Transforming Online Language Learning

Gillian Lord & Jesse Gleason
Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies (UF)

In spite of technology’s growth in many aspects of academia, language learning programs still tend to view digital delivery as an afterthought rather than a starting point. As a result, the tools used in language programs and classes do not take advantage of the available technologies to motivate and engage students. We propose that we need to rethink the role that technology can play in the teaching and learning of foreign languages, and that we need to design pedagogical materials from the ground up, conceived of and implemented for digital environments from the outset. In this session we review the fundamental principles that have guided the creation of two different online environments for beginning Spanish: UFO’s Beginning Spanish I course, which recently won an Online Excellence Education Award in the area of Student Engagement, and Enchufes, the first-ever native-digital beginning Spanish learning “text.” We then highlight the features of these two programs and discuss their development and implementation. Participants will work through and engage with core elements of these platforms, and will gain experience with the tools they use, such as  videoconferencing software, collaborative word processing tools, and others. We will showcase how these programs promote learner autonomy, emphasize communication and engagement and, in sum, are working to transform online language learning.

Categories: Session Proposals, Session: Talk, Session: Teach, Teaching |

About Gillian Lord

I am a faculty member in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies. My primary interests (teaching, research, etc.) revolve around language teaching and learning; I also work in pedagogy and teacher education, specifically with an emphasis on the role of technology in language acquisition and education. (I directed the Lower Division Spanish Program for over a decade.) Some of my current projects include investigating the effectiveness of Rosetta Stone in teaching languages, and the authoring of the first-ever fully digital online learning environment for beginning Spanish.

3 Responses to Transforming Online Language Learning

  1. Gillian Lord says:

    Forgot to note that we are available only on the 25th unfortunately.

  2. I love this. I’ve been following the efforts of several digitally-oriented Latin and ancient Greek courses (with heavy emphasis on spoken Latin and Greek) organized through Spain’s Chiron collaborative. Much of their work has adapted older texts (like Ana Ovando’s Un niño griego en casa site, an online adaptation of Rouse’ “A Greek Boy at Home”), but I haven’t really seen a de novo language course like what you describe. I look forward to hearing what UF has come up with in digital Spanish pedagogy!

  3. Great session. I’ll be interested in thinking about how the technology affords engagement with language, and how this language learning intersects with the growing availability of digital-born and digitized materials in foreign languages.

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