Interactive Online resources

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ielts.test.ef
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2015 9:11 am

Interactive Online resources

Post by ielts.test.ef » Tue Oct 13, 2015 9:17 am

Hi all, I'm a newcomer to the IELTS. I've noticed that a lot of the materials for IETLS studying are fairly old school (downloadable pdfs ect) compared to a number of other exam formats (see magadoosh for TOEFL for instance). I come from a software background and thought it might be good to have a more dynamic learning format. If people are interested I might look in to it. What are your thoughts?

edit: see http://ielts.herokuapp.com/ to get a feel for what I'm thinking about
Last edited by ielts.test.ef on Wed Oct 14, 2015 5:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Teacher
Posts: 76
Joined: Sun Sep 20, 2015 5:15 am

Re: Better resources

Post by Teacher » Tue Oct 13, 2015 4:48 pm

Dear ielts.test.ef
I think the reason that prep materials are old school is because the exam itself is old school. There is no electronic version of the test. Students must write in pencil, and they must hand-write their essays. Listening would be fairly easy to digitise, but an on-screen test can’t mimic that panic-inducing ten minutes at the end transferring answers to a sheet of paper, ensuring no gaps and getting the responses in the right order. Similarly, most reading tasks can be done on computer, providing there is only one overall time limit and students can answer in any order. There are exams (like TOEFL iBT) done electronically (which is much cheaper and faster!) but IELTS is a much more comprehensive – albeit old-fashioned – test. It would be nice if they allowed students to type their written responses (they could turn off spell-checker and grammar checker) as many students (as well as teachers) find it difficult to hand-write legibly for any length of time because nowadays people simply use a keyboard, but that raises another issue: Where does the test of English end and the test of keyboard skills begin? A student may be typing 80 wpm in Arabic, and be unable to type with more than one finger in English. Websites with e-tests and practice materials are a great way for students to learn, but for IELTS prep, they probably need to download an old-fashioned answer sheet and check answers on a (relatively old) PDF.
With kind regards
Teacher Jill

ielts.test.ef
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2015 9:11 am

Re: Better resources

Post by ielts.test.ef » Tue Oct 13, 2015 8:40 pm

Hi Jill,

Thanks for your comprehensive response! I can see what you mean with regards to doing the prep on paper since the exam itself is on paper. Personally, I find it a bit slow to get marking back (especially written sections). I think it would be great to have a more dynamic learning and interactive method for this stuff, although I can also see that it is difficult to simulate exam conditions. I think I'm going to pursue this a bit further, if you would be interested in chatting some time - and particularly from the perspective of a teacher (maybe there is a way to help teachers in this?) it would be great to chat some time!

Teacher
Posts: 76
Joined: Sun Sep 20, 2015 5:15 am

Re: Interactive Online resources

Post by Teacher » Wed Oct 14, 2015 8:29 pm

Hi ielts.test.ef
It's an interesting issue - especially for writing. Certainly students find computer-based prep easier. Some of the essay checking could be done that way. For example, giving the student the number of errors in terms of grammatical accuracy, and a score for grammatical range (compiled by the same kind of programme as VISL below)
Image
and comparison to something like the BNC-COCA to determine lexical range and 'readability', (again, below)
Image
which would deal with two of the marking criteria, but I'm not sure how a computer could grade Task Response and Coherence and Cohesion.
Having said all that, IELTS are beginning to roll out a CB version, but while students type answers, they are still marked by humans. The biggest problem students find when preparing for IELTS is getting feedback on their writing (productive skill) and speaking (productive skill) whereas many can work on their own on the receptive skills of reading and listening.
Feel free to mail if you have any thoughts of making IELTS prep more student friendly for today's computer literate students!
Kind regards
Teacher Jill

ielts.test.ef
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2015 9:11 am

Re: Interactive Online resources

Post by ielts.test.ef » Fri Oct 16, 2015 11:07 am

Hi Jill,

This is really great feedback. I would definitely be interested in incorporating productive assessment scoring into the application, and this may be possible for a for a small number of scoring metrics for both spoken and written. However, before doing that I'd like to validate that the online system is desirable for students and teachers. Would you be willing to share our site with some students/colleagues to get their feedback?

wannabe
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu May 05, 2016 5:05 pm
Location: Toronto, Canada
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Re: Interactive Online resources

Post by wannabe » Fri Jun 17, 2016 2:58 am

Hi, I'm really glad that finally somebody brought up the question of digitizing preparation for IELTS. I personally feel that it could bring totally different experience to the table, and reach many students who are now struggling with getting access to conventional IELTS prep courses.

ielts.test.ef, I'd be really excited to discuss this solution with you to see if I can help with anything. Please, shoot me PM with your e-mail.
http://ielstsbooster.com
Tech-savvy way to improve your IELTS score

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