KMALL 한국멀티미디어언어교육학회

Korea Association of  Multimedia-Assisted Language Learning

Review of EuroTalk’s Talk Now - Daniel A. Craig (Indiana Unversity)

kamall | 2009.03.27 10:36 | 조회 2660
 

 


Review of EuroTalk’s Talk Now

Daniel A. Craig (Indiana University)

Bio: He is a PhD student in Language Education and Instructional Systems Technology at Indiana University, Bloomington. I am currently working at Seoul National University at the Yongon Campus (medical campus) in Seoul, South Korea.

 

Title:
Publisher:
Platforms:
Target Language:
Target Audience:
Price:
Talk More
EuroTalk (http://eurotalk.com)
Mac OS X or higher and Microsoft ME/2000/XP/Vista
116 language options
Beginner-Intermediate
£29.99

Students are in our classrooms for very short periods of time. We may have them a few hours a week, but I am sure that everyone can agree that’s simply not enough time to learn a language. This is where software like EuroTalk’s Talk More (http://eurotalk.com) can be so beneficial. It provides opportunities for learners to receive authentic input, as well as immediate feedback on their performance, at a time and pace of their choosing.

The EuroTalk website indicates that Talk More is for beginning-intermediate language learners. The topics covered include: At the Hotel, Emergencies, The Alphabet, Business, Getting around, Greetings, Leisure, On the phone, At the restaurant, and Shopping. Language is presented and practiced through video demonstrations, quizzes, and games.

The topics include common phrases that might be useful in each context. These phrases are presented in video form of a person speaking the words and with the words appearing on the screen. These phrases, though not comprehensive, are all useful sentences to know. For example, in the Emergencies topic, the sentences provided include: I feel sick; I’m having an allergic reaction; Where is the pharmacy; I’m sick; She’s sick; My camera has been stolen; I need a doctor; My car was broken into; My stomach hurts; and I have been mugged. In addition, many of these structures easily can be used with other vocabulary in follow-up interventions with a teacher.

There are also practice dialogues included. These feature two speakers in a video with the words printed on the screen. The dialogues are not directly related to the phrases from above, but they are in the same topic area. For example, “How many times a day? Take two tablets four times daily.” Unfortunately, the connections between the two are so loose that I do not see a benefit in including them here. It would make more sense to have dialogues that utilize the phrases presented previously.

There are four types of multiple choice quizzes available. The first type presents two phrases, both written and spoken, and the user must choose the correct one. The second type asks a question in English and the user has to choose the best of two written options. The third type is a spoken phrase and the user must choose the picture that best represents that phrase. The fourth type is choosing the correct spelling of a word in a spoken phrase. These are adequate to provide feedback to learners; however, the distracters in many of the questions seem quite easy to eliminate, particularly those with only two potential answers.

There are two types of speech recording activities in the program. The first presents a written prompt in the target language. The user records themselves saying the phrase and then rates themselves on their performance compared to a native speaker of the language. The other type presents the phrase in the L1 and the user must record their voice in the target language. The user can then rate themselves on their performance compared to a native speaker of the language.

Lastly, there are two value-added functions that warrant description. The first is an option in each of the topic areas to print out all of the phrases introduced in that topic (along with pictures). This is a great addition that many language software packages ignore. The ability to print these out can save time and act as an archive of the expressions learned. The second is a point system that can motivate learners to further utilize the quizzes available. By attaining certain point levels, learners gain awards as the progress. These could be an individual motivator or as a way for learners to compete against each other.

Student’s need both exposure to the target language and feedback on their performance. EuroTalk’s Talk More provides these elements outside of classroom time. As a stand-alone independent learning software, Talk More does not seem robust enough; however, as a software that is supported and supplemented by teachers, it is a great tool.

If you want to try this software or any of their other titles yourself, contact EuroTalk through the contact form on their website. I received my demonstration CD-ROM a little more than a week after doing so.

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