24 September 2009

"Destinos" revisited

Well, I just finished watching the last episode of "Destinos" on my computer. There are fifty-two episodes and each episode is about a half an hour long. I have been watching them at the rate of about one a day so I have given up at least one full twenty-four hour day of my life dedicated to this series. Actually I have spent more time than that. In the fall of 1998, just before I came to Mexico, I was feverishly studying Spanish in preparation for my journey and I stumbled upon the Destinos program on the Public Broadcasting System Channel. Destinos was created by a genius named Bill VanPatten at the University of Illinois and funded by the Annenberg CPB Project with additional funds from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. I owe a big debt of gratitude to all of these folks. When I first started watching Destinos I only understood about forty percent of what was being said. Nevertheless, I found the story intriguing and it was fairly easy for me to follow the plot. I didn't get to see all of the episodes before I left for Mexico and I remember wondering if I would ever get to the point where I could understand a program like that completely. When I found out rather recently that I could access all of the episodes on my computer through my broadband connection I just had to go back and see how I am doing now compared to how I was doing back then. I am pleased and proud to report that this time I understood every word and that I enjoyed the story so thoroughly that I was truly sad when I came to the end. Not only does the story introduce the student to Spanish in very creative ways but it is a story so interesting and well told as to hold one's interest completely.

I urge anyone who is beginning to learn Spanish to take advantage of this program. It is free and it can be accessed at: http://www.learner.org/resources/series75.html . It is in a streaming video format called "Video on Demand" (VOD). You can't download the episodes to your hard disc but you can watch them for free online and you can purchase the whole set if you want to on DVD. Just open the web page and go to the first lesson and click on the box that says "VOD". The video will appear in a "pop-up" window. If your browser is configured to prevent "pop-up" windows you need to click on your browser "tools" and "options" and make an exception for this program. You can also open the program full screen but I had no problem with viewing it in the small window. There are all kinds of books and study materials for Destinos available on Amazon.com and although I didn't use any study aids, in retrospect, I think that in the beginning this would have been very nice. I would like to hear from other people who have found Destinos to be helpful and if there is anyone who has questions and needs a little help please let me know. Here is a page of helpful notes that will give you an idea of what the episodes are all about: http://www.helpfulnotes.com/destinos.html

¡Qué tengas mucha suerte!

7 comments:

glorv1 said...

That sound like a great series. It would be a good thing for Steve to look into when he gets back. You are so smart Bob. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Fantastico! I'm watching the first show and enjoying the %^& out of it. Mucho gracias por tu ayuda! You've provided a great resource to help a dip in NC get a grip on the language,,
Thanks again!
Dan in NC

Brenda said...

Yes, I watched all of the episodes last year and also enjoyed them.
I thought they were a good learning tool also; but I would have benefited from some written materials to go along with them. (Too cheap to buy them.) There were some words that I didn't understand and without the written materials it was difficult to look them up and check on them.
Thought they were really good though, an enjoyable way to learn.

There is another series of videos, on computer and also free, done in much the same manner; but this one is newer and more interactive. It is a BBC one. It is the Spain Spanish though which one needs to keep in mind as some pronunciation differs here.
It is found here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/spanish/mividaloca/

Anders Branderud said...

Oula! I found you're blog and read some.

I think that the website www.netzarim.co.il will be of interest to you and your readers. It contains research about Ribi Yehoshua (the Messiah) from Nazareth. Anders Branderud

Gloria said...

Hi there, thank you for sharing the information on Destinos. I'm learning Spanish having moved to Spain, from London three years ago so I'll most certainly give it a try and feedback to you.

Am also going to sign up to be follower 52. Hope you'll come visit my blog and perhpaps follow me if you like what you see?

Will be back to read thru' some of your earlier postings.

!Que tengas un buen dia, mi amigo nuevo!

Anonymous said...

Bob,
Just a quick note to let you know that this blog has helped more than myself. I've just turned my eldest son on to the French series ( he WAS fluent after 6 years of lessons) but the business world has dulled his language skills a bit - and this was a GREAT reminder for him. Same for my younger son - who had also had 6 years of lessons & full immersion for a couple of summers in German! Both my kids, and myself (Spanish) thank you for posting the links!
Cheers!
Dan in NC

YayaOrchid said...

Bob, I'm glad you enjoyed the series and that it helped you in learning Spanish. I've seen a few episodes before, and it is a nice storyline.

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About Me

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I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. I have been living in Mexico since January 6th, 1999. I am continually studying to improve my knowledge of the Spanish language and Mexican history and culture. I am also a student of Mandarin Chinese.