NERALLT Spring 2011 Conference

Along with Maria Kaliambou, Senior Lector in Modern Greek, I attended and presented at the spring meeting of NERALLT, held at Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut. The weather was wonderful, which made for a pleasant drive up and short walk through the campus. Presentations got off to a good start as colleagues Pilar Asensio-Manrique and Ame Cividanes discussed their use of Facebook and oral assessment in their study abroad program in Bilbao, Spain.

After intervening presentations on in-class video capture, integrating mobile technology to a foreign language course at a service academy, and teaching instructors about wikis, Maria and I were onstage. For the next 45 minutes, we discussed our collaborative effort to integrate blogging into the spring Modern Greek curriculum. As this is necessarily a work-in-progress, our presentation focused on the qualitative, describing how we balanced aspects of the project and what we have seen and heard from students so far. In sum, students have taken quite well to the low stakes, community-building blogging that Maria has initiated. In turn, student blogging has sometimes informed how class time is spent, whether discussing language issues raised by blog posts, conversing about post subjects, or even engaging in mutual support and correction of peer writing. We are happy to share the PowerPoint file from our presentation.

After our presentation, there was one more, on approaching “communication and cultural exchange outside the language classroom” using three different technologies. Unfortunately, the most interesting tool they used — for evaluating and annotating student-created videos — was custom built for their LMS and hence not portable to other institutions. We broke for the day and were able to enjoy a bit of the lovely weather. Additionally, I’ll note that the hour-long car ride each way afforded us the opportunity to have a wide-ranging conversation about language teaching and learning at Yale. I highly recommend profiting from the interstices of a conference!

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