Archive for March, 2012

Find open access research on teaching modern foreign languages with Yazik Open

2012/03/28 2 comments

An inititative of an expert from the UK LLASYazik Open has the potential to become a welcome addition to our SLA research search options, especially if you do not want to run into a pay wall after finding an interesting abstract.

The currently sole contributor seems to be admin – same problem I had when I started a language learning resource links database in 1998, when will this change?

The keyword list looks somewhat rudimentary – when I worked with LLAS on a language learning resource metadata schema, complexity led to a grinding halt.

So the need to bring some of the advances in technologically fostered collaboration and information exchange to domain-specific fields like SLA certainly remains to be felt here.

Independent study with free language learning materials from the FSI?

The Foreign Service Institute language learning materials  – consisting of scanned documents and digitized audio of multiple courses per language – were still a heavily-advertised resource when I visited the Defense Language Institute in Monterey in 2006.

It is nice to see these resources be made available for free. It is also nice to see the progress that has been made not only in technological adaptation of textbook learning materials since these materials were made available (post WW II?).

This, however, comes at a cost. If you shun it, and do not take a course that works which requires (and entitles you to the use of) a textbook, here are easily accessibleviewable learning materials for a large set of languages, including many LCTL: Amharic, Arabic, Bulgarian, Cambodian, Cantonese, Chinese, Chinyanja, Czech, Finnish, French, Fula, German, Greek, Hausa, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Igbo, Italian, Japanese, Kirundi, Kituba, Korean, Lao, Lingala, Luganda, Moré, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbo-Croatian, Shona, Sinhala, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish, Tagalog, Thai, Turkish, Twi, Vietnamese, Yoruba.

The Forums , however seem to indicate that not too many still use these options. The transformation into a (technologically superficially) more modern format here is limited to very few languages and courses (and crashed my web browser).

Protected: New LRC Calendars/Equipment mailboxes visible to students

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Eva English Word Lookup against Wordnet

  1. Eva Word Lookup – not listed under the extensions, but run against Wordnet, the lexical database for English – enables you to study your English words in depth. This lookup gives you information organized by the following aspects of your word, linked from  an overview of each word type your search term can belong  to:
    1. the coordinate terms (sisters)
    2. the derived forms
    3. the synonyms/hypernyms (ordered by estimated frequency)
    4. the hyponyms (troponyms for verbs)
    5. the holonyms, for nouns
    6. the meronyms, for nouns
    7. sample sentences, for verbs
  2. Below is what results look like for example search term “design”: WordNet 3.0 Vocabulary Helper- design_1332435445059

How a teacher uploads a video resource to Moodle using Kaltura

  1. Moodle Kaltura facilitates making segments of video (created from e.g. source DVD with the video editor of your choice) available for film studies classes, within the bounds of Fair Use and the Teach Act, since it makes video 
    1. easily available (streamed to anywhere where Adobe-Flash runs),
    2. but only to those who have an account in the Moodle installation and are registered for the course
  2. In addition, access to the video segments can be restricted further (by choosing from the management options that Moodle affords),
      1. only to the teacher, for display during face-to-face teaching)
      2. only during a time window, for timed assignments.
  3. Here is a (somewhat longwinded, but authentic) demonstration of how to make a Kaltura video resource available through a Moodle course.
    1. The demonstration includes the server-side encoding which happens only once during teacher upload – you do not have to wait for it to finish, just if you want to check immediately, like I do on the example whether your upload went through.

If students have no mp3 audio on LRCRoomCoed433a Listening Stations

Problem: A Student that took the French Respondus Lockdown browser on PC 43, when playing to listening comprehension files,  had no audio on her headset (except for her microphone input was played back for her. The test is single attempt only, and lockdown browser prevents us from troubleshooting.

Cause: Master volume for Wave and SW Synth on lrcroomcoed433b back to 0, like so:

Workaround: plug in one of the black headsets (USB) temporarily (plugging in another brown headset did not resolve the issue).

Solution: None currently: even when the Respondus lockdown browser is not running, Deepfreeze will not allow making changes, and changes in the current user profile will not affect users whose profiels gets created upon login (which is all student users). Longterm: Don’t try to run identical software images on different hardware configurations. Not as longterm: Autoit FTW?

The base hardware parts of the LRC iMacs

  1. Not so base that it all very much depends:
    1. LRC Room 434b
      1. West: Early 2009
        1. HT3470-2HT3470-3
      2. More on Apple’s website.
    2. East: Mid 2009 [?]
  2. LRC Room Coed037
    1. West (4, black rear panel): Mid 2011
    2. East (8, aluminum rear panel): Mid 2007

Moodle Kaltura teacher and student video uploads combined

  1. You can combine
    1. a Model/Question video, uploaded by the teacher as a video resource
    2. with an Imitation/Response video captured by the student.
    3. kaltura-teacher-upload-student-upload-combined
  2. Cons:
    1. When viewing the teacher upload video models/questions, the student has to alternate between pause/play (which are not even on the same button).
    2. Student does not have to also handle pausing/restarting the video recording, but that may be another con: The student cannot pause her video, so the grader will have to skip over pauses in his recording.
  3. Pros: Looks like a video recording can peacefully coexist with a  simultaneous video playback (XP, IE8):  kaltura-teacher-upload-student-upload-combinedc