From July 2012 issue

Learn English with interactive videos

 by Jose Lopez-Mercedes

English Central is a powerful website loaded with thousands of free and interactive videos. This is a great tool for learning new vocabulary and improving your pronunciation. The site has seven levels of ESL from beginning to advanced. Each video has captions or text transcriptions and word definitions and you can choose various topics including business, travel, social media, or pronunciation topics.

After watching a video, it allows you to record your own voice and to compare it with the voice of a native speaker. Also, the site will grade your speech at the end of your recording. English Central will mark words as green when there are no errors, yellow when they are errors and red for words you have not recorded before.

To get started go to www.englishcentral.com and create a free account. Also, you will need a microphone or a headset for your computer to record your voice. Follow these easy steps:

1. Go to www. englishcentral.com.

2. Then click under the browse tab and choose videos.

3. On the left hand side menu pick the level of difficulty (beginner, intermediate or advanced).

4. Choose and watch one of the videos.

5. After watching a video you will record your voice for each line by clicking on the microphone button and speaking all the words.

6. You will get feedback and a grade based on your pronunciation.

Jose Lopez-Mercedes is an ESL faculty member at Santa Ana College School of Continuing Education and MiraCosta College. He has been helping students and teachers use technology in the classroom since 2000. He can be reached at joselopezmercedes@gmail.com

 

November/December 2011 issue

Learn English by creating interactive presentations online!

 by Jose Lopez-Mercedes

            Oral presentations are a great way to practice your English skills. Some teachers might ask you to create oral presentations by using PowerPoint, so you can organize your ideas and integrate pictures, images and sounds into your project. My students have been using Prezi.com as a tool to create outstanding presentations.  Prezi.com is a free online-based presentation software that makes it fun to explore and to organize your ideas. 

            To get started you need to create an account at www.prezi.com. One of the features that my students like is the “Google Image Insert.” You can insert images to your presentation without leaving your page.  Another cool feature is that more than one person can work on a presentation simultaneously. 

            After you create your presentation, you can share it with your friends by e-mail, blog or your favorite social network such as, Facebook, Myspace, Twitter or YouTube. Feel free to share your prezis with me by sending them to Joselopezmercedes@gmail.com

            Watch the tutorial on how to use Prezi by visiting: http://prezi.com/learn/

Jose Lopez-Mercedes is an ESL faculty member at Santa Ana College School of Continuing Education and MiraCosta College. He has been helping students and teachers use technology in the classroom since 2000. He can be reached at joselopezmercedes@gmail.com