Technology Spotlight

Digital Storytelling
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Yu Li, Chinese, REALC

I used digital storytelling for students of Intermediate Chinese to create final projects that showcase their mastery of the language and development of cultural competence. The project required students to work in pairs and create a coherent story with a Chinese cultural theme as the background. I found that, with its relatively low technological threshold, the digital storytelling project was an excellent option for giving students the means for creative expression and for improving their language skills through a multi-stage, collaborative process.

Twitter
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Bumyong Choi, Korean, REALC

I use Twitter in my Korean 102 class for improving students writing skill and helping the development of L2 Korean learner's digital literacy. As the most popular micro-blogging platform application, Twitter has very useful features for language instruction. Its short and instant messaging features are suitable to writing activities for beginning level language class. The class consists of playing games, short answers with target expressions, and short paragraph writing with target context. I am also expecting that the use of Twitter from the Elementary Korean class can help students to become a functional citizen in both offline and online target culture.

Watch a presentation here.


Blackboard
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Marianne Lancaster, German

I created one central shared Blackboard site for all German Studies faculty where materials for all courses could be stored.  The materials include new colorful graphs, songs, links, and YouTube clips. Each course site follows the same structure, starting with course goals, schedules of assignments, texts, worksheets, information (on word-banks, grammar, and culture), writing and speaking tasks, feedback forms, space for recording tasks, teacher comments, and a folder for additional information where faculty can place additional songs, video clips, and other relevant materials. I encourage all of our faculty and students to enhance the collection. At the end of each unit the faculty can then access the test review sheet and a sample unit test.

Podcasts
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Wan-Li Ho, Chinese, REALC

For the intermediate and advanced levels in Chinese, I use the Podcasts, which are each about 3-5 minutes long, as supplemental material to enhance students' listening comprehension, improve their speaking ability, and expose students to authentic outside-of-class subjects such as aspects of other cultures (Taiwan, China, Singapore, etc.) and environmental/animal protection. After viewing the Podcasts, students complete short guiding question forms, discuss their thoughts with the class afterwards, and review key vocabulary used in the Podcasts. The whole Podcasts activity takes up about 15 minutes.

Blogging
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Lisa Dillman, Spanish

In my Freshman Seminar, Spanish 190: Latino US, I use the blog feature of Blackboard as a way of encouraging students to make connections between the themes, theories and events we look at in class, and their lives. For instance, I give them a topic, eg. a film we watch for class, and ask them to pick one issue or scene that struck them in particular and talk about why. Each entry must include images (jpg) and a link to an external site. Our first entry on "Bread and Roses" yielded fantastic results. People wrote about their own experiences working for minimum wage, about illegal immigration, about workers' rights, and the photos, graphs, videos and sites they linked to were really impressive. I like the fact that blogs are informal and allow students to be "relaxed", and also connect to one another. Also, I require students to "comment" on at least two of their peers' entries.

Digital Storytelling
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Yumiko Nishi, Japanese, REALC

In JPN 101, we used digital storytelling as a means to incorporate cultural studies in language classrooms. Students chose a topic (e.g. food, holidays, cities, sports), did research, and created a digital story as a group in English.  The gem of this project is that it allows us to observe Japanese culture, from traditional to contemporary, through the eyes of students. Students also learned the technology needed for creating a digital story, which they will be assigned in Japanese in the following semester. Students particularly enjoyed the final competition, in which prizes were awarded for the best story.