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Digitales Wörterbuch der Deutschen Sprache dwds.de

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If you can handle – or actually prefer the increased stimulus of – a monolingual dictionary resource, this one looks nice – with its parallel display of dictionary entries, etymology, common collocates, and empirical use in KWIK format – and well-founded: Based on the  Wörterbuch der deutschen Gegenwartssprache (WDG) and providing access to many corpora that document empirical  use (including frequency and longitudinal information) of the language – modern German, including  spoken language and many newspapers, altogether comprising about 1.75 bn words.

Mapping of Language Student Locations using PowerView

  1. What do our language students call home? Based on a pivot-table that counts zip codes, let PowerView tell you, which is can now distributed as a free add-in for Excel 2013 Prof, but you need to enable it (under File / Options / Add-Ins).
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  3. Comes with a nifty zoom: image
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  5. Click, then Hover a data bubble for more info; image
  6. Like with Bing Maps Visualization, the weighting is surprising: image

Mapping of Language Student Locations using Bing Maps

  1. What do our language students call home? Based on a pivot-table that counts zip codes, let Bing Maps tell you, a default add-in easily accessible in the insert section of the ribbon:
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  3. Note a Limitation: Bing Maps max 100 data points. image
  4. So we limited to zip codes with at least 15 students (which returns just below 100 zip codes).
  5. Also note, the Bing maps app cannot be increased beyond a certain size (below is the maximum).image
  6. Finally, note  that the visualization does have a weight indicator, but it seems imperfect:
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  9. Here is how data (type) input errors get handled (duplicates override the original):
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  11. Fix your data, the reload from the upper right unfoldable menu: imageimage
  12. Voilà: image

Use Getty Images’ free embed tool for culturally authentic imagery?

  1. Getty Images is trying a new approach for making some money of its widely pirated imagery online: a  tool you can use to embed images from their database on your website
  2. Pros:
    1. Copyright permissible!
    2. Preserves through link to Getty Images full background metadata of image.
    3. Relatively sophisticated image database browsing tool – might be useful less for teachers directly, but for web quests that send students to learn by exploration.image
    4. Cons:
      1. With the image embedder, you are enabling advertisements and user tracking  on your page. Study the licensing agreements.
      2. Seems to me that Google Images’ scope and convenience will be impossible to beat.

A first look at the Google Dictionary extension for Chrome

  1. We
    1. have not pre-installed in the LRC (for that the extension would need to be more manageable by the teacher during face-to-face classes, which include exams),
    2. but can (with some reservations) recommend the Google Dictionary extension (even though it is only available for Chrome). Here is why:
  2. Google dictionary extension provides an interface to Google define and translate
    1. that is convenient (as quickly accessed like glosses) for reading activities in many languages (Q: is the privileged word sense displayed here intelligently chosen?)
    2. while (for some languages more than for others) providing access to additional word senses, usage examples and historical background information
  3. Interface 1: Tooltip,
    1. for English with audio image
    2. for other languages without audio (even though audio pronunciation may be available in Google translate for that language): image
    3. convenient access (I have been loving the tooltip interface since Google toolbar days)
    4. limited, but useful  information,
      1. a word sense – not that this is still not contextually intelligent (Cannot blame them here!) and hence more than one word sense should be offered (here I must blame them: Boo!!): E.g.  here “arch” should at show more than the most common word sense: imageimage
      2. including pronunciation (not IPA, but audio)
    5. Interface 2 (“more”)
      1. For English, a click on “more” leads to the Google “define”search operator (the related etymology search operator has been reviewed here before): image
      2. Interface 3: unfold the search results by clicking on the down arrow at the bottom to access additional information:image =
        1. additional word sense entries
        2. historical:
          1. etymology
          2. frequency data
        3. translation/dictionary entry:
          1. for our learners of languages other than English, the translation appears right in the tool tip, see above;
          2. for our ESL learners, this seems a few too many steps for accessing this information, although a monolingual dictionary is useful in many instances also.
    6. For languages other than English, a click on more leads to Google translate, which (should get its own article, but for what it is worth) can be
      1. more limiting than “define”: While you are given multiple word senses for
        1. Spanish: image
        2. and to a lesser extent, for
          1. Arabic: image
          2. Hindi: image
      2. for many languages the results are much more limiting:
        1. Even if you look up German or French, you revert back to the (pedagogically terrible) single word-sense original “translation” interface ) image
        2. For East Asian languages, you get Roman alphabet transcriptions
          1. e.g. Chinese with Pinyin: image
          2. e.g. Japanese: image
  4. Still no per-user tracking? Here it would make sense for the user.

Free interactive online learning materials for Heinle Interaction

  1. Available here – in spite of the prominent user login button, you do not need to sign up.
  2. Rather simply click the “Select Chapter” to get started. image
  3. You then have access to some of these types of exercises, per chapter: image
  4. Free (a (free) account is not needed):
    1. Tutorial Quiz
    2. Audio
    3. Web Search Activities
    4. Concentration
    5. Heinle Playlist
    6. Google Earth Coordinates
    7. Web Links
  5. Not free
    1. Flashcards
    2. Video (except for chapter 1 as taster) image
    3. Podcasts
    4. Crossword
    5. Chapter Glossary
  6. What this content is good for:
    1. Practicing. Including with a tutor, for since this content is not assessed, there is no ethical issue if the tutor helps with these materials.
    2. It is from edition 8, which is not the current edition – but I expect it to be still reasonably to the current chapters chapter:
      1. Le commerce et la consommation
      2. Modes de vie
      3. La vie des jeunes
      4. Les télécommunications
      5. La presse et le message
      6. Le mot et l’image
      7. Les transports et la technologie
      8. A la fac
      9. La francophonie
      10. Découvrir et se décourvir

First steps with MS-Lync 2013 screen sharing and remote control during support calls

  1. Start a meeting, by double-clicking on somebody who shows as available in your contact list: image
  2. If you then hover over the monitor item at the bottom, you get the option to “present”, i.e. show your screen to the other person your are meeting with. (Multi-monitor support seems good, if you have multiple monitors like we do): image
  3. If you accept the sharing: image
  4. Voilà, there is your colleague’s screen in a window on your desktop, watch her mouse actions: image
  5. The presenter
    1. receives a visual reminder: image
    2. can also give you control to remote control her mouse: image, the result of which looks like that: image
    3. can stop the presentation at any time.
  6. Finally, the presentations can be recorded which could be extremely useful in a support call for later reuse/review either by the presenter or audience. Click on the 3 dots in the lower right of the “stage”window. image
  7. It looks like a basic, easy workplace-wide screen sharing software that integrates with the local accounts could be extremely productive during daily collaboration. To make such a solution a system-wide service for calling support, one would probably need a queue and pool of supporters and call forwarding.