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In this section your will find interesting articles and resources on technology in teaching.
Below is the list of entries.

Digital Age Learning in the K-8 World Language Classroom
LTE 2009: Language Teacher Eduation Conference Highlights

ACTFL Video Contest Winners
ACTFL announces "Not just a language class" Podcast Winners
Max Author Updates
The NEALLT Conference - Ithaca, New York
Virginia Goes Live with Virtual Chinese

Be sure to check out the Teachers' Calendar to see upcoming conferences and events, many of which focus on technology in language teaching.

Digital Age Learning in the K-8 World Language Classroom

NNELL Webinar “Digital Age Learning in the K-8 World Language Classroom” on May 1st. This webinar will highlight web-based applications that enable students and teachers to create digital media products in the target language that exemplify the interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational modes of communication.

LTE 2009: Language Teacher Eduation Conference Highlights
Originally published in the NCRLC Language Resource, August 2009

If you missed our conference, several tech-oriented presentations can be viewed online via the LTE Tech for Teachers Web Portal. Here, you can read an overview of nineteen different presentations and download corresponding materials. We have also posted information from four plenary speakers as well. Additionally, we're collaborating with MERLOT's World Languages Web Portal to publicize this information, so you can see us there, too - just search "NCLRC" on the homepage to a see a variety of our materials.

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ACTFL Video Contest Winners Announced
by Thomas Braslavsky, NCLRC/The George Washington University
Originally published in the NCRLC Language Resource, March 2009

The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) has announced the winners of its 2009 Video Podcast Contest. As part of the organization’s Discover Languages…Discover the World! public awareness campaign, the competition invited students grades PK-16 to submit short video podcasts promoting foreign language study. The submission dates were from September 25 to December 15, 2008.

With this year’s theme of "Languages for Life!", the contest asked entries to show how useful learning a second language can be to an individual’s future. Entries were judged according to the categories of content, creativity, execution and effect, and candidates were expected to refer to the five C’s of the national standards of foreign language education: Communication, Cultures, Connections, Comparisons and Communities.

Entries were divided into categories based on education level (elementary school, middle school, high school and postsecondary), and there were two sets of winning videos: those based on feedback from judges and those with the most popular rankings from visitors to the website.

The winning videos found creative ways to promote foreign language education, including a Batman skit, a few news reports, a silent film and a spin off of a popular YouTube video – a commercial for a foreign language energy drink. To watch the winning videos, visit

This was ACTFL’s second annual video podcast competition, sponsored in collaboration with The Center for Language Education and Research (CLEAR) and the Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching (MERLOT). Once again, the many videos that were submitted creatively encouraged viewers to understand the benefits of learning new languages.

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ACTFL announces "Not just a language class" Podcast Winners

By Ben Redmond
March 2008

actfl1As part of the national public awareness campaign Discover ‎Languages…Discover the World, ACTFL, in association with CLEAR and MERLOT ‎sponsored a video podcast contest for K-16 language students earlier this year. The ‎contest theme “Not just a language class” encouraged students to share personal ‎motivations for studying a language and to demonstrate the importance of language ‎learning beyond the classroom. Students were asked to answer questions relating to the ‎length of time they have studied a given language, why they chose to study this language, ‎as well as to detail how their experiences in the language classroom have affected other ‎areas of their lives. In addition the entries were expected to address the application of the ‎five C's of the national standards in their entries.‎

actfl2Contest submissions were accepted from January 14 to February 15, 2008. The ‎entries were divided by categories according to academic level; elementary school ‎students (K-5), middle school students (6-8), high school students (9-12) and post-‎secondary students. The winning entrants were offered cash and product prizes worth up ‎to $500 for their efforts.‎
The entries covered a broad range of languages, including Arabic, Spanish, ‎French, and Mandarin. Students applied a variety of creative approaches to the task; ‎telling stories about interactions in their language of study, imitating popular television ‎shows, and even setting a continuous recording camera in their school hallway to capture ‎the “confessions” of numerous language students. The entries were narrowed down to a ‎list of finalists, which can be viewed here: ‎A winner in each category was then selected from the finalists and the results were ‎recently announced.

actfl3The winners from each category are Nikki and Marissa (elementary); Neil, ‎Ankush, Vinay, and Kush for Spanish: a Step outside the Classroom (middle school); the ‎UCLS Filmmaking Club for “Confessions of a Language Student” (high school); and ‎Ben, a Stanford student, for “Make someone smile-study a language” (post-secondary). ‎Take a look at the winning videos and view many of the other quality entries as well at ‎‎
The ACTFL video podcast contest encouraged students to take an active role in ‎considering the value of language learning for themselves and sharing it with others. ‎Projects like these that encourage an exploration of creative capacities and their ‎application to the task of language learning help keep the classroom exciting for many ‎students. If you have the classroom resources to do so you may find it useful to ‎encourage your students to take on a similar project in the hope that they discover for ‎themselves why language learning has such great value in the classroom and beyond.

UPDATE: Although these winners are no longer posted online, the contest is an annual event and more recent winners can be found at the ACTFL Video Podcast Contest webpage here.

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MaxAuthor Updates

This is an update for MaxAuthor Enthusiasts.
If you are not familiar with this program, MaxAuthor is a free multimedia authoring system for language instruction, we recently had an article about it, you can read the article now.

Thanks to a grant from the US Department of Education International Research and Studies Program, we are working with the National Association of Self-Instructional Language Programs (NASILP) to improve MaxAuthor and create new courseware for the languages: Beginning Kurdish, Intermediate Ukrainian, and Advanced Turkish. We are looking for beta testers for these materials.

We are assisting the National Foreign Language Resource Center located at the University of Arizona: the Center for Educational Resources in Culture Language and Literacy ( With CERCLL, we have produced online MaxAuthor training videos to accompany the tutorials at This is in addition to several new Macromedia Flash videos showing how our student formats work for four different languages, see

If you haven't yet downloaded our new Internet capable MaxBrowser v3.21, please give it a try. The free for non-commercial use, MaxBrowser3 has all the same interactive features as our latest DVD-ROMs. Once you download and install MaxBrowser3, we have several sample lessons with audio and streaming video you can try (more coming soon). Your own lessons created with MaxAuthor can also be used over the Internet with MaxBrowser3 if you have a web server. You can download MaxBrowser3 HERE.

We will be demonstrating our latest products at ACTFL and the NASILP annual conference in Crystal City, Virginia (near DC) Nov 2-3. If you are considering offering a Less Commonly Taught Language at your institution for credit, NASILP can show you how! Please see for registration information (the conference rate hotel deadline is Oct 16th). Speakers at the conference will include: Elizabeth Bergman, Executive Director, American Association of Teachers of Arabic; Elizabeth Mazzocco, Director, Five College Center for the Study of World Languages; Scott McGinnis, DLI; Ed McDermott, US Dept of Education; J. David Edwards, JNCL/NCLIS; Oksana Sachyk, FLIO, Author of CLS Beginning and Intermediate Ukrainian; Michael McAnear, Dean, National University; and other representatives from government and academia...

The Critical Languages Series CDROMs and DVDROMs have helped thousands of students learn LCTLs and are great examples of materials you can create for your students using MaxAuthor, see our newly redesigned website at for more information and reviews published by CALICO and EUROCALL.

We are experimenting with importing MAX lessons into Moodle (a popular open source course management system). If you are working with MAX lessons on Moodle (or want to), please let us know.

How are you using MaxAuthor? Your comments and suggestions are very important to us and your feedback has played a major role in its evolution. This research is supported by the US Dept of Education, NASILP, and the Office of the Dean of the University of Arizona College of Humanities.

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The NEALLT Conference - Ithaca, New York
Originally published in the NCRLC Language Resource, May 2007
meloni and brant

The NEALLT Conference was held last weekend in Ithaca, New York. Language Lab and Language Center directors from the Northeast gathered to share experiences and ideas.
Our colleagues here at NCLRC, Christine Meloni and Jocelyne Brant, presented on two topics, "Online Resources for teachers of French and Italian" (Download files here: French, Italian, PPT Presentation.) and "Using Blogs to improve L2 writing".
Jill Robbins
presented on "Push vs. Pull and LRC dissemination via Technology." Her links can be found here: (

Karen Campbell
of Rutgers told how she adapts playing of the SIMs 2 game for use in language learning. By changing the language in which the game runs, one can build a tailor-made neighborhood inhabited by families of ‘SIMs," paying for furnishings with "SIMoleans" and creating a narrative about what the characters are saying to each other in "SIMish." Directions for changing the language can be found here.

The SIMs is called a "Sandbox" or "Dollhouse" game in which players create their own game. There is no objective beyond the creative satisfaction of filling out the details of everyday lives and vicariously experiencing the events of characters’ lives.

Conducting a trial with the SIMs in Fall 2006, Rutgers offered SIMS in French, Spanish, German, Chinese, and Portuguese courses. 19 instructors participated – over 100 students logged a total of over 400 hrs playing the game. One instructor offered extra credit for playing SIMS for 2 hours a week, and had some students who came in to the lab regularly to play. Campbell showed examples of written assignments that teachers assigned to allow students to elaborate on their game play. For example, one asked students to start a family & tell about it orally or in writing. The sample student work included pictures printed from the screen shots of the house and family the student created and (depending on the student’s level of proficiency) narratives or labels describing what is seen in the picture.

Nina Garrett, Director of Language Study at Yale University, gave the plenary address. Garrett pointed out that the online academic news source Inside Higher Ed described the soon-to-be-released MLA report on foreign language education as stating that the increasing need for language learning includes but goes beyond traditional literature study to emphasize the need for students to do advanced language work in the context of whatever discipline or profession they intend to follow.

All in all, the NEALLT conference is one which we highly recommend to teachers who want to learn how to better engage students in language learning through the use of technology.

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Virginia Goes Live with Virtual Chinese
by Jill Robbins

Many schools and state departments of education around the country are trying to arrange ways for their students to study the less-commonly taught languages, such as Chinese, Arabic, and Japanese. A shortage of qualified teachers is one barrier to meeting this need. Another is low numbers of students interested in a particular language at individual schools, and schools that are geographically widespread across a state. One way to make such classes possible is through distance education.

Language Resource interviewed Cathy Cheely, E-Learning Coordinator for the Virginia Department of Education about the new programs being offered to provide foreign languages in Virtual Learning environments. She told us that the Virtual Chinese course is being introduced this semester with around 30 students enrolled. The first level has been fully developed and each year, another level will be offered. It is anticipated that 150 lessons will be available in Chinese when all levels are complete. Cheely explained that the course was developed with several considerations in mind. One was to avoid the tendency of students to skip over parts of the lesson and move on to the “fun” activities or to be confused about what to work on at a given point. This is address through video streaming of teacher instruction. The teacher explains the lesson and indicates what is on the agenda. The student can view the agenda and click on buttons to go to each part. For example, in the video, the teacher says to go to the PowerPoint to find out about the vocabulary first. After the student has finished that, a click of a button returns to the video streaming so the teacher can explain the next step, which may be a lesson on a CD on brush strokes for writing the Chinese characters. Assessments are built into each lesson to keep track of how much the student has learned and to give immediate feedback on understanding of the material. If the student has questions, there is an interactive chat function where questions can be answered by the teacher or by aides. The instructors keep a staggered schedule of early and later hours in the day so students can interact with them during school hours or at home in the evenings. Students can page the teacher through a system similar to Instant Messaging, and the teacher can see when each student is online. The teacher also has a toll-free number that students can call to ask questions.

The software used in Virginia’s virtual foreign language classes includes Desire2Learn, which provides the learning environment, and Elluminate, which allows for live discussions. Students can also use Elluminate to send audio or video files to the teacher. Demonstrations can be viewed on these companies’ websites. Cheely feels that the video streaming is an important component of the virtual courses; the teachers can give further explanations and encourage students in this lively visual communication. Another key factor for success is the presence in the student’s real-world school of a mentor. This is a teacher who is responsible for monitoring student progress and proctoring exams.

LR asks: How popular are these virtual classes? Cheely says, “This year there are a lot more students online - last year enrollment was at 1300, while this year we have 2400 students.” Enrollment levels in virtual foreign language classes this year are: Latin (not counting AP) – 503; Spanish Language AP – 15; Spanish AP – 60; Japanese – Satellite and online – 456, Chinese – 30.

LR: Why has there been such a big increase? Cheely responds, “Many states’ virtual schools are facing increased demand for courses. Students are getting more accustomed to using distance learning technology, and there is greater awareness of the need for foreign languages.”

LR: Have the requirements of NCLB had an effect on the use of virtual courses? “Schools are increasing trying to find highly-qualified fully licensed teachers. Many schools had too few students to make up a class – or could not employ a teacher full time. This makes virtual courses very convenient.”

LR: How about the demand for younger students to study foreign languages through distance learning? “There have been requests for languages at the elementary level – but that is not part of Virginia’s e-Learning mission right now. This would require restructuring of the role of the mentors and modifying the courses.”

LR: Thank you for taking the time to talk with us!

For more information on Virginia’s Virtual Advanced Placement and foreign language courses, see

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