jueves, 31 de marzo de 2011

KeyMaba -Vocabulary game

KeyMaba challenges you to make associations between everyday words.

Each game begins with a teaser clue followed by 10 clues. The goal is to connect the one word that links the 10 clues.

The quicker you guess your answers, the more points you gain.

Spend only one minute reading the instructions for the game and be ready to put your grasp of English vocabulary to the test.

KeyMaba is a challenging and motivating game for advanced students of English.

martes, 29 de marzo de 2011

A brief history of time

A brief history of time is a BBC interactive which tries to explain the world's time zones through slideshows and videos.

sábado, 26 de marzo de 2011

Jennifer Beals on the Late Late Show

Jennifer Beals, famous for her role in Flashdance and more recently on the drama series The L World, was a guest on CBS The Late Late Show.

Watch this nine-minute clip of the interview. No task. Simply enjoy the interview and Jennifer's down-to-earth personality.

You can read a transcript of the interview here.

jueves, 24 de marzo de 2011

In praise of slowness

Journalist Carl Honore believes the Western world's emphasis on speed erodes health, productivity and quality of life. But there's a backlash brewing, as everyday people start putting the brakes on their all-too-modern lives.

Watch his TED talk here about the topic. Remember that you can activate the English subtitles if you want to do so.

martes, 22 de marzo de 2011

The English Pub

Watch this report about the English pub. Then answer the questions about each of the different sections in the clip.

Section 1 Outside the pub (start to 1.09)
Listen to section 1 and choose the correct answer.
a The pub is in Hertford / Salisbury / London.
b Richard gives 2 / 3 / 4 examples of why the pub is typical.
c It’s named after a person / town / coat.
d The pub was built in 1800 / 1400 / 1570.

Section 2 Inside the pub (1.09 to 2.10)
Try to match the beginnings and endings of these sentences
A new popular place to drink is…       …the public bar.
Drinks may be more expensive in…      …the beer garden.
You can’t smoke anywhere in…      …the lounge bar.
Working men prefer…      …the pub.

Section 3 In the lounge bar (2.10 to 4.06)
a What kind of drink does Richard order?
b What’s the name of the drink that he orders?
c Does Jackie want bitter, lager or cider?
d How much change do they get back?

Section 4 The secret of a successful pub (4.10 to end)
a What is the bartender’s answer to Jackie’s question?
b What is another word for ‘shorts’?
c How old is the malt whisky?
d The trophies in the bar have been won for which sport?

You can self-correct the activity by reading the transcript here.

H/T to Podcast in English.

sábado, 19 de marzo de 2011

Audio files and transcripts galore

A few days ago we published a link to Huffduffer where we can find a wealth of audio files about very different topics without the need to surf the net.

Today let me tell you about an even more interesting site from our perspective as advanced English learners. The American National Public Radio (NPR) hosts a section on their webpage called On the Media.

They upload a choice of their most interesting programmes once a week over the weekend, and every Tuesday the transcripts of the latest programmes are also available.

Besides, if you click on the Archive tag you can choose old programmas dating back to 2001. All of them are ready to download as podcasts and are accompanied by their transcription.

A really good find for everybody.

H/T to colleague Antonio Obis.

jueves, 17 de marzo de 2011

History of the Internet

Have a look at this The Guardian slideshow, which throws some light on the way the Internet started and how it developed to its present day state.

The slideshow is very comprehensive and detailed, and it allows us to choose the year we want to focus on, starting in 1969 until 2009.

There is a short comment in each of the entries, and some of them come together with videos with interviews and lots of links to delve deeply into the topic.

martes, 15 de marzo de 2011

How to fix capitalism

Watch this video where Time Magazine editor Richard Stengel interviews Microsoft founder and philantropist Bill Gates about creative capitalism and answer the questions below.

The activity is taken from El blog para aprender inglés.

1. What is “Creative Capitalism”? (0:20)
2. What two primal human impulses does “Creative Capitalism” mix? (1:16)
3. Why does market failure exist (e.g Malaria and Baldness)? (1:55)
4. When you look at the needs of these poorer consumers, what two things might you discover? (2:20)
5. What is the change that Bill sees with young people today and what they want to think about their company? (3:09)
6. Why would Bill gates rank companies? (3:45)
7. What is the overall balance of capitalism for Bill Gates?
8. How many more people are now working in Clean Energy compared to 10 years ago? (4:22)

1. Creative Capitalism is about using the innovation power and resources of large companies to focus on the needs of the poorest.
2. Self interest and the desire to help others
3. Because those consumers interested in baldness products speak have a louder economic voice than those consumers interested in malaria.
4. Cost breakthroughs and high scale
5. Young people want to work for companies who are socially responsible and are a positive agent for change.
6. So talented young people are more attracted to socially responsible companies.
7. The overall balance has been good in terms of total employment and innovation but it has problems of imbalances.
8. 20 times more people.

sábado, 12 de marzo de 2011

Podcasts for advanced language learners

Huffduffer is a site that collects thousands of podcasts from many different sources.

The topics are really varied and there are helpful tags to lead us in the process of choosing one of our interest.

Unfortunately, transcripts are not available for all the podcasts, but the main interest of the site lies on the fact that they have done the work of finding authentic material to listen to, so we do not have to be surfing the net to spot audio files.

Huffduffer can be really helpful for us to prepare the listening tasks in the exam and to shake off whatever fears to authentic materials we might harbour.

jueves, 10 de marzo de 2011

School food

Read this The New York Times article about the quality of school food in NYC and watch the accompanying video City Critic: School lunches to get to know first hand information about the topic.

martes, 8 de marzo de 2011

Cambridge Ideas

Cambridge Ideas is a collection of 21 short videos from the University of Cambridge about several topics of interest: team work, energy, heroes, space, risk are some of the topics that are touched on in the series.

A lot of authentic listening material about relevant topics.

sábado, 5 de marzo de 2011

Inside the Haiti Earthquake

It is a completely different entry today from what we have been doing so far on the blog. Today, we turn our attention to an online game based on a real life event, Inside the Haiti Earthquake.

The game is only suitable for high level language learners and it is particularly attractive not only because of their high language content but also because its aim is to educate the player in real life skills as well as raising awareness in some important issues.  It is definitely worth a look into even if it’s to have fun and educate yourself.

Just a word or warning. You'll be exposed to lots of opportunities to develop your English, but also to real disturbing pictures. In this respect, Inside the Haiti Earthquake is not a game, it's life.

H/T to Digital Play.

jueves, 3 de marzo de 2011

A look at Pixar studios

This is a six-minute video from The New York Times about the life and work at Pixar Studios.

Have a look yourself.

martes, 1 de marzo de 2011

One in eight million

One in eight million is a feature of The New York Times where we can learn about the lives of ordinary New Yorkers through a series of videos.

All the videos are unscripted and are intended for general viewing, so we might find the accent of some of the people here a bit hard to understand.

Do not be put off by this. Try and get a general understanding of the topic they are talking about and, more importantly, lose your fears to deal with native speakers of English face to face.