10m Tech Talks: Vocabulary, forums, and an A–>Z list

tick-tock-tech-talkYesterday’s 10-min. Tech Talks seemed a bit more relaxed than normal, almost as if time had expanded on that wet winter day, or as if the chicken had forsaken its timekeeping duties…

But no, it was in fact the quick, engaging and in-depth presentations we got to hear from our 3.5 presenters! In our one-hour session, we discussed several ways for enhancing vocabulary study and encouraging written dialogue in language classes.

In the first 10-minute talk, Bonny Wassing (Dutch) introduced us to the translation-dictionary tool Linguee, a real strength of which, he said, is its ability to show multiple and contextualized examples of target language words. A significant consideration, though, is that its heavy use of authentic target-language texts makes it less appropriate for beginning students.

Theresa Schenker (German) continued with the next presentation on the discussion forum tool ProBoards, which she said she prefers over Yale’s own Classes*v2 for its ease of including non-Yale participants. Theresa and other German instructors use ProBoards regularly for intercultural, bilingual discussions with partner students in Germany, to great success (and with a discussion forum rubric that we all hope to see again!).

Our own Russ Suvorov (CLS) rounded out the session of tech talks by demonstrating how to use Lingro, a tool that allows you to get definitions and study vocabulary directly from websites as you visit them. Although there’s a handful of services out there that help with one-click translations of words on websites as you browse them, Russ showed us that one neat thing about Lingro is its ability to remember the words you’ve clicked, and to create flashcards from these words.

There’s lots still to explore from those 3 talks; my “0.5” addition at the beginning of the hour was a little “A–>Z” worksheet of language teaching and technology resources, showing on the one hand all the topics and tools we’ve already introduced in these 10-min. Tech Talks, and on the other just how arbitrary the many, many lists of edtech tools really are.

Lists seem most valuable to me in the actual process of making them (for the makers), more so than as finished products. That’s why I’m embedding the file here in this post, so you can scroll through it. And if you’d like to add to it, just click here and edit the Google doc. Changes should show up in a few minutes, if they don’t show up immediately. (try refreshing this page too).

Oh, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that our next 10-min. Tech Talks will be in 2 weeks, on Wednesday, March 5th, just like yesterday’s, from 1-2pm in the CLS library (370 Temple St.). We welcome anyone to come, and if you’d like to present as well, you can sign up on this form.

If you’re wondering what’s been presented on in the past, take a look at our archive of 10-min tech talk posts here

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