A program to help students learn language faster

June 21, 2010 3:11:06 PM PDT
Learning a new language can be difficult, but now there is a new computer program helping make it a little easier. The program is not only helping students learn the language, but helping them to learn faster.

Jose Pena, a student, is able to learn Spanish online, even though he is part of a language class at school.

"I can actually do work at home instead of doing everything at school, and it helps me get along way better with my teacher, " said Pena.

This school year, students at Goddard High School began using "Powerspeak."

"The beauty of it is there's no textbooks. Everything is in the computer. It's all set up for everybody," said William Moore, the principal of Goddard H.S.

Principal Moore and his colleagues were impressed with a demo of the interactive program, which is able to help teach more than one language at once.

French is one of the languages being studied using "Powerspeak."

"Powerspeak" also includes background on the countries involved, and video games based on the languages.

"You know, while learning a new language is sometimes hard....but with these different game shows and vocabulary quizzes it makes it easier" Beverly Ortega, a student, said.

A teacher guides the students through the online instruction, and is able to monitor student progress.

"The teachers know where their strengths and weaknesses are, and then they can tailor the lesson accordingly, for the different learning levels of the student or the different learning styles of that student," said Joseph Birgeles, an assistant principal.

The software program is also increasing passing rates.

"I have almost 91 per cent of my children passing the foreign language tests and the classes, and that's way up from last year and they're just excited about it," Moore said.

"Powerspeak" was intended only as a pilot program and only for this school year, but educators at Goddard High School say other schools may soon adopt this method of teaching languages.