Skip to main content

Review: Ilini.com revisited

Ilini.com

I blogged some time ago about the new video listening site called Ilini which was then free and in Beta form. It is aimed mainly at advanced learners of French studying the A-level exam or equivalent, e.g. Scottish Higher. Some teachers will find certain videos suitable for high-attaining intermediate (GCSE) classes

Now the site is established and has different levels of subscription and much more content let me return to it once more.

What's in it?

Essentially a set of regularly refreshed short video clips from the world of French news, entertainment, culture and ideas. These are accompanied by a range of student and teacher resources including transcripts, online quizzes, pdf exercises, vocab lists and vocab flashcards. Each video has been chosen to be short and frequently matched to A-level French sub-themes. For example, topics you can see from the current home page include voluntary work, music, "Can a child go to jail?", optimism in Voltaire's Candide, de Gaulle, alternatives to prison sentences and the media. These short authentic video clips come from various outlets including YouTube, BFMTV, Euronews, LCI and 1jour1question (one of my favourites).

How could you use it?

I can imagine teachers both using these from the front of the class, together with their accompanying materials, within a sequence of work on an A-level sub-theme, and setting the tasks for private study or homework.

From the front you might do a pre-listening task, show a video, then do pdf exercises with the video, then show the entire transcript or a gapped or reordered version of it. the cultural content would serve students well as they build up their knowledge to obtain more AO4 marks in the A-level exam.

In addition this would be very handy for teachers looking for supplementary tasks for bilingual students (French native speakers).

What are the subscription options?

If you use this it's worth choosing a subscription or else you might as well find the videos yourself and make up your own exercises.

There are "individual" plans with various levels of access starting from £4.49 and rising to £11.99 a month. (Pity about the 99s, by the way.) You could recommend these for keen students willing to spend some of their own money.

Alternatively there are group plans ranging from £3.99 (minimum three users) up to £8.99. You are asked to inquire if you have over 25 users.

If, as is likely, you open an account as a teacher the two options to consider are the £8.88 or £11.99 Premium subscriptions. The latter allows more than one teacher to access the site (with an unlimited number of students). So you might consider this if you are not the sole teacher in the department.

Is it worth it?

That may depend on what you have or use already. There is certainly an overlap with the type of resources I write for frenchteacher (video listening), although my own resources are just worksheet based and have no interactivity. Ilini's resources include time-limited videos, i.e. reports on current events which may have a short shelf life. Overall, however, for up to £120 a year I would say that this is a resource you could make very good use of, whether you choose to use it primarily from the front of the room or as a resource for independent listening/homework. The content is well chosen and interesting, the videos clear and suitably brief. The site is attractive and easy to navigate. Having the transcripts is a great advantage since you can adapt these for further intensive reading or listening exercises. Recommended.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

A zero preparation fluency game

I am grateful to Kayleigh Meyrick, a teacher in Sheffield, for this game which she described in the Languages Today magazine (January, 2018). She called it “Swap It/Add It” and it’s dead simple! I’ve added my own little twist as well as a justification for the activity.

You could use this at almost any level, even advanced level where the language could get a good deal more sophisticated.

Put students into small groups or pairs. If in groups you can have them stand in circles to add a sense of occasion. One student utters a sentence, e.g. “J’aime jouer au foot avec mes copains parce que c’est amusant.” (You could provide the starter sentence or let groups make up their own.) The next student (or partner) has to change one element in the sentence, and so on, until you restart with a different sentence. You could give a time limit of, say, 2 minutes. The sentence could easily relate to the topic you are working on. At advanced level a suitable sentence starter might be:

“Selon un article q…

Google Translate beaters

Google Translate is a really useful tool, but some teachers say that they have stopped setting written work to be done at home because students are cheating by using it. On a number of occasions I have seen teachers asking what tasks can be set which make the use of Google Translate hard or impossible. Having given this some thought I have come up with one possible Google Translate-beating task type. It's a two way gapped translation exercise where students have to complete gaps in two parallel texts, one in French, one in English. There are no complete sentences which can be copied and pasted into Google.

This is what one looks like. Remember to hand out both texts at the same time.


English 

_____. My name is David. _ __ 15 years old and I live in Ripon, a _____ ____ in the north of _______, near York. I have two _______ and one brother. My brother __ ______ David and my _______ are called Erika and Claire. We live in a _____ house in the centre of ____. In ___ house _____ …

Preparing for GCSE speaking: building a repertoire

As your Y11 classes start their final year of GCSE, one potential danger of moving from Controlled Assessment to terminal assessment of speaking is to believe that in this new regime there will be little place for the rote learning or memorisation of language. While it is true that the amount of learning by heart is likely to go down and that greater use of unrehearsed (spontaneous) should be encouraged, there are undoubtedly some good techniques to help your pupils perform well on the day.

I clearly recall, when I marked speaking tests for AQA 15-20 years ago, that schools whose candidates performed the best were often those who had prepared their students with ready-made short paragraphs of language. Candidates who didn't sound particularly like "natural linguists" (e.g. displaying poor accents) nevertheless got high marks. As far as an examiner is concerned is doesn't matter if every single candidate says that last weekend they went to the cinema, saw a James Bond…

Worried about the new GCSEs?

Twitter and MFL Facebook groups are replete with posts expressing concerns about the new GCSEs and, in particular, the difficulty of the exam, grades and tiers. I can only comment from a distance since I am no longer in the classroom, but I have been through a number of sea changes in assessment over the years so may have something useful to say.

Firstly, as far as general difficulty of papers is concerned, I think it’s fair to say that the new assessment is harder (not necessarily in terms of grades though). This is particularly evident in the writing tasks and speaking test. Although it will still be possible to work in some memorised material in these parts of the exam, there is no doubt that weaker candidates will have more problems coping with the greater requirement for unrehearsed language. Past experience working with average to very able students tells me some, even those with reasonable attainment, will flounder on the written questions in the heat of the moment. Others will…

Dissecting a lesson: using a set of PowerPoint slides

I was prompted to write this just having produced for frenchteacher.net three separate PowerPoint presentations using the same set of 20 pictures (sports). A very good way for you to save time is to reuse the same resource in a number of different ways.

I chose 20 clear, simple, clear and copyright-free images from pixabay.com to produce three presentations on present tense (beginners), near future (post beginner) and perfect tense (post-beginner/low intermediate). Here is one of them:





Below is how I would have taught using this presentation - it won't be everyone's cup of tea, especially of you are not big on choral repetition and PPP (Presentation-Practice-Production), but I'll justify my choice in the plan at each stage. For some readers this will be standard practice.

1. Explain in English that you are going to teach the class how to talk about and understand people talking about sport. By the end of the lesson they will be able to say and understand 20 different sport…