Portable language learning : creating materials for the Ipod

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Reinders, Hayo
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Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
podcasts for ESL
language learning material
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Reinders, H. 2006. Portable language learning : creating materials for the Ipod. English Teaching Professional 46 NOTE: This is research undertaken for the University of Auckland, prior to the author being affiliated with the Unitec Institute of Auckland.
A recent survey at the University of Auckland showed that a majority of students had one or more mp3 players. Not many made use of them to listen to podcasts (audio broadcasts that can be downloaded from the internet on to a PC or a portable audio device), however, and even fewer did so on a regular basis. There are, of course, many highly entertaining and useful podcasts for English learners http://iteslj.org/links/ESL/Listening/Podcasts/ is a good starting point) and we were keen to make them available to the students in our self-access centre in order to encourage them to take their learning out of the classroom and into their daily lives. In order to make things as easy as possible for the learners we set up a Language Station (a public PC on a lectern-type table) that lets students simply drop by and download the audio materials without having to pay for internet charges and without needing to know how to use the technology (permission was obtained from the makers of the podcasts). The Language Station was set up right at the entrance of the centre so as to appeal to students who are not members and who may otherwise be reluctant to take up English support. Students come in and use a very simple menu structure (in essence just a website) to choose the podcasts they want (which are stored locally rather than on the internet).
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