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Language Center News

The Language Flagship Discourse Features PACE Project & Chinese Flagship

The Fall 2014 issue of The Language Flagship Discourse is now available. This issue features an article on the three recipients of the Language Flagship Proficiency Initiative, including the University of Minnesota PACE Project. A second article announces the new University of Minnesota Chinese Flagship.

Discourse is available online and paper copies may be picked up at the Language Center front desk in Jones 110.

Namaskāra* from the Multimedia Lab

The Multimedia Lab in Jones 135 offers an expanded lineup of live, multilingual internet TV shows, which now includes Hindi and Persian. Students can watch variety shows from Brazil, game shows from Sweden, or news from Korea on the wall-mounted large-screen monitor and listen through wireless headphones while relaxing on the Lab's spacious and comfortable couch or lounge chairs.

Please inform your students of this fun, authentic and relaxing language learning opportunity. The schedule is available online.

* That's "hello" in Hindi

TandemPlus Spring Kick-off & Orientation on February 4, Peik Gym

The TandemPlus Kick-off and Orientation Event has been moved to Peik Gym G65. It is still scheduled for Wednesday, February 4, 2015 from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m.

The event is open to all TandemPlus registrants as well as interested students and community members. At the event, participants will be able to meet other Tandem folk, try out Tandem speed chats (such as Spanish-English, Arabic-English, Chinese-English, and just English), learn about Tandem Plus, and enjoy food and refreshments from Wally's Falafel in Dinkytown, courtesy of a generous Community Building Grant from ISSS. It's a great way to start the semester!

Summary of January and February 2015 Language Center Events

Special professional development opportunities for Minnesota language teachers!

Engaging Students with Language Learning through Technology: Focus on the Interpretive Mode

Saturday, February 7, 2015, 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Today, authentic materials of all kinds (text, audio, video, infographics, images) that can complement our textbooks are readily available online, but most of them are not constructed with language learners in mind. How do we help our students work with and understand these materials? What kinds of tasks can we create that engage our students and pave the way for them to comprehend and learn from these materials? How can technology help us do this?

We'll talk about some of the pedagogy behind engagement with texts (Interpretive Mode), and then we'll show you some of our favorite tech tools. We would also like to know what you are doing to guide students through online materials. You will have opportunities for sharing your materials as well as for creating interpretive activities in the workshop. Bring an example of an interpretive activity that you have created and some ideas for text engagement that you'd like to create.

Engaging Students with Language Learning through Technology: Focus on the Presentational Mode

Saturday, March 7, 2015, 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Technology is providing a number of tools to fuel our creative energy. Most of these tools can be used for presenting ideas and concepts using the target language. What kinds of projects can students complete that demonstrate their communicative competence? Focusing on the presentational mode of communication, this workshop explores a variety of presentational options available through technology.

Audio podcasts, digital stories, posters, brochures, comics, essays, advertisements, reports, video projects - all are options for students to produce presentations. We will introduce free and inexpensive tools your students can use to create effective productions and demonstrate their presentational competence in the target language.

Bring a theme or task you might ask your students to address in creating a multimedia presentation. We will brainstorm together project options that take advantage of various creative tools.

Both workshops are appropriate for foreign language and ESL teachers at all levels and the cost is $30 per workshop. Registration for the Interpretive and Presentational workshops are online only and requires a credit card. The registration fee is non-refundable. There are two location options:

Presenters for Both Workshops

  • Alyssa Bonnac teaches English as a Second Language in the Minnesota English Language Program at the University of Minnesota. She has given both face-to-face and online workshops about using technology in the language classroom.
  • Marlene Johnshoy is the Online Education Program director and web manager for the Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition. She has given numerous workshops on many aspects of web-based language teaching and learning.
  • Dan Soneson is the Director of the Language Center in the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota. He is currently the managing editor of the IALLT Journal for Language Learning Technologies, and has been a leader in language learning and technology for over 20 years.

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