Archive for March, 2006

Collaborative timeline activity for face-to-face classes on history

  1. An easily produced and repeated classroom activity, originally developed for listening comprehension and speaking practice in  language classes, based on filling out collaboratively a timeline spreadsheet in the digital audio lab:
    1. Listen and process/write:
      1. Advanced German class listens to segments of an authentic German cultural history documentary from the authentic German TV series “100 deutsche Jahre” (which follows a single topic throughout 20th century German history).
      2. And each student enters notable summaries of events with their time of occurrence into a spreadsheet
      3. that the teacher
      4. has at beginning of activity distributed to each individual student using the digital audio labs file management features
      5. and after listening collects from students, merges, either with student author data or an anonymous student identifier (for corrections), into an excel timeline spreadsheet
      6. and visualizes the collaborative outcome as an easily collated timeline on the projector to the entire class.
    2. Speaking: Discuss!
      1. Identify what are the gravity points for the comprehension of the video by the class: Why are these events deemed important?
      2. What are the outliers? Criticism? Justification?
      3. Also correct language errors in the  student output.
    3. nexus_timeline_excel_100_deutsche_jahre
      1. In early 2006, there was no Excel web app – collaboration likely has become simpler now
        1. launch link to publically editable spreadsheet to class
        2. visualize using excel web app charts

How AI and human intelligence can blend in the language lab to form personalized instruction


  1. An example from long before mobile computing but still: While I personally like communicative uses of the language lab infrastructure best (pairing, group conferences, with recording,  screen sharing, collaborative writing),
  2. the above (click image to download and play WMV video, also on MAC – sorry, file won’t transcode) may be the 2nd best :
    1. The student is engaged
      1. primarily with a listening (comprehension) exercise using authentic target language media (German chanson),
      2. also with some light writing (recognition of vocabulary words)
      3. and receives automated feedback in response form quiz template.
    2. The communicative aspect is added
      1. through seamless, effortless, surgical and last not least private teacher intervention or “remote assistance”
      2. when the teacher (“automonitoring” all LAB300 students one after the other) notices from afar (even though thumbnail-sized, hence the large fonts of the quiz template)
      3. how the current automated error feedback may not be enough of an explanation, but may have created “a teachable moment”:
      4. Student heard phonetically correctly, but not etymologically. German “Fahrstuhl”, not “Varstuhl””: literally a “driving chair” – after this little intervention, likely a quite memorable compound.
    3. A good example how language lab computers need not get “in between you and your student”, but connect you – just like has become an everyday reality, in the meantime, in the social web world.