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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


Learn Spanish Online Free

 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

3 stars
Content Quality: 3.25 stars
Effectiveness: 3 stars
Ease of Use: 3 stars
Reviewed: Jul 12, 2009 by World Languages Editorial Board
Overview: The website “Learn Spanish Online Free” offers visitors a variety of information. The portal has twenty categories that can be ranked by their effectiveness. The topics we recommend are music, literature, stories, poems, jokes, and culture in that order. The others can be used as a reference. The main idea behind this portal is to inform the viewer of schools around the world that teach the Spanish language. Each school displays a preview of their methodology and offers a few free lessons. The resources we recommend can easily be adapted to accompany a lesson plan. The Spanish songs with their lyrics are valuable and the literary samples are of high quality. The classic children’s stories and poems are also impressive; and the culture content, with its jokes, gives visitors a glimpse into the Hispanic world.
Learning Goals: The purpose of this site is to provide the user with well-organized, abbreviated lists of words, sayings, poetry, etc. that could be used in the study of Spanish.
Target Student Population: High School; College General Ed; Beginner Spanish Language or Spanish Culture classes.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: None
Type of Material: Collection;Reference material
Recommended Uses: An instructor could use certain parts of the site as reference for homework or presentation topics, particularly the Spanish Recipes, Lyrics, and Stories sections.To help students appreciate the literary works and music, educators should provide background information on the author or artist prior to any assignment.
Technical Requirements: None

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 3.25 stars
Strengths: • There are a variety of categories for the user to explore, for instance Spanish Vocabulary, Alphabet, Numbers, Dictionary, Verbs, Phrases, Literature, Poems, Words etc. • The “Spanish Lyrics” section lists current Spanish speaking singers and groups that the student would find interesting.
Concerns: • The instructor would need to create an assignment for students if using this site. • The information within the site is in list form and does NOT include any grammar explanations or demonstrations. There are no prepared lessons or activities for the learner. • The vocabulary section is broken down into categories such as Body, Clothing, Family, Food, Professions, etc. but each vocabulary category has at most 22 words defined. The gender indications are very unclear in the professions vocabulary section. • The “Spanish words” section resulted in a statement appearing stating, “Sorry, we don’t have anything to show you today.” • The explanation of the “Spanish Numbers” is very incomplete. • The “Spanish Dictionary” is very abbreviated and does not include the gender of the nouns. • “Spanish Verbs” is simply a list of commonly used verbs and does not review conjugation.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 3 stars
Strengths: • The collection has some sections that would be very useful to the Spanish language instructor, such as “Spanish Recipes,” “Spanish Stories,” and “Spanish Lyrics.” It would be very easy for an instructor to create assignments based on these pages. An instructor could have students visit the “Spanish Recipes” page to choose a recipe to prepare for class, or to help review food vocabulary or the command form. The “Spanish Stories” has a large collection of proverbs and fairytales in Spanish. The teacher could use these proverbs for preterit/imperfect review or to spark ideas for students to write their own fairytale. The “Spanish Lyrics” page has complete lyrics to a number of songs in Spanish as well as embedded YouTube videos.
Concerns: • There is no actual instruction or presentation of Spanish grammar on the site. It is simply a collection of listed information, mostly vocabulary and sayings, and it often very abbreviated.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 3 stars
Strengths: • The information is organized very clearly. • The “Spanish Alphabet” section has phonetic spellings of the letters. • The “Spanish Lyrics” page is very visually appealing and contains some embedded YouTube videos as well as lyrics, a photo, and a short artist biography that the students would find interesting.
Concerns: • The listing of the categories is very repetitive. The list is always on the right panel and appears below the user’s current learning selection as well. • There is no interactive aspect of the site. • The alphabet has phonetic spellings of the letters but has no listening component to assist the user. In fact, the only listening component of the site is YouTube videos from the “Lyrics” section. • There is no welcome or instructions for the user. • The site has GoogleAds on the right column, as well as a number of “Learn Spanish in…” ads throughout the site, which are very distracting.