Language Learner News: March 12, 2013

Screenshot of the LRC Learner NewsletterLanguage Learner News, 3/12/13: Language Break tomorrow! Topic: Senegal's languages & cultures. Stop by any time 4:30-6 pm to enjoy a traditional Sengalese snack. German music picks, and upcoming lectures on Muslims in China and The Legacy of Color.  
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2011 Language Theatre Contest

Announcing the 2011 Language Theatre Contest: Thursday, March 3, 8 p.m. at the Blanchard Great Room. Students: submit your application to submit until Monday, February 21. Why participate? Read a first-hand account from Sissi Lei '13. [Read More]

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Gaming: An Immersion Experience?

Immerse Yourself in Language through Online Multi-Player Gaming

Picture the average American teen, hours spent glued to the videogame console...  Just another couch potato?  Or an engaged, motivated language learner?

From a colleague, I learned that students at Oberlin College have made "World of Warcraft" -- a popular video game in which users log on to a game server in order to play with/against other players around the world -- a language practice tool.  They use the Spanish edition and connect to a Spanish game server; the result is that every aspect of the game appears in Spanish:  the user interface, the help screens, the in-game narration, interactions with other players, etc.  An academic activity it is not, but you might be surprised at the level of language involved.  For example, check out this introduction page to World of Warcraft in Spanish.  Luckily, the style of learner who loves this type of gaming will be highly motivated to engage with the difficult text.

World of Warcraft is available in Spanish, Korean, German, French, and Chinese.  For those who prefer to strategy to war, Civilization is a popular game, and is published in German, French, Italian and Spanish.

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Assessment Opportunity

Participate in Pilot Testing for the STAMP Assessment

The Center for Applied Second Language Studies at the University of Oregon is seeking teachers and classes (including 1st-4th years of university) to help with piloting their web-based language proficiency tests (called STAMP:  Standards-based Measurement of Proficiency).  It seems that they are currently piloting STAMP in the following languages: Arabic, French, German, Hebrew, Hindi, Japanese, Persian, Spanish, Swahili, Turkish, Urdu, Yoruba.  Visit CASLS's website to learn more about STAMP.  This pilot could be a great way for you to learn more about your students' language proficiency at the beginning or the end of the semester, and also a way for your department to become familiar with a new placement testing option.

The STAMP includes Reading, Speaking and Writing portions; if you have your students participate in the pilot, they will get a score on the reading test, but not the speaking or writing. However, you will be able to log in as the instructor and access the recordings your students made for the speaking test as well as the text your students composed for the writing portion, so you can certainly assess these yourself.

To participate, you just fill in a quick online form, wait for a response, then submit more information when requested.  At this point, you'll request a date when you want your students to do the test.  Then you'll receive log-in information for yourself and your students.

To maintain the validity of their pilot results, CASLS requests that the testing be done in a controlled environment, and the LRC would be glad to help in this regard.  We can schedule testing sessions for your classes, provide the equipment for recording the speaking samples, and assist with any technical problems.  Please let us know if you're interested in taking advantage of this opportunity!

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