Olyfran is a site that centers around a huge database of questions on the French language and the Francophone world. Users around the world are encouraged to test their knowledge by answering questions from an ever-expanding database. Competitors with high scores can enter the Hit-Parade and rise in the ranks of champions as they improve their score. The game may be played in two modes, Test and Entrainement. The Entrainement feature allows users to "train" for the competition before taking a test for a real score. Only test takers can advance to the Hit parade. In addition to the Olympiades competition, Olyfran contains a forum space for participants to discuss the test questions and an impressive collection of external links that also help users train for competitition.
Type of Material:
May be used by individuals or classes to test French proficiency and cultural knowledge. May be used for review for tests or before class. Practice and self-evaluation of progress.
Users can choose fast or low speed access and may turn off the animations. Flash6 is required for high speed connections. For animation, high band-width needed. Flash intro. To play the Francophonie segment, users must download the Lingu@Tor plug-in. Instructions for easy download and installation are on the site.
This site is not optimised for the MAC OS and MAC users will experience reduced functionality, particularly in the Francophonie section.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
Users will increase knowledge of the French language and the Francophone world.They will practice and test linguistic and cultural skills.
Target Student Population:
Users with an intermediate proficiency level in French could compete on the beginners level of the test. Best suited for intermediate to advanced and superior levels, and native speakers. A very good self-evalutation tool for independent learners.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Intermediate French language proficiency for French test and knowledge about the Francophone world for the Francophonie test. Minimum one year of French.
Olyfran has a well-developed database of questions on language and culture. Its competitive format will be particularly attractive to users who enjoy the challenge of learning this way. The ability to compete on a worldwide level will be motivational to many students of French.There is the possibility of training
before competition first by studying the substantial collection of related external links and then by taking a pretest in Entrainement. Users can also discuss the test items in a forum on the olyfran site.
The quality of language used throughout the website is excellent and makes it very reliable as a French teaching and learning tool.
With six levels of difficulty, two modes (practice and test) and five topics, OLYFRAN appears to be more ambitious than other comparable websites such as Accord, exercices auto-correctifs. Users can customize their sessions by selecting only one topic and one level (e.g. grammar, 1st level of difficulty) or combine two or more topics and levels (e.g. grammar and vocabulary, 3rd and 4th levels) in the same session. For each combination of choices (topics, level of dificulty, mode) the database provides the total number of questions, which often reaches the hundreds. Users can limit the number of questions they want to answer, and switch to test mode after practising a certain topic.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
This site will be useful to students who are preparing comprehensive examinations, AP or IB exams, or general French proficiency exams. The Flash intro itself could be a self-contained teaching tool as a variety of young people introduce themselves in French, by referring to their country of origin. The intro can be used to review geographical names and also to point out the many places in the world where French is spoken and taught.
can be used in class (with projector) for practice or testing. It will be best suited in intermediate and advanced courses where learners need to consolidate basic knowledge and learn fine distinctions between expressions that seem close to one another. OLYFRAN force the learners to pay attention to details, distinguish among words, expressions or sentence structures that differ in meaning, acceptability or grammaticality.
This site is designed to appeal to young users. The graphics have a sophisticated, young look and the audio sounds like chic fashion runway music. Some users will appreciate the animated background as they compete, others can click Anime to shut it off for more quiet study.
Since there is no immediate feedback on answers, independent learners may have difficulty understanding why they did not do well in an exercise. There is no grammatical tool nor feedback on the rules that apply in each exercise.
In more advanced exercises, when the task consists of choosing the least or the best suited cue in a dialogue, sometimes there may be more than only one good answer. Even native speakers may make the wrong choice. This should be carefully reviewed.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
Olyfran is impeccably designed and easy to navigate. Users have a high degree of choice in how they may sort their questions. They can choose target language only or a combination of French and another language. They can choose the number of questions in multiples of five. They can opt for or against animation and can choose low or high bandwith.
Mac users do not have access to all the features of the site.
Before getting to an actual exercise or test page users have to make seven choices: practice or test,
source language, grammar or culture, type of exercise, level of difficulty, number of questions, "anime/non-anime") in seven consecutive windows. This is too cumbersome, even with a fast-speed connection, and especially since one has to repeat the whole process after completing each quiz. The seven screens could be reduced to only one form screen.
Similarly, moving from one exercise to another could be made easier with buttons such as "next exercise" or "more exercises" or "another topic". At the moment, one has to go back to the introduction window and redo the seven selections before getting a new exercise.
In the practice mode, users don't get immediate feedback on their score in the same screen where they take the exercise. To get the scores, a button "resultat" opens a new screen, which seems unnecessary in the practice mode.
From this page as well as from the make-up one, users should be able to continue with new quizzes.
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