Tag Archives: learning languages virtually

Learning Arabic Online

girls-and-sophia1

Year 11 Business Management students will learn basic Arabic in 1.5-2 hours  using a mix of online tools. As businesses become more global in nature and outreach, cultural understanding and ability to interact with other languages is essential for success. Most of my class live on farms and  their beef and lamb may be exported to the Middle East.

We have been offered the opportunity to learn Arabic, initially with a Sophia Aron of  Critical Language Service  in the USA and then, finally with an Arabic native speaker in Egypt. They will initially learn basic language and also view a number of cultural videos. This is to support Sophia with her request for sample videos of students learning Arabic and will be recorded. Skype was used to connect with Sophia for each of our classes with her. She was able to speak to us, be on standby for any questions and share her screen with us so we could be stepped through some of the tools. The skype chat was used for sharing codes required for some of the tools.

The time allocation:-

  • 45 minutes: studying the vocabulary and materials that would be used in the lesson on the platforms Quizlet, Memrise. and Flashcards by NKO.
  • 30 minutes actual class
  • 15 minutes: student reaction and question time.

Tasks Prior to Learning eArabic

Students will obtain a username and password login for the following sites. Use your login code for computer access as your username.

Pre – session

Sophia was online on skype, she helped us  walk the students through the process live of setting up accounts using screen share.  The classes work on a Flipped Classroom/Blended learning model so Sophia pre- teaches the material via online tools and then the face-to- face time with the Egyptian teacher serves as a chance to practice implementing what they already learned.

Here are Sophia’s notes to us

I plan to use 2 platforms to pre-teach materials:

1. Memrise http://www.memrise.com/group/9115/

Memrise is the main platform.The class was divided up into 3 groups.  Inside the group, there are 2 courses. We will focus on the first course; Arabic for All Ages. The second course is simply an FYI about the Arabic alphabet. If  students do study that, then the Egyptian teacher will incorporate writing into her live lesson with them, if not then she will not use any Arabic letters. Inside the course “Arabic for All Ages” there are 4 levels. Level 1 is a video level. The first video in Level 1 is the vocabulary video. It is a section of a cartoon and most of the words we will use in the live lesson are in this short clip. The videos below the cartoon video offer English explanations of basic Arabic expressions and grammar. Level 2 is the where the studying begins. This level is spaced repetition flashcards of the vocabulary words. Students study the flashcards in small chunks. They can opt to take breaks between studying chunks to go back and watch the cartoon video from Level 1. The goal is for Memrise to determine that they have mastered all of the vocabulary words in the list; though due to time constraints this will not likely happen. Level 3 is not relevant for this class. Level 4 is culture videos. These videos will help the students to perform culturally appropriate role plays during the live class. They only need to be watched once.

2. Quizlet https://quizlet.com/_psu61

Sinbad Sets 1 and 2 Transliteration w/D…

Quizlet is used for its games. After the students have been studying the vocabulary for a while its useful to have competitions between groups and individuals using Quizlet Live and the various games built into the platform.

The problems we faced-

  • Logging in to some of the platforms and gaining user registrations.
  • Downloading some of the apps. Bandwidth at home was not strong enough in our rural areas to download the apps on to their smart phones.
  • Student smart phones to not have wireless access at school nor is there mobile phone service.
  • One student did not have a smart phone
  • Finding common times that would suit all time zones. However, amazingly our Egyptian teacher only gets home from work at 1am and is willing to connect with the students after that time.
  • Initially finding a class that I could work with easily. But on reflection, it was easy to ‘tweak’ Business Studies curriculum and fit it in there as it is a small class and I have them 5 times a week This made it possible to work in with Sophia’s time zone.girls-and-sophia1

 

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