Major Digital Project 7: Hard Times

Let me preface my post by saying that the last week was a slog. Between five days of intensive professional development in Regina (apply next year), a funeral, and parent-teacher interviews, things were rough. Yet I believe it is in these tough times that our true resolve shows through! (This week’s title is an annoyingly obscure reference to a song sampled in Sonic the Hedgehog 3, in case anyone is wondering)

For the first time ever, I failed to get promoted in my Duolingo weekly challenge, which was a bit disappointing. It wasn’t surprising though, considering I was only doing the bare minimum each day to keep my streak alive. As you can see, after a series of pretty low usage days, I am now back on track!

I’ve continued watching the program, Spanish for Beginners, trying to keep up with one episode a week. It’s been moderately helpful, but, as mentioned last week, isn’t exactly lining up perfectly with Duolingo. If anything, it feels like being back in high school core French, complete with conjugation charts.

I will admit the YouTube comments on these videos are almost universally positive, which means it must be useful for some. I suppose there is also some self-selection happening with the positive comments rising to the top.

I also had a chance to explore the Spanish Proficiency Exercises that I learned about while we discussion open educational resources (OERs) in class. This is an interesting website that provides clips of native Spanish speakers. A more thorough description is below or available on their website.

When you enter the actual exercises, the framework is pretty simple. There are videos of people speaking Spanish alongside a transcript. The first example includes slow, over-articulated examples, while the rest are just people speaking naturally. This is a useful and free resource, but hard to use on its own. The main thing it shows is how difficult it can be to understand people speaking another language naturally due to how fast words and spoken and slurred together. On it’s own, I’m not sure I’d utilize it, however. I do appreciate the resource being open.

As a parting note, I found a bit of a connection between my project and last week’s blog post around Open Educational Resources (OER). Apparently Athabasca University, where I have been chipping away at my Bachelor of Arts degree, and hoping to take a Spanish class in the future, is now utilizing an Open Education initiative for their course materials. Neat!

Here’s hoping I can get back on track the next few weeks and accurately assess how far I have come (I already know it’s quite far). If anyone else has a few resources, apps, or ideas out there, I’d love to check them out! Otherwise, see you next week.

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