Popup Chinese provides various tools for language and culture learning. The lesson section consists of podcasts and videos of conversations, stories, music, and so forth. Users can communicate with each other through a community forum. Additional learning tools include annotated news as well as a section on HSK test guide.
Type of Material:
Chinese learning tools, reference materials, and a community forum, among others.Web-delivered materials of multiple modalities, including text with audio/video
Appreciation of Chinese culture and learning of elementary to advanced Mandarin Chinese.
Supplementing formal language instruction; enhancing knowledge about China; self-study for motivated learners.
Internet browser, enough internet bandwidth and capabilities for playing audio/video and displaying Chinese characters
Identify Major Learning Goals:
Specific learning goals are not presented, but it is self-evident that the site is a collection of various learning materials that are useful for elementary to advanced learners.The module enhances listening and reading skills at various levels, from beginning to fairly advanced.
Target Student Population:
Learners who have some background but want to improve their Chinese in a fun and relaxing environment; learners that are motivated, especially those interested in various aspects of living/studying in China.
High school and college students who are in their first to third year of Chinese studies.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Some basic knowledge about pinyin/pronunciation and grammar is helpful. No prerequisites are needed for learning basic language and culture, and some background is needed for learning more advanced materials.
The best feature is not surprisingly the popup feature, which dramatically facilitates reading; a related feature is annotation, which automatically segments a piece of text, so that the popup feature can be used. The supplied news pieces benefit from this great feature.
The audio stories are accompanied with scripts.
This site is for both casual learners and serious learners of Chinese as it consists of both cultural materials presented in English for the former, and news and stories presented in Chinese for the latter. The site has a balance of language and culture learning materials, as well as presentations in Chinese and English.
Other resources include writing pads, flashcards, information and materials about Hsk tests and Mobile tools.
Students expecting a systematic introduction and progression of materials may not find it here. Also, users need to sign up to use certain materials. Although they can register for free, there is no guarantee that they will be charged a fee in the future.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
Learners from beginning to advanced levels of proficiency will enjoy this language and culture learning site. For example, the site contains various tools such as flashcards and annotated news for advanced learners to acquire vocabulary. Beginning learners can listen to simple Chinese phrases and expressions in podcasts taught in English. There are also podcasts of stories presented in Chinese for more advanced learners to practice their listening comprehension. All levels of learners can enjoy videos of Chinese music and pop culture. They can also use the community forum to post questions and discussions. Learners who are preparing for the HSK test can take advantage of the HSK Test Center section that provides information about the test, including vocabulary lists and sample exams at all levels. The podcasts are fun, with much humor and light-hearted bantering between the hosts. The titles of the stories and lessons are attractive. Rich in information about China, and not just traditional cultural topics; also provides a discussion forum. Video archive with songs
Each section of the site should contain information on the goals/objectives of the section and the level of difficulty/proficiency, as well as instructions on how to use the learning materials. Users may need to randomly navigate through the site to find the target materials suitable for their level, and they may also need to rely on their intuition to use selected materials and operate selected tools.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The site is a rich collection of attractive images and engaging audios and videos. Navigation is user-friendly, and the podcasts are of professional quality.
Too much space is allocated to testimonials and commercial-like statements. Apparently, there are also Popup Cantonese and Popup Spanish offered by the same developer.
Other Issues and Comments:
It will be helpful if there could be an overall curricular plan, so that it can be more than a supplementary resource.
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