This site was born out of an individual faculty member's need to give his Belgian students some background before taking a field trip to Paris. In order to check their prior knowledge of the French capital, he constructed over forty exercises using Hot Potatoes (see review in MERLOT). The exercises are interactive and adaptable to any classroom or online lesson on the city of Paris. Most of the exercises are in the target language, although some Dutch is used in certain exercises. There are also video clips with accompanying exercises.
Type of Material:
Quiz, tutorial, video
In-class or for independent study
Identify Major Learning Goals:
The learner will become acquainted with monuments and attractions in Paris, France. Listenig comprehension will also be enhanced through the use of authentic video.
Target Student Population:
Students in the first year of French language study can use some of these materials, while others will require somewhat higher proficiency.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
French reading proficiency
Evaluation and Observation
The presentation is lively and engaging. All of the major monuments one might expect to visit on a first trip to Paris are included-the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Sacré Coeur and Montmartre. Students will enjoy showing what they know about such cultural icons while learning new facts and vocabulary. The interactive map is engaging and can help students construct their own mental map of the city. The carte interactif is really the best tool with which to navigate the site.
Visite à Paris contains exercises for listening and reading comprehension, with an ample amount of pertinent graphics. Some comprehension questions are in French, while others are in Dutch to accommodate the needs of the population for whom they were initially designed.
It would be an improvement to have a short explanatory paragraph about each monument before proceeding to the exercises. This could be accomplished by clicking on the image and either launching a pop-up or a new web page.
An additional possible enhancement would be to have a French language version of all the exercises on the site.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
This site is an excellent example of how to use software like Hot Potatoes to construct language learning experiences while giving students a more immediate experience of the monuments of Paris. The site can be projected in a classroom or assigned for homework. It would also be an appropriate site to use in conjunction with other Paris-related web sites previously reviewed in MERLOT, such as Parillusion, Retrouvez le Sourire and Chloé.
The use of video for listening comprehension exercises is another of the site's strengths. The clip collection features a TF1 broadcast on the new gallery for the Mona Lisa in the Louvre. The universal appeal of this short segment makes it very reusable. A similar exercise exists for Notre Dame de Paris and one can only imagine that the author will add to this fine video collection.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The site makes a pedagogically sound use of the software Hot Potatoes and an appropriate use of short video clips. Students have the ability to play and replay to perfect comprehension. They get valuable feedback as they complete the accompanying exercises.
The site is visually appealing without being overly decorative. The author seems to have placed his emphasis squarely on the monuments themselves which was most appropriate to his purpose.
The author should consider putting a link to his home page or to the "Index des exercices" on each page of the site. This will make navigation more straightforward for users.