CasaBlanca Software: Learning and Teaching Tools

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Having lived in the United States for almost four decades, Edward LeBlanc decided it was time for a change of scene, and relocated to Germany where his wife grew up. Several visits and as many moderately successful attempts to learn German preceded this decision.

After the last trip and before calling the movers, it dawned on him that it was getting dangerously serious. If he wanted to give himself a fair chance to like living in the country of sauerkraut, beer, lederhosen and castles, he needed to expand his German vocabulary. Fast. 

Coincidentally, and handily, he is a software engineer by trade. Even more handily, his wife, Ulrike LeBlanc, is a trained language teacher. Together, they sat down and designed a vocabulary training program. While they believe that context-based learning is important, experience taught them that the bottom line for acquiring a decent-size vocabulary in a foreign language is ...... to memorize words. Especially, if one needs to do it fast, like Ed. 

The vocabulary training program worked. Ed still mixes up dative and accusative here and there, but he knows a lot of words and is adding new ones that he picks up during the day all the time. 

It was only a small step to thinking that many people learning many languages would benefit from this program, as well. Ed and Ulrike sat down again and expanded the program to function in several languages. 

They then ventured to ask other language teachers and students for feedback, as their language lab rats, so to speak. More time was spent incorporating suggestions for improvement from testers. Ed and Ulrike are always open to feedback and will continue to work on new versions of Vocabulary Trainer. 

As a final test, Ulrike put her mother, a retired French teacher and a student of Spanish, to work, ignoring excuses like "I have never used a computer before in my life". Within a half hour, Ulrike's mother had the program down and concluded: "This is fun!" 

If you are learning Spanish, French or German, you can have fun, too!

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