iCE (iNterpret Chinese-English) is an instant Chinese-English translations with Microsoft Office, including Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint. It is a plug in tool for Chinese learners. Once this tool is installed, the user can easily move the mouse over the words and the pop-up window will show the pronunciation and meaning of the word. The user can listen to the pronunciation, save the entry for later study. If a word is not found in the dictionary, the user can edit the dictionary and add the personal interpretation.
The slogan of this site is "Learn Smarter, Learn Faster" in that it provides real-time translation between Chinese and English, and the user can choose what to learn and when to learn it. This tool adopts an augmented learning approach to cater to users' on-demand learning.
To learn Chinese words and phrases selected by the user.
To help students to do online reading.
Target Student Population:
Learners at all levels of Chinese proficiency.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
The user needs to know English or pinyin to look up the target words.
Type of Material:
Online user-customizable dictionary
This is a useful tool for looking up and learning target words and phrases. Users can also edit it to fit their needs.Suitable for classroom teaching, students'homework, self-study (reading and composition)
The newest edition is compatible with Windows 8. An audio player is needed for listening to pronunciation.
Evaluation and Observation
It is very easy to use. No special skills are required from the users.
It allows dictionary editing. The usual online dictionary is using a fixed dictionary. When new words are not available in the dictionary or the specific meaning of a word is not appropriate for a particular context, the users may feel puzzled. This dictionary has a special function of dictionary editing. The teachers may build his/her own personal dictionary and send the text to the students who will import to their program.
Although this is a commercial site that offers an online dictionary through paid subscription, it also provides a free edition with basic functions. This free edition should be adequate for users to look up common Chinese words and phrases. There is a lookup window where users can input their inquiries in English, pinyin, or Chinese characters (either traditional or simplified characters) to look up target words/phrases. The dictionary also incorporates Web search technology to provide contexts for the words/phrases.
The free edition is limited in functionality. For example, it does not have the "LiveScan" feature that enables users to browse Chinese Websites and see the meanings of Chinese words displayed in a popup window.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
This online dictionary is very convenient and effective for learning new words and phrases one encounters in reading any Chinese text. Users can hover over any Chinese word with the cursor to see the English translation in a pop-up window. The dictionary entries also provide the target words and phrases in various contexts. Users can also select specific meanings associated with the words they wish to learn. Instructors can make good use of this customization feature to guide students in learning the appropriate meanings of words in the context introduced in the textbook.
Users at lower levels of proficiency would need their instructor to guide them in selecting specific meanings associated with the words they are learning.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The dictionary is fairly intuitive, and the Chinese characters are color coded and clear.
It is not clear whether the free edition is actually free for indefinite use, or just a free trial for a specific time period.