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Thursday, April 21, 2005
 
דבר Hebrew Vocabularies Project: pt.1 Origins of the Project ::

I said that I would write more about the project, how it came about and what we have planned and achieved. So, I'll do bits in breaks between marking (as a reward!).

The School of Theology at the University of Auckland bid for and was offered assistance from the (then) new Centre for Flexible and Distance Learning to produce an electronic resource for a few learning hours in the introductory course in Biblical Hebrew. From the Theology side Lynne Wall and I were the initiators, and our initial hope was to produce a vocabulary resource that would:
  1. use multimedia (sound and pictures) to enrich vocabulary learning
  2. use the interactivity of the web
  3. provide models of speaking Hebrew that were less Anglophone (or rather Americanophone) than existing electronic resources (like Parson's Hebrew Tutor)

We also dreamed of a system that was extensible, so that once we had the 6 learning hours prepared it should be less work to produce a second batch. As we talked with the team from CFDL (especially Wayne Mackintosh, the director) we began to explore two directions:

  1. an open source tool called EXE that programmers at Auckland are developing for creating XHTML Learning resources
  2. the concept of an open project which other Biblical Hebrew teachers could use to create their own vocabularies, and to which they could contribute data

Such a project needs not only the software and interface that CFDL could provide, but the means to output particular collections of words "vocabularies" that suit the needs of different approaches and textbooks used in beginners Hebrew classes. As it has been adapted for the project EXE (with a clever front end) allows this to happen.

We are currently entering enough data to demonstrate the site and concept in a couple of months time at SBL International.



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