3.1 The Target Learners
The website and its content is designed specifically to meet the language learning needs of students 10 years old and older or upper- elementary learners who are pursuing English as asecond language. This particular website has elementary material used by a number of elementary English learners depending on their level of proficiency.
3.2 The Aim of the Material
Right from the home page throughout the rest of the pages that constitute the site, material is tailor made to meet the listening and reading needs of students. There are reading exercises, grammar exercises, video exercises, space games, and useful links all designed to help the leaner to improve linguistic efficiency, and to emphasize blended learning. Blended learning is where classroom teaching and computer-based instruction (CBI) work mutually for the purpose of making the learning process more effective, and to create an attractive learning environment.
4. The Content of the Material
The website has content that is suitable for elementary students who are pursuing English as a second language. There are reading exercises, grammar exercises, video exercises, and space games, all designed to help the leaner to improve linguistic efficiency. The video exercises are divided to three categories, namely; what the students should do before watching, what they should do while watching, and what they should do after watching. Those functions are applicable to the reading exercise as well. The content in the website is arranged in such a way that learners can be in a position to use a combination of bottom-up and top-down strategies to master language. This is a necessary element of any electronic learning environment (Alonso and Norman 1996, pp. 205-207).
4.1 Home Page
It represents 'word of the day', which works as an explanatory note or glossary. The purpose is to provide audio-visual presentation for the meaning of the word through utilizing text, sound, and animated pictures with GIF format. Lin (2009, p. 33) states, "animation annotations may potentially possess an advantage for learning action verbs". As demonstrated by researchers, there is reciprocal relationship between the spoken word to young learners and the word learning (Blok et al 2001, p. 10). There is strong connection between this kind of presentation and information retention of learners; the audio-visual presentation helps learners to retain 75% of the information due to their use of the sense of hearing and sight at the same time which helps them to understand the context and the meaning of the proposed text, video, perceptibly (Lindstrom 1994; Brennan 2009). Such simultaneous media can speed up the process of second language acquisition.
4.2 Grammar Exercise
Grammar exercises in this website provides crucial word exercise for elementary learners who are eager to learn English as a second language. The theory that is utilized in this instance is bottom-up, whereby the exposure to word usage sets the stage for later engagement with these same words in other areas such comprehension listening and reading (Teachnology 2011, p.1). The presence of a song the learner has to listen to so that he is in a position to fill in the missing words in the grammar exercise introduces the element of top-down learning. After acquiring details covered in the song, the learner will apply these details as prior knowledge in dealing with the grammar exercise. For example, after listening to the song and hearing that, Mr. Moon is looking down on people; the learner will not find it difficult to fill in the word "looking" in the gap. In this case, the word 'looking' considered prior knowledge, thus bringing in the aspect of top-down language application skills.
4.3 Reading Exercise
The reading exercises intend to give the learner the required exposure to word usage and structure of sentences in the setting of simple comprehensions. Like in most reading exercises, the learner is supposed to pay attention to the contextual placement of words and have the chance to make predictions in word usage, which is a major component of bottom-top learning (Read 1986, p. 11-12). The website has special features that engage students in three levels of the reading process.
A simple question used as a preparatory platform is present at this level. In this particular exercise, where top-down approach takes place, the learner has the chance to prepare mentally in terms of expected word usage and general comprehension organization. This is important since it sets the mind in motion to absorb knowledge on language usage.
At the pre-reading level, the students have expectations to engage with the material with careful attention of the details given. This exercise emphasizes developing his or her decoding skills such as word/ phrase recognition that keeps the learner focused on obtaining information needed to answer the question. Hence, the learner is relying more on bottom-up process (Carrell and Esky, 1988 cited in Abisamra 2001). The elementary level of the target learners is evident, in the comprehension of the material read.
The post reading exercise is progressively complex with the aim of challenging the understanding of the elementary learner's comprehension reading skills. Application of prior knowledge is important in this case and the knowledge needed to reorganize the given words to form sensible sentences uses the top-down approach.
4.5 Video exercise
The major focus is to develop the listening exercise by using media, in this case a video, to help elementary students learning English as a second language to apply a combination of strategies to gain knowledge of language, especially in spoken (Van Orden 1987, pp. 181-182). The video contains some captions of scientific terms about the moon, which is transcribed in the same spoken language (Chung 1999, p. 296). Chung (1999, p. 304) sets out the importance of using captions in listening skills; "captions could increase student interest in maintaining or increasing their knowledge of the target language and enhance language learning by promoting the use of new lexicon and phrases in appropriate context". Usage of multimedia in the classroom hailed as a major booster to comprehension and understanding. Therefore, it should be a major advantage to language learners in this case. As a way of ensuring students engagement throughout the watching period, pre, during, and post watching activities are necessary. This strategy mirrors the reading exercise. Just before watching the video, students activate their background knowledge of the topic by asking them to make prediction about the topic beforehand. While watching, in order to fill in the gaps with specific vocabulary, they need to understand the linguistic elements in the language they hear so they would highly rely on bottom-up process to decode these information and construct meaning.
The post-listening period is accompanied by a matching exercise where the language learners use 'recall' or memory to retrieve knowledge that has already been gained to respond to the task. The words and the pictures based on already acquired or accessed information that was available in the video. This is why the element of memorization referred to in this case is necessary. The information retrieval process accompanied by the mental engagement to gauge the suitability of each word to the corresponding picture meaning that once again both the top-down and bottom up approaches are being engaged as the learner acquires more skills in language. The fact that the computer is at the disposal of the learner with all the video controls available to him or her brings in the vital element of autonomy of the leaner and his or her ability to make adjustments to reflect his or her learning pace (Brett 1996, p. 208).
4.6 Space Games
The website has three space games designed to enhance the linguistic ability of the learners. Enhancing knowledge should indeed be the focus of any game for learning language (Adams 1990, pp. 67). Each of the three games designed to test a unique area of language with different degrees of effectiveness. The first space game is called Planet ZUG, where the word power on the side of the learner is being tested with such words as 'Intergalactic Zone' being used. By the end of the game, the learner will have gained a wide variety of space related vocabulary.
The second game gives the player the chance to advance in the solar system in a manner that allows him or her gain more word power. Just like Plant ZUG, this game uses top-down language learning approach with prior knowledge playing a major role in gaining more ideas and skills in language usage. The last game tests the spelling ability of the learners by testing their understanding of the manner of spelling words. This in essence narrows down to a test of how well learners understand the usage of letters in the English language in relation to their appearance in specific parts of words (Seidenberg and McClelland 1989, pp. 523-525).