Tag Archives: language learning

4 Tips on Watching Movies to Learn a Language

Watching-TV

There are countless benefits and reasons why people should start watching movies to learn a language. You get to hear how people really talk in a real world scenario. You get to hear how words are really pronounced. Most of all, you get fun and (hopefully) fluency.

The reality, however, is not as simple as that. You don’t watch ten French movies and suddenly become fluent in French. Here are our tips on learning a foreign language by watching movies! Check out our tips on watching movies in pursuit of language learning on Languagenut’s blog!

BETT 2014 Conference Highlights

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In January this year, the DES team were immersed in digital stand alone and online content at the BETT 2014 Conference in London.  The content covered primary, secondary and higher education, as well as workplace learning and development.  BETT 2014 had more content than ever before. With a jam-packed programme, 3 bespoke CPD accredited Summits, 6 Learn Live theatres and a whole host of networking and fringe activity.

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DES favourites Busythings, 10 Monkeys, Oddizzi, Langaroo, Literacy Planet and Ransom had new content available for interactive demonstrations, and we also had the opportunity to contract many great new resources that reinforce the value of storytelling to engage readers and learners of all ages.

The speed learning sessions were effective.  Each session of eight tables started with an ‘expert’ introduction of 10 minutes.  A team leader managed each table with all participants moving every 10 minutes.  Topics varied from the use of VideoScribe as a workplace learning tool to raising standards in writing.  There were ‘takeaways’ to review further rather than in-depth outcomes from the two sessions per day.

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The importance of social tools for learning came out of many sessions and the effectiveness of Twitter to ‘learn the new’ was highlighted.  Additional BETT Summit sessions had a strong focus on behavioural change, content curation tools and reinforcing the ‘network as more important than the node’.

Every minute of the conference was valuable, whether engaging with interactive content or just having the opportunity to actively listen.  We look forward to sharing some of our new online resources with you in the near future.

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Muzzy: Children’s Language Learning

Enjoy Muzzy and join us again on 1 February 2013 to hear about an interesting project in Tropical North Queensland.

Conor joins us again this month to look whether Muzzy helps our children enjoy learning a language…
Children’s language learning
Developed by the BBC, Muzzy has been teaching millions of children in over 140 countries to speak new languages for more than 25 years.
Conor joins us again this month to look whether Muzzy helps children enjoy learning a language…
Muzzy is now online ready to be accessed from a home computer, or from an Ipad or an android.
Videos, songs, interactive games, books and printable exercises assist each child to learn their chosen language.
One of the most endearing aspects of the numerous activities, videos and songs is the storyline, the characters and the setting to which each activity is central. 
Muzzy, a furry creature from outer space, arrives on a foreign planet and has to make his way around without knowing the language. On his journey Muzzy makes friends with other furry creatures and animals.
Encouraging each child to follow their curiosity
Aside from the likeability of the characters, I found the program enjoyable because it allows the user to choose their own path through the activities. According to the website this is based on the ‘Montessori principle’ which allows children to follow their curiosity by allowing the user to click on a specific area of interest, rather than having to complete a set of levels where every user has the same experience.
The program allows children to move through levels as they are set, or to let their interests drive their path through the Muzzy adventure. The home screen displays various exercises which are teamed with an adventure or image which may spark the interest of the user. Each user has a freedom of choice to give a more tailored experience. Thanks for the visit.   The DES blog returns on 1 February 2013 with an interesting project by a heritage librarian in Tropical North Queensland.

Grammatikus

As a teacher of English as a Second Language (ESL) and to speakers of Other Languages,  I have become aware of how Australian English and the grammar we use, is probably in a more chaotic state of flux than has ever previously been the case.  The spectrum of current influences is over and above the natural tendency of languages to evolve with time.

Influences on Grammar
Among the influences are computer language – largely driven from America; new communication technologies together with social media, that demand abbreviated forms and symbols for speed of communication; heavy exposure of children to American English through TV and video games; the increasing use of “international English” –  a which has developed through English being the lingua franca in the globalised business world; the effects of the modified English that results when those who have learnt it as a second language become teachers, journalists, copywriters and lawyers.   
The decision to reintroduce the teaching of grammar by way of the Australian National Curriculum for English is an effort to standardise where precision and agreement on meaning may matter significantly. These issues lead me to “Grammatikus”, a new online resource for ages 10-15 that promotes enjoyable learning of grammar. 
Aligned with the National Curriculum, it is an Australian interactive game that teaches English grammar.   Grammatikus is also the name of the hero, the name of the story, and the name of the game… “Immersed in a world of mystery and adventure, players of all abilities become the central character of the story, as they embark on a personal journey.”  
Imaginative
I found a lot to like in Grammatikus.  A locally produced product; the excitement of its originators, their dedication to the project, and love of teaching, is apparent in the imaginative ways they have come up with of approaching a subject typically thought of as dry and without intrinsic interest. 
Through Grammatikus the learning of grammar becomes a fun and rewarding activity providing the tools to tackle mighty challenges which are woven into a fantasy adventure story in a mythical land populated by characters with various powers and capacities for good and evil.  
The accompanying illustrations and maps are wonderful as are the avatars students construct for themselves by mixing and matching a range of options as to armour, body parts, shields and weapons, all with their own unique properties to aid in the great quests participants are enticed to undertake.
Understand and manipulate language
Players may even find themselves appreciating grammar for its own sake as they grow confident in their ability to understand and manipulate language at an ever higher level.
I looked at Adjectives and Nouns as these are the two sections made available in the Library demonstration.  Each section (part of speech) has a prologue, several tutorials, a game and section for testing new knowledge, and an epilogue.  The prologue outlines the story and is delivered in suitably grave style to set the scene, with all its dangers and challenges, and to draw participants into acquiring the almost “sacred” knowledge that will empower them to realise their quests. 
“Virtual” Tutorials with suitably inviting names such as, The Nether Worlds, Hollow Earth, The Seal is Found, Vast Beyond Imagining, The Place newly Made, present the grammar couched in language in keeping with the adventure. These are followed by a game, (A Great Flood; Tunnel of Trouble), in which their avatar must make correct grammatical choices in the guise of attacking, blocking, leaping over and running at great speed though fantasy territory liberally scattered with pitfalls and traps as in any computer game of this type.  Players may earn gold to spend on new armour and weapons.  After the game, there is an opportunity to practice the learning from the tutorials, and then to test the new knowledge.
Embedded Grammar
The tutorials are clever; the grammar is embedded as simply another aspect of the vital tools and equipment necessary to undertake the adventure.
Grammatikus currently covers Nouns, Adjectives, Pronouns, Verbs and Adverbs. Phrases, Prepositions and Conjunctions will be available in 2013.  I noticed an optional answer to one of the practice activities provided in the wrong order which the local developers corrected. 
This inventive resource will grow and develop and be refined as the experience of students and teachers alike is fed back to the game’s originators.  The work that has gone into making Grammatikus as fun and engaging as it is, as well as pedagogically sound, demands recognition.