Sometimes, you work flat out and it feels as though you’re standing still, doesn’t it?
Other times, happily enough, you work flat out and have a brief burst of travelling at several million miles an hour.
The second of those was what happened last week here at SSiTowers, I’m delighted to be able to say. We got ridiculous amounts of material recorded (and just typing that sentence reminds me that I have to go and bat my baby blues at Catrin to get her to do even more recording today!), and I wrapped up the final bits I hadn’t written for the new Course 2 framework, which is now officially complete – but at the same time, Ifan was galloping forward to the point where our new-look site and new social layer is ready to start testing with live users, while Jeff has been working like a Trojan mastering all the sound files for our new Spanish course, and Huw has been leaping into action with the lesson importing again.
When that much stuff is going on, it’s impossible not to feel the wind in your hair – even if you have as little hair as I do.
So once Ifan has set up the test site, we’re going to be looking for volunteers to break it – and in the meantime, the last lesson of Course 3 for SSiWelsh is going to be released in the very near future, while we’re building up to a bulk release of new Spanish lessons. And that’s a few more things ticked off my wildly ambitious list of ‘Definites’ for 2014 in my last post of 2013!…;-)
Otherwise, it’s been fairly quiet.
Yes, of course that’s a lie.
Some really interesting things have been happening on the accelerated learning front, which is my own personal major point of interest at the moment (and will remain so for the next few years, I’d guess!). Alison Wray from Cardiff’s Centre for Language and Communication Research has put her hand up to be a guinea pig for a one or maybe two day intensive whirl, which is going to be absolutely fascinating – there’s nothing like testing your materials on someone who is internationally respected for her academic work in the field to give you a healthy level of stress! Also, one of our own learners, Steve (catflap on the forum), is keen to be the first person to have a go at my idea for a five day intensive nightmare, er, sorry, I mean experience – I think that will be worthwhile for him by the time we’ve got the new Course 2 ready for Welsh, which I hope won’t be all that long.
Steve is coming towards the end of the current Course 2, but he’s clearly someone who puts quite a bit of pressure on himself to ‘get there now‘! So he’s doing a lot of thinking about how he can reach the point where he can use his Welsh at work as soon as possible – just about the most intense kind of challenge you could have, really.
Apart from the possibility of a five day intensive workout, Steve’s also been pushing on with the idea of listening to material at faster than 1x – and despite having found Iestyn too fast to listen to at more than 1.75x initially, Steve is now listening to practice sessions with Iestyn’s voice at 3x normal speed and making headway!
This is a really exciting piece of news – because although the impact that has on hearing ordinary speech may not be all that much extra, it still means that Steve will be able to listen to an hour’s worth of recorded speech in just 20 minutes – which means he’s going to be able to accelerate his exposure to the spoken language massively, once he gets hold of the right kind of recorded speech.
Oh, and it only took him two weeks to go from 1.75x to 3x. That’s got massive implications for the idea of getting people to real, interactional confidence in just a week or so – and to a complementary idea of getting people to use the language confidently after just three intensive weekends in a row.
So we need to press on and get the right kind of materials ready for what will then, I hope, be an extensive period of field testing…:-)