La Francophonie en images contains collections of photographs of Paris, the French countryside and Francophone locations such as Martinique, Tunisia, and Quebec. The collection can be searched by topic, or the user can run through a slide show of 702 images.
Type of Material:
Collection; image database
Images can be used to accompany culture and civilization lectures, as springboards for discussions, and for role plays.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
Users will develop cultural awareness through the examination of photographs.
Target Student Population:
The images are appropriate for second language acquisition at all levels.
The collection is rich and varied and would serve to animate lectures and presentations. Visual learners will appreciate having actual images to supplement what they read and hear about in class. Culturally authentic photographs are always good springboards for discussion in the L2 class.
It would be interesting to juxtapose the rather traditional views of Paris with those of another site reviewed in MERLOT, Parillusion. This latter site takes on the images of the Paris tourists rarely see, while Francophonie en images documents landmarks and typical sites that are more frequently the subject of classroom lectures.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
One of the nice features of the slide show is the six-ten second delay between images. This time period could be just enough for a teacher to comment on the photo contents and to ask a question. If ten seconds are not enough, the user can pause the refresh function and linger on a particular image. Also at any given slide, one can see a list of the next ten slides in the sequence and jump to a preferred slide.
If one searches the database for pictures, the Parisian pictures can be sorted by arrondissements for concentration on a particular area. Searching by country gives the user access to Canada, Martinique and Tunisia, along with France. There are several good shots of Mont Pelee, the famous Martinican volcano that erupted in 1902 and one picture of a camel herder from Tunisia. When one clicks on a thumbnail in the country collections, the photos become bigger and there is a link at the top left to go back to the search.
Searching can also be done by year with the oldest photo being a shot of Mont St. Michel from 1964 and the latest additions being Parisian street scenes in 2003.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The pictures are easy to find using the search function. Search categories include year, era, country, photographer, neighborhood and locality. Each individual image has its own detail record with a blank for the name of the photographer, country, city, neighborhood and a short description.
The design of the front page is dated and could benefit from a more modern look. The animated home page graphics may be distracting to some viewers. Once in the slide show, there is no easy way to go back to the home page.
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