Laura Loves Languages

A place for many opinions

Wading through the Richness of MERLOT

My dear friend and ELI colleague Joan, while basking in sunny FLA, asks a legitimate question about MERLOT II. As the web matures, so do great referatories* and now MERLOT contains online courses, mobile applications and all sorts of resources that were not even existent when I started as editor in the year 2000. What I would say this means for your graduate student/MERLOT user is to reach out to the Editor or to a member of the MERLOT Community that would normally house her desired resource. I would say that this query would go to Jane Moore, Editor of MERLOT Teacher Education.
Here is how to contact her, straight from the TE Portal:

Welcome to the MERLOT Teacher Education Portal, an educational resource for teaching and learning. You are invited to join MERLOT — it’s free –and contribute to this growing community of teacher education instructors by using the learning materials, submitting your own modules and assignments for evaluation, and learning ideas to help you teach online and in the classroom.

If you have any questions, contact the Editor of the Teacher Education Editorial Board, Jane Moore at

We are still responsive, after all these years!


April 1, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

2015 Update to Chloebentley’s Blog

To all my friends and family, I am blessed to be blogging in my sixth decade. I still have so much more I want to do, even though what I do right now is enough activity for at least six people. Last month, I walked a 1/2 marathon called the DC Rock n’ Roll. Cannot tell you how elated this achievement makes me.

For seven years, I have been helping all those who are searching for a cure to fight multiple sclerosis, alongside the most badass fighter I know, my own child. She is an inspiring advocate for health of body, mind and spirit and a true inspiration to our whole family. She is frankly the first reason I have paid such attention to my own diet and fitness level. I am in the best shape physically as I have been in many years,as a tribute to her and thanks to her.

I am still in the most exciting profession that anyone can have, a career in World Languages. This profession has brought me full circle from teaching French and Portuguese in the early years at my alma mater and now at ,y own institution. Presently, I teach all of my classes online, through one of the pioneers in distance learning.

I continue my journey in the world of OER, the solution to making educational materials to the world. This year, I will be working as Editor of MERLOT World Languages for 15 years. Through MERLOT, I have become involved in the MERLOT Africa Network. I am very proud of this work.

So what shall we talk about?

April 1, 2015 Posted by | Community College, e-learning, Languages, MS Awareness, Uncategorized | , | 2 Comments

Fired up!

I just saw this wonderful Prezi and I realize that my skills need a little dusting off!!

Election Day 2012

I continue to be blown away by the promise of this great land where our voices can be heard if we just persist, stand up for what we believe is right and use our common sense.

Let’s all go be the best we can be today and everyday. Forward.

November 8, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

On the Eve of Another Northeast Conference

This Friday, I’ll be making the trek back to Baltimore for three days of what should be a conference to remember. Call me nostalgic, but I really look forward to spring with my colleagues many of whom I only see once a year. My professional life has changed enormously since I first started coming to NECTFL. For the most part, my classroom now has no walls. Learning happens in the classroom, via skype and online. This morning I administered a test to a student in France, who earlier this semester literally took her classmates on a trip down the Champs-Élysées via iPhone.She braved cold February winds to narrate her guided tour. Living in France, she gave us a perspective that no textbook could offer. A music major taking my class, who sings in various Romance languages, is recording her Debussy recital this week for her classmates and posting it online for all our benefit. We are all sharing our gifts with each other, using language for real-world purposes, not just for academic pursuits. Technology is the facilitator that we have begun to take for granted. It is not about whether we can do something, it is about how. It is just amazing all that we can do! I continue to be amazed by the generosity and all the sharing.
This weekend, I will look for gifts to share with my students in the sessions and workshops of our yearly regional conference. I know I will have some inspiring conversations with friends that I see just once a year.
There is still time to register onsite, if you want to join us!

April 19, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

The Northeast Conference is Coming to Charm City

The Baltimore Inner Harbor will be home to the Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, April 1-4. Never before has there been a time when it was more important to show up for languages. Times are tough, money is too tight to mention BUT we still have to band together to fight monolingualism and promote language study in our country. We can make a statement by showing up in numbers. The conference is minutes close to our Nation’s Capital.

While in the city, enjoy Baltimore. The aquarium is right outside the hotel, Little Italy starts right across the street and Edgar Allen Poe’s house is not far away. The Walters Gallery is a standout museum. I’ll be looking for you.

March 27, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Capital Challenge Walk MS 2010


Franklin Friends and Family

At the 2010 Capital Challenge Walk MS, the opening day concludes with a moving testimonial to why we stand together in this fight against MS. Participants who are affected by MS, their family members and friends gather together to share resolve in the movement to bring forth a cure. For those who walk in the Challenge Walk, the candlelight ceremony helps us muster the physical and emotional strength for Day Two when we move as one big family toward the US Capitol to declare our commitment to continue the struggle. It is a real source of energy and strength. Two days, 50K, closer to a cure.

September 28, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Capital Challenge Walk 2010

CCW-LexIt’s CCW week and we are all busy bees getting ready for the 50K. I’ll be walking for two days and cannot wait to get started!

A lot has changed since last year at this time when we were Challenge Walk and MS newbies. After the two years since diagnosis, Lexi has amazed us in her utter strength in the face of this horrible and unpredictable disease. I have sat with her often in the last year when she suffered pain that I wished I could take from her. It was as if she were still that baby that I would hold close to me when she had colic or when she was a young child growing that six-foot wing span.
This spring, we went to Florida for Mother’s Day and the hot sun that we have always loved was both our joy and our enemy. MS does not do heat. Making her way from the street to the beach took every bit of strength we all had- her Dad, Lexi and me. One side of her body completely stiffened and flat refused to go forward. Little by little we made our way, the end result being the cooling emerald green waters where she moved and glided with total freedom. I can still feel my joy that day to see her splashing and enjoying the movement of the water. We stayed in the ocean as long as we could. When finally we had to get out, it was really hard for her to stand up again. Lexi really did not want to accept help from a stranger, but he was right there and so nice to her. He pretended to be showing off his strength to some women he’d met at the beach and helped lift Lex right out of the water. We all applauded his chivalry. People are so nice sometimes, another lesson we learn all the time these days because of MS. Lexi’s sister, Angela and brother-in-law Dennis have fund-raised tirelessly. They walked in Washington Walk MS and went back to NYC and did Walk MS there. Angela has made websites and designed marketing pieces that rival the work of any agency in an effort to make a difference. She is tenacious and uses her endless creativity and talents to lead us on the team. All the motivation comes from the same place. We cannot sit by and do nothing. The whole family is united in the fight, my own Mom, Marie, my stepfather Paul, my brother, sister, their families are all supporting us. We are very blessed.

Talking about the kindness of people, MS is BS will reach our $15,000 goal for the National MS Society this year, more than we raised in our inaugural year and hopefully less than we’ll do next year. A gifted artist from across the country donated his entire inventory of wearable art which we sold at craft fairs and markets. Painters and photographers donated paintings and pictures, a potter gave us pots and candlesticks . Renowned musicians donated their time in concerts and team members baked cakes. We were the winning charity for a Chef’s challenge won by our friends at Maple Ave…….Friends and family just gave and gave. Colleagues at work and longtime friends gave. We definitely feel the love from our spectacular team, the National MS Society, and all the folks we’ve met on other teams. We all support each other and that’s what CCW is all about.
If you are reading this post, check out our web presence at Please keep all who have to deal with MS in any way in your thoughts and prayers. Two days, 50K closer to a cure.

September 23, 2010 Posted by | MS Awareness | Leave a comment


It has been an adrenalin-filled two weeks, three labs brimming with creativity-new friends from as far as Taiwan and returning friends from STARTALKs past. We are all pleased with the products from our technology workshops and the generosity of the teachers who are eager to share what they know. Today I made a wordle-esque word cloud using a 2.0 app called Tagxedo. (Clever name.) It is all about the social media.

July 8, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Kudos to Jaya Vijayasekar, FL Advocate

Immediate Past Chair of the NECTFL, Jaya Vijayasekar of CT-COLT and Vernon, CT gives a shining example of what effective FL advocacy looks like:,0,4292302.story

I thought it would be a boost for us to get some positive news. Keep up the fight! Talk up language causes in your neck of the woods. Go,Jaya!!

May 6, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Advocacy Update: Get busy, y’all!!

Since my last post on advocacy, Jay Mathews got a lot of dissenting opinions on his April 22nd piece labeling Foreign Languages a waste of time and there were ripples and rumbles in the language community. Today, I read a tweet that copied this letter from ACTFL Executive Director, Bret Lovejoy.

I am going to call the above an official response. Please make sure folks in your area “get the memo.” It is time for us to speak up for languages. Write your own letters today.

May 4, 2010 Posted by | Languages, Uncategorized | 1 Comment