Title: Talk Now ! Learn English
Age Range: Post - Primary
Curriculum Area: Teaching English as a foreign language
Year of Publication: 1998
Minimum computer specifications to run the software title:
Windows compatable - VGA with 256 coilous, Soundcard, 486 processor, 8MB RAM,
CD ROM drive, microphone (optional)
Apple Macintosh - Colour Macintosh, 68030 processor or previous, 8MB RAM,
CR ROM drive, microphone (optional)
World Talk has been designed to help those learning English as a foreign language. It has a facility
that will allow the user to learn through over forty other languages. This is extremely helpful for those
with little or no skills in English. Nine basic topics are introduced in simple steps. A word practice
introduces the phrases on each section and the record facility allows the user to record themselves
as they perfect the new words. A picture dictionary for each topic can be printed for use away from
the computer and games can be played at two levels of difficulty to check progress and understanding.
Each game is scored and the scores recorded for future use. The software is easy to install and use
which is helpful for those with limited computer access. Help is always available and gives clear
instructions. Racially and culturally there is nothing that should cause offence with images and voices
of both genders used.
Overview of teaching with this title:
The software title can be used as an aid when teaching English as a foreign language. It has a major
advantage over the class teacher in that it is able to teach English through over 40 different languages.
This is extremely helpful if you are dealing with a student who has no English at all. In order for this to
be effective however, the user must be proficient in their native language. As language skills improve
the disc can be used through English alone. It does not aim for fluency but rather to teach the basics.
The user gets instant feedback to their answers and can monitor their own progress with a score system.
Pronunciation is developed using a record system, which allows the users to compare themselves to
native English speakers. It is best used on an individual basis because the native language of the users
may be different. However, if two students are of equal ability in the same language they could work
together but that would have to be determined in advance by the class teacher. As with all teaching
resources, Teach English is only an aid. If the student already has some English it is best used after a
topic has been introduced in class using text and written work. A good example of this is telling the time.
The different numbers and time segments can be taught and practised in class with the software being
used later to improve accuracy and speed.
The title deals with nine basic sections. These are First Words, Numbers, Body Parts, Time, Shopping,
Colours, Phrases, Food and Countries. The content is accurate and up to date. With such basic topics the
software should not date easily. There are many people who appear throughout and there is a good mix
of male and female characters. The foodstuffs chosen are not particular to any one culture. The only
problem may be that the two main characters are both white and to find those of different ethnic origins the
user needs to move into the Body Parts section. Once in there, however, people of many races are depicted.
Within each of the nine sections, five things can be done. There is the opportunity to practice hearing and reading
the new words in the section. A speaking practice facility is available to those with microphones and all of the
words in the dictionary can be printed off with accompanying pictures. Finally, there are two games that can
be played. One is called the easy game and the other the hard game. These are the only levels of difficulty
available and the user has no control over their rate of delivery. The games develop the listening and reading
skills of the user as pictures of phrases must be identified correctly in order to win points.
Design and Navigation:
A help facility is available at all times in the chosen language. When called upon it explains the section currently
in use. Once the user is literate in their own language the software should not pose any problems. Naturally it
will be more difficult when the user goes on to learn through English alone. No documentation is needed, as
the interface is simple enough to follow. There is no introductory sequence as such, only the choosing of a
language and insertion of a name. Each section is scored immediately and only if answered correctly. A record
management system is in place so the user can try to improve on their previous scores. Score awards can be
printed out. A disadvantage is that you cannot bookmark the section you are on to move to another.
Installation and Use:
Having loaded the software it will start very quickly and is suitable for classroom use. If using Windows 95
it has an AutoPlay facility and so starts as soon as you insert the disc. The program responds immediately to
input, from the user and very little time is wasted. To use the disc on a network a license upgrade must be
purchased from Euro Talk Ltd.
Very little supporting documentation is provided. There are clear loading instructions given and a catalogue
advertising the company's other products. Other documentation is not necessary, as the software is very user
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