Teachers will find Influent most helpful if they use it to supplement traditional instruction. It's a fantastic way for students who excel in a language to build vocabulary and get extra practice independently, and it could make a fun introduction to a language, providing students with some advanced context and vocabulary before more formal instruction.Continue reading Show less
Influent is an interesting concept: Students play as a character who has developed a device that instantly translates words to other languages. Depending on which of the 13 (with more on the way) language packages you download, students can learn anything from Russian to Japanese to Spanish. You navigate your apartment, clicking on items to hear and see their names in the language you're learning. Hitting the space bar adds the words to your vocabulary list. Once you have 10 words, you can play a game where you run around the apartment clicking on objects to match the vocabulary words.
Later, you get a spaceship game that does much the same thing, but it's difficult to control and not much fun to play; most students will try it a few times and go back to the timed apartment activity. The timed activity is much easier to master, but it can be difficult to click on small objects when time is a factor.
Influent is a great alternative to traditional vocabulary practice. Like more traditional methods of language learning, it relies heavily on repetition and memorization, but it nicely allows students to select words at their own pace (you can have 10 vocabulary words at a time, or 50). The pronunciation is clear and offers a good chance for students to hear a native language speaker. The game starts out teaching nouns, but you can advance to adjectives and verbs.
Unfortunately, there's not much context here. Students will not speak or write the language, and they won't learn any grammar or sentence structure. So while Influent is an excellent way to practice basic vocabulary, it's not a self-contained way to learn a language.