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Peer Review

Radio Ambulante

by Daniel Alarcón


Overall Numeric Rating:

5 stars
Content Quality: 5 stars
Effectiveness: 5 stars
Ease of Use: 4.75 stars
Reviewed: Aug 30, 2012 by World Languages Editorial Board
Overview: This is an online radio show in Spanish. Imagine "This American Life" but in Spanish. Radio Ambulante is a monthly Spanish-language radio program showcasing compelling human stories from around Latin America and the United States. It is the first of its kind in Spanish. Each episode has a theme and several stories around that theme. They start a new episode every two months. They work with a community of talented storytellers from around Latin America and the U.S., using technology to create and share their work. The podcast is available for streaming and download to listeners everywhere on their website and via iTunes. (summmary adapted from website)
Type of Material: Radio program accessible via internet
Recommended Uses: There are several possible uses for this site. Since the program is available in English and Spanish, even lower level students could listen to the program to learn about culture and recent events in Spanish-speaking countries. Intermediate and advanced level students will be able to improve their aural comprehension and vocabulary skills by listening to the program in Spanish. In all levels, the themes presented provide great starting points for students to conduct more research or for the teacher to engage the class in a lively discussion.
Technical Requirements: Good Internet connection and speakers.
Identify Major Learning Goals: This radio program is most appropriate for intermediate to advanced learners. It is an excellent resource for students to learn vocabulary in context and also to acquire information about culture and recent events pertaining to specific Latin American countries and the U.S.
Target Student Population: In some segments, the speakers swear and use words that may never be in regular textbooks. This is real, everyday Spanish, and for this reason, these shows may be suitable only for students 18-years or older. Some segments may be used in high school, but teachers need to listen carefully to each episode and its segments. All levels for English version, intermediate to advanced learners for Spanish version, perfect for Heritage Speaker courses
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: For intermediate and advanced non-native speaker students, or elementary Spanish for native speakers. Ability to understand Spanish spoken by a native speaker. (Students will vary in their ability to do this, but increased exposure to programs such as this will improve their ability).

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: This is an excellent way for teachers to introduce themes that are relevant today in Latin America and to provide students with more in-depth cultural understanding. It is also a great resource for building vocabulary and boosting aural comprehension skills. It is well written and read. The quality of the recording is great. The stories are very engaging and sometimes unusual.
Concerns: Teachers may be hesitant to use the site if they are not familiar with the themes presented. However, teachers can always ask the students to do more research on a theme and present their information to the class.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: Yes. Students who have the ability to understand the themes being discussed will have their interest piqued by the stories and be driven to learn more. This will lead to an increase in language learning and cultural understanding.
Concerns: This is not really a concern, just a side note. Since this website is not necessarily geared for students of Spanish, the teacher does need to do some preparation in regards to preparing questions for students, high-lighting specific vocabulary, and helping the students process the information that they have acquired. Teachers will need to prepare a good vocabulary list, pre-reading, reading, and post reading activities.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4.75 stars
Strengths: The site is very well organized. Since there are not that many episodes now, it is easy to find and locate the fragments of the show. There is a blog that provides extra information and it may be used by teachers and students.
Concerns: The stories may be more interesting to people who are 18-years or older. However, 15-year-olds who like history and culture are able to understand a great deal from each episode.

Other Issues and Comments: n/a
Comments from Author: n/a