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Technology Tip of the Month

April 1998: Lesser-taught Languages

by Deborah Healey

MonacoI was recently in France, doing some workshops on Internet and multimedia use in language teaching. I thought I was going to be talking to English teachers in Monaco, but found that the group was actually teachers of Monegasque--the native language of Monaco.

There are not a lot of ready-made computer resources that I'm aware of for Monegasque; like other lesser-taught languages, it's largely a "do it yourself" situation. Fortunately, there are a number of easy to use templates out there to help the authoring process, at least for languages that use the Roman alphabet.

The following is a list of programs and ideas for creating your own material. Those who teach uncommonly taught languages have to go this way, but these would be useful resources for any teacher interesting in creating custom material.

Mostly plain text programs

Wida Authoring Suite
Wida Software
Windows; earlier version for DOS and MacintoshA collection of text reconstruction, multiple choice, true-false, and matching exercise generators. Samples exercises for English are available at CELIA.
Question Mark
Question Mark
Windows, Mac, DOSText reconstruction, matching, true-false, multiple choice exercise generator. Exercise types can be mixed and matched to create tests. This also is set up to create exercises to use on the World Wide Web.
Author Plus
Clarity Language Consultants
Windows, DOSCreates multiple choice, instant quiz, gap fill, and error spotting exercises.
SuperCloze, Hangman in Context, Hangword
Stevens and Millmore
DOSCreates cloze, hangman, and whole-text deletion exercises from plain text files. Very easy to create material. Shareware.
Crossword puzzles: Crossword Creator (Centron Software)
Crossword Compiler for Windows (Simtel)
Macintosh, Windows, DOSCrossword puzzle generators--very easy to use.
Adventure Game and Interactive Fiction Generator
DOSAuthoring system for text-based simulations; have groups of students create the games for others to play.

Internet resources: Authoring

ITESLJ quizzes and crossword puzzlesAuthoring templates are available. Quizzes
Crossword puzzles
ESL Cafe quizzes and crossword puzzlesSome different formats to look at.
Creating web pages using information and graphics from the WebSeveral previous tech tips offer help to the teacher who wants to create lessons using Web materialFebruary, 1998: Virtual Travel
February, 1997: Sharing Bookmarks: A Guide for the Teacher Who Doesn't Do HTML
April, 1996: Using Screen Shots
June, 1996: Creating Lesson Plans that Incorporate Technology

Internet resources: Links for some lesser-taught languages

The Human Languages PageSo many language links, it's organized alphabetically by language
Ohio University Language PageAnother good collection of resources
Yamada LabFont archive
University of MinnesotaLess Commonly Taught Languages site

Multimedia authoring systems

These require more work than the templates above, but are far more powerful (but then, it usually works that way, with an inverse relationship between ease of use and flexibility). All allow relatively easy incorporation of graphics, sound files, and video clips.
Duke University
WindowsDesigned for language teachers, this authoring program has a number of templates for language exercises. With the right sound card, a limited amount of speech recognition can also be built in.
Roger Wagner
Macintosh and WindowsThis authoring system is set up to be largely point and click; you make choices from menus to create multimedia applications. This is popular in a range of US elementary and secondary classrooms because of its ease of use.
Apple Computer
MacintoshThe original Macintosh-based authoring system, this has a powerful programming language inside it. Simple activities can be created just using built-in functions, but much more is possible.

So what about Monegasque? Well, there is one web page written in Monegasque, but I'm hoping to see much more coming from those teachers. Happy authoring!

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If you have questions, comments, or for more information, contact Deborah Healey, dhealey AT uoregon DOT edu
Last updated 26 June, 2009