Beyond Flashcards: A path to engaging foreign language learning (German)

Submitted 4 years ago
Patricia J.
Patricia J.
Independent Educator/Curriculum and Program Design
My Rating

My Take

My favorite aspect of this product is that even with just the free version, there is enough depth and variety to be a robust instructional tool. I also liked that students could explore their most successful ways to learn and retain foreign language vocabulary and expressions as they encountered the material through various exercises. The ability to create personalized memes to aid with memorization was well received by my students. The voiceovers are delivered by native speakers and I appreciate their accuracy and clarity in delivery. I also appreciate that students from ages as young as 8 to adult learners can use this tool successfully and independently. The flexibility of being able to self-pace as well as to set concrete time or content goals were also well received by my students. While the sequencing through the German lessons seems to build on the previously presented information, each lesson is also self-contained enough to jump in at an intermediate level or a few lessons into the sequence. I found this helpful for the intermediate learners, who did not want to find themselves in a position of having to go through material that they truly had already mastered. While this is not a fully self-adapting program, if a student cannot answer an item, there are a couple of varied and repeating items that will provide additional practice. Aside from discrete vocabulary, I found the presentation of phrases and more extensive dialogue particularly useful and well-done. Students have plenty of opportunity to hear phrases repeatedly and review dialogues while also seeing the information written on the screen and then having opportunities to build meaningful dialogue using the program. It is nice to see this added dimension, rather than having Memrise be purely a vocabulary builder. Students were engaged and shared that while there is a lot of access to online German content, they found the lessons "made sense" and were rich and engaging. My only critique of Memrise is that it would be nice to add a self-recording option for the students to add a level of pronunciation support that could be self-directed. While there are plenty of flashcard type apps and programs available, Memrise is definitely more interesting in its presentation and interactions. As a teacher, it allows me to combat the boredom of memorizing vocabulary and it provides additional layers of meaningful practice that complements our time in the classroom.
So far, I have only used Memrise as a foreign language instructional tool and it may be interesting for teachers to explore the additional content areas for general classroom use as well. Overall, a great additional learning tool for foreign language instruction! I am looking forward to exploring the mathematics section next with my 5th and 6th graders! I will report back when I do.

How I Use It

I have used Memrise in small group instruction for foreign language acquisition in German. Students grades 3 through 12th and college freshman have used Memrise with me to practice discrete vocabulary, phrases, pronunciation and general conversational skills. I have used the Memrise for homework as well as an in-class tool to introduce new materials and supplement our text book. The learners using this tool ranged from novice student to intermediate level (according to ACTFL guidelines). Students also had the opportunity to build small learning study groups through the program and they enjoyed that added level of virtual interaction.