I was asked to review the web site http://www.alphalingo.ie, which is an online eLearning course in German. It is aimed at children from 5th class upwards (as part of the foreign languages programme in Kildare Education Centre) and also for second level students. As Anseo.net is aimed at primary level, this review will focus on primary school level.
When you first load up Alphalingo, the first reaction is, “Wow, this is a lovely looking web site.” It is bright and colourful without being tacky at all. There is a character on the web site, who I took was going to be the guy who was going to teach me German. His name is Rio and when I logged onto my guest account I was greeted with all the lessons I was going to have to learn in German.
Now I don’t know what platform the author has used to create her learning management system, but it doesn’t look like Moodle. And if it is Moodle, she’s done an incredible job! It looks really good and it’s super easy to navigate. But that isn’t all.
To teach the German vocabulary, Alphalingo uses excellent quality video and graphics. The sound quality is a little bit poor in places, but overall the visuals pull it through.
In about one minute, I had learned how to say, “How are you?” and “I’m fine” in German. This was done by watching the video, reading the captioned still frames and taking part in a multiple choice quiz.
The course is broken up into 5 topics – meeting people, leisure activities, family, animals and weather. Each of these topics is broken down further into several lessons. Finally, each lesson is broken down into 5 parts – dialogue, vocabulary, grammar, verbs and homework. Essentially, you have a complete German course for beginners.
Below is a video of a demonstration of Alphalingo taken from YouTube and the review continues underneath.
If I were to have a small criticism about the topics – there is only one lesson in the latter two topics, which doesn’t give a lot of scope for learning. Also, the quizzes are a little bit easy initially and don’t force me to think in German. However, as you go through the course, they do get harder.
Overall, I’m amazed by the fantastic quality of the graphics, video, layout, structure and everything else in this web site. If you are a 5th or 6th class teacher thinking about taking your first to steps to teaching German, this is a brilliant tool. I can see children being highly motivated by it. I would probably go as far as saying that this would be the very best use of graphics in any Irish -made educational resource that I have ever seen.
Sadly, all this good stuff comes with a price. A single user of this tool would have to pay €20 + VAT per month (yes, per month). Obviously, this makes an individual account completely unaffordable at €291.60 per year! A special rate of €200 + VAT per month applies to 35 users. This works out at around €83 per annum (or approximate €7 per month) per user. I’m not sure if this is good value at second level standards, but at primary level, (in the highly unlikely event of having 35 pupils learning German in the class), it’s still very very pricy.
With a little tweaking with the sound quality and perhaps a bit of a rethink with some of the questioning, this product would be the ultimate tool to teach German to children with. Even with these flaws, I would still consider it one of the best Irish-made educational resources around. However, it’s unrealistic pricing plan makes this product completely out of the reaches of most primary schools.
Last Update: August 22, 2017