Grammatushka is a computer assisted language learning program created to assist students of first-year Russian learns the alphabet, vocabulary, and grammatical rules in the context of Russian culture and history.
Type of Material:
The site can be used by both independent learners and instructors of Russian as a supplement to their in-class work.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
The goal of this site is to help learners develop better their understanding of fundamentals of Russian grammar by interacting with cultural elements. Themes include Russian foods, restaurants, cafes, typical Moscow apartment life, transportation, musical performances (popular culture, folk music, Stalin era classics, Bolshoi Ballet), street vendors, holidays, seasons and the corresponding activities.
Target Student Population:
The site is intended for first-year learners of Russian.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
The strength of this site is integrated feedback in learning activities and the use of feedback as a teaching tool. Comments in Russian provided with sound files can be a powerful tool for teaching Russian in real life contexts. Another strong feature is a combination of several media in the same activity. For example, the alphabet is presented in a rather non-traditional way. Besides images of letters and sounds of these letters, the authors provide vocabulary items starting from the particular letter provided with a sound equivalent of a letter and an image. Grammar explanations are comprehensive but not overloaded with unnecessary details. Each unit has several video clips, readings, and multiple choice grammar exercises. The structure of activities is consistent throughout the site.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The site has a clear structure and is easy to navigate. It provides information on video clips opening in new windows so that users would not get confused. The site has a great Help option that provides technical support for both Windows and Mac users.
The only suggestion would be to provide information on where to download plug-ins for viewing video clips as not all users have QuickTime installed on their computers. It would also be helpful if there were a unit navigation bar, not only a whole site navigation bar, for learners to go over specific materials within each unit.
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