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.
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:
May be used in a classroom or by independent learners.
Media Player for audio texts.
Evaluation and Observation
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.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
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.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The site is easy to navigate, attractive and practical in its overall design.
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.