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Source Reviewed:

http://pasture.ecn.purdue.edu/~agenhtml/agenmc

Audience:

ESL and Mainstream teachers, ESL students, General Public

Topic:

General Interest

Description:

This website has been designed for a broad audience of anyone interested in learning about different cultures. Teachers, ESL students and parents who want to gain valuable information about Canadian and other cultures could use it effectively.

The main topics stem from students sharing information about their home countries. While not every country contains the same information the premise is to provide a general overview of the country’s culture and facts. Information includes: geographical information, historical facts, art, weather, food, tourist information, languages and traditions.

Strengths:

Overall, the website contains relevant information that would be very useful for a teacher wanting to learn about different cultures. It provides practical tools and information such as audio clips of languages, visuals depictions of art and written translations of common words and phrases. The mission is clearly stated at the top of the first page, as is the source of the information.

Graphic images are appropriately used to illustrate ideas (country names and flag pictures used as links) and communicate various cultural differences (i.e. Chinese Art).

This website does a fantastic job of incorporating many different mediums into the learning environment. It provides audio, visual and written depictions that help tell a story about each culture and country. While the site doesn’t encourage interaction among users it does provide many tools for the user to react with it on an individual basis. It also provides several links to sites that can provide more information on various topics and countries. From the information that I reviewed I found this website free of oppressive material and more about enlightening users on the differences and beauty that can be found in every country and culture.

Weaknesses:

The one downfall to the site was the timeliness of the content as the last piece of information added was in 1999. While more timely information would be beneficial, the content is still relevant because it is general information that does not change often.

There was some country information missing, however this was stated at the onset and could not be avoided, as information is dependent on student experiences.

The site did contain some transmission errors when trying to link to other pages. While this did not impede my ability to eventually reach the pages, it was time consuming to have to click on an extra link each time. Conversely, the site loaded very quickly with a reasonable amount of time required to load bigger files.

Navigation is one area where this website could vastly improve. While there are some navigational tools it is quite archaic and could be more user-friendly. There was substantial scrolling required throughout each page that could have been avoided with links and divided sections. That said, the information was easy to find and the sections were split in an easy to understand manner. I have some suggestions on how the overall layout of the site could be improved for users, however I am not sure of how realistic this is since it is compiled by various students.

Comments:

Overall I found this website to be a helpful resource at finding basic information about different countries and cultures in a number of different formats.

Your Recommendations:

I would definitely recommend this website for others as a resource. I think it would be an excellent tool for teachers who want to delve into other countries and find out about various cultures and traditions. Throughout the various readings it has become evident that a key factor in supporting an ESL students growth and learning potential is through the acceptance and inclusion of their own culture. Teachers can use this resource to learn rudimentary language, songs, traditions and information that could be essential in helping a student excel. They could also use it to help them modify or incorporate different activities and ideas into their lesson plans.

Additionally, I think that this website would be a wonderful resource for parents and students who
are new to Canada and want to learn more about the culture and traditions. The tools on this site could help ease the parents and students into an environment that at first may be quite intimidating
and lonely.


Submitted by: Angela Dinneen

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