Posts filed under ‘Information & Communication Technology (ICT) Assignment’

Analyzing and evaluating CDs as one of Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL) Media to promote successful language learning process

There is one set of Compact Discs (CDs) which consists of four CDs, namely English Words, Vocabulary, Speak English and Learn English. Here are the results of the analysis and evaluation accomplished from the four CDs based on the criteria; interactivity, effectiveness, performance, usability and the content of the material.

1.   CD 1: English Words

       a. Interactivity

The CD is very interactive because it is provided with full animation layout and sounds and attractive pictures, so it will attract learner’s attention and eventually avoid them from boredom. There are 4 interactive games in the program: Roadhog, Rescue, Night Search and Frozen Food.

       b. Effectiveness

In my opinion, the CDs are very good and effective particularly when we would like to drill and enrich students’ vocabulary and English words; moreover, with the help of attractive animations, it will help students understand and absorb the materials easily.

       c. Performance

With good animations and layout, the appearance of the CD is very attractive. However, the instruction of the program is quite difficult to understand and unclear. Even though the instruction page is provided with pictures and animation to help the learners, they have to do it or to play the games at least 3 times until they understand how to play the game. For example, in the part of game called Roadhog, learners have to match the color of the picture with the color of the drainage pipe across the street by dragging the mouse to move the hedgehog so it can arrive at across the street safely in the correct color of drainage pipe. When learners are doing this part, they might get a little bit confused at the beginning and it will take some time for them until they finally understand.

One great thing about this program is that before the learners can start the game, they can take a peek of Help Level icon right next to Start Now icon in order to review the list of English words they are going to learn and play with the program. Furthermore, if the learners go to the main menu and click on the game menu, and they decide that they don’t want to play the game, they can’t go back to main menu page because there isn’t any icon or button to help learners go back to the main menu page. Therefore, they must do the game part until it is finished so they can go back to the main menu page. A very interesting and excellent part about this program and CD is that teachers are able to see the progress of each student because the program records students’ progress. Teachers can see if they have finished certain part of the program and they can see the results of the lessons in the program as well.

The program is very flexible because learners and teachers can use it at any convenient time and also, the program doesn’t have any time limit so learners are able to do it relaxingly and conveniently. Moreover, whenever they get lost or need help, there is always an icon that looks like a golden smiley saying “Hi, click on me if you don’t know what to do”, in which is very much helpful for the learners.

        d. Usability

In my opinion, the CDs will be very good, effective and appropriate for Elementary students. This is mainly because most of the list of words or vocabulary is taught for students in those grades at schools. Moreover, the levels of English words are also provided, so students can choose the level they want to try and at the beginning of the program, However, the instruction of the program is quite difficult to understand, so students might have to try it more than once in order to get used to using the program and understanding the materials.

        e. Content of the material

It is mainly consisted of English words or vocabulary about people, jobs and family which learners can review by clicking Help Level icon before they can start the game. The list of English words are quite basic and I think students who are in grade 2 above will be able to understand it because they also have the same words taught at their schools. The list of the words are divided into 12 different levels, namely People, The Home, The Street, Animals, Shopping, The Body, Clothing, Transport, Colors, Shapes and Numbers, Games & Past times, The Park and The Countryside. When learners click on Help Level icon, they can se all English words they are going to learn, and it is all presented by using pictures instead of long explanation in a text. The pictures are also provided with arrows in order to show learners the specific part of the word, for example, the picture shows a male adult and a boy, the arrow is used to point to the adult male as a father and the boy as a son. Moreover, if learners click on the pictures, they can hear the sound, so they can also practice their listening skill as well. 

2.   CD 2: Vocabulary

        a. Interactivity

The interactivity aspect of this CD as one of the CALL media is relatively similar to the previous CD, because the layout, design and animation are very attractive and interesting.

        b. Effectiveness

This CD is very good mostly to enrich students’ vocabulary and also students will be able to know the definition or meaning of the vocabulary. Furthermore, before the students can start the game, there will be Level Help icon to help them look up the vocabulary and see the definition of the vocabulary based on the levels of the games.

       c. Performance

There are 4 kinds of game in the CD, namely Balloonsz, Haunted House, Bats and Stuntman which are very interesting. Nevertheless, when students are playing Balloonsz, they will have a dart and colorful balloons (red, blue, green and yellow). And on their menu tab, they will see a sentence and they have to guess the vocabulary defined in the sentence by matching the color of the balloons with the color of the correct vocabulary options. The problem appears when students try to throw the dart to hit the balloon which has the same color as the answer. Even though the students hit the correct balloon, if they miss the hit or even don’t throw the dart to the middle of the balloon, it then will lead to wrong answer and reduce their chance to play the game.

The great thing about this game and the games from previous CD is that they provide high score that will increase students’ motivation and boost up their competitiveness among other students in order to be the best of all. Furthermore, all games don’t have any time limit, so students can take their time to be relaxed and enjoy the games without a rush.

In addition, when the students start the program, they will be asked to fill in their data, including their name and date of birth. When they are finished, there will be a result showing their progress and the lessons they have done and also it provides the grades ranged from A, B and C. The teachers can see the results as well and even print it by clicking the Print icon.

       d. Usability

This CD provides levels of vocabulary list ranged from nature, science, the body, occupations, religion, education, verbs, adjectives, technology, aquatic, music & poetry and miscellaneous. The range of vocabulary shown above explains that the materials or vocabulary list is appropriate for junior or even senior high school students. However, if it is appropriate and suitable for junior and senior high school students, the animation and design are too “childish” and immature for them. The program should be designed more sophisticated and give images of maturity, yet, it should still provide interesting and attractive layout and designs.

       e. Content of the material

As have been explained previously, the CD mainly focuses on Vocabulary ranged from varied daily topics that are suitable and appropriate for junior and even senior high school students. The list of the vocabulary is quite challenging because it doesn’t provide any pictures to help students understand the meaning. And the games are quite tricky compared to the games that we have in previous CD, because the options of the answer are not found in the same vocabulary list. This then will be very helpful for students as their concept checking questions in the games.

3.   CD 3: Learn English

        a. Interactivity

The CD provides excellent and attractive designs, animations and sounds. Moreover, it also provides people’s pictures with natural movements of their body and sound as if they were real people.

        b. Effectiveness

This CD will be an effective tool or aid to help teachers explain about materials related to some aspects in language proficiency such as speaking skills, vocabulary, pronunciation, and communication skills.

       c. Performance

There are some points that I have highlighted from the performance aspects of the program. Firstly, the provided icons to help learners are not very clear, because it doesn’t have any words or phrases to help learners understand what the functions of the icons are. And when the students start, there isn’t any instruction on how they can do the program, so they have to find it themselves by clicking on help icon. Moreover, there will be some language options that students can choose when I tried it, it was in Bahasa Indonesia and I thought I could change it in English but I can’t. This can be one of the weaknesses of the program, because it would be so much better if they provided the language in English, this then will help students attain more exposures to English as they are learning through the program.

Secondly, the great thing about this program is that students can adjust the volume by moving their mouse to the right or left on the volume icon. And when they start the program they will hear an auditory instruction and telling the students that they should reach 1800 points as the target which they can get in every game; however, for students who are not familiar with English yet, they might not be aware of this, so teachers have to remind them at the first place on how to reach the goal. Furthermore, when the students are about to start the program they can choose their own “Avatar”, which is their representative image in the program, and it can be done by clicking an icon that looks like a man next to the volume icon.        

        d. Usability

This program will be suitable and appropriate for adult learners or even junior and senior high school students, because the materials and the animations and layout of the program was designed for adult learners or high school students. Furthermore, teachers will find using this program easy and helpful for them, because it allows students to learn the materials in the program and teachers can print the pictures shown in the program as well.

        e. Content of the material

There are 9 main parts of the program, namely Country, First Words, Food, Colors, Useful Language, Body, Numbers, Time and Shopping. Each part has a reading practice, speaking practice, easy game and difficult game. It was quite confusing for me at the beginning because there isn’t any instruction for each part on how to do and to play the games. In reading practice, students are introduced to new language, new vocabulary and its spelling aided with pictures. They can also practice their listening skill and pronunciation at the same time by listening to the model’s voice and recording their voice and compare it with the model’s voice. However, there are some pictures that do not match with the meaning or even describe the words clearly. For instance, when we go to the practice part in First Words, we will hear the model saying “thank you” and the picture is a man holding a bag filled with dollars inside. Another example is when the model says “please”, and then the picture of a dog will appear. This can lead students to confusion as they do not understand the relationship between the utterances or phrases to the pictures.

Secondly, students can try to improve their speaking skill in the speaking practice where their voices will be recorded and they can compare it with the model’s voice. In the games part, students will have to review what they have learned previously by playing some games and the great thing about these two games is that it has immediate error correction when the students make mistakes, so they won’t repeat the same mistakes and will be able to identify their mistakes.

4.   CD 4: Speak English

        a. Interactivity

The program was designed very excellently regarding animation and sounds, and it is a well organized program that can be used or accessed by students or learners ranged from high school students to adult learners.

        b. Effectiveness

The program will be very effective particularly to help learners learn speaking skills, which the program will allow learners improve and practice the parts of speaking skill, such as pronunciation, intonation and even conversation.

        c. Performance

The attractive layout and interactive design make the learners feel comfortable and they eventually will enjoy every part of the program. The instruction is very clear with clear icon pictures. Moreover, auditory instruction is also provided, so it will make the sound more interesting and avoid students from boredom. The auditory instruction is giving motivation when they keep on reminding students by saying “you can do it!” or “Enjoy and Have Fun!”.

        d. Usability

The program can be used and applied for junior and senior high school students and adult learners as well. it is mainly used to improve students’ speaking skill.

        e. Content of the material

The materials in the program mostly help learners improve their speaking skills aspects, such as pronunciation, intonation and even the learners get the opportunity to have a conversation with the models.

February 22, 2010 at 2:37 pm Leave a comment


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