August 2008

e-Blocks Learning English with stimuli

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Human beings have been learning foreign languages for a very long time. Many find this task effortless and enjoyable whereas for others it is filled with frustration, anguish and annoyance. To help master a foreign language, numerous methods have evolved, many of which have come and gone. What is needed is a technique which is based on supportive scientific research, indicating how best to instil linguistic knowledge and to facilitate the use of the to-be-mastered tongue. In this context, an innovative product has been developed by Positivo Informatica, which goes by the name of e-Blocks, a programme for teaching English to children between the ages of two to ten years.

What is unique about this method is that it encourages people to utilise multiple senses simultaneously, promotes co-operative learning and makes use of a well established pedagogical principle in the field of education called “learning by doing.” The e-Blocks system consists of a software package, a sensory panel with 15 pockets, plastic blocks with various colours, letters, shapes imprinted on them, flash cards and reproducible activities, teachers' guides with audio CDs. With the help of visual and auditory stimuli, children are introduced to letters, words and sentences. Children are then required to make a response based on the learning activity selected by the instructor. They are asked to make their responses by inserting the blocks into the pockets of the sensory panel. The programme then evaluates the students' responses and provides immediate feedback to the students. Afterwards, at the end of the learning session, the programme generates a detailed performance report including numeric scores, and identifies areas in which improvement is needed.

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