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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


Centro Virtual Camões: Aprender Português

 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

5 stars
Content Quality: 5 stars
Effectiveness: 5 stars
Ease of Use: 5 stars
Reviewed: Mar 02, 2003 by World Languages Editorial Board
Overview: Aprender Portugues is one of four parts of the instructional mega-site of the
Centro Virtual Camoes - the others are Cultura Portuguesa, Linguistica do
Portugues, Aprender e Ensinar Portugues).

Aprender Portugues is highly interactive; learners can read, write, and interact
with a variety of materials in the Portuguese language. There are very basic
interactive exercises for novice Portuguese learners who are learning colors,
numbers, and vocabulary on the family, and on daily life. Exercises with
feedback accompany the presentations on these topics. There are virtual tours of
major cities in Portugal and the adjoining islands, with accompanying
explanatory graphics and text in Portuguese. There are comprehension tests on
Camoes most famous work, Os Lusiadas, as well as a test on Portugal in
Portuguese, French and English. The site has interactive exercises on proverbs,
sayings and expressions. Literary texts have their own pages dealing with the
short story or the poem of the month and a number of other non-literary texts to
advance reading comprehension for Portuguese learners.

In addition to these online activities, the Centro Virtual promotes literary
contests among its users along with collaborative writing projects across
various institutions. There are treasure hunts on Portuguese topics whose
winners receive prizes and certificates of participation from the CVC. Winners
of all these competitions are acknowledged on the site and their work is posted
online.

Aprender Portugues features a number of digital resources providing access to
dictionaries, radio and TV programming, search engines, and portals. Of these,
the link to the Porto Editora dictionaries is particularly noteworthy. This
resource actually consists of five complete dictionaries: in Portuguese -
English /Portuguese, Portuguese/English, French/Portuguese and
Portuguese/French.

There are also links to whole courses in the Portuguese language accessible from
the site.
Learning Goals: Portuguese language instruction at a variety of levels. Familiarization with
Portuguese culture.
Target Student Population: Students of Portuguese language, literature and culture
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Depending on the page, differing levels of Portuguese proficiency are required.
Type of Material: Tutorials, Collections
Recommended Uses: May be used in a classroom or by independent learners.
Technical Requirements: Media Player for audio texts.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: This site is exceptional in its variety and in the high quality of the material
it features. There are very sophisticated activities here for learners of
Portuguese at all levels.

For beginners, the "Actividades Interactivas" are engaging and provide
opportunities for practice with feedback. The modules on colors, the family, and

daily life are all appropriate for beginners.


For students of literature, the short stories include works by classic figures
of Portuguese literature such as Luis Camoes, Eca de Queiros and the more modern
Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen, just to name a few. Clicking on the "Short
Story of the Month", the user gets a pre-reading exercise, the text of the story
with some glosses, and an audio version of the story. There are also scorable
comprehension exercises which are on the same screen, side by side with the
literary text. These modules are well-conceived from a pedagogical standpoint as
they contain pre- and post-reading activities, as well as a "Sabia que"
expansion exercise that extends the topic.

Similar literature modules can be found in the "Poem of the week". Primary texts
are juxtaposed with a picture of the author and accompanying biographical and
reference material. Well-selected external links provide a fuller appreciation
of the featured poets.

Aprender Portugues allows learners to experience primary texts in interactive,
hands-on ways.
Concerns:

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: These pages will suit the needs of a wide variety of users, including Heritage
speakers of Portuguese. They can be used not only for language instruction, but
for the appreciation of literature and culture as well. Faculty who seek the
inclusion of Portuguese writers in literature surveys will find ready to use
self-contained lessons. The contests and collaborative writing exercises,
intended for an international audience, promote collaboration between students
around the world. It is truly learning without borders, a very successful use of
instructional technology that will particularly appeal to the young learner.

Students of Brazilian Portuguese will enjoy hearing Continental pronunciation
and the differences in spelling and syntax. Faculty who wish to illustrate these
differences can find many textual examples on this site.

Concerns:

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: The site is easy to navigate, attractive and practical in its overall design.

Concerns: The only concern relates to the way the sub pages are listed on the home page.
In the current organization, the very basic level "Actividades Interactivas"
are buried toward the end of the list; after contests, tests, and projects for a

higher proficiency level. There could be an arrangement by proficiency level
(Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced), by themes (Literature, Culture), by
projects (Projectos Telecolaborativos, Cocursos, Cacas de Tesouro) by skill
(Listening, Reading, Writing) or by interactive exercises and games. The digital
resources would constitute still another category. Many arrangements are
possible, but a clearer, progressive scheme would probably yield more hits to
all the pages.

Other Issues and Comments: