Brown Bag and Workshop: Developing Materials for Learning Outside the Classroom

Between today and Monday (3/3 and 3/7), the CLS is hosting a sequence of two events on online materials development, and invites all language instructors at Yale to participate. Please see the bottom of this post for more on how to get involved. 

Our specific goal for today’s Brown Bag and next Monday’s hands-on workshop is to support language instructors to be able to use free online resources and readily available media tools (cameras, microphones, etc.) in order to conveniently produce their own materials on an as-needed basis. This follows in the spirit of the recent movement across fields of study and educational levels to “flip the classroom” through instructional videos and other modular resources that give students more control over learning materials while creating more space during class time for meaningful exchange.

However, as we reaffirmed in our Brown Bag discussion, language teachers have some specific interests and needs due to the nature of their classrooms and subject matter. The first image of notes on the white board shows notes from our opening discussion about instructors’ motivations and purposes for developing online materials. The next image is a video recording of a teacher-fronted grammar explanation of the distinction between the Spanish “por” and “para” (for); the next YouTube video is a screencast of a Spanish grammar lesson with teacher’s voice-over explaining the difference between the ‘to be’ verbs “ser” and “estar”, uploaded to YouTube; the next image is a VoiceThread multimedia discussion board for students to practice speaking while listening to their peers. The final image, a picture of more notes on the whiteboard from our Brown Bag discussion, shows some of the participants’ areas of interest and concern after viewing the three examples. (Please note that these particular resources were shared because they are readily produced with common digital recording and composing tools of the kind we’ll introduce on Monday, and not because they necessarily demonstrate ‘good teaching’).

At Monday’s workshop, we’ll roll up our sleeves and set to making materials with tools for working with text, audio, and video creation and annotation. The specific tools and techniques we choose will depend on participant needs and interests, however, so we ask you to please let us know how you’d like to extend or enrich learning in your classrooms by participating in this one-question survey by Sunday night at 9 p.m. 

Following the workshop, we’ll update this blog post with the specific tools we introduce, and point to online tutorials for those who aren’t able to make the event.

Note: Larger and longer-term projects such as the creation of free-standing websites or online textbooks are also of interest (and are encouraged through longer-term initiatives such as Instructional Innovation Grants), but are beyond the scope of these events. Please contact us if you’ve got ideas of this kind, too!

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