Resource Review: IQ Chinese Go100

Tags: Review

Resource Title: IQChinese Go!100          

Cost (RRP): £27.23 for Go100 Software/£11.99 for Go100 textbook/£11.99 for Go100 workbook

Available from:  IQ Chinese UK/Hua Hsia & CME Books Europe

Reviewer: Simone Haughey

Description   IQChinese Go courseware is an eight volume series of software, textbook, workbook and CD, each volume containing ten lessons and each lesson introducing 12 new, high-frequency, common, and everyday-type Chinese words. The entire series employs a ‘spiral format’ that builds on previously taught vocabulary while only introducing twelve new characters at a time. GO courseware allows learners to acquire Chinese in a systematic way.  Based on J.S Bruner's educational theory called, ‘spiral curriculum’, IQ Chinese GO courseware is designed to continually review Chinese characters which have previously been introduced, thus accumulating ‘reviewed’ knowledge while simultaneously introducing "new knowledge".

Type-to-Learn is a way to become fluent with one thousand basic, high-frequency Chinese characters by actually typing on your computer:

Using the USA’s 5 Cs of Foreign Language Education Standard:  The IQChinese Go curriculum facilitates interactive learning with theme-based lessons that can easily be adapted into daily life: Communication: Apply Chinese to real life situations.Cultures: Explore Chinese cultural practices and perspectives. Connections: Connect Chinese with other subject areas. Comparisons: Compare and contrast Chinese culture and language to English. Communities: Extend your language learning beyond the classroom.

Each CD provides 10 lessons in both traditional and simplified Chinese characters.

- The "Chant" Function lets the user hear the text sung by a native Chinese. The Karaoke function allows a ‘beat only’ to allow user to sing solo.

- Type to Learn with the "Drill" Function: In Drill the user sees the character and must enter the correct Pinyin and tone mark before the character is spoken aloud.

- Reports:  By providing information on the student's performance, such as spelling accuracy, typing speed, number of characters tested, number of sentences tested, etc.

- Speaking Vocabulary:  Users can access each lesson's vocabulary to review characters, word definition, compare words with similar initials, finals, and pronunciation.

Comment from Publisher/Distributor:   Katja Ting, IQ Chinese UK

Go! Chinese, together with the IQChinese Go multimedia CD-ROM, is a fully-integrated Chinese language program that offers an easy, enjoyable, and effective learning experience for learners of Chinese as a foreign language.

The program employs innovative teaching methodologies and computer applications to enhance language learning, as well as keep students motivated in and outside of the classroom. The CD-Rom companion gives students access to audio, visual, and textual information about the language all at once. Chinese typing is systematically integrated into the program to facilitate the acquisition and retention of new vocabulary and to equip students with a skill that is becoming increasingly important in the internet era wherein more and more professional and personal correspondence are done electronically.

Reviewer Profile: My name is Simone Haughey and I am a Primary Languages teacher that started out teaching French across my Primary School (Robin Hood Primary, Birmingham) and was asked by my head teacher to learn and teach Mandarin in Year 2.  I now teach it in Year 2 and 4, using all sorts of methods from ICT, iPods, blogs to singing with my ukulele. I love languages and I am trying to instill this excitement and enthusiasm in the children.

Things I liked about the resource:

CD Rom: I really liked the CD Rom as the chant, dialogue and sentence patterns activities have real voices.  The chants are fun and once you have listened to them, you can then listen to them without the music. You can also have a ‘karaoke’ version of the music and the children can sing along with the real voices.  

The sentence pattern section builds upon the knowledge from the chants and dialogue.

 The IQ 100 program tests your reading of Mandarin characters, as it doesn’t have the pinyin or the English translation on the page, until you hover your cursor over the characters when the pinyin appears above and the English translation below.

The Drill section is very good for practicing typing pinyin. When you are doing the drill exercises it doesn’t let you type the wrong pinyin or tone number, until the 3rd time where it will prompt feedback.

With the Sentence Quiz there are four levels and it could be used either for differentiation or building up to Level  4, which has a choice of Mandarin characters as you type. The vocabulary section is helpful as you have all the vocabulary from each section and when you click on it, you can hear the word.

Textbook:  The preface explains fully how to use this resource and a breakdown of the CD Rom. The layout of the textbook is colourful, clear and straightforward. The graphics for the illustrations are attractive for children too.

There are goals at the start of every chapter, with clear learning objectives. There are a range of activities and if you wanted to extend higher ability children there are ‘want to learn more’ sections that refer to the CD. The ‘Learning Log’ also works well to show what the children have achieved.

Workbook: The workbook has the same clear and straightforward layout. The activities are in black and white and there is a good range of different tasks.   According to the textbook, students can use the workbook in their own time, which as a teacher you can set as homework.

The topics throughout this resource are broad and develop the student’s languages, building upon their knowledge as they work through.

What didn’t work so well with the resource.

This resource might benefit from some fun games or rewards when the students have completed different tasks. Although the chants are funky, some melodic songs might also work too.

Why and how did I use this resource?

I would use the workbook in ‘Independence time’ in my school, which is the first half an hour of every day during which the children choose what and how they learn. I intend to teach the lessons and topics first before using the book then IQ100 to assess/show what the students have learnt.

This would also work as an after school club resource or something parents might want to buy for their children to work on at home.

Why may others use this resource?

Go100 is a good resource that has clear progression. The text book and work book are very attractive and the students would enjoy using them. The native speakers on the CD would also support a non native Chinese teacher and help students with their pronunciation. I would recommend this to teachers with some knowledge of Mandarin for use in lessons or after school clubs.

Conclusions / other comments

As a primary teacher it’s very important that the resources I use are attractive, easy to pick up and use straight away. Go 100 certainly helps students to quickly ‘switch on to languages’ taking out a lot of the hard work away from the teacher.  Personally, my level of Mandarin is not perfect yet and IQ 100 develops into some quite complex Mandarin, however this will help my Mandarin at the same time!