SOFTWARE EVALUATION FORM


Software Reviewed By:  Amina Nihlawi  & Elizabeth Cope

Title of Software: Pronunciation Power Idioms

http://www.encomium.com/pp/en/idioms.html

 

Product name   Pronunciation Power Idioms
Version/Date

 NA

Platform / Operating system  

System Requirements

System Requirements:

MacintoshMacintosh System Requirements:Power PC, 100MHz, System 7.5.3, 20MB available RAM; 800x600 resolution; 4x CD-ROM drive; Microphone; Speakers; 5MB disk space.

WindowsWindows System Requirements:Intel Pentium, 100MHz, Windows XP, Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows NT 4, 32MB RAM; 800x600 resolution; 4x CD-ROM drive; Microphone; Speakers; 5MB disk space.

 

Get Macromedia Shockwave Player!

You will need Macromedia Shockwave(TM) Player to view the Dictionary and Pronunciation Power demos.

Get Macromedia Flash Player!

You will need Macromedia Flash(TM) Player to view the Idiom demos.

Get QuickTime!

You will need QuickTime(TM) to view the demo movies.

 

 

 

ESL/EFL Level(s):     Basic   Low Intermediate   Intermediate  High Intermediate  Advanced
(Click all that apply.)

Age group:     kindergarten   elementary grades  middle grades  high school  college age  adult interest
(Click all that apply.)

Type of Program:
Check all that apply.

Problem Solving  Drill and Practice  Simulation Informational   Game Student Tool  Teacher Tool ESL-Specific Non-ESL Specific  Testing  Text Reconstruction  Text Construction  Exploratory activities
Other:
multiple choice quizzes

User friendliness:

not at all somewhat average good excellent

English Language Areas Covered:
Check all that apply.

Reading   Speaking  Writing  Vocabulary  Grammar  Listening   Cultural Competence  Computer
Conversational  Other: ___________________________

Describe the program and its functions/components briefly.  What is the content?  What does the program try to accomplish?

 

 The website mentions that:

Product Features:

  • 104 Idiom lessons with a picture, a description of the idiom and a recorded sample sentence.
  • 3 interactive Exercise sections with 10 units each to help you practice your idioms. There are over 300 different exercise questions for you to answer and get feedback on.
  • 10 interactive quizzes for you to test your idiom knowledge.

 The main purpose of the software is to teach students the typical, everyday idioms used in America. The program begins by defining what an idiom is. Then, students can select to review the lessons or start answering the exercise questions. In a lesson, each idiom has “a picture that relates to the actual meaning of one of the words.” Students “will see all of the forms of that word, an idiomatic phrase, a definition of the idiom and a sample sentence using the idiom.” Also, there is a listening clip with each idiom lesson where the idiom is heard being used in context. The program provides lots of practice exercises and comprehensions questions (as seen in the Sample Idiom Lesson).

 

Pedagogical considerations--Program Operation:
How easy is the software to use?   Consider 4 of the criteria on the right?

 

  • Is there an instruction manual and/or an on-screen help option?  Although there was no HELP button in the demo, the Overview of the program mentions that “Help using the program is built into the program.” Furthermore, there is no instructional manual for  this program, because there are only two main buttons to the program, which are File and Lesson & Exercises.
  • Can the program and lessons be opened quickly and easily? Yes, as mentioned in the previous answer, when the student runs the program he/she will find two main buttons: File and Lesson & Exercises.

  • Are the program functions and instructions easy to follow, or do they cause frustration (what kind?)? The program’s functions are very easy to follow. When a student selects a button, they will get a pull-down menu from which they select a particular activity.
  • Can the learner move from lesson to lesson easily as well as go back to previous material? Yes, the pull-down menu helps students easily navigate through the program.

  • Can the learner control the program (the options he/she chooses), or is there a set sequence that must be followed?  Yes, the learner is in control of the program and can jump from one task to another.
  • Can the learner's work be saved? Under Exercise & Quiz Reviews, when the student completes “all of the exercises in a unit,” they will see their grade and a list of questions they marked incorrectly. Then, the student can either, redo, review or try a new exercise. Thus, it seems that no work may be saved.
  • Can the learner quit from any point in the program/save previous work? The student can quit from one program and go to another, since the two main buttons are always on top. But, from the information that I’ve read about the program,  it doesn’t seem as if students’ work can be saved.
  • Does the program make the learner's work and scores available to the instructor? Since the program is student centered, the only way that a teacher can get access to students’ work is if the student prints their scores. But, in the score sheet, there isn’t a Print icon.

  • Does the program have an authoring function that allows the instructor to author his/her own text into the program?  Is it possible to modify lessons or add customized lessons to the syllabus? No, there doesn’t seem to be an authoring function for the instructor, since the program is student-centered. Also, from what I have reviewed about the program, the lessons cannot be customized nor can they be modified. The lessons and exercises are built into the program and “set in stone.”

Pedagogical considerations--Feedback:
How does the software program evaluate the learner's response?  Consider 3 of the criteria on the right.

  • Does the program present an authentic task? Yes, learning the rudiments of the English language: grammar, vocabulary, etc can be considered much easier than learning what an idiom is.
  • Does the program interact with the learner by allowing input and modifying output? At the end of the exercises the student is presented with a list of incorrect questions.  The student can only review and redo the exercise or choose another. The input is not instant.
  • Does the program foster critical thinking? Yes, the student is given a picture, a written meaning and can listen. The student can solve the problem through these tools.
  • Does the program foster negotiation of meaning? Yes.  The world of idioms is negotiating of the meaning of words and phrases.
  • Does the learner receive informative feedback for his/her response? Only at the end of the exercise.
  • Does the software provide feedback for both correct and incorrect answers? It gives feedback only for incorrect answers.
  • Does the program "flag" errors, such as by highlighting a particular part of a response that is incorrect? No
  • How many tries does the learner get? One
  • Is the correct response provided, and after how many tries? Correct response is given at the end of the quiz after only one try.
  • Does the program allow the learner to repeat exercises (and correct
  • mistakes) indefinitely? Yes, the student can review, redo, or choose another exercise indefinitely.

Pedagogical Considerations--Content
Select the appropriate criteria on the right.

žWell organized  žWell sequenced  žEnjoyable
žInteresting   žFactually correct  žHelps learning
Provides effective practice 
žIntroduces new language

 

understandably  žProvides meaningful interaction between computer & learner  Provides communicative interaction between students  

 

 žCreates challenge without anxiety


žFree of excessive violence  žFree of stereotypes What little the demo showed, yes.
Takes advantage of computer's unique capability 
Comments: Explain some of the content features above in more detail.

Pedagogical considerations--Program Output
Select the appropriate criteria on the right.

ž Attractive screens
ž Color
Video
ž Attractive Graphics
Attractive Sounds
Personalization

ž Print option available

Comments
1.  State the program's strengths and weaknesses from a pedagogical point of view.

2.  Mention how/where this software fits/doesn't fit into current learning and teaching theories.

 1.  This software strength is that it works on a specific area of language that is often difficult to study. It uses the pictures along with the text.  The weakness is that the student does not have immediate feedback on each question. The student has to get to the end of the exercise to find out if they made a correct choice or not.

2.  This software fits in nicely in reading literature.  All novels have idioms and the student needs to learn what they are and how to decipher them. All parts of the country have distinctive idioms.  Learning idioms helps the student decipher the people and culture of the area they live.