In celebration of National Online Learning Day, which falls on September 15, 2019, we’d like to share some experiences that students and teachers have had with ESL Library’s new digital platform.
Over the summer, I took the opportunity to use ESL Library’s new digital platform with my own group of adult learners, and I’m pleased to report that it was a success! The summer months meant that attendance was not as regular as it had been during the school year; however, students were able to stay connected with the class and keep up with assignments, even when they were traveling. One student, Victor, visited family in China and was gone for six weeks.
During his absence, I could see that Victor was using the platform on a regular basis with the View Results feature (see Help Doc: How to Access Digital Homework Results). When Victor returned to the US, I asked him what he liked most about the digital platform. Here are three of his comments:
Listening materials are easy to use. I can listen to them over and over again, and also use them as dictation exercises.
In my classes, we frequently begin the lesson with a dictation as a warm‑up. Since most lessons on the digital platform have an audio component, Victor was able to continue with dictation work with recorded native speakers. First, he was able to complete the Listen & Type tasks, which are built into the platform. In this task type, students type the target words they hear within the context of the reading. Because Victor was already familiar and comfortable with dictation methods, he adapted the platform task to give himself even more practice by turning away from his screen and typing the entire passage! He could pause the audio at his convenience and repeat it when he needed to.
The exercises are well designed to help practice grammar rules.
The digital versions of our popular Grammar Practice Worksheets include concise grammar reviews that cover the rules and provide examples of the target structure. I was pleased to hear that Victor found the grammar lessons easy to use. He said that he found it useful to go back to the reviews as he worked on the exercises.
Scoring attempts are nice features. They encourage you to try to learn, correct, and improve.
The digital platform allows students to answer questions more than once. Victor liked this feature in particular since it allowed for self‑correction.
In addition to language practice, ESL Library’s digital platform has benefits for students who don’t consider themselves computer-savvy. Here’s what Ava, a recent immigrant from Guatemala, had to say:
It helped me a lot with computers. Before, I wasn’t so comfortable, but now I feel more comfortable. I was nervous at first, but now I feel fine.
Mark W. Sherman (ESL Instructor, Takoma Park, Maryland, USA) is an ESL Library subscriber. He teaches adults at the beginner and intermediate levels. Mark, too, has found success with the new platform:
When using a textbook, there is a temptation to do the exercises associated with each grammar point and then move on. The problem is the learning doesn’t stick because the exercises are too brief. By using the ESL Library digital platform, I am able to give my students a much deeper workout in the same aspect of language. In fact, I find it helpful to use the digital material first and then, once they’ve mastered the principles, turn to the textbook. That may seem upside down, but it gives me much greater confidence that they have really absorbed something—they’ve matched wits with their phones before they do anything else, and that process of puzzling it out, preferably with a classmate, creates a solid foundation.
We hope that all of you are enjoying access to ESL Library’s digital platform. We would love to hear about your experience! Happy National Online Learning Day!