The Spanish eLearning Project provides narrated tutorials and practice exercises for nine main grammar points with which many students struggle, such as verbs like "gustar", indirect and direct object pronouns and the subjunctive mood.
This review covers a specific portion of the Penn State Berks Center for Teaching and Learning Website. It focuses on the section entitled "Spanish: Tutorials and Practice Exercises" that can be found under "Portfolio of Custom-designed eLearning Resources". There are exercises that were designed and developed by the Center for Learning & Teaching in collaboration with Dr. Bélen Rodríguez-Mourelo, Dr. Rosario Torres, and Dr. Edwin Murillo.
Type of Material:
This site contains a selection of brief tutorials followed by practice activities regarding the following topics:
Direct and Indirect Objects
Preterite and Imperfect
Ser and Estar
The material can be used to present grammar or as a supplement for students who would benefit from seeing and/or hearing the information presented in an alternative way. The exercises can be used as a class warm-up or review or as extra practice outside of the classroom.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
Listening to the grammar tutorials narrated by a native peninsular Spanish speaker, students will enhance their oral comprehension skills. Correct sentence structure and vocabulary use are modeled in the multiple-choice exercises.
This resource can be used to improve all skills, since the knowledge gained from using this resource can be applied in a variety of contexts. This resource would be most helpful for students in the beginning and intermediate level
Target Student Population:
Secondary and Post-secondary
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Some previous knowledge of how verbs are conjugated in Spanish would be helpful.For most of the tutorials, it is assumed that the user possesses an introductory knowledge of Spanish, such as the meaning of high frequency verbs and regional variations in the use of the personal pronouns "vosotros" and "ustedes." Nevertheless, the use of photographs aids in comprehension.
The creators of this material have identified the most difficult grammar concepts for students and explained them in ways that are easily understood, particularly by visual and auditory learners. The creative and lively graphics in the tutorials present the information in ways that may differ from those in the student's textbook or other ancillary materials. Unlike other sites, the focus is not on the presenters themselves but on the subjects of the example sentences. In fact, the narrators' images are not shown. The photographs in the practice exercises contextualize the examples and are very effective in capturing typical scenes of campus life from the mundane (studying at the library) to humorous (campus police entering a dormitory to arrest under-age drinkers).
I would consider replacing the photograph of Joe Paterno in the "Ser and Estar" section with the current football coach or the coach of another Penn State sport.
It would be helpful to explain the meaning of "don" and contrast it to "señor" in the formal commands tutorial, where both terms are introduced. There are occasionally missing accent marks (e.g. Slide 12 of the imperfect tense tutorial, etc.).
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
The tutorials are narrated at a pace that is easy to follow and structured so that the student can easily return to a particular segment without having to view the entire presentation. The exercises are interactive and fun. Their video game-like quality will appeal to students with a variety of learning styles. The Spanish guitar music that accompanies the site is upbeat and lively.
Students who need added clarification or practice on any of these topics will find help here.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The site is aesthetically pleasing and easy to navigate. There is an instructional video which walks the user through how to use the site. This helps one get oriented and move through the site with ease.
he site is well organized and the instructional video of how to ensure that one's browser is updated is extremely usef
Although easy to navigate and well organized, the lack of images or color on the main page lends it a sterile quality that is not reflective of the content of the tutorials or activities.
This specific portion of the site is a little difficult to get to. One must first go to the home page for Penn Sate Berks Center for Teaching and Learning, and then click on "Portfolio of Custom Designed eLearning Resources" at the bottom of the page.
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