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Friday, September 24, 2010

Free trial to yabla

The Language Center has acquired a 60-day free trial of an internet-based video service called yabla. We should have enough licenses (Spanish = 2000, French = 1000, German = 500) to accommodate everyone (instructors and students) who wants to try it out. The product also exists for ESL, but we don't have a trial to use that.

The main pedagogical application would be listening comprehension, with some pertinence for culture, vocabulary enrichment and even reading. The site offers short, authentic videos with target-language transcription and English translation, both of which can be hidden at will. There's a built-in bilingual dictionary, a slow-play feature and even a fill-in-the-blank "game". If students click on words in the transcription, the site will create customized flashcards of those words for later review.

The videos are rated according to difficulty. Most seem to be in the 2 or 3 out of 5 range, hence accessible to ambitious second-year students. There is also an index by subject area: art/culture, documentary, environment, food, etc. In addition, the site has ready-made lessons for Spanish and French that focus on particular elements of grammar, vocabulary or even pronunciation: se impersonal, ‹h› aspiré, etc.

Using our free account unfortunately involves two steps the first time. First you have to request access. Go to the yabla page you want:

French http://french.yabla.com
German http://german.yabla.com
Spanish http://lomastv.com

Scroll to the bottom of the page and click Sign up for Students
Scroll down to MN and choose University of Minnesota
Click Continue to Sign-up » and complete the form.

After your request has been approved, you should be able to log in with your Email and Password. I'll try to keep on top of the approvals so that you don't have more than a day to wait for access, since the clock is ticking: our account expires November 23!

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