The LangMedia Practical Language Series provides rich resources for language instruction. The Country by Country menu for the site currently represents 24 languages, many of which are divided by the countries in which the language is spoken: e.g., French in Luxembourg, Spanish in Nicaragua, and the like. For each language, authentic materials in the way of pictures, video, and audio that capture the daily aspects of that language and culture are provided. LangMedia is an excellent resource for language educators as well as independent language learners who wish to familiarize themselves with daily life in a given land.
Type of Material:
Authentic video, audio and still images
These materials may be used by independent learners who plan to study abroad or to interact with speakers of a target language. They are also useful for vocabulary development and listening comprehension. They can be used for cross-cultural comparisons and asa springboard for conversation in class.
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Identify Major Learning Goals:
Learners will better understand language and culture through interaction with authentic material. Learners will improve listening comprehension in the target language and learn about paralinguistic cues (body language) in the target culture.
Target Student Population:
Beginning to intermediate language learners
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Evaluation and Observation
The authentic language and culture content provided by the LangMedia project is of the highest quality for those interested in the little c culture of a given country. Students can truly experience a slice of life from the culture they are studying and practice understanding real people engaged in everyday activity using the language naturalistically. All the videos are unscripted and spontaneous. LangMedia accomplishes the generation of these materials by sending students who are natives of a country home with a video camera and a list of possible topics to record. These videos are subtitled (the target language and English) and made available at no charge on the LangMedia site. The resulting materials are rich, fascinating, and pedagogically appropriate for lower-level to intermediate courses in language and culture.
The availability of authentic materials in less commonly taught languages such as Hindi, Urdu, Slovak and Swahili also mark LangMedia as an extraordinary resource.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
These materials can be easily integrated into the live, hybrid, and/or online language course with ease. Organized by themes such as Transportation, Shopping and Services, and Basic Communication, users can select from a menu of topics within these themes to access video clips, look at images, and read a brief cultural note in English about the topic. For listening comprehension skills practice and little c culture learning, the site is superb.
The LangMedia project team has thought carefully about logistical issues such as the possible "gridlock" that can be caused by a whole computer lab trying to access a module at the same time or the possibility of a site being unavailable when a given class needs it. To prevent such difficulties,
Langmedia has CDs of most modules available to institutions for purchase at extremely minimal cost.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The site is neatly laid out and materials navigable by language, by country, by topic and by subtopic. The video quality is generally good given the method of production and is suitable as realia to be used in independent and whole class learning activities. Transcripts of the video sequences are easy to access and are also available in English.