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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


Step into German

by
 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

5 stars
Content Quality: 5 stars
Effectiveness: 5 stars
Ease of Use: 5 stars
Reviewed: Mar 21, 2014 by World Languages Editorial Board
Overview: The Goethe-Institut San Francisco designed Step into German to teach German through music and soccer. This website addresses all skills, with emphasis on listening, vocabulary, grammar and Landeskunde (culture). Designed for the secondary level, it is suitable for college as well since the music will appeal to both age groups. Step into German features music and music videos from smash-hit rock groups in Germany with a nod to classical music.
Learning Goals: The site addresses all language skills. Materials emphasize listening, vocabulary development (reading), grammar (writing) and the culture/geography (Landeskunde) of Germany.There is a heavy emphasis on popular culture which will clearly be engaging to high school and undergraduate students.
Target Student Population: The site is geared toward middle and secondary students with its "motivating, authentic and up-to-date materials," as it accurately describes them. College students who are continuing German from high school will quickly convince their classmates of how cool the site is.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: There are no prerequisites for the soccer materials. Worksheets for the music videos are intended for students with a basic knowledge of German.
Type of Material: The focus is practice and drill; the range of materials is extensive: audio and video files with accompanying lesson plans and classroom worksheets. Plans include a wide range of activities and there are a variety of levels. There is a link to the companion Facebook page and the site newsletter.
Recommended Uses: The soccer materials can be used at any level to teach Landeskunde. In addition, all music videos have corresponding downloadable worksheets which provide exercises to review and expand vocabulary, grammar, listening, speaking and writing. Most are broken down into sections for beginning, intermediate and advanced levels and require little/no preparation.
Technical Requirements: Ability to play audio/video files, download worksheets in MS-Word or .pdf formats.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: The Goethe-Institut San Francisco, a branch of the German national cultural institute, has designed the materials, which are therefore correct, current and culturally authentic. GI-San Francisco updates the site with new music videos monthly and sponsors student contests. The site is highly engaging; students will ask when they can see another video/listen to a new song. Marian Graham: The Goethe-Institut San Francisco, a branch of the German national cultural institute, has designed the materials, which are therefore correct, current and culturally authentic. GI-San Francisco updates the site with new music videos monthly and sponsors student contests. The site is highly engaging; students will ask when they can see another video/listen to a new song. Authenticity is a major feature of the language on the web site. The topics are engaging and it would be easy to create learning activities related to the content. The video of the German rock band that played at an Arizona school and interacted with the students there illustrates how the site makes German culture come alive.
Concerns: no concerns

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: The material is highly engaging since it is geared to the leisure and hobby interests (music and sports) of teens and young adults. It does a great job of fostering ACTFL's 5 Cs.
Concerns: The images on the site are of high-school aged students, which may put college students off at first. Once they hear the music, their concerns will vanish.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: The site is very easy to navigate. Links for the various sections (Music, Soccer, German Matters and My German Program) are prominently displayed.
Concerns: no concerns