Help is at hand

26th May 2006 at 01:00
FRENCH AT YOUR FINGERTIPS. SPANISH AT YOUR FINGERTIPS. Multimedia language programmes from the University of Cambridge and BBC. Active. Price of licence tailored to each institution. Contact Catherine Bolton, BBC Active, Pearson Education. Tel: 0207 010 2713. E-mail:

These online programmes are aimed at post-16 students. They have been developed by the University of Cambridge Language Centre, using video and audio material from BBC language programmes.

Content is structured into three levels (basic, intermediate and advanced) and can be used for self-study or integrated into whole-class teaching. The basic level is designed for post-16s who want to reach a high level relatively quickly.

Many of the activities in the intermediate section reflect those in the A-level exam - eg gap filling and word definitions. At intermediate level there are three themes: On travaille, On se soigne and On raconte (focusing on tenses) and a test. The themes have several sections, each with around eight activities centred on video or audio material. The material can be paused or repeated while the transcript (or a translation) is read.

Clear learning objectives are set out and support given to independent learners through "just-in-time help" and immediate feedback. A help section includes vocabulary, grammar and culture. Each theme ends with a 90-minute test which must be completed to at least 60 per cent accuracy.

The activities are suited to independent learning or preparation for exams; they include listening comprehension, reading activities, role plays and games, which are fun yet challenging for older learners. They are attractively designed though the writing is small. Audio content is clear and video high quality.

This resource will be very beneficial to teachers and learners post-16, particularly because of its rich multimedia content, appropriate learning activities and in-built support.


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