|The Teacher's Partner is a presentation system combining computer and videodisc for use in the classroom. The Teacher's Partner is structured to enhance communicative activities. Each unit consists of several visually and topically related, yet discrete and independent, lessons. An accompanying Teacher's Guide offers the teacher a full transcription and grammatical indice in print. Applications in Spanish and French have been completed, while Russian, Polish, German, and Hebrew TP applications are presently under development.|
The following description was based on the French Teachers Partner Quinze Minutes, but it also applies to the German, Hebrew, Polish, Russian, and Spanish TPs.
The applications are designed to be employed by teachers who have little or no experience with computers. From a color-coded and annotated menu, a teacher can access different video segments, choosing from several modes of managing video and audio. Choices are made with the mere click of a mouse. The lessons are focused upon the communicative needs and interests of teens and young adults. They provide a rich texture, both in style and in pedagogic content. Each application and each lesson is organized in an identical manner.
Videos include interviews and descriptive narratives of adolescents and adults in their native cultural context. Supporting screens include explanation of idiom and grammar review opportunities, as well as trigger questions for class and small group discussion. The video content of the disc is displayed for the teacher, who selects a topic for class activity. Video segments offer the teacher complete control to repeat, skip forward, and play as appropriate.
Each video segment can be played with supporting text (i.e., transcription of speech). When text is shown, relevant vocabulary and language structures are highlighted as "hot" text from which additional information can automatically be made available. The "hot" text windows contain full-motion video, graphics, or text to illustrate and expand upon key concepts.
At the end of the work on any given video segment, "activities" screens suggest communicative exercises based upon the video content. Instructional benefits of The Teacher's Partner include:
The Teacher's Partner is designed to be both simple and classroom portable. It consists of an IBM PS/2, a Pioneer LaserDisc player, and a 26" Mitsubishi VGA monitor. The system is mounted on a 4'high Anthro cart with a built-in cabinet which houses all components beneath the strapped-down monitor. Keyboard and mouse are accessed from a sliding drawer which extends at a convenient height for a standing user. The Teacher's Partner is an affordable way for many schools to introduce multimedia technology.
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