Play French is a grammar tutorial for advanced high school or undergraduate French students. The site is divided into 5 learning modules: articles and determiners, pronouns, sequence of tenses, indirect speech and the subjonctif, each of which can be studied separately or as a whole. The modules begin with a grammar lesson which is followed by numerous examples and practice exercises, as well as links to additional websites for extra practice.
The five grammar capsules in this resource will be highly appreciated by intermediate and advanced visual language learners. The tutorial exposes students to authentic French and Francophone literature and culture in a setting that makes effective use of technology. Navigation is made easy by the use of sub-folders for each of the grammar categories reviewed: articles and their determinants, pronouns, sequence of tenses, indirect speech and subjunctive.
Type of Material:
The site has overall usefulness for French grammar learning at intermediate and advanced levels. In completing the exercises in each capsule, learners can effectively review grammar concepts, see examples in context and receive feedback on their answers. In addition to cultural integration, there are video resources for learning vocabulary and improving listening and reading skills. The videos and the grammar activities can be used in class or assigned for independent use. The material can be easily integrated in on-line French courses.
To be used with a computer(does not work with an ipad).
Identify Major Learning Goals:
Play French is designed to improve the writing of advanced French students, as it deals with grammar points (including the use of the subjunctive tense) which are often difficult for advanced French language learners to master. The site also provides French students with cultural knowledge, through its use of authentic French literature (such as George Perec's La Vie mode d'emploi) and historical events (such as the execution of Marie Antoinette) as a framework for each grammar topic.
he major learning goal is to review of specific grammar concepts in an authentic context. Students will learn how to follow voice-directed prompts and use text pop-up as they self-assess their grammar knowledge. The tutorial can also be helpful for developing cultural competency and improving listening and reading skills.
Target Student Population:
Intermediate and advanced level high school students and undergraduates in colleges and universities.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Students should be able to read French at a minimum of the Intermediate-High level, preferably at the Advanced-Low level, in order to fully benefit from the website.
The language and content of the tutorial is level appropriate. The innovative presentation of the grammar exercises will motivate students to pay close attention to the variety of points covered in each capsule. There is an effective introduction to each of the cultural authentic documents used: George Perec’s novel "La vie mode d’emploi", Dumas’ "Le chevalier de Maison Rouge", Henri Michaux’s "Un certain Plume". The historical background provided for specific events from the life of Marie-Antoinette and Luis XVI will enhance cultural awareness and encourage students to learn more about French history and culture. The cultural notes and the explanatory text pop-up are engaging and appealing for language learners. When identifying mistakes in their answers, students can be referred to specific areas for review.
A possible enhancement would be a glossary of all the grammar terms used in the five capsules, accessible from the main menu of the site.
The length and format of the grammar explanations may cause students to feel a bit overwhelmed. Using a larger font and dividing the grammar explanations into smaller segments would be helpful.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
This resource is a valuable multi-media tool that engages student learning in a variety of settings. It will allow learners to be engaged in an interactive exploration of challenging grammar concepts and can promote higher level thinking through the incorporation of culture. Independent users can select from a menu of grammar categories, review concepts and become aware of grammar use in an authentic context. The links to additional grammar and cultural sites provide rich resources for learners who seek further grammar review and language practice.
Many of the grammar exercises require the student to type all of the answers to a cloze paragraph in a small strip at the bottom the screen. Allowing students to type each answer directly into the appropriate blank, and to check each answer individually, would be helpful.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The design is clear and effective and the site makes innovative use of creative text. The video quality is good and the transcripts of the video sequences are easy to access. There is a wonderful incorporation of graphics and audio. The content is presented in a logical order. It is fun and easy to follow.
The videos and music which accompany each module add significantly to the site's aesthetic appeal.
The amount of text presented on a single page can be overwhelming, and the site is not always easy to navigate. Within each module, the student is often prevented from advancing until a correct answer is provided, and an incorrect answer can cause the site to send the student back to the very beginning of the module. When the student arrives at the end of a module, the only way to return to the site's main menu is to close the window of the module that was just completed.
Other Issues and Comments:
The materials can be easily adapted to online workshops and tutorials. Faculty members can use this site to effectively review specific grammar points and help students who have difficulty understanding grammar concepts in an individualized setting. The five capsules may also serve as examples for those who would like to write their own tutorials.
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