LI4113 aspects of language learning, multimedia CALL package

Blog No.3

What is the most important aspect of language learning?

I think the most important aspect shifts the further you get while learning a language. In the beginning it is most important to learn the Grammar properly, to learn vocabulary and to extend you vocabulary in the foreign language. Pronunciation is also an important aspect, when learning a language, but not at the very beginning.

When you are an advanced learner you should try to get involved with people who are native speakers of the language you are learning. Studying abroad or living abroad for a while can be a great help.

Task 3 – read the following article and note your reactions http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-11263559http

A nice, well written article, introducing the subject with the topic of London cab drivers, who have to pass a test on the London streets, to actually become drivers. But there is the development of sat-nav, which would make the learning of street names unnecessary.

Article continues with the opinion of Nicholas Carr, author of The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains. He says that the internet, Google and all kinds of supporting software alter the way our brain works and that that does not have to be a good thing.

I agree with Mr. Carr, because I think (and already thought before reading the article) that technological help can be useful, but also has kind of a dark side, because it makes us lazy. I can see that on myself, when I have translation homework. I do have a lot of printed dictionaries, but I prefer using websites like dict.cc, because it is faster to just type in the word and hit enter.

Another example would be the simple use of a calculator; If you have a calculator at hand, e.g. integrated into your mobile, you do not bother to calculate in your head, by yourself. And without doing this, you become lazy, and after a while, should there be a situation where you don’t have a calculator at hand or no online dictionaries, you don’t know how to solve the problem, because you are used to a machine solving it for you, or helping you a lot to solve it.

In my opinion, you have to be very careful with the use of technology and I think this article is a good way to make people aware of it.

Task 1 – Evaluation of GramEx

Gramex English is a package for learning the English grammar. Mainly you have to fit in correct verb forms.

There are a lot of options to choose from, you can practice tenses, conditionals, etc. Basically you can work on the whole English grammar and you can choose, which one you want to work on. If you want to know more you can use the InfoGram button.

It is mainly a reading and writing software, which is good for learners who learn the best by reading and writing, but it does not cater for all types of learners.

The software makes optimal use of the writing medium.

You practice new language, before you can create your own.

Target language context is created, but only to a certain extent.

The software is free of cultural stereotypes and very objective.

It is a free software and very plain, like a simple programmed software. There are only the most important things. If you get the answer right, the area with the question in it is highlighted green. If the answer is wrong it is highlighted red. A very simple minimalistic programme for grammar practice, which I find very good, because it is limited down to the important things and does not distract you. The instructions for the learner are very clear. It is an quite easy software to use as an autonomous leaner.

If you are visiting a grammar class, it would be a useful addition to the learning in class, but it would not be very practical inside the classroom, because you cannot work together on the same sentences.

GramEx is based on “A practical English grammar” by A.J. Thomson and A.V. Martinet, a grammar a my grammar lecturer at my home university recommended.

Unfortunately the software does not include suitable language learning activities and it does not offer scope for additional activities away from the computer.

Task 2 – My wish list for Multimedia CALL packages

Addition to class content

Provoke and maintain my interest.

Little games

Recommendation of books in the foreign language

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