Real English Real English is a fun method for ESL students. All the lessons are based on videos of interesting people interviewed in the street. These people speak naturally. You need a fast connection to the internet – DSL, cable, or T1. The average video takes a minute to download with a fast connection.
The lessons and exercises are strictly organized grammatically. For the moment, there are 4 lessons on the Present Perfect and two on the Present Progressive. A new lesson is added every week or two. There will be over a hundred lessons when the on-line version is completed.
The one drawback - no transcripts of the interviews are available.
Let's Learn English Claims to be "The world’s largest English self access centre". Written by ex-British Council teachers, Let's Learn English provides:
- A placement test to test your level of English.
- Six levels of difficulty, from Beginners to Advanced.
- Over 100 grammar units.
- Over 100 vocabulary units.
- Over 100 reading comprehension units
- Multiple choice and fill-the-gaps exercises.
- Over 3000 test items.
- A Grammar Doctor to answer any English questions.
- Self-study notes to help you learn from your mistakes.
- English Idioms explained and put into contexts every week.
- A joke of the week section.
- The world's largest database of language schools.
- Teaching tips and tactics for practising teachers.
Unfortunately, it's not free though there are some demo areas. Full access costs $15 per month.
The Internet Picture Dictionary The Internet Picture Dictionary is a completely free, online multilingual picture dictionary designed especially for ESL students and beginning English, French, German, Spanish and Italian language learners of all ages. As the name suggests, you get pictures with captions in categories ranging from Animals to Vegetables. You can test yourself with Flashcards or play some neat word games. A pity there's no sound but you can't have everything!
CatchEnglish.com You can improve your listening skills on this original site which uses an 'interactive learning system' consisting of authentic listening passages with transcripts and vocabulary notes. You can try a sample lesson for free and if you register you can enjoy more free lessons.
Life in the USA: The Complete Guide for Immigrants and Americans The goal of this site is to allow the newcomer to enter American life with enough basic knowledge (or the knowledge of where to find it) so he or she does not have to figure everything out from scratch. So the major tasks of everyday American life from finding a job, to applying for a driver's license, to dealing with banks, to protection from street crime, to finding an apartment or even finding a lover are covered in a multitude of sub-sections. Life in the USA also gives the reader a critical overview of American values, with guidelines on learning more about the richness of American life. How Americans make friends, do business, deal with health problems, fall in love, entertain themselves, even the American funeral and death rituals. How Americans dress, eat, spend their vacations even how they deal with personal cleanliness and grooming.
Evolution This interactive Web site, supporting the PBS series, has streaming imagery, animations, simulations, dynamic timelines, conversations with experts, current news bulletins, and extensive links to evolution-related learning resources worldwide. The "Teachers and Students" section features online lessons for students, online videos for students and for teachers, an eight-part professional development course for teachers, and a free, 40-page teacher's guide.
AwesomeStories.com A series of hyperlinked 'e-books' organized in 'Channels' such as 'Flicks', 'Famous Trials', 'History', 'Disasters'. Click on the links in the story to see photos, graphics, visit other sites and get background information. Great for reading practice. The site uses Flash 5 but a static version is available.
American Business English Internet School Those of you who are studying Business English might like to subscribe to BizIdioms, a regular e-mail newsletter which has a business text with vocabulary definitions. You can check your understanding of the business idioms by taking a short quiz at the BizEnglish website.
English Exercises Online! (by Lilliam Hurst) Lots of interactive exercises of all types from beginner to advanced level created using software developed by Martin Holmes. There's a great variety of material including crosswords, cloze tests, text reconstruction and reading quizzes as well as grammar and vocabulary exercises. The page design could be improved but it's an impressive achievement all the same.
Hot English Magazine - learn, listen to and practise English on-line By far the best Online Magazine for English learners I've come across. Although you have to take out a subscription (11.75 euros for one year) to access all the content, there's plenty available for free. The magazine is divided into 8 sections (Culture, Business, Learning, Humour, Listenings, Games, Slang and Café) and there's a wealth of archived material in each one. Great stuff!
ESL Blue(s) A superb grammar resource. You can take a diagnostic quiz which identifies your errors and takes you to the appropriate pages or go directly to the topics listed in the menu. There's a wide variety of exercise types and, unlike many similar sites, explanations and feedback are generally given. Highly recommended!
WESLI English Online Crosswords Over fifty online crosswords at three levels covering topics such as varied as 'Clothes', 'Gardening' and 'Politics'. Also check out the inappropriately named Slang section where you'll find several active discussion forums and the Resources, a one-page mega list of useful information on everything from Irregular Verbs to Holidays.
Times Online - Real Player You need to install Real Player to access the multimedia content on many sites (the BBC, for one). However, getting RealOne (the free version) is not as simple as you might think. This article explains the procedure in detail and tells you how to turn off unwanted options such as ads or newsletters.
Times Online - Reference Sources The Sunday Times has done a comparative test of six reference sources, lining up subscription-based sites Oxford Reference and Xreferplus in a contest with some of their competitors. The Encyclopedia Britannica’s American website, for example, is free to all, though it offers additional “premium” content for a monthly subscription of £7. Encyclopedia.com describes itself as “the internet’s premier free encyclopedia”, offering more than 57,000 articles from the Columbia Encyclopedia. Also in the race are Ask Jeeves and Google, which are not true reference sites, but two very different (and free) search engines that trawl the web.
Concept to Classroom: Course Menu A series of free workshops that cover all kinds of hot topics in education (Using the Net, WebQuests, Collaborative Learning...). Each workshop is illustrated with video clips (with transcripts!). An award-winning resource which will prove invaluable for anyone interested in current trends in the field of education.
Arts & Letters Daily - ideas, criticism, debate A wonderful site with links to newspapers, news services, journals and magazines, book reviews, radio news, e-zines and lots more besides. The design is quite original and you get a short introduction to each article or review. New material is added continuously and appears at the top of the columns - a bit like a weblog, in fact!
www.englishnetlinks.com This is the site where you'll find my favourite links for learners of English. The links are presented in the form of 'Hotsheets', one for General English and another for Business English, and organised in categories such as 'Grammar', 'Vocabulary', 'Listening'. The best links posted on EnglishBlog will eventually find their way onto the EnglishNetLinks site (when I find the time!)