OpenTeacher, a new concept in educational software

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Mastering Lessons

To master a newly created lesson, you can start the corresponding exercise directly in the program window. Just click on the Teach me! tab at the bottom. The software will then ask you to select one of the learning methods, which alternatively may already have been defined with a checkmark in the settings menu.

Once you have selected a method, you then click on the I'm ready, start the lesson! button under the settings option. Now the software will present individual words from your list and ask for a translation.

As part of the learning process, each of the words will be pronounced in a synthesized voice – if you have also selected the voice option in the settings dialog of the Pronunciation tab. You type an answer to each question in the text field and click on Check! . You can skip individual testing questions. The software displays your performance on the lesson in the progress bar at the bottom of the program window. Questions that have been answered incorrectly are repeated (Figure 4).

Figure 4: It is not possible to cheat on tests administered using OpenTeacher.

If you want to make the learning process a little more entertaining, OpenTeacher offers the option of displaying a hangman during a test. The game is displayed when you press the Play hangman button.

When you have gone through the lesson completely, OpenTeacher will display the results in a separate tab. This tab contains graphical information about the time taken to complete the test, a helpful representation of the percentage of questions answered correctly, as well as a list of questions and answers on the left side of the window.

Even when working on large lessons, it is easy to see what the learning deficits might be because questions answered correctly are marked in a separate column with a checkmark. The Answer provided column also quickly tells you whether just a mistake was made in entering the answer or whether the answer was not substantively correct.

OpenTeacher is not error tolerant; thus, it is important to provide answers that match the spelling in the word list exactly or you will get high error rates (Figure 5).

Figure 5: The test results will be displayed together with additional information and percentages.

Geography Lessons

In addition to foreign language instruction, OpenTeacher also offers functionality for learning about geography. If you want to create a geography lesson, close all your tabs and click on the Create topography lesson button in the main window. The software divides the window into an input area and a list area. At the left of the entry area, a map of Africa is displayed.

You can change the continent that is displayed with the map: selector at the top of the window. You can enter whatever location you want on the map simply by double-clicking inside the map. This opens a small window for entering the name of the location. The names will then appear in the list view to the right in the window and on the map.

If double-clicking on the map results in entries that are not sufficiently precise, you can enter the name of a location in the Add a place by name: field, which is at the bottom and to the right. Then, click on the Add button to enter the name on the topographic map.

OpenTeacher has an internal database with place names and the geographical coordinates for each. These coordinates will be matched with each place entry on the map. If the program does not find the place in its database, an error message will be displayed. At this point, you can manually add the place to the map.

If you want to remove an already existing place from the map, first click on the name in the list view and then on the Remove selected place button at the top right of the window (Figure 6).

Figure 6: Making geography lessons less boring with the topography module.

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