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Monday, February 16, 2009

Learn English

Fun and easy way to learn English
Chandra Devi

LEARNING English should be fun and the New Straits Times Sdn Bhd’s Newspaper in Education Unit (NIE) has just the right solution for it. The unit has introduced NiEXUS, http://niexus.emedia.com.my, an English e-learning site for primary and secondary school students which incorporates a contemporary and fun-filled way to learn the language.

LEARNING English should be fun and the New Straits Times Sdn Bhd’s Newspaper in Education Unit (NIE) has just the right solution for it. The unit has introduced NiEXUS, http://niexus.emedia.com.my, an English e-learning site for primary and secondary school students which incorporates a contemporary and fun-filled way to learn the language.

The self-access learning site has content that teaches English in a fun way with animated games and new-based exercises. In addition, it provides Web space for students to share views and creative expression.

According to Mary Chandapillai, manager, NIE Unit, New Straits Times Sdn Bhd, the site is built in a manner that students can easily surf and access the various activities which are designed to complement the English language syllabus in schools.

“Anyone from the ages of seven to 17 will be inspired as the Web page is filled with a myriad of features to help understand and improve their English skills in a practical and fun-filled way,” says Chandapillai.

Core to this e-learning site, she points out, is News Flash. Each week, based on reports in the newspaper, this section will highlight four major events from around the world. In addition to reading the news articles which will be simplified for easy understanding, students using this link will learn a bit more about the countries involved, test their word power, grammar and comprehension through the exercises.

“The stories are presented in a simplified format with a glossary for difficult words. And for more advanced students, they can also access the published article via a Portable Document Format link,” says Chandapillai, adding that a pronunciation guide will be made available from next month.

Besides this, the e-learning site also incorporates animated games to teach grammar, vocabulary and writing in the Language Games segment.

“These Web pages are designed in a way that students at any proficiency level can access the site. Students using this site will at least pick up 10 new words a day and by the time they complete the activities, they would have improved their language skills to a certain degree,” she stresses.

The NiEXUS site also provides a platform for students to write and express their thoughts via My Say, The Continuing Tale, Writing Prompts and Creative Twists segments. The objective is to challenge students’ creative and critical thinking abilities and expand their creative potential online.

Furthermore, Chandapillai says parents and teachers can leverage on this platform not only to create interest in the language but also as a means to develop computer and journalism skills among children.

NiEXUS, she explains, hosts two links – My School Rocks and A Day in Your Life – which gives students the experience of newspaper publishing. Students can design their own front page using the tools given.

“These two links are one of the first journalism-based activities made available online for Malaysian students. The My School Rocks section, for instance, will help students plan and design a news bulletin for their school. It encourages creative writing and creative design. As for A Day in Your Life, it encourages students to write about themselves and maintain a journal online. Easy, step-by-step instructions are provided for students to pick up these skills,” she elaborates.

For additional reading, NiEXUS provides a link to Planet Earth which covers topics such as global warming and water issues.

NiEXUS, Chandapillai informs, is only available to schools that register with the NIE Unit. Schools will need to pay a registration fee of RM150 per school year to access the e-learning site and there is no limit to the number of users. However, access is free for schools under the NST’s School Sponsorship Programme.

Parents can also subscribe to the service, says Mary, for a fee of RM100 per year for five users. For teachers, the site offers ready-to-use content to further enhance their teaching of the language. In addition, they can also monitor the progress of each registered student via a progress chart which is automatically created.

The NIE Unit will provide training for teachers on how to integrate the online content with print copies and the English Language syllabus. A manual will also be provided to the teachers.


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1 comment:

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