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Podcasts and embedded audio to support language learning

Dr Sean Allan, German Studies, University of Warwick

Over the last ten years or so, there have been considerable developments in language-learning technology (many of them prompted by the development of web-based technologies and the widespread availability of satellite television). However, the development of such technologies has often been a double-edged sword; on the one hand, access to authentic material spoken in the foreign language has never been easier; on the other hand, however, there is a clearly discernible drift towards visually-oriented culture (such as film and video) at the expense of the written word. Accordingly, one of the aims of this pilot project was to investigate the ways in which mp3 technologies could be exploited to enhance the study of written texts (in this case Goethe’s poetry). At the same time, the project also explored a number of ways in which podcasting and embedded audio files could be used to support student-learning in the context of conventional language classes in translation and grammar.

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