Vol. 4. No. 3 M-1 May 2000
Return to Table of Contents Return to Main Page

Language Adventure 1

Instinct Corporation with Stanford University, 1998
Language Quest Software
308 State Street
Los Altos, California 94022
USA
Phone: 800-622-3574/ 650-941-6383; Fax: 650-941-6119
E-mail: instinct@magictheatre.com
Web site: http://www.magictheatre.com

Site Licences:

  • Teacher edition (1 computer)
  •   $149
  • Teacher edition "LabPak 5" (license 5 computers, teaching material)
  •   $275
  • "LabPak 5" (5 CD-ROMs)
  •   $175
  • Teacher edition "LabPak 10" (license 10 computers, teaching material)
  •   $425
  • "LabPak 10" (10 CD-ROMs)
  •   $325
  • "LabPak 15" (license 15 computers, teaching material, 15 CD-ROMs)
  •   $550
  • Teacher edition "LabPak 15" (15 CD-ROMs)
  •   $450
        *All types have the option of multiple students

    System Requirements:

    Windows 95/98 or NT 4.0; CPU Pentium 90 MHz or higher; 16 MB RAM, 32 recommended for 98; 3 MB hard disc space to install; 60 MB of HD storage per student; 4X CD-ROM drive; 16 bit sound card; Microphone and speakers or headphones.

    Introduction

    Language Adventure 1 is a CD-ROM language-learning program intended for children ages 6 through 12, and teaches six languages: English, French, German, Italian, Japanese and Spanish.

    Overview

    With a story-telling format, the characters drive the learners through the six different stories, which are graduated and have common words and phrases in the target language.

    There are three learning-level settings: pre-reader, beginner, and advanced. A fourth option allows custom settings, and another option is "observer mode"; this can be very useful to just watch and listen to the stories. Each user can be registered according to his/her language level. There is a "Help" mode, which is represented by a professor icon.

    The program can also generate and print reports on each learner's progress.

    The contents of the exercises are put into four categories: Narration, Quiz, Author and Discover.

    The website also offers downloadable material.

    Advantages and disadvantages

    Interface

    There is a story-telling content with an attractive, high-quality design. Its navigation is difficult and confusing at first; it has a control interface (such as in a plane cabin), but you must be trained in it. When you get used to the buttons, everything runs properly but always at a very slow pace. Educators have to use it and get skilled before putting it into practice with learners.

    One of its main advantages is it supports any number of students on the same computer.

    Content

    Most of the exercises are "Narration" exercises. They are mainly centered in listening and repeating/recording; this fact encourages the language learning by the communicative approach so students produce language from the very beginning, and also offers immediate feedback to learners by having them listen to their own recordings and the provided model.

    Exercises and lessons build on each other and follow rules regarding length, complexity and content. They are progressively well paced.

    This program is flexible it can be use in mixed skill-level classrooms so that teachers or users can choose the appropriate individual level so that students work at their own pace. The program records students' results, which can then be printed.

    A disadvantage is the way the program introduces sentences; pronunciation is too slow and sentences are sometimes divided into two parts. As a consequence of this, it doesn't offer a natural model of language.

    Summary

    To sum up, this program is a useful complementary material to teach and learn any of the six languages one can choose from. It is based on a communicative teaching approach.

    Lola Grau
    CEFIRE Godella, Spain
    <lolag@ctv.es>

    Table of Contents Top TESL-EJ Main Page
    © Copyright rests with authors. Please cite TESL-EJ appropriately.

    Editor's Note: Dashed numbers in square brackets indicate the end of each page for purposes of citation.