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Software Review with Student Input
by Margie L. Munts, FVCC-LCC Libby
This is a follow-up on the ESOL conference. Because our site does not have ESOL students at the present time, my assignment was to check out the software that is currently being used. This information was for my own benefit. This is a work in progress.
The two software applications that are currently being used are Rosetta Stone and Auralog (Tell me more). My first step was to look at the manuals and get set up online with a password. I did not take the placement test(s) because I wanted to be able to do lessons at all levels. My second step was to actually use the program(s). Third and finally I contacted a former ESOL student who used both programs to gather feedback (see below).
My intention was to get back up to speed as I have been away from the classroom for several years. The conference was exciting and it spirited me into getting back into the classroom. I feel comfortable with what we have on site and I will next explore some of the free stuff shared at the conference.
ESOL Student Interview
Student History: The ESOL student interviewed was a female in her mid forty’s with two years of college in her native country. She was a former ESOL student with experience using both Rosetta Stone and Auralog.
Rosetta Stone: Rosetta Stone is a very user friendly program. It is easy to understand and is a very good program for beginner students. She found it too easy and wanted more of a challenge.
Auralog: (Tell Me More) this program was more of a challenge for the student. She liked the program very much. When asked what she liked most about the program, she said that the dictionary and pronunciation guide. She showed me an entire notebook of hand written word definitions and conjugation of verb tenses. What the student was referring to are the pull down tools that give explanations, definitions, and examples. These tools enabled the student to work independently. Although she liked the tools the most, she went on to add that she also liked the boxes (student tracking system). She knew what lesson was to be next and if she had started a lesson and not finished. She was not locked into a lesson and was able to make choices. She liked looking back at instructions if she felt that she missed information.
When asked what she found most difficult with the program, she stated the paragraph rewriting activities. She said it was sometimes difficult to get the wording exactly correct. Many times she had to rely on the answer, but said that she learned from that also.
Other areas that came up for discussion were the eye strain of prolonged computer use, the need for group conversation, and being able to ask for assistance at any time. Although I did not know what to expect from the interview, it was reinforcing to find that teachers are an important part of the educational mix. One component alone is not as beneficial as a combination of many strategies, activities, and feedback.