The REALIA Project which stands for Rich Electronic Archive for Language Instruction Anywhere is a searchable, web-enabled database of images for use in teaching foreign languages (currently French, German, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish).
Type of Material:
The REALIA project currently includes more than 600 images for two languages, Russian and Spanish; for example, images and sounds of street life, festivals, ceremonies, signs, food, people, games, events, crafts, advertisements, local products, transportation, schedules, tickets, local products, and postcards.
The materials can be used for testing and review purposes as well as for discussions on differences between the cultures.
There are no additional technical requirements.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
Visualizing language items by adding images to tests, vocabulary lists, and grammar handouts can significantly increase students' learning and help them to familiarize themselves with the everyday realities of other cultures.
Target Student Population:
The site is intended more for instructors than for students. The goal of the REALIA Project is to develop and implement a searchable digitized media database which will provide instructors of modern languages with teaching resources accessible via the Web.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
No prerequisite knowledge or skills are required except for very basic computer skills.
The goal of The REALIA Project is to promote and support the use of images in language instruction. Users of the prototype database can expect to browse and search a set of approximately 200 images. Images can be viewed and downloaded in thumbnail, computer screen-size, and full resolution archival formats. Users can also compare images side by side and save selected images to html webpage formats for use on local web servers and electronic reserve systems. Besides providing high quality images and sounds, the REALIA project includes detailed descriptions of each item, the name of a photographer or an item provider, and directions on the use of these materials via Pedagogical Notes. For example, the photo of "pododeyalnick", a blanket cover used to protect the blanket from dirt and damage that lessens the need for laundering, is provided with a detailed description on how this photo and the information about this cultural reality can be used: it can be used in discussing daily life in Russia, and how this differs from life in the US. Even such details as how a bed is made (the absence of fitted sheets, the ubiquity of pododeal'niki, the larger square pillows, etc.) are included.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
The site can be used in both language and culture classes, as well as in literature classes to focus students' attention on Spanish or Russian everyday life and promote discussions among students on how language reflects culture. The site items can be used in tests and quizzes to help students to visualize learned material. The images can make a great addition to vocabulary lists.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The site provides an excellent interface for searching materials. One can search the whole collection or can choose either the Russian or Spanish collection to search. Images are categorized on several levels,
and an advanced search feature allows the user considerable control over search results. It is possible, for example, to search by title or description. Further search options include target language (Russian or Spanish), theme/realia (art, buildings, people, food, transportation), and location (Bolivia, Mexico, Cuba, Moscow, Russia). This allows the user to pinpoint materials that are appropriate for his or her audience. The site also has its own bookmark feature "My Favorites", which allows the user to create personalized mini collections. The CONTENTdm PowerPoint Plug-in enables quick and easy import of My Favorites, images as well as metadata, into a Microsoft PowerPoint format. The PowerPoint presentation can then be edited and modified using the tools available in PowerPoint
The site does not provide the opportunity to search in Cyrillic, but this feature is promised to be available in the next version.
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