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.