The student clicks on the icon in the upper right corner to start the program, or can click anywhere on the opening screen to read a little more about the program before beginning.
The screen that the students sees suggests that the student should work with Words or with Sentences to get an exercise to start with.
The nearby image shows the screen after the student has clicked on A/An or Zero, Select from List, the list box, and has finally selected the noun business, then clicked on the grey Go ahead button.
As you can see, a box captioned "You Type" appears, asking the student to decide which article, a, an or zero article, can appear before his/her noun, business. The student types his/her answer in the red box and goes on by clicking on the OK button.
After clicking on OK, the student is returned to the main screen and given an explanation regarding his/her answer. Note that the right answers here could be either a (because we can say "a business") or the so-called "zero article", which is typed by using two dashes "--", to indicate that we can say the word "business" without an article in English ("She studied business at Baruch."). Below this information is a suggestion to view either Graphics or Meanings by selecting them from the menu choices.
The student clicks on Return to Program to get back to the main screen.
In this case the student sees two definitions of the word business: one a non-count definition, and one a count definition. Clicking on the book gives both definitions, clicking on the "nullified" calculator gives the non-count meaning, while clicking on the calculator gives the count meaning. Clicking on Return to Program returns the student to the main screen once again.
The program also provides definitions for other nouns. In another example, imagine that the noun aardvark has been tested, and the student has clicked on Meaning(s) from the main menu screen. A screen with an icon of a book appears; clicking on it causes the definition of aardvark to appear in the box.
If the student chooses Words from the main screen, and then selects Determiners, a list box opens up with the Determiners that are contained in this program.
The student would then click on one of these determiners, which in this case in the nearby image is every. Then, assuming that the student next chooses to be tested on a Randomly selected noun, (by clicking on the yellow button for that choice), a screen appears in which the student is asked whether the determiner every can appear before the randomly selected noun, in this case oceans. The computer expects the answer "No" here. The student is then told if his/her answer is correct and why.
The usual choices for Graphic and for Meaning(s) are available at the top again, after the student has worked with this noun and this determiner.
After working with either the Graphic or the Meaning(s) screen, the student should click on Return to Program to get back to the main menu page.
The sentence the computer generates --in this case, "Today I saw ___ WORKER on the bus"-- appears in a box. Above this is a box captioned "You Type"; the computer is waiting for the student to respond that the article a is the correct answer to appear in the blank before the noun worker.
The student will be told if s/he is correct and will be given an explanation.
The sentence here "She wants to go with the teacher and work with ___ poor of the city" is one which expects the article the as the correct answer in the blank. The student answer will be evaluated and an explanation provided automatically.
To begin again, the student clicks on the menu choice Sentences, then on the button Idioms, then on the button Go ahead to receive another sentence with another randomly chosen idiomatic expression.
The student is then tested on which article should go before that place name (in this case, the is used before Himalayas).
To begin again, the student clicks on the menu choice Sentences, then on the option button Place names, then selects a place name from the list, then clicks on the button Go ahead to receive another sentence.
Prof. G. Dalgish, ESL Director, English Department, Baruch College e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org