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Jan052015

Report from NERALLT 2014 Conference

Report from the New England Regional Association for Language Learning Technology 2014 Conference, Brown University, Providence, RI

By Anna Iacovella, Program Coordinator & Language Program Director, Italian Department, Yale University

NERALLT - the New England Regional Association for Language Learning Technology – 2014 Fall Conference has taken place at Brown University, Providence, RI, which has been organized by our very own Julie Lirot, NERALLT secretary. The Conference was a success! Both presenters and audience were engaged in many interactive reflections. The weather was not cooperative enough to enjoy the walking around campus. Nevertheless, the short walk to the digital library at the end of the Conference was worth the few drops of rain!

The theme for this year’s conference was: Technology for Language Education: Making Need-based and Pedagogy-driven Choices.

The first workshop on Thursday, October 23rd, was presented by Julie Lirot, which introduced the audience to the effective use of Adobe voice reader. The participants created short stories recording their voices: a great practice for speaking and pronunciation.

During the Lightning Round and Discussion there were great practical uses of technological tools demonstrated by Erin Larkin Associate Professor of Italian, Southern Connecticut State University with the use of Glogster for virtual poster and presentations. Mark Lewis, Director of the Geddes Language Center, Boston University explained the facilitated use of teaching with IPads supported by AirServer. Cindy Pulkkinen, Murkland Lecturer, University of New Hampshire showed her use of ZeeMap in her language classroom. Theresa Schenker, Language Program Director of German, Yale University in a true ‘lightning mode’ presented ten different tools she uses regularly in her students assignments. Tsan-Jui Cheng, Columbia University created an interactive discussion on the on line teaching programs and the use of technology to bolster the language teaching in the future.

Since the Conference had many presenters there were several concurrent sessions to follow into the following day, Friday, October 24th.

The NERALLT President, Janie Ducan presented Dick House who stimulated the vision of “tools” for several creative uses and purposes through an interesting evolution of technological supportive elements in time. Emilie Talpin, Lecturer in French, University of New Hampshire, Richard House, Director of the Language Resource Center, UNH & Claire Gaudissart, Lecturer in French, UNH presented the Efficient way to use technology and IPads when language teaching receives limited funding options. Rosamaría Leon, Senior Lector, Yale University, demonstrated the use of IPads for autonomy learning in summer programs abroad. Sabine Levet, Senior Lecturer, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, offered her integrating of several tools for students in communication in a cross-cultural mode. Jean Janecki, Director, Language Resource Center, Mount Holyoke College, suggested the alternative conferencing tool: Zoom. This platform can facilitate instructors, who would like to interact more with their students.

In the afternoon, Elsa Amanatidou, Director, Center for Language Studies, Brown University & Giovanna Roz Gastaldi, Manager, Instructional Media and Production Department presented their collaborative project on synchronous ‘on line’ class through videoconferences. Some caveats were also discussed with all participants. Steve Welsh, Program Manager, Distance Learning, Columbia University, and Dave Malinowski, Language Technology & Research Specialist, Yale Center for Language Study, proposed a scaffolding practices to communicate effectively connecting classroom with the communities. Roberto Rey Agudo, Lecturer, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, demonstrated an effective tool for literary text annotation for additional reflections on texts in and out of class. Jesse Gleason, Assistant professor TESOL/Spanish, Southern Connecticut State University reported on her project of language courses on line with several types of activities and use of technological tools such as Etherpad. Cher Lin, Chinese Professor, Quinnipiac University covered the topic of hybrid courses to enhance learning of Chinese language through the use of Weebly.

The NERALLT 2014 Fall Conference brought together very interesting presentations and ideas for language teaching with technology. The discussion will be kept open during the year through webinars and exchange of ideas from all NERALLT members. In the hope to see you again soon at NERALLT webinars and conference!

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