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Gems on the Web – Listen and Write

Russell Stannard writes about Listen and Write and explains why it is one of the most useful tools to show your students.

Headphones resting on a bookOne of the most interesting things about the expansion of the Internet and its introduction into the lives of busy teachers is that it opened up a whole world of material that we can direct our students to. The number of resources is amazing, especially the growth in video content. It means that instead of asking our students to do exercises from a book or to write a story or to revise some vocabulary, we can ask them to go onto the internet and listen to an interview or watch a certain video. It makes homework so much more interesting and allows our students to be more autonomous in their approach to learning. One of the tools that teachers seem to really like is Listen and Write.

Listen and Write is a dictation tool. It allows you to listen to a whole range of news programmes and interviews. A lot of it is taken from Voice of America. The great thing about the tool is that all the listening activities are broken up into segments and the programme will continue to repeat and repeat that segment until the student has written it correctly. Then it will move onto the next segment. If the student is really stuck then they can press the hint button to get some help. The hint button provides the next letter in the dictation.

There are a variety of levels, though even the lowest level is fairly hard. However there are tools that can make the dictations easier. Firstly, before you start the dictation you can listen to the complete listening, so that you can get a feel for the dictation and get some context. Secondly if you think the listening is too difficult, then you can choose the “word” option. The word option is easier, some of the words are provided for you and you simply listen to the dictation and complete the rest of the words. It sounds complicated but it is a very easy tool to use. The Listen and Write help videos will show you everything you need to know.

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