Digitalbrain is a new website for teachers and students containing key stage 1-4 curriculum materials. It also offers teachers the facility to author their own web pages and store materials in free web space.
An excellent new search tool is Copernic 2000, which can be downloaded free from www.copernic.com
There is a wealth of background material about France on the reference site Quidd - www.quid.fr - all the latest facts and figures about what makes the country tick. And a visit to the rapidly improving Webencyclo - www.webencyclo.fr - provides well-illustrated, accessible materials.
The excellent TF1 Reportages site
www.tf1.fremissionsreportagesarchives.htm has all kinds of alluring links to newspaper stories, such as "J'ai epouse un Suomo", followed by the France 2 series archives of Ca se Discute - www.casediscute.com
The topic areas - including family and relationships, and the environment - filled up very quickly, with lots of "one offs" through Copernic. The search for literary materials was equally rewarding, with the TV channel FR3 site - www.france3.frfr3ecrivain - yielding much interesting material on virtually all the writers in the exam specifications. Many of the set-books or plays are available on-line free to use for cloze tests or in notes by pupil or teacher.
The search engin Yahoo came up trumps with enticing sites on some of the top literary figures such as Moliere, Camus and de Maupassant. The France a la carte site - www.francealacarte.org.uk - was also rich in materials, with several popular novels receiving thorough treatment.
Tackling the common grammar syllabus was made easier with a comprehensive list at Tex's Grammar on the University of Austin, Texas site www2.lamc.utexas.edufrgr
Creating the structure of the Powerstation on the Digitalbrain site was a straightforward matter of creating folders which could then be populated with all the useful sites. There is a teachers' and students' area with appropriate content such as an excellent bilingual dictionary www.wordreference.comfr Teachers will be able to share their ideas by contributing to the site. For instance, under the section on the novel Bonjour Tristesse, I have added some vocabulary and teaching exercises. These are converted into PDF format so that they can be read by Adobe Acrobat (free from www.adobe.com). After registering with Digitalbrain, teachers can copy and adapt my folder of work for A-level. Just click on "Change User" in "My Website" and type in content. You can visit these materials on the digitalbrain website at www.digitalbrain.comusercontentpublicGCEFrench
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or tel: 01254 618808 9am-6pm for help.
Steve Glover is a former head of languages and is content manager for Digitalbrain, and manager of www.reallyusefulfrench.co.uk