Web Site Update – March 2020

Hi everyone,

As we move into the Spring here where I live, it reminds me of new life and growth, and soon, I will be working outside in our garden. Besides that, I’m seeing new renewed growth in some of the listening activities I have been working on with the help of family recently. My daughter, Emily, and I did some humorous recordings recently, and it seems like I always take the part of the man who never thinks carefully about the consequences of his choices. Oh well, someone has to take that role. These activities will roll out on my site in the future.

At the beginning of April, I will be presenting at the International TESOL Convention in Denver, and I will be giving a number of presentations, including one on improving listening skills. I will post notes about the session later on.

Finally, if you know of people who could benefit from my Web sites, please pass on the word. Even though I have been doing this for 22 years, I am always pleasantly surprised when I hear from someone who has just discovered my sites. I’m happy they have been of use to many people over the years.

Best,

Randall

Web Site Update – February 2020

Hi everyone,

I hope the first part of the year has been sprinkled with some challenges (because we grow from them) and some small or big successes.

As for an update, I spent most of the month of January redesigning my Web site, https://www.ezslang.com. I first launched this site about 15 years ago, and our son, Josh, helped create the original graphics for the site. The main purpose of the site is to introduce learners to a variety of idioms and slang that they might hear in conversation or in see in the media (e.g., movies, the newspaper, books, and magazines). It was a fun project to do with family, including my brother, wife, and oldest daughter. I hope you find it useful.

My plans, as they have been for the past 20 years, is to create something useful and meaningful for teachers and language learners, and to have fun in the process.

I also want to share some background information that could help users if the encounter problems with the site. Specifically, I had someone contact me this week about not being able to access one of my sites. It wasn’t that the site wouldn’t play an audio file, but an error message (a forbidden 403 error) appeared. For teachers, it might be that the site loads on their phones, but in the computer lab where they are working with students, this message appears on the students’ computers.

So, what can this issue be? Well, in order to prevent attacks by hackers on a server, settings on the server can be put into place to block unauthorized access. However, sometimes, the server might perceive an attack, but being as cautious as it may, it can block completely legitimate activity. When this happens, everyone using the site from a particular IP address might not be able to access the site. I generally error on the side of safety to my sites, but if this ever happens to you, just describe your situation and your IP address (a number of Web sites can look up your IP for you), and I will remove your IP on the block list to get you going again.

So if you see a forbidden 403 error (and you still can access the site from a different location on a different IP address), then contact me.

I’m sure you can imagine the amount of work it takes to run Web sites, and I appreciate your understanding if this ever happens to you.

Randall

Web Site Update – December 2019

Hi everyone,

I want to thank you for visiting my sites over the past 21 years. It has been so exciting to see that many of my visitors are new to the site, some hadn’t even been born when I started it, and even a few who have followed my work during this whole journey. In addition to pointing out holiday-related listening activities in my last post, I also wanted to introduce or remind visitors of the other sites that I have created.

Although most people know of my main listening Web site (esl-lab.com), fewer visitors have tried some of my other Web sites for listening practices. You can find useful fliers and handouts on them here (https://www.esl-lab.com/esl-study-handouts/). Let me introduce these Web sites to you:

1. DailyESL.com (https://www.dailyesl.com) – I created this site to give focused practice on specific topics with a reading that includes many of the related vocabulary. These topics include shopping, going to a bookstore, visiting a flower shop, and so forth. These activities are different from esl-lab.com in that you get a concentrated dose of language in a reading passage verses a conversation. After listening to the passage, you then can answer three questions to check your understanding.

2. Trainyouraccent.com (https://www.trainyouraccent.com) – One of the biggest challenges facing language students is learning how to speak more smoothly and naturally. However, some students come from language backgrounds in which the vowel and consonant sounds are different, and students often stress every sound. However, one of the most common sounds in English is the unstressed schwa sound (ə) that affects stress and rhythm. Thus, on this site, learners can listen to a passage on a particular theme (e.g, breakfast meals) that highlights the unstressed sounds and then answer some questions related to the topic.

3. EZslang.com (https://www.ezslang.com) – This site focuses on introducing slang and idiomatic expressions. Visitors listen to conversation, answer questions, and review the related vocabulary.

Give these Web sites a try!

Web Site Update – November 2019

Hi everyone,

October was a busy month, and I have been energy-filled creating more gap-fill exercises. They are fun to create, and they give learners new ways of accessing their listening skills. You can over 300+ vocabulary activities HERE:

The holiday season is just around the corner, and here are some activities to get you started:

More listening activities to come! Thanks for being a part of my online community.

Randall

Web Site Update – October 2019

Hi everyone,

A lot has been happening on the Web site this past month, and this includes a whole group of new culture videos. Take a look HERE. Other updates are plans include:

Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have ideas or comments.

Best,

Randall

Web Site Update – September 2019

With many students and teachers returning to a new school session or semester, I want to update you on changes to the site as well as some basic tips on how to use the site better:

  1. Review the video tutorials that help you understand the design and history of the site.
  2. Print out the ESL Study Handouts that can be very helpful to teachers and students.
  3. Create a study plan by using my Self-Study Guide. You can select listening and video activities by topic.
  4. Check out the over 300+ vocabulary quizzes that go with the listening activities. These are designed to review the key vocabulary in my conversations.
  5. Check out some of my newest culture videos to which I will be adding more this month.
  6. Contact me with an idea or suggestion for new listening activities.
  7. Visit my Facebook page where I post other learning tips and ideas.

I look forward to creating more new content during the last part of this year.

Randall

Web Site Update – August 2019

Well, the new Web site has been up for about three weeks, and I have heard a lot of useful feedback, specifically on what teachers and students find most useful for their learning. One of the projects that is almost complete are the ESL Vocabulary Quizzes HERE that people have enjoyed over the years—about 350 of them!!

I have also been adding into the lessons the idioms section that teachers and students found useful, and you can see these near the topic of most listening activities.

 

 

Feel free to contact me if you have more questions or ideas.

Randall

New Web Site Update – July 2019

Hi everyone.

I want to welcome you to the new Web site design of Randall’s ESL Cyber listening Lab. I’m excited to move forward with a new chapter in the 21-year history of my online listening learning center, and I look forward to meeting the interests and needs of learners and teachers for years to come. I suggest checking the new video tutorials HERE to learn more about the site.

Since the Web site is just being released, there are certainly things to tweak and fix. Please CONTACT ME if you run across something.

Changes I still am working on include:

  1. Adding the the previous idioms into each listening activity.
  2. Revising the old vocabulary quizzes to see if they can be included again. The old were based on an old format that wasn’t compatible with mobile devices.
  3. Verifying that all of the audio files go with the correct listening activities.
  4. Checking to make sure all of the correct answers appear for each listening quiz.

Best,

Randall