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Testing Language Software

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 30 Aug 2018, 04:40

A collection of Language Learning App logos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On a whim, and as homework before our French group which meets once every two weeks, I decided to try out several popular language learning Apps. I've used Rosetta Stone on and off for years. I tried:

Lingvist

Busuu

Memerist

Babbel

TinyCards

Tandem

It was revealing how many have leapfrogged Rosetta stone and offer a smarter and sometimes social platform.

Lingvist and Babbel did a tough test to establish my level of understanding. There is nothing more important than understanding how much a student already knows before you start to teach them. Both were effective in differentiating me from my wife. My wife was taught in a French speaking school in Montreal age 13 and a decade later learnt French at the British Institute in France. My French learning never got beyond a C grade at O' Level and a failed attempt to do an Open University degree (which taught French at an unbelievably basic level, but which I found tedious).

Lingvist and Babbel used different measures. Lingvist produced a guestimate at the number of words we each knew of the 5,000+ it was teaching. I got a 753, my wife 3,200. Babbel produced a similar differentiating. Like Rosetta Stone these Apps repeat phrases that you must then in part correct or add to. I liked that there is equal requirement to use the written word as this is where I am weakest. It is handy that my iPad has predictive text in French. 

Tandem hooks you up with someone who wants to learn the languages you know and can teach. It works like a dating App, but is adamant that it is not. I had 30 mins talking to someone in Marseilles and about 5 minutes talking to someone in Rouen. Both proved successful as we could correct each other's written words. 

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Language Learning Platforms

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Several fairly new language learning platforms have come to my attention. None solve the problem of 'will power'. My preference would always to be immersed in the environment of the language and to be living and working it.

Go to Coffeebreakacademy.com

You can pick your level and then have a trial where over a number of weeks you will have three lessons to complete. Each course runs to 40 lessons.

I'll let you know how I get on. 

I've used Rosetta Stone successfully over a few years to improve some grammar and perfect my articulation around the harder to say words for an English gob. 

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Mois international de la contribution francophone 2014

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 3 Oct 2014, 04:56

From French Exchange 1979

Fig.1 Mes amis français qui m'a pris à l'île d' Aix en 1979

Normalement si je veux lire français je le fais: aucune problème. Pendant L120, J'ai déjà changé mes paramètres Google pour rechercher et utiliser le français. 

Il y a quelques secondes j'ai decouvert que des les pages de Wikipédia sont en français aussi parce que c'est le 'mois international de la contribution francophone 2014'. L'idée est que je vais lire en français habituellement en fasaint L120 comme si je travaillais en France et je vis là déjà

On verra. 

From E-Learning V

Fig.2.  'Les Origines de la Guerre Mondiale 1914-1918'. Pierre Renouvin

Je lis 'Les Origines de la Guerre Mondiale 1914-1918'. Mon vocabulaire français sera d'autant sur ​​l'histoire militaire, l'équipement, les commandants et les effets de la guerre mondiale - en utilisant un langage d'une centaine d'années.

From E-Learning V

Fig.3 Grâce à Google Maps et mon journal 1979 j'ai trouvé la maison exacte où je suis resté il ya 35 ans. Sur la droite , 28 Avenue Camille Pelletan, Rochefort. Ma chambre était au troisième étage à l'arrière.

Je vais donc sortir le journal, j'ai écrit quand j'ai 17 ans quand je suis allé sur une visite d'échange 'French Exchange' en France à la Rochelle. C'est quand mon amour pour la France et les Français et certainment les Françaises sont commencé.

From E-Learning V

Fig.4. Un extrait de mon journal mai 1979 cum album couvrant ma visite à Rochefort

Mon amie a été appelé Frederic, le mec je restais avec. Curieusement, je suis en contact avec LUI grâce à LinkedIn il y a deux ans. Son anglais est parfait, mois, j'avais reçu un grade 'C' en 'O' Level French'; c'est la première fois que je l'ai étudié depuis 1978 même si j'ai été en utilisant Rosetta Stone c'est année dernière.

A note in English

On seeing this picture of Freddy's home for the first time since I stayed there I immediately could hear the buzz of the mobilettes that took students up and down the streets and would be the sound that greeted me in the morning. They were a very traditional family, with grandparents living in the house, his mother a widower. Breakfast was cake dipped in a bowl of hot chocolate while the evening meal was served in several courses, the peas served in a juice as a course in itself. My memory is jogged because I kept a diary: more of a scrapbook as it includes tickets, programmes, sweet wrappers and postcards, as well as an album of photographs. Fred made me a tape of songs too and wrote out the lyrics to the adorable Francoise Hardy. And he introduced me to the poetry of Jacques Prevert. I even learnt the first lines to 'Je Suis, Comme Je Suis.' 

What did French teenagers listen to then ... as now?! Supertramp!!!

Jacques Prevert gets passionate

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E-Learning Works

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 1 Jul 2014, 08:14

Fig.1. The remarkable rise of the game-player turned racing car pro.

Successfully translating the experience of the game-world to the real one successfully heralds a tipping point in this kind of e-learning. The Times ran an article yesterday on the progress of Jann Mardenborough, a global-Virtual F1 teen online game-player sensation. Mardenborough has taken what he can do from his bedroom to the race track and by all accounts is demonstrating that enough accurate and useable adaptation has occurred; that the kit, software and download times put at a game-players fingertips an experience that is a simulation, not just a simplified gamification.

I have found that Rosetta Stone works - the gamified language learning App. 

I have studied and tried QStream (used to be Spaced-ed) and know that it works too (more in this blog)

On my third and fourth Future Learn online modules I both enjoy and value what I am learn and wonder at the coming of age of the platform: clear, smart, intuitive, friendly, a partnership of student choices and control, a variety of ways into and around the content (though this requires a degree of digital literacy confidence and experience).

 

 

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G is for Google

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 7 May 2014, 06:12

This is as far as I got with G in relation to e-learning. Gagné is really learning and learning design, rather than the e-learning subset. Google of course is the big one. Just type your question directly into Google and take it from there. Google Scholar works so well I may sometimes start with that before putting a refined search into the OU Library. As students we used Google Hangouts often during Master of Arts in Open and Distance Education (MAODE) modules - and we did just that, 'hung-out', usually with coffee, sometimes a glass of wine. I only use Google Docs. I won't use Microsoft Office at all except where submissions require it; I love the simplicity and functionality of Google Docs and happily move between multiple devices. For an excellent example of gamification in learning I'd look at Rosetta Stone - I'm some nine months into improving my French and loving it. Another example is from the Merriam-Webster online dictionary: I love it for the quality of definitions, the video clips and the games. 

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Registered for L120 Ouverture: intermediate French

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 3 May 2014, 06:57

I missed the opportunity to register for this last year by a couple of weeks - just as well as I would have been trying to completed an MA ODE module, start an MA in First World War Studies at the University of Birmingham ... and do this. Sounds nuts, but actually pushing my reasonable spoken, reading French to the point that I can write it too is fairly important for personal and professional reasons: I used to work in France, we have or inherited some legal/property mess over there and my inclination is to continue what I started in my teens and then tried to continue soon after getting married, and then thought about again before the children started primary school. All of that eons ago. I have been signed up to Rosetta Stone for the best part of nine months which has slowed my spoken French down making it marginally more intelligible. 

Visiting France over the last two months I shared the view with my teenage son that we have every reason to live in France as Britain, that I'm sorry we didn't when he was little (he'd be bilingual) and that he can see for himself how much it has to offer. (We'd been back and forth on Eurostar and were on the TGV from Lyon). 

A lifetime ago but working from a French TV News Agency in Paris I'd got as far as interviews to work for Euronews in Lyon before an appealing contract brought me back to England. 

Returning to studying, research and this apparent study overload: I am reading books in French on the First World War, so there's some overlap. My MAODE and e-learning studies are well and truly over. It is now applied in work and in the back of my mind, sometimes front of mind, for PhD research.

In any case, once the OU has you in her grips, like so many others, it is a hard to kick the way life: without it my brain has no skull to contain it, the thing just fizzes with ideas and issues and I turn circles. I need the structure of course deadlines. I don't do it to gain qualifications, but to gain practical know-how that I can apply. That said, I think the French module may contribute towards an Open Honours Degree - it'll be a hotchpotch of learning, language and creative writing, should I ever care to complete it over the next ... 16 years. 

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