Laura Loves Languages

A place for many opinions

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

NECTFL 2008: languagelabunleashed

Big props to Felix Kronenburg to come to the Marriott Marquis in NYC  all the way from Pomona California to introduce East Coast language educators at NECTFL to languagelabunleashed, a professional development gem on the web that is so much more than a blog. One of the topics that came up during a very insightful and comfortable conversation about technology-enhanced language learning was how to engage the many FL faculty who never make it to a professional conference for whatever reason.   LLU regularly hosts informative sessions and live webcasts where listeners can join in easily  both to listen and  chat . Tech o’ Tuesdays feature tech tips on topics like recording skype, file conversions and new 2.0 applications. Other webcasts cover topics like using skype for language exchanges, Wikipedia in the classroom and a very interesting show that I heard myself on foreign language learner anxiety. The beauty of these programs is that they are archived and serve the PD needs of all the FL teachers who have the LLU URL.

In addition to the live broadcasts, the LLU team are seasoned backchannelers. They go to conferences and blog about sessions while they are sitting in them. This is a very inclusive approach to sharing ideas at conferences linking those who were there to those who were not. In effect, it extends the conversation and the networking well beyond the original talk so that a multitude of participants can potentially benefit. However, live  backchanneling, that makes conference proceedings available in real time, presupposes an Internet connection in the session room which is not routinely available in many conference venues. When broadband connections become truly ubiquitous, more teachers will be able to join in the discussions -some in the session room and some in blogs. It is up to all of us to imagine the kinds of discussions that technology will enable to make professional development available to all.

April 6, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | | 1 Comment