Tim Krause writes and creates fantastic interactive reading and vocabulary exercises for ESOL News Oregon.
Since January, I’ve been recording narration of an article every week, doing some cleanup in Audacity, and posting the recording online.
I’ve been collecting the embedded audio, article text, and Tim’s H5P articles on a google site that I set up for my high-beginning ESOL class (PCC Level 3). You can also find some of them on the ESOL News Oregon site.
I’ve used these narrated articles as warmups and weekly activities in our computer lab time. Many students enjoy hearing the article while reading it. Others don’t, and they can choose other ways to engage with the content. Overall, it’s a win-win for engagement and rich language exposure. It helps that the topics on ESOL News Oregon are on point, including Bigfoot, tax scam alerts, flying cars, and changes to Oregon driver’s licenses for undocumented residents.
According to Soundcloud, where I host the audio for free, the narrations have gotten over 1,500 plays. That means on average, each narration has been listened to 65 times. It’s a pitiful amount of engagement in the world of online content and social media, but it means that my students (and others who have been using the articles) have engaged repeatedly to practice their listening comprehension.
Finally, in the spring, I realized that it would be fairly straightforward to connect SoundCloud to Apple Podcasts (and later, Google Play Music and Podcasts), so now you can find the content in even more ways.
It makes it even easier to connect students with this content, because Apple Podcasts is automatically on every iPhone (and many Android phones have Google Play Music, though I’m perennially annoyed by the mishmash of apps and services on Samsung phones…).
If you have a minute, check out the podcast pages (here’s the Apple Podcast page again) and add a rating or review. We might be able to get some purely online attention after all… 🙂
And once again, this kind of work is made possible by educators like Tim sharing their contributions with Creative Commons licensing. Even the brief music in the audio recordings is from CC-BY licensed media.
I’ve been doing these recordings myself, but I’d be very happy to work with anyone and train them on the process! Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.