LRC News: April 8, 2013

Language Resource Center News

April 8, 2013

In this edition:
  • Faculty Discussion: Online Placement Testing - Wed 4/24, 4:30-5:30 pm
  • Ciruti Classroom Computers
  • Learner Events at the LRC
  • Upcoming Regional Events
  • Summer Conferences & Professional Opportunities

Faculty Discussion: Online Placement Testing

  • Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 4:30-5:30pm, Ciruti Center (Room TBA)
The goal of this discussion is to bring together faculty who share an interest in exploring online language placement testing options. Some departments are currently in the process of researching for a potential change in a placement test; at this meeting, we'll be sharing information found so far. Join us if you have a personal interest in online language testing, or if your department is interested in sharing experiences and learning about new options. If you have any particular questions you'd like to see addressed, please send them in advance to

Ciruti Classroom Computers

Thank you to everyone who shared feedback on the classroom computers in Ciruti through the survey, focus groups and/or other means. The importance of supporting both Mac and Windows platforms was resoundingly clear, so we will be continuing to use dual-boot computers. I am working with LITS to figure out the logistics of providing external optical drives as needed; watch for more details about this coming soon.

Learner Events at the LRC

There are two more learner workshops and two more Language Breaks coming up in the LRC. We appreciate your help in spreading the word to language learners.

For workshop details and registration, please visit:

  • Workshop: Language Learning Styles & Strategies
    Friday, 4/12, 1:30-2:30 pm, LRC Lab
    Are you not a "language person"? Maybe your previous language courses are not taught in a way that complements your learning style. Learn more about your style of language learning, and effective learning strategies that won't leave you frustrated in your language classes.

  • Workshop: Speech Recognition for Language Study
    Thursday, 4/18, 4:30-5:30 pm, LRC Lab
    Did you know that speech recognition is available in the LRC for Arabic, Chinese (simplified), English, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Russian and Spanish? Speech recognition allows you to speak into a microphone and the computer will transform your words into text. For example, instead of typing a paper, you can speak it! Speech recognition can be used for language study in a number of ways. Come to this workshop to learn how speech recognition works, try it out for yourself, and get some tips on how to use speech recognition as an effective study tool.
  • Though this workshop is geared toward learners, it may also be useful to faculty who are interested in exploring speech recognition for language teaching.

  • Language Break: Language Learning Software
    Tuesday, 4/16, 4:00-5:00pm, LRC Lounge
    You’ve probably heard about Rosetta Stone by now…and we agree, it’s a great resource for individual language learning! But it’s not the only one. There are a number of great language software programs available for free in the LRC to help you study. Come learn more about individual programs such as EuroTalk, Mango Languages or Tell Me More; discover what they have to offer and learn which software suits you best!

  • Language Break: Language Games
    Tuesday, 5/1, times TBA, LRC Lounge
    De-stress while still preparing for your language exams - stop by the LRC to join us in playing games in any of the languages taught at MHC.

Upcoming Regional Events

"Mindful Engagement: Teaching Concepts in the Foreign Language Classroom"
Talk by Prof. Eduardo Negueruela    
Monday, April 8, 4:45 - 6 pm
Dewey Common Room, Smith College

This talk will focus on the importance of mindful engagement through conceptual categories in the Foreign Language classroom.  Based on the Sociocultural Theory of Mind (Vygotsky, 1986), Eduardo will argue about the importance of critical thinking and conceptual reflection in classroom activities.  He will also exemplify this approach through the teaching of complex grammatical notions such as verbal aspect and modality. The key to internalizing grammatical notions from a conceptual perspective is using concepts as tools for understanding.

Qualitative Research Discussion Series at UMass

Apr 11 – Research in Process Qualitative Discussion Series: “Hear Our Stories”: Digital Storytelling and the Ford Foundation (11:00 am-12:30 pm, W32 Machmer Hall)

Apr 18 – Research in Process Qualitative Discussion Series: Activist Research and Ethics (1:00 – 2:30 pm, W32 Machmer Hall).

More info about this series of events targeted to qualitative researchers can be found on the Institute for Social Science Research website:

NERALLT Webinar: “Online Assessments: Some Common and Uncommon Issues in Less Commonly Taught Languages”
Friday, April 19, 12 - 12:45 pm
Online - register to attend: - or join us in the LRC to watch together.
Presenter: Gyanam Mahajan, Ph.D.  Language Program Coordinator, SSEALC  UCLA
Online assessments are an integral part of language teaching today. Some programs rely solely on online assessments while others incorporate them to varying degrees in different formats. This webinar will discuss different types of online assessments, their aims and goals, different targets, skills and levels, and different classes of languages. We will raise some common and uncommon issues when designing and implementing online assessments in less commonly taught languages.  

Summer Conferences & Professional Opportunities

CALICO (Computer-Assisted Language Instruction Consortium) Conference
University of Hawaii, May 21-25

IALLT (International Association for Language Learning Technology) Conference
Fort Lauderdale, FL, June 11-15

Needs Surveys from the Center for Applied Linguistics:

The Center for Applied Linguistics is conducting online survey research on the assessment needs of language teacher educators (those who educate and train language teachers) and second language acquisition (SLA) researchers. This research seeks to define the current assessment knowledge and practices of language teacher educators and SLA researchers. We also hope to identify their needs and hopes for future resources that provide assessment information and training.

CAL welcomes your contributions to this research by completing one or both of these surveys. The surveys are voluntary, anonymous, and will take about 15 minutes to complete. If you are interested in participating, please click on the appropriate link below. The link will take you directly to the survey.

Assessment Needs Survey: Language Teacher Educators

Assessment Needs Survey: Second Language Acquisition Researchers

CARLA Summer Institutes for Language Teachers 2013

The Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA) at the University of Minnesota has sponsored a summer institute program for second language teachers since 1996. This internationally known program reflects CARLA's commitment to link research and theory with practical applications for the classroom. Each institute is highly interactive and includes discussion, theory-building, hands-on activities, and plenty of networking opportunities:

Topics include:
Culture as the Core in the Second Language Classroom
Developing Materials for Less Commonly Taught Languages (LCTLs)
Developing Assessments for the Second Language Classroom
Immersion 101: An Introduction to Immersion Teaching

Detailed information:
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