1. Teaching Language and Culture through Social Media and Networks.
In this paper, the presenter will examine the affordances and authenticity of digital and virtual learning spaces for developing basic linguistic and intercultural competencies in online Elementary German courses taught at the University of Pennsylvania since 2010. Like their face-to-face counterparts, the online courses are grounded on the principles of communicative language teaching but show how these principles when applied to collaborative learning spaces can maximize participation, promote learner autonomy and influence student outcomes. We will evaluate the students' outcomes with examples from their interactions in the online classroom through Adobe Connect and from their written and oral progress in blogs, wikis, Facebook and Voicethreads. In addition to also surveying student evaluations and assessing their oral proficiency levels at the end of the elementary sequence, this paper follows the students’ language development at the intermediate level as they transition from the online environment to the face-to-face classroom.
2. Developing Pronunciation Skills at the Introductory Level: Motivating Students through Interpersonal Audio Discussions
Students learning a second language (L2), ranging from beginners to the highly proficient, desire to obtain a native-like accent (Harlow & Muyskens, 1994; Drewelow & Theobald, 2007). How can this be accomplished? Researchers (Pica, 1994; Warschauer, 1996; Firth & Wagner, 1997; Smith, Alvarez-Torres & Zhao, 2003; Kramsch & Whiteside, 2007; Lord, 2008; Ducate & Lomicka, 2009; Aubry, 2009) are in agreement that social environments foster the development of L2 proficiency. Therefore, due to the wealth of emerging online learning communities such as podcasts, blogs, and wikis available, additional research is needed to assist instructors in making decisions concerning the appropriate implementation of emerging technologies as pedagogical tools. At the focus of this presentation are the results of a research study involving participants enrolled in an introductory French course at a large, public university. Data was collected through an interpersonal audio discussion treatment facilitated through the use of a web-based software called VoiceThread, and the associated activities were integrated into the regular curriculum. Through questionnaires and feedback forms, participants and trained judges assessed the effects of the treatment on the participants’ pronunciation as well as identified motivators for pronunciation achievement.
3. Español 200: bridging medium, collaboration, and communities of practice
Today, course management systems (CMSs) are the preferred form of delivery of content in higher education. However, the implementation and use of CMSs convey advantages, challenges, and limitations. Course objectives and organization may be highly influenced by the features and affordances possible with the CMS used (Anderson, 2008). This presentation will explicate how language tasks that take advantage of the affordances of the CMS have been implemented in intermediate Spanish courses. The combination of online content and collaboration tools has allowed for three modes of collaboration and interactions: student-student, instructor-instructors, and student-instructor. This presentation will discuss how the integration of interactive grading rubrics in the course curriculum has facilitated the assessment of writing assignments and in turn it has prompted greater students’ awareness of the grading methods. The presentation will conclude with a discussion about better practices to engage learners in collaboration and in the fostering of communities of practice (Wenger 2000, Eckert, 2006).
Dr. Ed Dixon Senior Lecturer
Director, Penn Language Center
University of Pennsylvania
University of Alabama
Dr. Cristina Pardo Ballester
Assistant Professor of Spanish and SLA
Iowa State University
Adolfo Carillo Cabello
Graduate Teaching Assistant
Iowa State University