Review: NILE Membership

The NILE Membership area is a new section on the Norwich Institute of Language Education site. It includes various resources created for language educators by the NILE trainers. There’s new content added each month and (best of all) it is completely FREE to become a NILE member. So, with that in mind, sign up!

Let’s take a look at what’s on offer…

The platform is very easy to navigate. There are nine sections on the site which are all displayed on the member’s area homepage. These are:

What’s new for members?: Just an overview of what’s on offer.

NILE ELT Glossary: A useful glossary, summarising key terms/concepts in about 50-100 words and providing references for follow up reading. Some follow up reading links are open access, which is good! There are quite a lot of terms covered, and it’s growing.

  • Hey NILE, what about ‘Jazz chants’ for J? Classic!
  • Hey NILE, add more acronyms too! You’ve got a few but there could be loads more in your glossary.

Here’s another good glossary from ELT Notebook by the way.

Activity cards (Teachers): Downloadable lesson ideas, currently six uploaded (most being for A2). These are easy to use ideas, mainly listing a procedure and are low prep. Great one in there for phoneme practice. This section is a work in progress and will be added to. A nice start though, really like it.

Activity cards (Trainers): As above but ideas for teacher training. Five ideas so far – defamiliarizing reading is the best idea I reckon. Like this a lot – will keep checking for new content.

NILE Webinar library: Free webinars! Now we’re talking. Enhances the members area a lot. Four uploaded so far. Topics include ‘The changing face of CLIL’, and ‘Authenticity for Language Teaching’. Disclaimer: I haven’t viewed these yet but certainly will. I did my MA through NILE so I can vouch for the overall high standard of their webinars. As a rule of thumb, any webinars done by Johanna Stirling will be worth watching. Keep an eye out for them.

The NILE Podcast: I’m about to ply my way through these too. These actually open to an external site (teachertalk.co.uk) which is sponsored by NILE. It’s an ongoing series, seven podcasts available (30 mins +), with some interesting sounding topics (storytelling with Jamie Keddie, edtech with Gavin Dudeney). My only suggestion for improving this section is that there are quite a few male native speakers so far. Broader representation would be good.

CEFR Filtering tool: Cool! This is a useful one for materials writers. A downloadable Excel spreadsheet of CEFR descriptors. You can filter these easily, and it includes the CEFR updates from 2018. Intro vid if needed.

Linguistic Landscape gallery: Interesting feature, seems novel. The NILE trainers upload images of interesting uses of English, e.g. from around town. Mainly things like play-on-words in advertising. There aren’t too many examples yet, but I like what’s there and how the trainers have explained each example. I’d love to see more of these!

NILE Text Analyser: I thought this would be another one for the writers. Like, I assumed it was a vocab profiler like lextutor, text inspector, or this new one that’s quite good – EDIA Papyrus. Actually, it’s a concordancer. You add a text, which then converts to a wordcloud showing the common terms. You click on a term and you see it listed in a KWIC grid. It’s a single-text corpus, so it’s a bit limited. Aside from that though, it’s free, and it could have some value for teachers/learners. Not what I expected, but to be fair I was expecting a lot for free, wasn’t I?! Haha!

Overall

Main pros

  • Webinars
  • New content regularly
  • Free
  • Easy to navigate

Cons

  • Nothing that can’t be changed by adding certain new content. That bodes well.

The Membership area is pretty good. I’d say in about 6 months, with more content, it will be really good. With more content though, the area would have the potential to be subscription-based – let’s hope it remains free. As is, it’s a useful and FREE resource which has been created by ELT experts with a wealth of knowledge. Definitely sign up for it.

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