My plans for the rest of the year are to add new content to these sections, focusing on critical-thinking skills and more discussion practice. Enjoy.
As I have done in the past, I want to remind teachers and students of the many learning resources on all of my sites.
I wish you a successful school year!
Feel free to add a link to any of my Websites in your class syllabus or online course.
1. Watch unscripted and natural conversations with some of my children on language and social issues.
2. Listen to life stories with various new voices and accents, plus a host of discussion questions, activities, and comprehension questions in collaboration with new AI technologies. Everything in this section is aimed at building critical-thinking skills, and I try to include a variety of relevant topics for everyday living and conversation.
3. Watch my video tutorials on how to use my Website more effectively. Often, people tell me, “Oh, I didn’t know that I could do that on your site!”
4. Download and share my instructional handouts in PDF format that can help inform others about the site’s content. These are very helpful in spreading the word on how to learn English online. Post them to your social media feeds if you like.
5. Visit the different sections of my site for audio and video listening practice. Some of these areas include:
- Culture Interviews (Randall’s NEWEST section) – https://www.esl-lab.com/interviews/
- Easy Listening – https://www.esl-lab.com/easy/
- Intermediate Listening – https://www.esl-lab.com/intermediate/
- Difficult Listening – https://www.esl-lab.com/intermediate/
- Academic Listening – https://www.esl-lab.com/academic-english/
- Culture Videos – https://www.esl-lab.com/english-culture-videos/
- Basic Listening – https://www.esl-lab.com/basic-english/
6. Try over 300 vocabulary quizzes that recycle the topics and vocabulary from my listening activities.
7. Watch over 50 broadcast episodes with teachers and students worldwide, where we discuss language and culture. Each episode contains learning activities to extend your learning.
8. Enjoy language games that engage learners in fun ways.
9. Watch my video lessons on useful English idioms.
10. You can also visit my other online channels for learning content and information:
- YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/esllab/
- Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/esllab/
- Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/listeninglab/
- LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/randall-s-davis/
My other Websites:
The summer is in full swing and is, in some ways, winding down, with many schools returning to classes in less than a month.
Two of the main projects I have been working on involve interviews with my adult children on various language and social issues. These have been fun to create because they are completely unscripted:
The second section is called Life Stories where I have created stories with various new voices and accents, plus a host of discussion questions, activities, and comprehension questions in collaboration with new AI technologies. Everything in this section is aimed at building critical-thinking skills, and I try to include a variety of relevant topics for everyday living and conversation.
Give them a try.
Wow! So much has happened over the past few months in the world, and new technologies are at the forefront of these developments.
For my part, I have published almost 60 video interviews with a variety of pre-listening and post-listening discussion questions. I really like this section of the site because my children, as adults, share their perspectives on a whole host of topics.
Furthermore, I have added content to my newest section, Life Stories, in which I have created stories with various new voices and accents, plus a host of discussion questions, activities, and comprehension questions in collaboration with new AI technologies. Everything in this section is aimed on building critical-thinking skills so desperately needed in our modern times.
Keep an eye on my site throughout the summer. More fun and excitement are just around the corner.
As spring has slowly turned to summer in Utah, work on my website has been nothing but fast-paced, specifically when the opening of a new section called Life Stories.
Behind the scenes for the past couple of months, I have been developing a whole new series of activities that focus on developing discussion and critical-thinking skills using ever-evolving AI technologies. More specifically, I have combined my expertise and experience in materials development with the power of ChatGPT and an advanced AI voice generator to create new content and a wide array of voices and accents.
What does this mean in simple terms?
New exciting content done in new ways that had never been possible. Such technologies will content to evolve at a rapid pace, and what websites and language-learning materials will look like into the future is uncertain, but judicious and thoughtful use of technology in pedagogically-sound ways is certainly exciting.
I certainly invite comments, suggestions, and questions about these developments.
Finally . . . . spring has arrived in Utah where I live. Last week, a snowstorm blanketed the state, and some schools were closed. Today, I was outside running in shorts and a T-shirt. That reflects life in the mountains of this state.
I continue to work on new ideas for my Web site and develop several ongoing projects. Several of these include:
- experimenting with different ways of controlling the playback speed and transcripts for my recordings
- adding transcripts to the interviews on my website
- exploring ideas on adding other voices and accents to the website
Feel free to contact me if you have suggestions or comments.
As we enter the beginning stages of spring, I want to announce the final stages of a major project I have been working on behind the scenes.
Since the start of my website 25 years ago, I have created many of my conversations to make them as natural as possible, not always following a very formulaic script that sounded unnatural. In other words, I didn’t always follow the transcript that I wrote for a conversation, which was sometimes impossible when I was doing recordings with my young children. At other times, I allowed for some real spontaneity as I recorded to provide a more authentic listening experience.
However, I noticed over the years—and you probably as well—that the recordings didn’t always match the transcript exactly, making it sometimes difficult to understand the conversation precisely.
Therefore, over the past few months, and with the help of a second ear—my daughter—we have edited all of the conversations in the easy, intermediate, and advanced level sections of the site to make sure the audio and transcript match.
Having done this, I feel that the conversations will be an even greater tool for learners and teachers.
Sonx.ai, a powerful online transcription software, has made my job much easier.
Having developed educational Web sites since 1998, I am always looking for innovative tools to facilitate my work with audio and video recordings, along with their transcriptions. As a prominent source of instructional content for years, I have dedicated my career to helping language learners improve their listening and speaking skills by creating and using original recordings.
One key component to achieving that end is providing transcriptions of my content for language review and practice. However, creating such transcriptions can be a laborious process that consumes a content-creator’s time and energy away from other projects.
This is where Sonix.ai steps in to liberate website developers from the transcription task.
My Web site contains hundreds of audio and video recordings, and one of the projects involves video interviews on a wide range of language and cultural topics. Each interview forms the foundation of a language lesson that includes key vocabulary, idioms, a listening activity, and conversation questions. However, the backbone of such a learning task is the transcript on which so many other activities are based.
Many of my videos are on YouTube, and Sonix.ai makes the transcription a breeze for my purposes: I simply plug in the URL to one of my videos, and Sonix.ai does the work.
Once the automatic transcription is complete, I can use the in-browser transcript editor to polish the transcription. The software adds timestamps and automatically identifies multiple speakers in paragraphs, saving me time with formatting. Then, I could embed the resulting transcription on my website, alongside Sonix’s own media player (that comes with a variable-speed control function), or I can export the transcript into multiple formats such as MSWord.
There are too many features to mention here, but Sonix certainly is a game-changer when it comes to robust transcription for a multiplicity of needs.
One of the major projects I have been working on in the background deals with editing the transcripts for my listening activities. When many of them were first created, I sometimes deviated from the script as I was recording to make the conversations sound more natural; as a result, the audio and the transcript did not match at times, and this disparity can lead to some confusion.
Thus, I have been working on updating the transcripts to improve their accuracy, which in turn, will make them even better activities for teachers and learners. I am starting with the Easy Level first, and I will proceed from there. I hope to complete this project sometime during the first part of 2023.