Monday, February 9, 2009

TASK 2 -- Website evaluation

The ESL website that i have chosen is Isabel ESl website. The URL:

1. What does the application attempt to ‘teach’?

This website which is Isabel’s ESL website was designed and created to help ESL primary and secondary level students to master English language. Thus, it can be said that this website attempts to ‘teach’ English in a fun way by integrating technology through the usage of this website. Therefore, in achieving the ‘teaching’ purpose, all the activities in this website were interestingly created to attract the users’ attentions in learning English.

Besides Grammar skill, this application also attempts to teach other language skills by integrating listening, writing, reading, and speaking skills as well through the different types of activities offered in this website. Furthermore, this website also provides teaching materials and ESL website links for ESL teachers. Therefore, it could be said that this application also attempt to ‘teach’ the ESL teacher in coming up with more creative lessons and worksheets for their English lessons.

2. What sorts of things is the application users expected to do with regards to learning the content?

In learning the content, the application users are expected to answer numerous questions that tested their Grammar, listening, writing, reading, and speaking skills. Thus, the users are expected to do activities such as filling in the blanks with correct words, matching the questions to the correct answers and answering multiple choice questions that tested the five skills. The users are also expected to do comprehension exercises that are based on variety of interesting topics.

Moreover, there are also web-based activities which are also available in this application in which the users are expected to look for authentic information in the selected websites in order to answer the questions given and also web-based language games.

3. What sorts of computer skills is the application users expected to have in order to operate/access/use the application?

The application users of this particular application are only expected to have basic knowledge on the usage of computer and Internet browsing in order to access this application. This is because this application is a user-friendly as the instructions in this application are easy and understandable which are indeed suitable for the ESL primary and secondary students. Thus, the users are expected to do activity such as filling in the blanks with correct words in which they have to type the correct words in the boxes provided.

Besides that, the users are also expected to do activities such as matching the questions to the correct answers by dragging the answers in the boxes to the correct questions as well as answering multiple choice questions in which they are required to choose the correct answers by clicking on the selected answers.

Moreover, for the web-based activities which are also available in this application, the users are expected to look for authentic information in the selected websites in order to answer the questions given by clicking on the websites listed in the application.

4. While you are playing/accessing/assessing the application, does it remind you of anything you do in a classroom, or with a teacher, or with a fellow classmate, or in self-study?

Yes, while playing with this application, it reminds me of my learning and teaching experiences as a student and also as a teacher during the practicum. As a student, this application reminds me of the numerous Grammar exercises that I had done in the classroom for the revision and drilling purposes. This is because the application provides numerous Grammar exercises which cover many aspect of the Grammar from part of the speech to the tenses that I could try out.

Apart from that, the articles provided in the application for the reading comprehension activities are from various topics and contain numerous facts as well as general knowledge which remind me of my self study. This is because I do look for information from various articles for studying purposes and thus, while assessing this application, it reminds me of the information that I used to gather from various articles. Moreover, the reading comprehension articles and activities also remind me of my classroom learning in which I receive a lot of information and new facts such as in my Biology class.

Besides that, the ‘teaching of English through song’ section in this application also somehow reminds of my teaching experience where I use to teach English using songs and my students had to answer exercises based on the song. The exercises based on the songs in this application are somehow similar to the ones I had prepared for my students. Besides as a teacher, this ‘teaching of English through song’ section also reminds me of my experience in the classroom as a student in which I used to do the same activity in my English class.

5. Can you pinpoint some theories of language learning and/or teaching underlying the application?

The Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) approach is one of the theories in language learning that is underlying the application. This is because, it is identified that this application promotes meaningful learning which is in line with the CLT theory of learning. Most of the activities especially the reading activities are based on authentic materials such as the topics for the reading comprehension which are the current issues on health, environment, education, and others. The web-based activities also require the users to carry out meaningful tasks such as projects on health related issues by searching on the information in the Internet. As mentioned by Brown (2001), CLT also promotes interactive learning in language learning in which language learners receive authentic language input in real-world contexts which are very parallel with the content in this application.

Besides that, the CLT theory also as mentioned by Brown (2001) believe that ‘language is often created by the individuals through trial and error’ which is parallel with the aim of this application. This is because it is identified that this application encourages the users to test their English language skill through the exercises and learn from the errors or mistakes that they might come up with.

Another feature of this application that applies the principle of CLT is the instruction part as some of the instructions in this application are Bilingual in which there is translation of the instructions into Spanish language which is the native language of the targeted users of this application. This is actually parallel with the CLT’s principle in which it says that ‘translation may be used where students need or benefit from it”.

Apart from that, it is identified that this application also applies the experiential learning approach which is also part of the CLT. This is because, according to Brown (2001), experiential learning’s activities are activities that integrate skills and also point towards authentic, real-world purposes which are basically the characteristics of this application.

6. How well is the Constructivist theory of learning applied to the chosen website(s)?

It is believe that the Constructivist theory of learning is well applied in this application. This is because, as believed by the Constructivist theory of learning, each student does not learn in the same way as they have different learning styles in which some students may respond better to visual and stimuli but get lost in material (NDT Resource Center, n.d.). From the review, it is identified that this application contains numerous activities that cater to different learning styles as there are listening activities, colourful reading comprehension activities and even singing activities for the users to try out. Moreover, there are also games, and web-based activities that the students could access which are basically suitable for primary and secondary level students.

Moreover, through this website also, the users specifically the targeted language learners are encouraged to discover their own learning through the activities offered in the websites which is also parallel with the Constructivist theory. Furthermore, the web based activities also require the learners to explore different kind of link websites that offered so many facts and information for them to discover on their own.

7. In 1980s and early 1990s, there was a major debate on ‘whether the computer was “master” of or “slave” to the learning process (Higgins and Johns, 1984). In relation to your evaluation – was the computer a replacement for teachers, or merely an obedient servant to students?

Based on my evaluation, I find the computer to be an obedient servant to students instead of a replacement for teachers. This is because based on my evaluation, students have full control over the pace of their learning by learning through computer or specifically through the ESL website. Thus, it is entirely up to the students when to start and end their learning process through computer or specifically through the ESL website learning. Moreover, by accessing an ESL website, besides the pace of the learning, students also have control over the amount of learning that they wish to have as they can choose the topics of language learning and skill that they wanted to learn.

However, I also believe that the computer could serve as a replacement for teachers in such situation where the students want to do revisions on their Grammar skill for example, where they could just browse the Internet and look for any ESL website. But still, the capability of the computer in delivering the content of the language would not be the same a real-life teacher as the computer would not be able to answer prompted questions should the students have one.

8. Would you like to use the application yourself in your future work?

Yes, I would like to use the application in my future work because I find this website or application very interesting and suitable for ESL students. Moreover, I also find the activities in this application varied in terms of the content and also approach as it does not only focuses on Grammar skill but also the reading, speaking, listening, and writing activity.

Besides that, there are also numerous resources for the teachers that could be used for the English lesson such as worksheets which are indeed useful for me once I become a school teacher.

I also find this application interesting because I believe the content is suitable for both ESL students and also teachers. This is because of the fact that I find the application as the medium for both learning and teaching of English.

9. Suggestions/Recommendation

Since the application is intended for both the primary and secondary level students, I believe the appearance of the website or the application should be more colourful and appealing to the primary level students. This is because of the application’s current appearance which is a bit dull even though the activities are interesting. Thus, I recommend the application to be a lot more colourful and vibrant for the primary level students or users.

Moreover, I believe the activities in the application especially the on the Grammar should be classified into its targeted level of students because at present, the activities are jumbled up between the primary and secondary level. Thus, the activities should be categorized into the appropriate level as to prevent from confusion among the users.

Besides that, I also identify that some of the exercises for the Grammar activities were too little in which I found that there was an exercise which only consists of 1 question. This would definitely inhibit the students’ understanding of certain Grammar rule as they are not able to be presented with more examples or discover the rules on their own as there are too little example. Thus, each exercise should be equipped with ample amount of questions to ensure the effectiveness of the language learning.


1. Brown H. D. (2001). Teaching by Principles. An Integrative Approach to Language Pedagogy. New York:Longman.
2. Santrock J.W. (2006). Educational Psychology. New York:McGraw Hill.
3. NDT Resource Centre (n.d.). Teaching with the Constructivist Learning Theory. Retrieved February 8, 2009 from