Daryl Weber (LRC Director) and Nancy Holden-Avard (Senior Lecturer in French) recently presented their digital dictations project at MaFLA.
After learning some traditional Korean songs, Professor Suk Massey's classroom transforms into a karaoke hall.
A quick how-to: How to set up a Mac to play audio to two headsets at the same time. [Read More]
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.
The Yamada Language Center at the University of Oregon has just opened a new website called ANVILL (A National Virtual Language Lab). Basically, it's a course management system (like our "ella"), with built in support for oral language learning. For example, it includes 4-way video chatting, "voiceboards" (voice-based discussion boards), and assessment and lesson-authoring with multimedia prompts. Sounds great, right? I wish these features were built into ella!
They are seeking 100 language teachers to participate in pilot testing the site and for now are making it freely available to these users:
I'm looking forward to checking it out!
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