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University of Massachusetts
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This Old Firehouse
Produced on a laserdisc with accompanying MAC-based Hypercard software on CD-ROM, each program presents approximately thirty minutes of video footage shot in a country where the target language is spoken. Video segments cover a range of topics pertinent to the country's culture. The software allows users the freedom to manipulate the video at their own pace. At any point, they can call up a series of brief questions and answers written in the target language that are designed to reinforce the video, or they can view a written transcript of the dialogue. They can also choose at any moment between two audio tracks: the first contains the original audio, while the second conveys the information from the original audio, but more slowly and in simpler terms.
Users of these videodiscs will find themselves negotiating the mass transit system in Budapest, bargaining in a Turkish market in Istanbul, visiting the sacred shrines of Thailand, and eating dinner with a Norwegian family. For students of these languages, the instructional programs provide a unique and valuable supplement to more traditional forms of language instruction.
To view the laserdiscs, one can use any laserdisc player. For the interactive functions, one needs (in addition to the laserdisc player and a CD-ROM drive) a MAC with Hypercard Player for Hypercard 2.0 and above installed, as well as 24 MB of RAM.
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