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NERALLT Fall 2010 Conference - Call for Presentations

The Digital Native Language Learners are Here: How Do We Effectively Teach Language to the Digital Native?

When Marc Prensky coined the phrase in 2001 'Digital Native' in his article "Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants", he identified a new type of learner that had found their way onto higher ed and K-12 campuses. From birth, they have been surrounded by the toys and tools of the digital age such as smartphones, laptops, the web and video games. Most of us reading this call fall into the "Digital Immigrant" category. This new world of technology has not been a part of our entire lives.  With this gap in experience inevitably comes a gap in expectations between educators and students.

Acknowledging their arrival is one crucial step towards closing the gap in understanding between the digital native learners and the digital immigrants teaching.  Next follows the question, "How do we effectively teach language to the digital native?"  In order to continue providing excellence in language programs, there needs to be a critical look at how digital natives acquire, consolidate, process, and utilize information and knowledge. This is key to wisely investing in electronic resources and instructional technologies for these learners. In turn, this understanding will assist language faculty in modifying their pedagogy to optimize the language learning potential of these new learners.

As language educators, administrators and instructional technologist work to balance the needs and preferences of these 'digital natives' with the mission and standards of college and university language curricula, the time has come to move beyond the identification of the digital native language learner and to address their learning needs actively. To this end, the New England Regional Association for Language Learning and Technology will devote its 2010 fall conference to showcasing the innovative ways that educators use instructional technology to engage our digital natives in learning languages and how best to maintain their and enthusiasm and momentum. The program committee is extending a call for papers and posters in which language faculty and instructional technologists share the strategies and instructional technologies that will energize our students to learn languages while fostering the intellectual capacities needed to excel. College and university language faculty, language resources specialists are invited to contribute results of their practical experience and research to help map out how technology used to optimize success in achieving the intellectual objectives of language learning programs in higher education.

Potential topics include :

  • Where are digital natives from: instructional technologies used in K-12 learning environments
  • R U on-line: Language resources and integrated learning and practice in K-12 or college/university environments
  • Profiling the digital native: Identifying the digital language learner's skills and weaknesses
  • Placement, progress, and technology
  • Going native: Learning to speak our students' language and teaching them to speak somebody else's
  • Accompanying the Unaccompanied Minor: Technology, Psychology and Language Learning for Different Ages
  • Whose country is it anyway: Technology and institutional missions
  • Technological Darwinism: Are digital dinosaurs fit to teach today's students
  • No More Teachers, No More Books: Educational Evolutions
  • Burying the Fossils and Fossilized Errors: Generating Excitement and Improving Linguistic Accuracy through Technology
  • Assistive technologies
  • Information overload
  • Privacy and safety
  • Piracy and Privateering: Navigating copyright and teaching students to copy right

Please send a 250-300 word abstract of the paper or poster you wish to propose to Michelle Cheyne (mcheyne@umassd.edu) by Monday, September 6th, 2010.

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