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Review of fifteen potential websites for CALL/CALT

by

Ashfque Ahmed
ID: 2008-2-40-017





Course: Computer Assisted Language Learning/Teaching
(CALL/CALT)
Course Code: ENG 451
Instructor: Dr. Muhammed Shahriar Haque



The World Wide Web has been in its full potential for more than a decade now. Though
continuously evolving, this technology can be considered as quite settled in these days both in
general features and in its basic application. On the process of this evolution many enthusiasts
have considered this as a tool for EFL/ESL learning. It promised constant exposure to target
language with loads of resources; easy to access, fast and varied in challenging activities. In the
beginning I thought I would be an enormous undertaking to review fifteen EFL/ ESL websites;
but when I started to find out websites I saw there are hundreds of exciting E-Learning websites.
I had to choose carefully though because there are many websites, which might not be applicable
for CALL/CALT. My review is based on the content, teacher and student friendliness, teaching
and learning potential and practicality of the websites. I would also like to mention my likings
and disliking about each website.
1. http://a4esl.org/
This is a website titled Activities for ESL Students. This website is based on quizzes,
tests and puzzles. These various activities help a second language learner to develop their
language skills. This website is also a place where the current and prospective teachers can
contribute.
The home page of the website is pretty straightforward. It has sections for Grammar,
Vocabulary, and Crossword Puzzles. Each section has learner-oriented categorization like
easy, medium and difficult. At the end of Grammar section there is also options for quizzes. For
example; in the easy grammar quiz section there are lots of quizzes focusing various aspects of
English Grammar. There is also a special section which includes Whats New and links for
the ipod and iphone version of the website. Unfortunately there seems to be no link for the
android users.
There is also another very exclusive section where learners can find bi-lingual quizzes.
There are Arabic-English, Danish-English, French-English Indonesian-English and many more.
On a whole I think this is a very helpful website mainly from the learners point of view but
again teachers can also take some quizzes and use them in the class.
2. http://www.rong-chang.com/
According to the websites own info rong-chang is a free English as a Second
Language website. This website is developed in order to help the students of EFL/ESL and
teachers who are associated with English Language Teaching (ELT).
At first glance of the home page of this website may look little ambiguous; but if we look
carefully we shall find that this is well organized. At the left column there are options like mobile
ESL, listen and speak, podcast, reading, writing, quizzes, grammar, vocabulary, kids English,
games, dictionaries etc. Each of these options is hyperlinks for various areas of language
learning. In the middle section of the website, there are learning materials for Beginners,
Intermediate and ESL/EFL learners. For example in the Intermediate section there is a sub
section called English Conversation which focuses of improving the learners speaking skills.
Only this section alone has more than 1500 conversations on 25 topics with audio. Then in the
ESL/EFL section there are subsections like ESL lesson plans and a link for Rons ESL Blogs.
At the bottom of the website there is called Todays Proverb which updates in a regular
basis. On a whole this is a very good website. This specialty of this website is its content. It has
plenty of materials for the learners and teachers. There is also a Membership option, which may
allow the users with some extra benefits. This website has a mobile version too.
3. http://www.englishforums.com/
Englishforum is a forum based language learning website. It is perhaps the worlds
largest EFL/TEFL social network. This site has different sections and subsections for teachers
and students, which is very helpful for CALT/CALL.
As it is a based on the model of a social network, Englishforum homepage is interactive.
There are options for live chat and an introduction section for the new members. I personally
think this is what makes this site unique. Teacher and students from all around the world can
share their views and opinions through Englishforum. On the top of the homepage there are few
sections- Ask a question, Stuff for teachers, Stuff for students, Forum Discussions and Chat.
These are actually dropdown menus, which opens various materials for teaching and learning.
For example in the students stuff section there are exercises and interactive classroom videos.
There is a web cam section where students can actually see what is happening inside a real
classroom. On the other hand in the teaching section there are Teaching jobs, subsections for
teaching materials including materials for TEFL and TESL. In the right side of the website there
is a section called Top answers. This section shows the top question and answers given by the
users of Englishforum. In the Forum section, there is information for distance learning too.
Although it is a relatively new website, the forum based structure of the website is very
helpful. This website also shares links for many other similar websites. Again the shortcomings
of Englishforum are its content and teaching-learning materials. This website is developing day
by day.
4. www.nonstopenglish.com
Nonstop English is a unique educational tool for ESL/EFL learning and teaching. This
website motivates students to learn English grammar and vocabulary. It emphasizes on these two
aspects of English language through different types of exercise like fill in the blanks, quizzes and
multiple choice question-answers.
The homepage of nonstopenglish is very clean and user friendly. In the very beginning
there is an option for the users to choose their level of competency. Then there are plenty of
exercises below. These exercises are categorized and most of them are quiz based. Each quiz
shows its difficulty level (i.e. 3000, 200, 400 etc) and quiz topics (i.e. grammar prepositions,
business vocabulary etc). There are also instructions given for each quiz so students will not get
confused while selecting a particular exercise. At the end of each exercise there is also
evaluation, which is very helpful for self-learners. Both the students and teachers can register to
this website for newsletters and other benefits. Nonstopenglish supports ten languages other than
English.
This is a very helpful website for the learners. Unfortunately I did not find any specific
sections for the teachers although teachers can always use these exercises and quizzes in their
classrooms.
5. http://www.world-english.org
Worldenglish is a simple website for language learners. This website is full of
Vocabulary activities and grammar exercises. This is a one-stop resource for the English
Language Lerarner.
The first page or the homepage of this website is full of lists. These lists are basically
divided into categories like online assessment tests, vocabulary references, vocabulary activities
and tests, online distance learning, grammar activities and tests, reading, writing, listening
resources etc. Each section has plenty of exercises. For example there is a section called tongue
twisters in the speaking section. Usually we dont often see this particular exercise on webbased
language learning websites. Here in tongue twister section there is instructions given on the top
and at the bottom there is a button to choose a random tongue twister.
This is on a whole a good website which can help mainly the learners. There is very few
options for the teachers.
6.http://www.usingnglish.com
Usingenglish is an excellent website both for CALL and CALT. Teachers as well as the
students can be benefitted from this website. This website has large ESL tools and materials.
Learners and teachers can easily browse grammar glossary, idioms, ESL forums and many other
interesting sections of this website.
Usingenglish websites homepage is again another example of a good website. If we
carefully look at their logo at the top left corner we can see this website covers ESL, ESCL, EFL,
TESL, TESOL and TEFL. I found this website is quite handy for the teachers because it has lots
of teaching materials. In the teachers section there are handouts and quizzes, pdf lesson plans,
teacher articles, and many other English references. Another very helpful section can be the
teacher training section. In this section there are almost 25 pdfs for teacher training; each pdf
contains different teaching aspects like Gesture games, moving around, peer correction, setting
up a self-access center etc. This is the best section to me for this website and this is what makes
usingenglish unique in its own way.
I have not discussed the learners section of this website just because it has more
important role to play from the teachers point of view. The learners section has learning
materials like ESL quizzes, exam tips, reading comprehensions etc. There is also a reference
section, which has many grammar exercises like idioms, phrasal verbs, irregular verbs etc. This
is recommended site for all the teachers of English Language.
7.http://www.englishdaily626.com
Your coat is broken- is a wrong expression. It should be Your coat is torn.
Englishdaily626 is a website which covers these common mistakes, and helps the learners to
speak fluent English. This website is specially designed to teach various American
conversational expressions and idioms.
Englishdaily626 has a very simple homepage. This websites homepage is one of the
cleanest and simple looking. There are links for conversation, American slang expressions,
TOEFL vocabulary, American Idioms and English proverbs. For example, in the Slang section
they provide slang of the day and explain the slang through a thumbnail. They also give
definition of the slang with example, etymology and at least one synonym. There are two new
sections in the website called Conversation and English Exercise. English exercise is
basically a section to master English grammar. There are exercises about parts of speech,
gerunds, participles, tenses, idioms, language forms and functions etc.
This website also has plenty of reading comprehensions which can be very handy for the
teachers as well as the students
8.http://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en
LearnEnglish is a website developed by the British Council which includes games,
stories, listening activities and grammar exercises for the learners. This website is especially
helpful for listening activities.
Looking at the homepage, this website looks very pleasing and user friendly for the new
learners. On the top there are sections like listen and watch, grammar and vocabulary, fun and
games etc. This website has a section for those who wants to seat for the IELTS examination.
IELTS section has mock test papers so that students can practice. Particularly, I found the quick
grammar section in Grammar and Vocabulary very helpful. In our country, many learners at
the beginners level get stuck on English grammar. This section has been developed for those
students who lack basic grammatical competency.
All in all this is a recommended website for CALL. This website is created from the
learners perspective.

9.http://www.teach-nology.com/
When I was about to give up looking for a website that will focus CALT only, just then I
found this website called TeAchnology which is solely based on teaching materials. According
to the website they have over 46000 lesson plans, 9600 free printable worksheets, rubrics,
teaching tips, worksheet makers and many other teaching resources.
At the first page of the website we can see all the features of TeAchnology.com at a
glance. The key aspect of the website is most of these features are free at cost. For example in
the worksheet section, a teacher can easily download a worksheet according to his/her purpose
by just a few clicks. Like there are worksheets for Holidays. Teacher can pick a particular
holiday and download the worksheet. For our context, there are worksheets for Mothers day
which is now celebrated throughout the world. The great thing about this website is, only in
Mothers Day section, there are as many as 20 worksheets. So the teacher can be very selective
during making the lesson plan.
Again there are options for membership and it is only $29.99 annually but it is not
mandatory to access the materials.
10. www.english-at-home.com
As the title suggest English-at-home is an excellent place to develop ones written and
spoken English. This website has tips along with advices to improve a learners speaking skill.
English-at-home is a very simple looking website. There is no complexity and all the
materials are well organized so users can easily find what they need. At the top right corner,
there is a section which highlights all the key areas of the website. This includes English
Grammar, Speaking English, Vocabulary and four other sections. It is always a difficult task for
a non-native speaker to pronounce a word or talk like a native English speaker. This website has
a unique section called English Pronunciation aimed to improve the pronunciation the learners.
This area has articles about how to pronounce a word correctly. Although there are written
examples and theories I found this section lacks audio-visual content, which is more appropriate
for learning pronunciation. Another section is called Real Life English. This section deals with
many functional aspects of English language and helps the learners to understand those functions
and apply them in pertinent situations.
Although this website has lesser content than many other popular English language
learning websites, this has
11. http://www.englisch-hilfen.de/en/
Germany is a country where English is used as a foreign language. As a developing
country, blessed with modern technologies and advancement in language learning facilities,
Germany has many good websites for CALL. English-hilfen is one of these websites, which
offer easy access to language learning materials for the learners.
This website has English words, phrases and grammar practice sections. The homepage is
quite comprehensive for those who are new to online language learning. In the left column of the
homepage, learners can find all the necessary materials categorized in various sections like
grammar exercise, vocabulary exercise, complex tests, games, writing etc. I found the Grammar
Explanation section very useful for the learners. Here they can learn particular aspect of English
grammar according to their needs. This section is helpful because it provide s examples along
with the rules. This is just like having a complete grammar book except getting it in a good
looking website. There are also sections for literature or books, and many hyperlinks for other
EFL/ESL sites. Moreover, there are user downloadable worksheets though they are not adequate
in number.
All in all this is a very useful website. The difficult part is, as this website is under .de
domain, for the first time this website will load in German language. Users need to change the
language to English version, which some users may find complicated.
12. www.1-language.com
We have many one stop shopping malls in Dhaka city now a day; so why not a one stop
website for the English language learners? 1-lanuge is probably the perfect website to answer
this question. This website has one stop resources for English and other language learning.
On a first look at the homepage the ocean blue background will definitely catch the users
eye. One more thing that will draw ones attention is the Free Materials. This service includes
American English Audio Courses, Free English Course, Resource Directory, 35 Dictionary
Lookup etc. there are also many ESL resources like games, grammar quizzes, essay writing tips
and techniques, ESL listening center, online ESL activities and many more. The English audio
course section has 40 units of English listening materials focusing on practical conversations and
academic language. These 40 units are dived into categories like conversation starters, getting
around, telephone conversation and assignments. Moreover, on the top of the website there
another section called Reference Material. This section has flash test materials for TOEIC and
TOEFL.
Apart from all the language materials the study abroad section is an added advantage
for the users.
13.www.vocabulary.com
One of the major problems for the English language learners is lack of English
vocabulary. We often stuck while writing an article or talking to someone. Vocabulary.com is a
very unique and interactive website for learning English Vocabulary. This website has been
developed with a goal to improve the learners vocabulary within a short time.
This website has a guest section where we can practice vocabulary word by word. The
catchy part is, after a user creates an account with a user name and password, contents are
absolutely free. Anyone can continue his learning and also track his/her learning curve. This is
called the challenge. For each correct answer there are points and the more points the user will
get the higher his/her rank will be. So this is just like a game; but unlike other vocabulary games
in conventional websites, this is more challenging. If a user gives a wrong answer he/she will get
another chance. There is a section called My progress where users can see the list of the words
they have been mastered.
This is a highly recommended website for CALL. Students will be motivated when they
will find that they are competing against many international members. For a second language
learner this website is very helpful. The examples for the vocabularies are chosen from authentic
sources like Time magazine, Readers digest etc.
14. http://www.livemocha.com
This is another very good website for online language learning. Livemocha claims that
they have the largest language learning community in the world.
The structure of the website is quite different than the previous websites. At the very
beginning there is kind of a needs analysis. The learner must put his email id, first language,
target language, which language skills they want to focus etc. Again the main content is just a
few clicks away. Once done with all these information the website shows only those contents
that the learner asks for. There are unit based speaking, reading, listening and writing materials.
All the contents can very interactive. Sad part is, most of the contents require livemocha points
and those points need to be bought.
15. www.manythings.org
As the title suggests manythings.org is a website full of speaking, reading, listening and writing
materials. This website is for ESL/EFL learners.
The website has plenty of audio clips for speaking and listening which can be very helpful for
non-native speakers. There are also quizzes, word games, proverbs, slang expressions, anagrams,
random-sentence generator and many other CALL activities. The good part is this website is
advertisement free. So learners can pick their lessons easily without any unwanted pop-up ads.
There is also a section for ipod and ipad. This is the only CALL website I found that has
optimized contents for ipad. There is also a section where learners can learn songs.
Although this is a very good website, some contents are not appropriate in all cultures
and many historical and literary contents are culture biased.
In conclusion, I must say these websites can provide ample support to the learners
as well as the teachers in terms of language learning. Bangladesh, being a developing country is
far behind in CALL/CALT. Still there are some institutions that are emphasizing on
CALL/CALT. There might be some difficulties at the beginning regarding contextual contents,
and websites that have potentials teaching and learning materials. If we can improve our Internet
speed and can reduce the cost of bandwidth, things may change within a short time.
www.srijonshil.com is a Bangladeshi website for online model tests. Though at the moment, it
has been developed to focus all the subjects from class three to class nine, in near future there
will be more added features. So we are just few steps away from creating computer based
language-learning environment. Broader outlook towards international culture and learning
styles can help us to become more efficient in CALL/CALT




Reference
Ciaffaroni, Maria Teresa. How good are ESL/EFL websites?
Ellis, R. (1985). Understanding Second Language Acquisition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Tomlinson, B. (1998c). Self-access materials. In B. Tomlinson (ed.), Materials Development in
Language Teaching, 320-336. Cambridge: CUP.