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Source Reviewed:

www.radio-locator.com

Audience:

general public

Topic:

General Interest

Description:

None

Strengths:

Radio-Locator would be a very useful resource for teachers trying to expose their students to other varieties other than Standard Canadian English. Students can access radio stations from around the world and listen to people speaking different dialects of English. In most cases there are multiple Internet stations for each “English-speaking country”, as well as English-language stations from traditionally non-English-speaking countries. For example, a student could listen to Radio Sweden programs in which announcers and commentators speak with Scandinavian accents and use words not commonly employed in North America. Overall, this resource would be most beneficial toward the goal of promoting critical language awareness.

Radio-Locator also enables students to listen to programs featuring topics, themes, ideas, and cultural references from across the globe. As such, the site could be used to assist student development in such areas as media awareness and understanding of cultural diversity and globalization. The large selection of programming from which to choose would likely spark students’ individual interests, thereby translating into a fun, meaningful learning experience.

The design of the website is simple, fast and efficient. Students can search for Internet stations using criteria that might include the country or region of origin, or the programming type of the Internet station. Overall, the website should be easy for students to learn and use.


Weaknesses:

The design of the site is quite good, overall, but there are a few imperfections. One problem is that the advanced search and the call sign search can only be used to find Internet stations in Canada and the U.S. Similarly, the city search only applies to the U.S. An international search is available, but this consists of little more than a list of world regions (e.g., Africa, Oceania). Searches by multiple criteria are impossible for Internet stations outside Canada and the U.S.

Another major problem is that the website has a commercial orientation. There are banner advertisements and pop-up windows which are, aside from simply being annoying, might be confusing or distracting to younger students. Also in line with the commercial nature of the website is a “Featured Station” feature whereby stations pay to have their listings appear first at the top of the search results. This type of promotion is aimed to attract the attention of the user and may “suck” students into listening to corporate radio.

Finally, the website is targeted toward a general audience, not the school population. Images and content are appropriate for use in schools, but there are no particular features that support learning.


Comments:

I would recommend this resource for use in the classroom where teachers are able to guide students. Because a huge array of Internet stations is available, there is no guarantee that the stations children will choose will be relevant, useful, or even appropriate. Teachers should monitor content beforehand for appropriateness and design specific activities that make use of specific programs from known Internet stations. These types of activities could be used in many subject areas such as English, Civics, Science and ESL. Listening to radio from around the world could be useful and exciting for students. Moreover, activities involving radio could also make use of multiple intelligences and cooperative learning strategies.

Your Recommendations:

None

Submitted by: J. Callum Makkai

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