All Stories | Beginners Stories | Intermediate Stories | Advanced Stories
All Videos | The Market | Shopping | Scenery | Temple/Caretakers
All Festivals | Holi | Rakhi | Navratri | Diwali | Shivratri
All Lessons | Lesson 1 | Lesson 2 | Lesson 3 | Lesson 4 | Lesson 5
All Exercises | Exercise 1 | Exercise 2 | Exercise 3 | Exercise 4 | Exercise 5

Site Info

Virtual Hindi

Description of Site

This site is geared toward students at the beginning and intermediate level. It includes several sections:

  1. Stories – mostly popular stories from the Panchatantra, retold by members of the South Asian community in New York City, collected by students from the Hindi classes at NYU. Every story has a series of pictures depicting major events from the plot, as well as a basic glossary list and the text of the story in audio and script. In addition, every picture has an additional audio file, which contains a loose description of the image and a small text file related to it. The stories can be approached as a:

    1. listening activity: delaying speech production to focus on listening supported by imagery and specific context for better comprehension and memory retention;
    2. reading activity: delaying speech production for improvement of reading comprehension skills supported by sound and imagery, especially beneficial for improvement of literacy skills of students with South Asian background;
    3. speaking activity based on the pictures and the glossary.

    Work with this section of the site involves the use of:

    • cognitive strategies, such as predicting the upcoming information by using visual clues, making inferences by using information in the image and the text to guess meanings of new items, making personal analogies, elaboration of prior knowledge by relating new to known information;
    • metacognitive strategies - selective listening by attending to key words and types of information, organizational planning, identifying the purpose of a language task, setting goals and objectives, repeating and practicing sounds & script;
    • memory strategies - placing relatively new words in specific context and using imagery.
  2. In the developmental stage:

  3. Reference Grammar – including explanation and illustration of the most basic grammar of the Hindi language.
  4. Exercises – intended as a student workbook for practice.
  5. Student Projects and Work
  6. South Asian Community Feature Magazine
  7. Links to useful Hindi language-related sites
Advantages
  • It allows students to work at their own pace, by going back and forth as many times as they need, and by emphasizing one or other mode depending on what their learning preferences and styles are, what their goals, strengths and weaknesses are.
  • Students can have easy access to and engage in work with multiple modalities through combined text, sound, and visuals out of the classroom as well, which promotes independent learning and boosts motivation.
  • The students are immersed in a multi-sensory learning environment extending far beyond the walls of the traditional Hindi classroom, which aids learning, fosters positive attitudes.
  • The emphasis is on visual stimuli, which are often overlooked in the language learning materials in favor of verbal and analytical skills. The images become memory-assisting devices as well as comprehension scaffolds.
  • The site provides opportunities for independent work by minimizing peer and teacher pressure, which allows students to gauge their emotional reactions to learning and lower their anxieties and inhibitions.
Problems and Weaknesses
  • The site has limited capabilities: a) it does not provide enough tools for assessment and evaluation of the learner's progress, b) the learner is not provided with systematic feedback, which would enable him/her to become more efficient, c) the learner is offered a limited variety of activities which allow for more focus on the receptive skills, which get over trained, compared to the productive skills.
  • The design of instruction does not provide context for spontaneous interaction, which plays a major role in the development of communicative competence.
  • The site is constantly under construction and the context will change, because it will be undergoing updates on a regular basis.
  • The format of the site will also change with the addition of new materials.
Acknowledgements

This project was made possible through a Curriculum Development Grant, which I was awarded in the Spring of 2000. I would like to express my profound gratitude to the team who has worked on the development of the website for their time, creativity and devotion:

  • Adriana Galabova (http://atelier-ag.nets.at) artistic design and illustrations
  • Pritesh Patel - web design, maintenance, multimedia work
  • Carlo Santos - web design
  • Vishal Assar - text and sound entry
  • Eline Potoski - administration and consultation
  • Natasha Scott - maintenance and update
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