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Peer Review

CAPL: Culturally Authentic Pictorial Lexicon



Overall Numeric Rating:

4.75 stars
Content Quality: 4.5 stars
Effectiveness: 4.5 stars
Ease of Use: 5 stars
Reviewed: Feb 16, 2007 by World Languages Editorial Board
Overview: The CALP is an archive of culturally authentic images from German-speaking areas. It is a repository for free-use, high-definition digital images of authentic cultural artifacts across a broad range of subjects relevant to daily life (shopping, banking, schools/universities, transportation, travel, living, sports and fitness) big-C culture (art and architecture, historical realia), and customs and traditions (Christmas, religious holidays, etc.). The pictures are clear and up-to-date and convey exceptionally well aspects of German, Austrian, and Swiss life ways. Additional links off each picture take users to the highly popular LEO on-line dictionary and to Wikipedia entries, and each picture is presented next to its German term and English counterpart. This allows students and teachers to access additional on-line information about each object from one convenient place.
Type of Material: Collection of digital images with links to an on-line dictionary and encyclopedia entries.
Recommended Uses: The collection does not set out recommended uses, but clearly the images could be used in Powerpoints, on flash cards and anywhere visual aids are used.Students interested to see what the target culture "looks like" every day will enjoy browsing the images by category. PowerPoint presentations would be greatly enhanced by these images, and many could be used to create all-in-German vocabulary practice (game activities, matching picture and word, etc. ) for beginning German classes, as well as to enliven course materials, handouts, etc. in which the topics are treated.
Technical Requirements: Operates on a standard browser.
Identify Major Learning Goals: Since this is a repository most primarily for teachers, the most obvious learning goal is to be able to include visual "snapshots" of an all- German (or -Austrian/Swiss) environment in one's teaching, thus making the target cultures seem more real and vibrant to students
Target Student Population: It is good for students of German at all levels. Students preparing for study abroad can familiarize themselves with the way things look on site; students and teachers seeking culturally authentic realia to include in course assignments, Power Point presentations on German culture, etc. will find this site a gold mine.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: The clear organization of realia by category and the English language subject index makes the repository especially easy to navigate. Even students with no prior knowledge of German can easily find pictures on a given topic.Users might need to be familiar search strategies. There are major categories listed on the website, the search tool can produce additional hits.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4.5 stars
Strengths: The clarity of the pictures (which undergo the approval of an editorial board) and the transparent organization of pictures by related content makes images (and related images) especially easy to find. There are regular links to on-line dictionary entries in LEO that provide additional occurrences of each noun (most primarily associated verbs, such as "eine Vorlesung besuchen") that would help students learn related words in conjunction with the pictures. Similarly, links to Wikipedia entries expand on the pictures still further.
Concerns: In some very limited cases, some LEO links I checked did not render the same German expression for the object as the one listed in the CAPL. However this may have been due to the newness of such terms in German (ex. "white board marker") and the fact that they are not yet fully lexicalized. It is surprising that some categories have as yet so few entries. Advertisement: only 8 slides. The search capability does allow you to then look for “billboard” and find that there are more entries that could count as advertisement that are not under that link. How great to have a search/browse function!

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4.5 stars
Strengths: The authenticity of the pictures is excellent; this is an excellent resource to anyone wishing to provide for students up-to-date images of life in Germany, Austria, Switzerland.
Concerns: Some similar archives have an additional space to provide the viewer some pedagogical tips for possible usage of the images.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: The organization of the site is exceptionally transparent and easy-to-use; the all-English categories of pictures makes this site even friendly to beginning learners. Also, the data base is also searchable by keyword (in English or German) so that users can retrieve related images that may fall in more than one category.Very clear and easily navigable.
Concerns: none

Other Issues and Comments: This repository is first-rate and will allow teachers to make materials look and feel more authentic by including images of present-day Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The extreme clarity of the pictures, their up-to-date nature, and the ease of use of the site are all huge pluses, as is the authors' commitment to make the images available copyright-free as long as the web site is cited as the source.