Mac Dictionary: Adding New Languages

Screenshot showing how Mac Dictionary can be used to look up the translation of an English word into JapaneseDid you know you can use Dictionary on your Mac in different languages? Learn how!  
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Setting up a Mac to Send Audio to Two Headsets

A quick how-to: How to set up a Mac to play audio to two headsets at the same time.  [Read More]

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Student Workshop: MP3 Player as Language Learning Tool

Students:  Join us in the LRC today for a language study strategy workshop:

Your MP3 Player – The Best Language Learning Tool You Never Knew You Had

Explore strategies for using your mp3 player or other mobile device to support your language learning goals, focusing on resources to maintain your language studies over the summer break.

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Web 2.0 Vocabulary Tools

Students:  Join us in the LRC today for a language study strategy workshop:

Studying Vocabulary

Not your momma’s flashcard… Web 2.0 brings us very cool, completely free, and incredibly useful vocabulary tools.

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Audio to promote awareness, reflection: Record Skype calls, Sing karaoke

This semester, Mandarin learners here at MHC are connecting with native-speaking conversation partners in mainland China, thanks to the work of second language researcher Jinghong Tian at New York University.  Students who volunteered to participate in the project need to record the audio as it will become data for the research project.  On Windows, a tool called "Pamela" is built into Skype for call recording and can be used for free, although it limits the length of your recording (i.e., to record a longer call, you would need to split it into multiple recordings).  On Mac, it's a bit more difficult--there are Skype tools available, but not for free.  It's easy to record either the one side or the other, but the trick is getting both sides of the conversation.

Luckily, there are a couple of freeware utilities that will let you accomplish just that:  "LineIn" and "Soundflower." Željko Filipin posted a nice set of instructions on his "Software and Testing" blog that take you through the setup, step by step.  He describes using GarageBand, but we're using Audacity, our favorite freeware audio editing program, and it works the same way.

A conversation exchange is a wonderful experience for learners, but by recording the sessions, it can become an even richer learning experience.  By reviewing the recording of their conversation, students can reflect on their own developing language expertise, the native-speaker model that they're receiving from their partner, and even the discourse, pragmatic or sociocultural features.

Incidentally, LineIn and Soundflower will also allow us to set up the classroom Macs for "karaoke."  Sing along with your favorite target language videos on YouTube!  Not only does a fun karaoke activity promote learner motivation and engagement, it is another strategy for increasing learner awareness about the features of their own interlanguage in comparison to the target language.

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