French taught through a murder mystery, with interactive exercises that provide clues for the solution of the murder, while at the same time reviewing grammar and vocabulary. Reading, writing, listening and grammar are all addressed at four different proficiency levels. Target language is used exclusively. Very contemporary, standard French. Scoring is available.
Technical requirements: Real-Audio (link to download it from the POLARFLE site)
Multimedia:Audio, animation, graphics and images
This program, with its attention to various proficiency levels, is engaging and comprehensive. Even at the beginning level, the module is quite challenging.
Evaluation and Observation
The modules are cleverly designed with the murder mystery as a pretext. Its purpose is clear: to figure out who committed the murder. This organizing principle is the module's greatest strength. The task creates a real context for language learning, which takes the module beyond drill and practice to the level of a rich language module. A wealth of grammar exercises, graduated in difficulty from the present tense to the subjunctive and the like, provide clues for the students as they solve the mystery. Students are directed, in the Mode D' Emploi, to follow the various rubrics in order, so that the murder unravels in the proper sequence and so that they review the French language topics in their proper order. Extensive use of high quality sound files makes it useful for both listening and pronunciation.
The content of this module is current, fresh and accurate. It addresses a variety of language skills and hard-to-teach concepts in a rich and authentic context.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
As a tutorial, this module is particulary useful as a supplement to the instruction of many commonly- taught aspects of the language and culture. The breadth of content makes it relevant for all levels of proficiency beyond first semester French. It can be used profitably by a self-directed learner or in a classroom setting. It appeals to a variety of learning styles.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
A beautiful application in terms of layout, graphics, color and animation. Consistent design elements from page to page provide for easy navigation. Screens are not cluttered and there is extensive useful feedback throughout. User instructions are provided in many modern languages to provide the clearest possible instructions to the first-time users. The instruction page explains all the icons that help guide the students through the activity. There is useful information about the authors as well as current contact information.