This section gives you an overview of the structure of the textbook and it contains valuable information on how to use it.
The textbook consists of ten or more units (or lessons). Each unit focuses on a particular topic. The units are numbered and their numbers represent an order of difficulty or grammatical progression to some extent. Also their topics might be chosen to relate to the previous units.
Apart from the individual units, there are also other chapters, such as ESSENTIAL SPANISH GRAMMAR, Vocabulary Index or Pronunciation, which summarize the grammar and vocabulary for the whole textbook.
On every page, on left side or near the top, you will find a menu with links that you can use to browse the different chapters and sections of the textbook.
When you enter a unit, the first thing you see is a small section called Aims and Objectives. It informs you briefly about the focus of the unit and lists the grammar points which will be practised. You can use the provided links to read their explanations in the grammar bank.
The next section contains a listing of vocabulary for the unit. You can browse through the vocabulary, see the translations and listen to recordings with correct pronunciation. Simply click or press enter on a word or phrase and the sound is played.
Bellow the vocabulary follow five or so sections of exercises. In general it is better to do the exercises in the order in which they appear, but you are free to choose what part of the unit you want to work on. So you can, for example, skip some exercises at first, then return later to do them properly.
The final section, Checklist, lists the skills that you have practised and should have acquired in the particular unit. It is useful for preparation for exams and it is also great for checking whether you have not missed some aspect of the unit.
The exercises you will find in the units are of various kinds. There are exercises where you have to type in your replies as well as exercises where you choose among the offered answers. But there are certain aspects that they all have in common.
Exercises in the textbook are for practice. You can repeat them as many times as you like and your results are not being recorded anywhere.
The exercises always begin with a short explanation of what you are supposed to answer, sometimes accompanied with an example. Bellow each exercise you can also find a link to detailed help. It explains how to work with the particular type of exercise and gives you hints on useful keyboard shortcuts.
The Evaluate button bellow each exercise provides a way to evaluate your overall result in the exercise. On pressing the button, the result is announced phonetically and also becomes visible next to the button. If there is a mistake, your cursor moves to the edit field where the first mistake lies. This however is only a very rough evaluation, it tells you how well you have done and where a mistake is, but doesn't explain what exactly it is nor how to correct it. In the following section, we will explain how to find and correct your mistakes.
In exercises where you select an answer from a list of offered options, each time you select an option, a voice will immediately announce whether your choice was good or bad. Using this feedback, you can correct your mistakes.
A more interesting question however is how to evaluate the exercises where you type in your answer letter by letter, such as in vocabulary exercises, cloze exercises or in dictations.
When you are in a text input field containing your answer, and you want to check whether it doesn't contain any mistake, press the Ctrl+Space key combination by holding down the Control key and pressing space bar once. If your answer in the text field differs from the answer suggested by the authors of the textbook, the cursor will be moved to the first letter which differs and the first letter of the suggested answer will be written in its place. Pressing in Ctrl+Space repeatedly will write in more letters of the suggested answer. As soon as you resolve the mistake, you can use Ctrl+Space again to check for any further mistakes.
We would like to remark here that the suggested answer doesn't have to be the only one correct answer, so please take the outputs of the automatic evaluation rather as hints than strict judgements.
The vocabulary and many exercises contain audio recordings. The playback can easily be controlled with buttons in the textbook. By pressing such buttons, you can start and pause the corresponding recording. You can also rewind and/or raise or lower the recording volume, by pressing the following keys:
|Raise volume||+ or Shift+Up|
|Lower volume||- or Shift+Down|
|Rewind forward||> or Shift+Right|
|Rewind backwards||< or Shift+Left|
These keys only work, if focus is placed on the control button for the recording.
The +, -, >, < keys can usually be pressed on non-English keyboard by holding the right Alt key and then typing these characters as they appear on the English keyboard.
|'+' (raise volume)||Right Alt+Shift+'+' (usually left of backspace)|
|'-' (lower volume)||Right Alt+'-' (usually second key left of backspace)|
|'<' or '>' (rewind)||Right Alt+< or right Alt+> (usually 2nd and 3rd key left of right Shift)|
(You can easily test this somewhere else where you can type text, for example in any simple notepad application.)
To be able to fully use the textbook, the student must have basic computer skills which can be compared to the ability to place an order in an internet e-shop. He/She must be able to:
- navigate web pages
- fill in forms
- use buttons and keyboard shortcuts
- play a sound
- and look into help when necessary
Digital textbooks are available online, so the computer used for studying must be connected to the internet. You need an internet browser with Flash plugin (Adobe Flash version 10 or higher).
The application should work in a vast majority of modern browsers. Its functionality was fully confirmed with the following ones:
- Mozilla Firefox 3.x and higher
- Google Chrome 5 and higher
- Internet Explorer 8 and higher
- Safari 5 and higher
The first two of them can be downloaded and used free of charge.
It is important to consider that studying the digital textbooks requires listening to sound recordings, so the student must have the possibility to play sound, either via speakers or headphones.
We wish you good luck!