About the call course Book 12 Introduction to Computer Assisted Language Learning 13 eLearning courses for teachers 20


Find the right sequence (or jumbled sentences)



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Find the right sequence (or jumbled sentences).

In this activity a sentence or a story is cut into pieces that the user has to reorder in order to reconstruct the sentence or the story. This is an activity that can easily be created with the “Hot Potatoes” software.

Grammar.


There are only a few grammar programs for the less taught languages and often they simply transfer book style exercises to a computer, with similar lack of success. However, there is at present one grammar website that can be recommended: the VISL site http://visl.sdu.dk/.VISL stands for "Visual Interactive Syntax Learning" and is a research and development project at the Institute of Language and Communication ( ISK ), University of Southern Denmark ( SDU) - Odense Campus. Staff and students at ISK have been designing and implementing Internet-based grammar tools for education and research since September 1996.

At the start of the project, four languages were involved: English, French, German, and Portuguese. Many additional languages have since joined the project - as seen by the growing number of entries on the language list.

The following "tools" are available on the VISL:
Grammatical Analyses (pre-analyzed sentences and automatic machine parsing)

Games & Quizzes (testing of word classes and other grammatical topics)

Corpus Search (access to the BNC and other language corpora)

Machine Translation


If you access one of the VISL languages through the entry page, you will be asked the question "Which VISL tool do you want to use?". You will find various options available for each language.

Hotwords.

This is not really an exercise or activity, but is still very useful for the language learner. In a text, important words and cultural notes can be linked to appropriate explanations and translations. Hotwords can be made with most word processors.

One type of hotwords are webpages where all the words are linked to online dictionaries. To create such webpages you can use TextBlender, which is a program that can convert any text into an HTML document where all the words are automatically linked to an online dictionary, so students just have to click on a word to get help. TextBlender can also include videos and graphics.
All that is needed to convert a text is to type in a headline, then give a short instruction for the end user, and finally paste in the text in the text window, followed by clicking "Export". The program is available from http://www.languages.dk/tools



Listening exercises.


In this activity the computer replaces a tape recorder Other activities like multiple choice exercises are often also used in combination, to check if students have understood the content.

Matching words, sentences, or pictures


This activity can be very useful for several purposes even, for vocabulary training, where a student drags words to corresponding pictures. This activity can be created easily and in a few minutes using the “Hot Potatoes” software 6.


Multiple Choice.


This type of exercise is very useful for a quick check of a student’s understanding of the content of information given through audio, text, video etc. This activity can be created easily using the “Hot Potatoes” software.

Podcasts

Podcasting is a method of distributing multimedia files over the internet using “RSS” or “Atom syndication” formats. This allows a user to playback these files on any personal computer or mobile device, such as an Apple iPod (http://www.apple.com). If you make a podcast, you are the podcaster. There are other ways of distributing multimedia on the internet, but there podcasting has special features, including the use of syndication, which means that people can subscribe to a site that produces podcasts, and they will be informed automatically when a new podcast is available.

Another useful feature of podcasts is that they use open standards, like MPEG3, which means that there are many types of devices that can play them. There is both free and commercial software available to create podcasts and to play them, so you have a choice of how to make the technology work in your teaching environment.
The model for pushing multimedia has moved from only audio to include video as well, which is called Vodcasting. This is slightly more complex to create than a podcast, but still quite easy.
Many people use podcasts and vodcasts in their teaching environments. Because of the multimedia aspect, there is an obvious CALL application. And with the use of simple mp3 players that also allow you to record, like the iPod with a Griffin iTalk microphone, your students can easily record their speech and turn in digital audio for assessment or for group work with other students.
The BBC does two "podcasts" specifically for Gaelic learners on: http://www.bbc.co.uk/scotland/alba/foghlam/learngaelic/an_litir_bheag/index.shtml and http://www.bbc.co.uk/scotland/alba/foghlam/learngaelic/litir/index.shtml.There are MP3 downloads of radio programs plus pdf transcripts of the show with notes and comments.
You can find some links to podcasts and articles on podcasts by going to the POOLS website www.languages.dk or the pools BLOG: http://www.weblogs.uhi.ac.uk/pools/?p=59
See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Podcasting

RSS


RSS is a family of web feed formats used to publish frequently updated digital content, such as blogs, news feeds or podcasts.

Users of RSS content use programs called feed 'readers' or 'aggregators': the user 'subscribes' to a feed by supplying their reader with a link to the feed; the reader can then check the user's subscribed feeds to see if any of those feeds have been added to since the last time it waschecked, and if so, retrieve that content and present it to the user. An example of a feedreader that can be recommended is “Feedreader 3.07”, which can be downloaded free of charge from: http://www.feedreader.com

Programs known as feed readers or aggregators can check a list of feeds on behalf of a user and display any updated articles that they find. Web feeds are commonly found on major websites and many smaller ones. Some websites let people choose between RSS or Atom formatted web feeds; others offer only RSS or only Atom.


RSS-aware programs are available for various operating systems. Client-side readers and aggregators are typically constructed as standalone programs or extensions to existing programs such as web browsers and Email readers. Many browsers have integrated support for RSS feeds. There also are other applications that can convert an RSS feed into several usenet articles, viewable through the major newsreader software such as Mozilla Thunderbird or Forté Agent.
Web-based feed readers and news aggregators such as NewsGator Online require no software installation and make the user's "feeds" available on any computer with Web access. Some aggregators combine existing web feeds into new feeds, e.g., taking all football related items from several sports feeds and providing a new football feed. There are also search engines for content published via web feeds like Bloglines.
On Web pages, web feeds (RSS or Atom) are typically linked with the word "Subscribe", an orange rectangle, or with the letters. Many news aggregators such as My Yahoo![1] publish subscription buttons for use on Web pages to simplify the process of adding news feeds.
Excerpts from Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RSS




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