End Date: 31/12/1999
Funding: Education of the Muslim Minority Children 1997-2000 / University of Athens
Project Leader: Tzevelekou Maria
The aim of the project was the setting up of a CALL system for learning Greek as a second language. The target population is the Turkish-speaking primary school children of the Muslim Minority in Western Thrace. The main objectives for introducing a CALL system within this context were the following: to enrich existing teaching practices, to open up new ways of presenting linguistic information, to promote a self-determined learning tool and to help the children acquire a certain degree of computer literacy.
Design and development was carried out along the following assumptions and guiding principles: a) Greek is a highly inflectional language with a strong interface between morphology and semantics. Academic skills rely heavily on the acquisition of this core feature. b) Conventional educational methods either within the perspective of formal teaching of grammar or within the communicative approach do not attract children’s interest. C) Learning systems should be attractive, playful and encourage children to actively participate in receiving, interpreting and handling the available linguistic material.
A syllabus was set up to encompass beginner and intermediate levels. The grammatical and lexical specifications were “fleshed out” in a creative way by the famous children’s book author Eugene Trivizas, who wrote a stimulating “story of quest” entitled A knight in the castle of letters. In the multimedia environment the narrative was materialized as a game, fairly similar to the imaginative games that children play in the computer. Thus, the narrative, even if it was created within the restricted frame of grammatical and lexical specifications, appears as a play where linguistic phenomena come to light in an amusing way.
The system was issued in CD-ROM form. It comprises eight episodes. Each episode covers specific phenomena of Greek. The child follows the plot, reads and listens to the stories and at the end of each episode he/she carries out a certain number of linguistic activities on the pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar. The system also contains translation in Turkish, a Greek-Turkish dictionary and a grammar of Greek. The child can navigate freely through the system’s components, while he/she actively participates in the unfolding of the plot.