German Practice Online
How can I join this project?
Last update on
8 September, 2012
Thank you for our interest. First, check out the
interactive exercise on relative pronouns.
You need a browser with "Shockwave", a browser plug-in that
makes webpages interactive.
If you like what you see, and believe that your students can benefit
from this, consider contributing to this collaborative project. Often
times, teachers have good ideas but lack the knowledge to program web-based
exercises. If many teachers contribute just a tiny bit, this collection
can grow fast.
The development process is represented below. The
teacher initiates the process by proposing an idea or submitting an item,
which will be reviewed and edited, if necessary. The result is more items
and more exercises of various grammar topics at any level.
The intent for programming this software is to
give students feedback when they make a mistake. Good software has to
teach the student. A simple "No, try again" can be frustrating.
Users, who receive feedback with an explanation, suggestion, or a hint
toward the correct answer will most likely learn from their mistakes.
It takes a lot of time to program the predictable wrong answers with the
appropriate feedback. If you want to help, please read on.
To actually produce usable script modules for a program like 'relative
pronouns', you simply edit an already existing Word document. You don't
have to know anything about programming. You can download an example here:
*.doc or *.rtf
format. Open it in your word processor (preferably WordPad, located in
Start=>Program=>Accessories - but other programs like the free Microsoft-compatible
may work too as long as they have colored fonts) and copy and paste the
script a few times. Then you edit it with your own content. I prefer WordPad
because it doesn't use "smart" quotes, and in programming, simple
quotes like ==> 'these two'<== is all you need.
If you understand how the *.doc or *.rtf templates work, then you may
download a less annotated document which still has all the necessary code,
but lack the red descriptions. Download the mini.doc
or mini.rtf versions.
Instructions for *.doc file:
0. Write your own sentence just above the first red line (editable region),
e.g. "-- Da steht mein neuer Schreibtisch, ....... ich gestern bekommen
1. Fill in the "Losung" (i.e.= "den").
2a + 3a etc. Supply the correct answer and give appropriate, detailed
and helpful feedback. This section is the most important one. It is better
to create 3 excellent script modules than 20 script modules with useless
feedback. Quality and correctness matters!
4. Give feedback for the correct answer. Only feedback needed here. You
already told the computer what the correct answer is in step 1.
5. Give feedback for any other answer that you could not predict. The
formula "garbage in --- garbage out" should not apply. Students
who are lost should receive a pointer into the right direction. Let's
be so helpful that the student will enter at least a predicted wrong answer
the next time. Don't give the answer away. Step by step coaching is important.
Once your are done editing your colorful *.doc file, send it as an attachment
to me. I will review and, if necessary, edit it for integration into the
program. This will still take some time from me, but you have already
done the biggest part, i.e.the script modules, so the overall process
of writing the program and creating the content goes much faster in this
Q. Why does the program look so simple? Hardly
any colors, plain layout, no bells and whistles, etc.
A. The bells and whistles are hiding inside the
code below the plain surface. Colors, sound effects etc. only add to the
file size and it would take longer to download the program in the browser.
This is a functional program, it lacks any "eye-candy" that
may even distract the learner. The strength of this program is in the
feedback on two levels: The dash e.g. "mit de=" tells the student
what is still incorrect. Whatever is correct is not deleted. And the feedback
will guide the student towards the correct answer. This program seeks
to combine the best features of "Dasher" and "Spanish Partner".
The first one gives students graphical feedback by replacing incorrect
characters with a "=", the latter provides students with context
sensitive feedback, which our Spanish students at Creighton University
like very much. Unfortunately, none of these programs can be used over
the web, so I hope to fill a gap with the German Practice Online. If you
teach Spanish or other languages, and are interested to write a few exercises
like this, contact me. Currently, I can't invest any more time into programming
completely new units. Therefore, whatever you want to submit should follow
the model of the relative pronouns program, i.e. one blank in one sentence
with one or two words missing.
Q. I don't have Internet access in my classroom.
Can I download your programs?
A. Of course you can. This is freeware, and as long
as you don't change the program, you can download it and use it on your
computer. Go to my GPO/sw
page . Then download the appropriate *.dcr
and *.htm file to the same location on your harddrive. The *.dcr file
is automatically called when you launch the *.htm file with your browser.
Remember that, whatever you download, will not be updated automatically,
while this website always has the newest version.