The Key to Language Learning?

I am currently working on one of my Language and Technology essays, which requires a lot of hanging around in the languages labs evaluating the different CALL packages. Today, I tried one called Clef, which aims to help students with different aspects of French grammar. (So this is the preview of my essay that you’ve all been waiting for… be cool, guys!)

Clef offers over 50 different options that a student might need help on, such as irregular verbs (like Avoir, Être, and Faire), all the tenses, the pronouns, etc, etc! I only had a few minutes, so I decided to revise Être. All I had to do was type in the tenses of the verb with the various pronouns. It wasn’t taxing, but I don’t think I really benefitted from it either. One aspect which was irritating was that I couldn’t get the ‘Ê’ to come up in the writing space (unlike many CALL and WELL packages, there was no “accents” option) and I was taxed for this at the end of the lesson.

Otherwise, it is certainly a useful website. I like using WELL and CALL packages to practice and revise, but sadly they are only useful up to a point. I can’t practice writing, I can’t test my levels of comprehension of written texts, there are no listening files, and I can’t practice speaking, which some might say is the most important aspect of language learning! I hope that listening files exist in some place – I think there are some on Deutsche Welle, which I shall be making use of when studying for my German aural exam next week – but it’s a real shame that if these programmes exist, they aren’t available on the computers in the languages labs here in UL.

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