There’s a wide selection of good quality self-access sites available to language learners these days. News in Levels, for example, offers learners reading and video material that is updated on a daily basis.
I’ve been trying out a newish web tool that allows teachers to deliver to their learners attractively presented multi-media reading material in a similar way. The application is called Activily Learn and it does a pretty good job of replicating (albeit in simplified form) the look and feel of the Newsmart site, another self-access success story.
With Activily Learn, teachers can produce reading activities using their own texts, texts they find online, or texts that have been added to the site’s archive (sometimes with questions already added). It’s possible to create classes and track student activity, and learners can also add their own notes to the material.
If you’d like to get an idea of what this easy-to-use tool is capable of, go to the site (Actively Learn), create an account as a ‘Student’ and then use this Class code: 18a07 to join a demo class I’ve set up. You’ll then be able to access a sample assignment created using a text from the archive.
A nice feature, as you’ll see, is that as well as adding questions to the text (which learners need to answer in order to continue reading), it’s possible to add notes, links and even media to provide support and suggestions for further reading.
Downside? Well, the range of question types is limited and it’s not possible to add feedback for the learners to the questions. But it’s all very intuitive and offers a nice stepping stone before setting learners loose on sites like Newsmart.