, December 20, 2004

Using Internet for Listening Practice

Many students complain of a lack of opportunities to listen to English. This is where the Net can really transform your experience. Do not worry if you think you are at a low level. Try anyway. Developing your listening ability is a matter of regular, often-repeated practice.

Try these sites:

Randall's CyberListening Café. Plenty of listening practice here, with an American flavour. Lots of advice on how to use the Net for listening. There is a huge range of listening exercises divided into three categories: Easy, Medium and Difficult. The exercises consist of a multiple-choice quiz which you can read before you listen.

Learning English with the BBC Listen to the news and read the text at the same time. Learn grammar, vocabulary and business English. Check out "News English", "Watch And Listen", "Business English" and "English By Radio". Very good for vocabulary: there are exhaustive glossaries. Good for students at intermediate level and up.

Listen to the News on Sky Radio. Have the home page open at the same time with the headlines visible. Which ones were mentioned in the news? (Note the picture of my cousin Andy, on the Sky News Radio page. He's the Sky Radio News Editor.) More suitable for Advanced students.

You may need to check that your computer has the necessary software such as Real Audio or Windows Media Player. Headphones are also highly recommended.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

The Rome EFL Blog Develops!

Is it Efl or Elf? I made a mistake when setting the URL to this site. Maybe, though, 'elf' is more 'simpatico' - friendly, as well as being easier to pronounce.

Whatever the case, please do ensure you bookmark this site, and visit at least once a week in order to keep up with the news.

The latest site recommendation: The Virtual Language Centre in Hong Kong. I particularly recommend the Concordancer feature.

This enables you to see how words are used in context. Type in a key word, choose a text to search, and click OK. You'll see a list of your keywords down the centre of the screen, with the context sentence on either side.

Not sure about the difference between "yet", "still" and "already"? Want to know about the position of adverbs in a sentence? What's the difference between "further" and "farther"? These are questions students have asked recently - and The Concordancer can help you find the answers.

Note that the link to the Virtual Language Centre is in the Permanent Collection on the left of this page.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Mike Ivy's Rome Students Blog

This is a new Blog for my students at The British Council in Rome, Italy. The objective is to help us all to keep in touch with each other between lessons and during holidays.
This Blog will be updated weekly. Postings will contain ideas on how to practise English in your spare time. There will be links to sites that can help with listening, reading, speaking or writing. Note the permanent list of sites on the left-hand side of this page.
You are encouraged to post your own comments to this site. Simply click on "Comment" in order to send your reactions and thoughts.
At the end of your comment, please do leave your name. Thank you.