The Language Acquisition Resource Center Digital Media Archive, hosted at San Diego State University, is a growing database of online materials for teaching and learning languages. Materials are available in Arabic, Chinese, ESL, French, German, Japanese, and Spanish as well as less commonly taught languages like Korean, Mixtec, Nuer, Portuguese, and Russian. The LARC materials are in a variety of formats including text, graphics, audio and video. Suggestions for use by teachers and students are also provided on the site.
Type of Material:
Database, digital media archive
A number of teaching and learning scenarios are provided
QuickTime, Media player Language packs for languages with non-Roman characters.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
The learner will enhance language proficiency through the use of authentic materials.
Target Student Population:
Language students at a variety of proficiency levels.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Prerequisite skills vary by language.
The LARC media archive has the feel of a work in progress with enormous potential. The materials in the database cover a variety of languages from the commonly taught Spanish, French and German to the much less commonly taught Mixtec and Nuer. There are culturally authentic modules that can be found no where else on the Internet, such as the unit in Brazilian Portuguese on the preparation of the gaucho "chimmarao" beverage and the Korean feature on the importance and preparation of kim chi. There is a complete interactive textbook in Conversational Japanese. Faculty who teach with the Foreign Language standards in mind can make good use of the cultural modules. The DMA addresses all skills- listening, speaking reading and writing. Culture is not ancillary here, it is integrated.
The number and variety of objects differ depending on the language. In some cases, only Oral Proficiency Interview practice modules exist. However, the potential for LARC DMA to be more comprehensive is certainly apparent.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
Independent learners can enjoy listening to a particular segment repeatedly, both for the purpose of listening comprehension and pronunciation practice. Those preparing for oral proficiency examinations can make good use of the speaking prompts which can be used in or outside the classroom. The site has detailed information on how each given module can be used by the learner as well as the instructor.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The site is very easy to use with a clear navigation system and a detailed help page. The authors are also planning to make several of its language tools available to a wider audience, as announced on the site: "LARC is also adding an online version of their d-VOCI (digital-Video Oral Communications Instrument). This will be made available as a testing tool for languages that we have tests for,
or as a tool that will enable you to build your own tests. Another tool that is being made available to teachers, and online as well, is LARC's Digidexer. This is a digital video index tool that permits instructors to add any digital video content they want with simple text annotations (vocabulary, definitions, cultural notes, grammatical structures, etc.) without any programming. The online version, when published, will serve as a digital video index to LARC's DMA holdings and any other resources that are available."
These tools will be a great contribution to the foreign language teaching and testing communities.
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