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October 2011 Archives

TandemPlus and the Multimedia Lab: Having an Awesome Autumn


All work and no play?
Students enjoy the new lounge furniture in the Multimedia Lab

The Fall semester has gotten off to a great start for TandemPlus -- this is by far our biggest semester yet. There are 639 people registered, and 427 people have been matched for exchanges in 17 languages!

We hold many events for all Tandem participants, both matched and unmatched. So far we have hosted a kick-off party, and are currently planning a bowling night for all Tandem registrants at Goldy's Gameroom in Coffman Union on November 11.

Our Skype matches are growing and an interest in Tandem is spreading through our international partners in countries such as France, Japan, and Russia.

Our class exchanges are also growing. This semester we have collaborated with 12 universities overseas to bring language classes and students together through technology. Students are assigned partners from a class overseas and spend half the time speaking in both of their native languages, allowing them to practice their second language and gain cultural insight.

We are enthusiastic about the future of the TandemPlus Program and so excited to keep moving forward as the program expands!

The redesigned Multimedia Lab in Jones Hall is also having a great semester. Students are flocking to the new design, which features hexagonal computer tables which allow more collaboration between lab patrons while better utilizing the lab's available space. Students are loving the "laptop bar" where they can work and charge their laptop and portable devices, or even print wirelessly to the lab's laser printer from their laptops, while they enjoy lots of natural light from the west-facing windows overlooking Pleasant Street. Students are also using the lab's new sectional couch and tablet-arm chairs to study and relax. Lab use has increased greatly this semester, but don't worry -- we still have space for you.

We still are looking for a new name for this awesome study space, so if you have a suggestion, post it in the comments section of this blog post!

Upcoming plans for the Multimedia Lab include live international programming on the lab's two flat-screen TVs. We will have a full list of programming, including news, game shows, and movies, from around the globe, in a variety of languages. Look for this Spring semester!

The Language Center will be rebroadcasting the following ACTFL webinar series.

ACTFL Webinar Series: Enhancing Literacy - Improving Learners' Proficiency

Presenter: Laura Terrill, independent consultant and former coordinator for World Languages & ELL

1. Understanding Content: Teaching Strategies for the Interpretive Mode
Friday, November 18
12:30 - 1:30 PM
Jones 35
This webinar will focus on building students' interpretive skills in reading, listening and viewing. Emphasis will be placed on the use of authentic texts related to thematic curriculum units. Participants will consider how to make authentic text comprehensible by using before, during and after strategies that develop their students' literacy skills. Appropriate strategies for assessing individual student comprehension will also be shared.

2. Creating Content: Teaching Strategies for the Presentational Mode
Friday, December 9
12:30 - 1:30 PM
Jones 35
This webinar will consider the types of tasks that students are typically given to develop their ability to present in written and oral formats. Easy-to-implement strategies designed to help students articulate their ideas effectively while advancing a student's proficiency level will be shared. Strategies for providing effective feedback while minimizing the paperwork often associated with the presentational mode will also be considered.

3. Discussing Content: Teaching Strategies for the Interpersonal Mode
Wednesday, December 14
12:30 - 1:30 PM
Jones 35
This webinar will present ways teachers can create lessons that build toward real-life, unrehearsed communication so that students at all levels are prepared to communicate in meaningful ways. Participants will consider strategies designed to maximize use of the target language and learn effective classroom management strategies essential for interactive classrooms. Easily adapted activities for working with language learners at novice, intermediate and advanced levels will be shared.

You can learn more about this series at the ACTFL website.

Tutorial - Observe, Message and Chat with Apple Remote Desktop

Have you ever asked your students to do a web-based activity in RemoteDesktopIcon.pngthe classroom only to discover later that they were hopelessly lost surfing the web? What if there was a way to quickly glance at all the students computers to see what they were up to? And better yet, what if there was a way to discreetly send students a message to help them get back on track? With Apple Remote Desktop, there is!

Tandem Plus Fall Kickoff Event

Last Friday afternoon TandemPlus celebrated its sixth annual kickoff event. This year 125 American and International students attended the celebration in Nolte Center and enjoyed conversing in different languages, eating treats, and even singing songs. There are 571 students registered for TandemPlus this semester, making it the biggest semester yet! We hope to continue to grow the program and expand our international and community ties. Thanks so much for coming out to the event and for making the beginning of the sixth anniversary of Tandem a success!

Start Getting Excited for World Languages Day 2012!

Planning for the 9th annual World Languages Day is underway! The date is set for Tuesday, May 15th, 2012 and, similar to last year, the event will take place on the West Bank of the University of Minnesota campus.

World Languages Day is an opportunity for Minnesota high school students to explore some of the languages and cultures of the world and to experience life at the University of Minnesota. The event is intended for sophomore-level language classes, although other high school students are invited to attend, as well as teachers, counselors and parents.

This year we hope to once again offer the option of virtual attendance. Once we get a better idea of what the interest and expectation will be, we hope to create a virtual experience that will be enriching to high schools who are unable to attend the event in person.

We also hope to offer some new courses this year and we are always open to ideas, so please let us know if you have a suggestion for a new class on language or culture or if you would like to recommend a potential instructor. We are hoping to find an instructor to teach Hindi, Hebrew and a Native American language, since these subjects had to be dropped last year. We plan to offer a new panel class, which will focus on what college life and language study is like. Student ambassadors will lead the panel and allow high school students to ask questions that are relevant to them.

Interested in learning more? Read this summary of the 2011 event or visit the World Languages Day website.


Want proof of how much high school students enjoy World Languages Day?
This student, who attended the 2011 event, painted each of her fingernails as a different flag of the world!

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