Duolingo

I learned about Duolingo at the CALICO conference in May 2012. James Paul Gee mentioned Duolingo briefly in his keynote speech. In the summer, one of our French students mentioned that he had enjoyed studying with Duolingo. Duolingo provides excellent exercises for language learners although students might find learning a little challenging if they start to learn a foreign language only through Duolingo. Duolingo may be an excellent choice for students who are taking language classes and who are looking for supplemental materials to study.

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Spanish Proficiency Exercises

“Spanish Proficiency Exercises is a compilation of brief video clips in which native speakers of Spanish from various locations throughout Latin America and Spain demonstrate various language tasks.” This project is developed by University of Texas at Austin. (link to project) You can access this great resource for free without registering for an account.

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Ai Chinese

Aichinese.com is a resource that Chinese instructors and students should not miss.  This is a great resource for listening and speaking exercises, and it also provides excellent content learning information. With a free account, you will be surprised how many materials are provided. Even as a native speaker, it will take me quite some time to go through all the materials. The registration process is very quick and easy.

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Software Report: Antidote

Jack Burston, a senior lecturer in French at Monash University in Australia, and also as of this writing the Software Review Editor of the CALICO (The Computer Assisted Language Insruction Consortium) Journal, has written a detailed, in-depth review of the French grammar/spell checker software Antidote. Since Antidote is also what we use in our language lab at Reed, I would like to share this article with you.

Resource: CALICO Journal, Volume 16 Number 2, pp. 197-212

(Link to full article)

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Jing and Screencast

Before I discovered Jing, for over 10 years I had been using a different program to capture images on PCs. As stubborn as I could be, I had no doubt that I needed to say goodbye to my old friend and to adopt Jing to do the capturing work, especially for video capturing. The image capturing function in Jing is also great, but some of the Mac users may find it just as easy to use command+shift+4 to capture the piece of the screen you want. In this post, I will briefly introduce image capturing in Jing, but mostly focusing on the educational uses of Jing’s video capturing function.

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Arcade Game/Quiz/Flashcard Generator

When I found Arcade, a game/quiz/flashcard generator, I was very excited. Arcade is educational, simple, and it brings you and your students a lot of fun.  You might feel like you are playing video games, but it is definitely more than just playing—Arcade provides great exercises for language learning while brings different “flavors” to your classroom.

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Google Translate for Android

It appears to me that people make different choices when it comes to how they spend their time waiting for things. In the waiting area at a doctor’s office, you might see people reading magazines, chatting in person, staring at the ceiling or their toes, watching the door that the nurses come out to call names — or on their phones, playing Angry Birds, talking, using Facebook or Twitter, text messaging, etc.  A few days ago, I saw a photo online showing a popular food stand at a university campus. Not knowing anything about the food, my attention was drawn to the little lights line with the people line—every single student was looking at their cell phone while they were waiting. If phones, especially smartphones have become such an important part of students’ lives, perhaps phones could help them academically also?

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The REALIA Project: a window to cultures

People always ask me how long I have been studying English. That’s a good question.  Since my father is a professor of English in China, I was exposed to the English language when I was a baby. My parents have pictures of me “reading” the English dictionary not long after I learned how to sit. When I was six or seven years old, my father started teaching me English seriously, but that didn’t last long; we gave up the “private lessons” because of the frustrations we both developed throughout the limited lessons we had. Our lessons came to an end with my tears and doubts of my ability to learn a different language. I associated language learning with bitterness, not knowing I would soon taste something very different.

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Introducing Todaysmeet

I want to start my first contribution of this blog by saying thank you for visiting this site. You will find some information about this blog to the left, under about this blog; under contact ITS staff you can find my contact information. Please feel free to get in touch with me to share your comments, suggestions, or ideas. I hope this blog will become a communication platform for us, thus, to help us create a good learning community—-not only at Reed College, but also with colleagues outside Reed campus.

Today, I want to introduce a web tool called Todaysmeet. This is a free application that is available on the internet. What it does, is that it creates a virtual classroom/chatting room/space for you and your students during/before/after class. In this post, I will walk you through the steps on setting up your own Todaysmeet, and I will brainstorm some possible ways of using it in your class.

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