Vol. 4. No. 3 — May 2000
Language Adventure 1
Instinct Corporation with Stanford University, 1998
Language Quest Software
308 State Street
Los Altos, California 94022
Phone: 800-622-3574/ 650-941-6383; Fax: 650-941-6119
Web site: http://www.magictheatre.com
*All types have the option of multiple students
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.
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.
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.
- Narration exercises work on pronunciation and vocabulary. After listening, students are required to repeat and record
what was just heard, and they can immediately hear their own recordings.
- Quiz exercises teach comprehension. Students are asked to click on something by one of the characters.
- Author exercises are where students can try out the new language for themselves. Students are asked to create an animated
movie and add to it their own narration in the foreign language.
- Discover exercises consist of hyperlinks interspersed throughout the lessons. Their purpose is to reinforce the foreign
The website also offers downloadable material.
Advantages and disadvantages
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.
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
This program is flexible Æ 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.
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.
CEFIRE Godella, Spain
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