Saturday, July 20, 2013

Educents Review: Games for Language online program

Like I mentioned the other day, I have two reviews this week on educational products that Educents is offering over the next few days. The second product I wanted to try out for myself is an online program called Games For Language. Above is the YouTube short with the French language, the program I signed up for. I have been able to review this for the past week, and I have one week left in my trial period, in which I am hoping to finish Level 1 on my own time, for my own pleasure and catching up!

From the company, this program is for, "beginners who like a challenge, adults and teens who may already have a background in the chosen language, or learners that want a fun way to complement another course, an affordable but effective program, seeking useful language based on real life situations, and that tune out lengthy grammar explanations". 

I would say that's a pretty fair assessment of this program. I'm about half-way through the French 1 version, intermediate levels, and there are a lot of things I like about this program. I like that it is very quick paced and that the title (not a huge fan of the title) really is quite accurate--they are all games. You're learning while playing a variety of games that include card/memory games, word puzzles, and even silly fair games like shooting the duck and popping the balloon with vocabulary. They are all very short, and you can stop anytime while holding your place in the level, which is a huge plus.  There are so many different types of learning involved in this program, too. Included is a story that is read and spoken at the beginning of every 'chapter' (level within  Level 1?) and as long as you have a microphone on your computer, you can record your own voice in one of the games, and it gives you a point for every correct pronunciation. 

For parents with very young children, pre- or early readers, I would hesitate to recommend this product to you. The majority of the games involve reading, and when a child hasn't yet mastered reading in their first language, reading words in a different language can be very confusing (speaking and listening, however, are great for these ages!). I think the suggestion above from the company is spot-on. I did want to review this for my kids to see if they would like to play along (the best kind--learning while simply playing!) but after reviewing the first bit for myself, I realize they won't be able to do any of it themselves, and would get frustrated at the speed, too. 

Another great bonus of this type of online product is that there aren't any cds, books, or other materials to lug around and store. I'm all for simplifying and I understand the beauty of online learning games in this regard. I'm really glad I got to enjoy the use of this site for a week, with a week left to go, because I'll use it to brush up on my French. Learning another language is good for the brain. Are your kids struggling to comprehend the boring text-book & work-book pages they need in order to pass a class in school, or have the desire to learn but have been getting frustrated with the time it takes? Let them take a more natural and fun approach and try this program out. You just might be surprised in how fast you can pick up another language when it feels just like playing a game. 

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