5 Free Online ESL Teaching Tools
When teaching English as a second language, often your greatest enemy is the real world. As soon as students leave your classroom, they fall back on their native tongue and forget everything they've learned. A holiday break can force you to backtrack weeks because they haven't been using their new vocabulary. There are a lot of great online tools that can allow you to assign homework based around videos and games so your students will have fun using their new words when they're not in class. We'll go over five of the best free online tools for ESL teachers and show you how to use them to get through to your students. If you're just getting started as an English teacher, check out our reviews of the best TOEFL preparation courses and the best TOEFL practice tests. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.
What Are Five Free Online ESL Teaching Tools?
- Ezvid Wikimaker - create free videos that can be watched online
- ESL Video - write quizzes based on YouTube videos
- Fun English Games - print out word searches and activities
- ELLLO - audio and video from native speakers with quizzes
- Duolingo - practice translation in the form of a game
Are These Tools Good For Older Students?
If you're teaching adult learners, you'll invariably have to alter your curriculum. Kids can benefit most from an immersion strategy because they aren't communicating at a complex level in their native tongue. But adult learners will want to know the subtleties between words. Tools like Duolingo will be useful for adults who want to learn new phrases or find ways to say expressions they're used to. When creating videos with Ezvid Wikimaker, you can decide if you want to only use English or if you want to involve the student's native language. That's what makes Wikimaker such a good tool - videos can be tailored to specific students and how they learn.
The Importance Of Having An Immersion Strategy
There are a lot of great free resources available online for ESL teachers, whether you've got a classroom full of kids or a single learner overseas who wants private tutoring. These are all useful, but there's no substitute for personalized lessons. Find out what your student's interests are and what areas need improvement, and you can tailor your units to those things. They'll love watching videos about things they enjoy and learning words they can use right away. If your lessons are posted online, they can repeat them when they're not in class, ensuring the words stay with them.
When teaching English, you have to be creative. There's only so many times you can point to something in the room, or force students to do exercises in a book. Flash cards cost money or require you to spend hours drawing. It'd be great to integrate technology so you can connect your lessons to your students' interests. And if your lessons were online, they could practice them at home whenever they want.
Thankfully, there are many services available online to help ESL teachers get through to both kids and adults, so you can customize lesson plans and create study guides for your students. We'll go over five of the best online teaching tools available so you can get with the times and incorporate technology into your classroom.
#1 on our list is Ezvid Wikimaker. This free online video editor allows you to take a piece of written text and pair it with free fair use images and video clips to create a fun and entertaining video. Wikimaker works by voice synthesis, meaning that the words you write are read aloud as narration for your video, and free music is added as well. You can choose from a large library of free images to match your writing.
You can choose from a large library of free images to match your writing.
And with Wikimaker Capture, available as a Chrome browser extension or as a free download for Windows and Mac with expanded features, you can add your own images. Capture screenshots or record activity on your computer to show students exactly what you're talking about. You can even upload photos and videos of your students so they'll be a part of the lesson, or let them make a video with you so they can use their creativity.
The best part about Wikimaker is that your videos are hosted for free online at Ezvid Wiki, so students can view them whenever they like. When your lessons are entertaining, kids will want to watch them again and again, ensuring that they'll hear your words and remember them.
At #2, we've got ESL Video, which lets you create your own content, as well as take advantage of quizzes created by teachers that have used the site. Select an English-language video from YouTube and write your own quiz based on it. Students can watch the video, then answer questions. If you use videos you know they want to watch anyway, you can be sure they'll do it. Students can also access the large library of quizzes that have already been made, so those eager to learn can practice all day long.
Select an English-language video from YouTube and write your own quiz based on it.
Coming in at #3 is Fun English Games. This free site is designed for those teaching children. It's got activities, worksheets, quizzes, games, and videos so educators can always keep things fresh. You can print out free word searches or scrambles so students can have fun while using the words they've been hearing you say in class.
At #4, ELLLO is great for students who are learning to navigate accents and the variety of English pronunciations. Lessons are divided into several different skill levels and are based on listening. Native speakers have been recorded giving short monologues. Students listen, then answer questions based upon what they've heard. You can assign based on a student's skill level, so kids who are ahead of the rest of the class won't just sit there bored all day.
At #5 is Duolingo, one of the most popular language-learning tools on the Internet. Duolingo features free online lessons as well as a mobile app. It's designed like a game, rewarding students for practicing every day and moving through their levels. It also lets them practice any time, even for just a few minutes on the train or waiting for a movie to start. However, it is not immersion-based, so this works best as a supplement to other types of lessons.
However, it is not immersion-based, so this works best as a supplement to other types of lessons.
Depending on the age of your students, you can employ all of these resources in different ways. Start out by making a video in Wikimaker to teach this week's focus. Print out word searches from Fun English Games to get the vocabulary in your student's heads. Send them videos from ELLLO to give them listening practice, then assign homework from ESL Video and let them do Duolingo for extra credit. At the end of the unit, they can make their own Wikimaker videos to display all that they've learned.
Your uses for these tools may change based on whether you have an entire class, a small group, a one-on-one tutoring session, or an online learner that you communicate with through Skype or FaceTime. Whatever your situation, the ability to make video content will help students connect English words to situations in the real world, so they can start using these skills on their own.