Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Rosetta Stone

We are using the new version of Rosetta Stone Hebrew language software that was released this summer. We were concerned about adopting and adapting a business product to an educational setting. It has proven to be intuitive enough for students to use on their own as well as within a class setting without needing too much assistance from a teacher or tech person. The initial learning curve took some time and some teachers are less enthusiastic than others as their seems to always be this underlying fear of being replaced by machines in some way. The opposite is actually true. Students can do better independent work in school and at home at their computer and the teacher can avoid marking tremendous amounts of homework assignments thus freeing up more time for preparation and focused feedback to students.

We are a high school but I know some middle schools have used this tool as well even using the program as the basis of a class curriculum. I wonder what results people have had with it so far either in middle or high school with the new version. I know my students are enthusiastic about using the software and the immediate grading of progress feedback is much quicker than any teacher could give. Right now it is a supplemental tool to enhance our Hebrew program which has been our weakest link educationally. An additional systemic change has proved helpful but pricey. We now run all Hebrew language classes to ensure proper level placement. The software takes it one step further by helping instructors differentiate levels although it has been used mainly helpful for introductory and intermediate level conversational skills. Advanced Hebrew speakers seem hard pressed to utilize the program that much.


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