* Good afternoon and thank you for coming. I’m Travis Millman, VP of Product at EnglishCentral. I’m going to be talking about the power of authentic media immersion and what we’re doing to help English language learners and their teachers take advantage of it. Before we get started, though, I’d like to get a sense of the audience so I can best tune my comments: - How many of you have heard of EnglishCentral? - How many have ever tried it for yourself? - How many have used it with Students? OK, great. Looks like a clean slate OR Super. I’ll focus on some of our newest elements and will be sure to leave time for questions and open discussion
A little bit of background on EnglishCentral, which is a startup company that was founded in 2008. Our mission is to bring cutting edge technology and rich media to support language learning. We are based in Arlington, MA with offices in Manila, Philippines and Tokyo, Japan. I’d like to ask you all to join me in sending positive thoughts out to our team in Japan and all of their countrymen. Needless to say, very difficult times there right now…
… EnglishCentral debuted the first Beta of its online service during the Fall 2009. Based on lots of feedback from users from over 150 countries from around the world, we launched our first commercial product in December of last year.
EnglishCentral employs a business model that is increasingly common on the web, but not as common to date in educational circles…
A so-called “Freemium” business model means that many parts of our online service are available free of charge … … but a number of our most advanced and powerful features are offered for a reasonable price.
EnglishCentral also offers a suite of Tools which help Teachers to guide their Students learning experiences. We just this week released an update that: Makes it easy to set up Schools, Classes & Groups and to invite your Students to join Buy Premium access at discounted prices Next month, we will be introducing a major upgrade of our Assignment and Reporting tools, which will enable Teachers to: create specific assignments on EnglishCentral and get automatic reports on Student performance of them. So please stay tuned for this. Meanwhile, I encourage you to join our Teacher Forums for more details and discussion of how EC is being used in and out of classrooms and computer labs all over the world.
Teaching and learning languages in China, Japan and Korea taught Alan Schwartz, EnglishCentral’s Founder & CEO, myself and several other people at our company that language learners perform best when they are deeply interested in what they are learning
We also draw on the important work of Stephen Krashen and the recognition that immersion in the language one is learning is extremely important, but that such input must be at least moderately comprehensible to be effective. So, there you have it: EnglishCentral is based on the premise that intrinsic motivation + comprehensible input form a powerful foundation for language learning.
So I hope you enjoyed a look at some of the many advanced language learning features available at EnglishCentral, but WHAT can learners Watch, Learn and Speak in our service? Basically, whatever they’re interested in. We have built up a library of over one thousand video clips covering a wide range of subject matter – from hobbies to skills to English for Special Purposes And we are picking up the pace by adding new videos every day and new topics as well.
… which brings me to a technique that I used quite a bit as an intermediate and later advanced student of Japanese language: Watching TV While helpful and intriguing in many ways, it was frustrating as well: Not being able to catch many of the words often made for inadequate comprehension…
* … Captions, when available, helped a great deal, but when the words fly by very quickly and when you don’t understand them, the only solution is to …
… use a dictionary. Doable, but rather distracting and exhausting . Critically, this is a passive experience – one way. Also, the whole thing is, of course, ephemeral – the language the learner is exposed to during such immersion is not tracked or leveraged .
But what if we could employ some new technology – like Lionel Logue does in the King’s Speech – to help the language learner more effectively immerse herself in the target language?
We built EnglishCentral to be a new way to Watch authentic videos – “Hi Steve” – with the kind of powerful “linguistic scaffolding” we WISHED we had as language learners: Scrolling, accurate captions…
Then, EnglishCentral provides opportunities for remediation through expert help content like sound formation and… Focused practice sessions wherein lines from different videos in our corpus that have a high density of a particular phoneme are featured.
Record yourself speaking the line…
Get instant pronunciation feedback…
Click on words you may have a problem with.
Hear your recording played back…
Compare your recording with the native speaker’s.
And listen to a line slowed down to catch every nuance.
Also, bye-bye dictionary on your lap and hello dictionary on your laptop (in the “cloud”, actually). At EnglishCentral, you can click on any word or even multi-word phrase to get a definition, example sentence, native pronunciation and more. Oh and by the way…
Repeat a line with one click...
So, I hope you like what I’ve said and shown, but don’t just take my word for it. Here are what some of your colleagues are saying.
Thank you very much for your attention. I hope you’ll visit our booth – just over that way, #300 – for a live demo. We encourage you to try EnglishCentral for yourself and invite your Students to give it a spin. Thank you once again. Have a happy St. Patrick’s Day and a great rest of TESOL.
Teacher’s Guide “Using EnglishCentral As A Teacher”
Register as a Teacher 1 Student Registration Guide
Manage your School, Classes and Groups Buy Premium access for your students at large discounts Create Video, Word and Sound assignments Track individual student activity and performance Teacher Tools
Teacher Tools Go to the Teacher Tools (hit the button)
Create a Unique Class URL Set Up A School, A Class or Class groups
Choose Videos for your students Animals Business Celebrities CEOs Children Introductions Telephone Technology Comedy Companies Culture Daily Life Destinations News Obama Politics Dining Education Engineering Environment Finance Shopping Socializing Sports Funny Commercials Getting Around Google Health Interviews TV Video Games Meeting People Meetings Movies Music Presentations Restaurants Working Business English Travel English Social English Media English Famous Speeches Inspiration
Testimonials Ryo Yamamoto – Facebook fan I'm very impressed by this website and couldn't resist making the EnglishCentral 日本語版ファンページ (Japanese version of the fan page for EnglishCentral).
Testimonials Larry Ferlazzo – Websites of the Day I personally think it’s the best site period for English Language Learners. It provides listening, speaking, and reading practice — all in an extremely engaging way — and all for free!
Native Speaker? We need native speaker models to help us compare and give feedback to learners. Can you help out?
Testimonials “ In my opinion, English Central was far and away the best new EFL / ESL site this year.” Jeffrey Hill – The English Blog I personally think it’s the best site period for English Language Learners. It provides listening, speaking, and reading practice — all in an extremely engaging way… Larry Ferlazzo – Websites of the Day
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