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New Mexico State University

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Profs produce new Spanish, French CD-ROM packages

Two New Mexico State University professors have teamed up for a second time in two years to put Spanish and French language lessons on CD-ROM for business people, students and travelers.

Claude Fouillade (left), who leads NMSU's French program, and Spanish instructor Jeff Longwell first developed instructional CD-ROM packages in 1996. Their products, sold throughout the United States and as far away as Australia, have been well received by professional people and students, they said.

"We heard about bosses who became better able to communicate with their workers and students who improved their grades," Longwell said.

Now the two faculty members again aim to reach middle schoolers to adults with packages that meet national standards in foreign language education.

Language learners can listen to dialogues and participate in them by recording their own voices. "You can be the person checking into the hotel, or you can play the part of the receptionist, " Fouillade said.

The CD packages are manufactured by The Learning Co., based in Boston, Mass., and sell for $40 to $60 at computer stores such as Circuit City and CompUSA. They run on Windows platforms and are compatible with Microsoft Explorer and Netscape Internet search engines. A disk of the best educational Internet sites for language students is included in both language packages.

The Spanish "Learning Tools That Work" is an updated version of Longwell's previous CD package. It includes four instructional CDS and one containing a Spanish-English dictionary.

Profiles are included on every Spanish-speaking country in the world, a helpful feature for travelers, Longwell said. The profiles contain photos and information on each country's geography, people, government, common phrases and greetings, and even food.

"If you are hooked up to the Internet, each country has a web site that the program will link you to," Longwell said.

Fouillade's "First Class French" is a new CD package, he said, rather than a revision of his earlier product. The four-disk package contains about 2,500 megabytes of information, "equivalent to a good encyclopedia," he said. The French package uses reading, learning and listening strategies. Users can learn how to write a business letter to a French company and how to speak about practical matters such as exchanging money and asking directions.

Students can type a French word, get its definition and hear its pronunciation. They can take tests and print out report cards to keep track of their progress, Fouillade said. This makes the package useful for home schooling, he added. The package also gives information on the geography and history of France, he said.

The French and Spanish language packages are not meant to replace classroom instruction but rather to enhance it. "I've recommended that students getting Ds use this software at home," Longwell said. "They usually end up at least getting a B. It's like having a personal tutor."

For more information, call Fouillade at (505) 646-2942 or Longwell at (505) 646-4143.