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An outline of the MS-Word Cloze Quiz, MS-PowerPoint Multiple Choice Quiz and Internet Lookup tools for

  1. To facilitate lesson delivery and student interaction in our language lab and computerized classrooms, I am programming two MS-Office templates with interactive lookup and quiz functions and create new/convert traditional language teaching materials in French, German and Spanish with them.
  2. These templates support the learner by strengthening learner autonomy and providing immediate corrective feedback and – in conjunction with the grouping facilities of the centre’s infrastructure – allow for custom-tailored instruction based on the immediately available outcome of formative assessments.
  3. MS-Word-Template
  4. The student can be given additional hints when tabbing into a form entry field.
  5. The student can easily look up words and terms in internet-based reference works and collections.
    1. Double clicking on a word opens a browser window with the corresponding entry in a dictionary of the corresponding foreign language.
    2. Selecting a word or phrase and clicking on a menu item in the lookup menu a browser window with the corresponding entry of various reference works and databases (Figure 3: Look up Internet Reference Works, Figure 4: Look up Internet Illustrations).
  6. The student will receive instant feedback when tabbing out of an entry field.
  7. During quiz-taking, the screen will be formatted (font face, size, spacing, colors) so that the teacher keeps easily informed, whether through a computer lab management system / screen monitoring tool or by a more “pedestrian” approach for student monitoring.
  8. After collection and before correction by the teacher and reviewing by the student, the screen will be re-formatted to facilitate reading outside of the classroom setting.
  9. The template can be used for a wide variety of typical foreign language teaching exercises:
    1. Listening comprehension exercises (Figure 3: Quiz Template with Chanson Lyrics)
    2. Grammar drills
    3. Model imitation drills
    4. Information-gap dialogues (Figure 7: Information Gap Dialogues (Language Lab Example).
  10. Instructors have requested fuzzy matching for fill-in-the-blank exercises, which I am planning to implement by integrating an existing COM add-in that can make available the Levenshtein Distance Metric to MS-Word.
  11. Upgrade of Templates from Sanako Lab300 to better integrate with the new Sanako Study1200 software features.
  12. Teaching Content Creation:
    1. Making subtitles for foreign language movie digitally available;
    2. Programming regular expressions ins VS.Net that match function words (example: demonstrative pronouns in Spanish) to run over these templates in order to batch create fill-in-the-blank exercises;
    3. Importing them into the templates and creating grammar and listening comprehension exercises
  13. Support: Implementing an Error Logging Application
  14. MS-PowerPoint-Template
  15. The teacher can easily lookup words and terms in internet-based reference works and collections
    1. Currently implementing additional lookup options (NLP and Corpus Linguistics (ACORN, BNC, Sketchup), Dictionaries (Visurwords, Wiktionary, Google Define).
    2. A number of templated custom-animated exercises can be used for
      1. presenting students with guiding questions before watching/listening to a target language segment
      2. Revealing correct answers after the segment.
  16. A number of templated interactive exercises can be used for revealing correct answers (word lists) depending on students’ responses.
  17. The templates support typical activities in the digital language lab (interactive presentations with multimedia, listening comprehensions, speaking and dialoguing activities for language learning, view usage examples in my Templates Eurocall Presentation video of September 2007). Teachers can use them as exercise-generating engines: they allow copy/paste of their own exercises into these templates. These templates have the advantage of being able to hook into the rich infrastructure that MS-Office provides for language teaching; they work with all Western Languages (but have been thoroughly tested only with ESL, French, German, Italian and Spanish so far). These templates that are better geared than VLE and other CALL resources for daily use in a computerized classroom environment: easy to author, take and monitor and either multimedia-heavy or focused on human interaction. These templates support the instructor by relieving of routine tasks in favor of well-informed, well-focused non-routine intervention, and extend the centre’s screen-sharing and VOIP infrastructure to provide the instructor with an unprecedented control of the learning of an entire class.
  18. APP delivery format:
    1. MS-PowerPoint: 1 template-file (.pot) and 1 addin (.ppa)
    2. MS-Word: 1 template (.dot – incorporates Lookup application) and 1 COM application (fuzzy matching)
  19. Apart from the templates themselves, there is
    1. Explanation: documentation of the tool
      1. see Figure 4: Template Documentation,
      2. Figure 8: PowerPoint Exercise Templates,
    2. sample materials which illustrate the practical exploitation of a tool the development of a skill or the response to an issue
      1. see Figure 3: Quiz Template with Chanson Lyrics
      2. Figure 9: PowerPoint-Exercises for German History Documentary,
    3. Sample Exercise material: hands-on activities for materials development, skills training or discussion
      1. Figure 9: PowerPoint-Exercises for German History Documentary)
  20. Since January 2008, the templates have been adapted for use in the Aston university Study1200 lab and a series of 3 teacher training workshops has been delivered in May/June of 2008. During that time, the implementation of the distance metrics within the templates has been started also which is currently still in the debugging state (see following slide below.)

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Figure 1: Look up Internet Reference Works

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Figure 2: Look up Internet Illustrations

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Figure 3: Quiz Template with Chanson Lyrics

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Figure 4: Template Documentation

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Figure 5: Quiz Result Summary

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Figure 6: Spanish Movie Subtitling Exercise Creation

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Figure 7: Information Gap Dialogues (Language Lab Example)

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Figure 8: PowerPoint Exercise Templates

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Pedagogical rationale of timestretching audio for differentiating instruction

  1. Context: Higher Education in the UK has made considerable investments in digital lab infrastructure to improve second language instruction in times of deteriorating language take-up in the secondary sector, including widening participation. Digital language labs, apart from generic digital media, suffer from a lack of custom-made teaching materials that take advantage of the pedagogic features of the lab: grouping for personalization of teaching and learning. Pedagogical integration and development is needed to achieve the original intentions. A project to timestretch audio language learning materials for the digital audio lab promises integration software, pedagogical materials and, above all, a model of effective digital language lab use in teaching.
  2. Problem: In times of uneven language provision at the secondary school level and of shrinking language program sizes in HE, increasingly language teachers find themselves confronted with uneven language proficiency in their courses. Digital lab technology can help them to overcome the  “one size fits all” approach and personalize the students learning experience, for a greater inclusiveness in language programs and an increased proficiency boost for both the below and above average proficiency student groups.
  3. During my work with the language programmes at an English university, I could witness – and had to record – that the least proficient students, seeing themselves confronted with what was nowhere near “comprehensible input” (Krashen) for them, not only let the communication break down, but appeared so distressed that, despite being fully aware that their language output was being recorded as an assessment for the teacher to evaluate, started to curse and swear (in their native tongue) – while at the same time the upper portion of the class breezed through the exercise without any apparent difficulty.
  4. Proposed Solution:
    1. Technology to the rescue: The slowing down of digital audio – without pitch alteration –has been, while not a perfectly accurate representation of natural slow speech output, a popular benefit of digital technology in the language learning field for several years now (cf. e.g. Calico 2004), and I myself have experimented with it in the digital audio lab (Model imitation and Question – response exercises) and in publications (cf. Plagwitz, Karaoke in the Digital Audio Lab (2006)).
    2. What seems lacking are
      1. both an application that automates (by monitoring one of the network share directories that are part of the digital lab system) the slowing down (and speeding up) of audio for instructors (e.g. in 5% increments from 70% to 120% of original input) that are too time-pressed for producing materials, or even seeking out recordable on-air sources, and
      2. a model implementation in the digital audio lab (using dynamic grouping of students through the digital lab software) that creates exercises that would create exercises that can benefit from this approach (and can be shared), that applies them in a number of suitable (interpreting, ab initio language learning) modules and that assesses the proficiency improvement with this approach (using the outcome exam and a control group).
  5. Benefits: Greater fluency of both the least and most proficient students is to be expect after they were exposed to – as deemed fit by their instructors – slowed down/sped up exercises – ca. 20 exercises in the ab initio language learning module, practicing a small set of suitable new structures and vocabulary compared, with 2 control groups, and five interpreting rounds of 20-30 minutes. We will operationalize this by reusing regular assignment grading and use a control group, also of module-size, which must also use the digital audio lab, but with “one size fits all” audio.

A syllabus integrating language learning technologies into iLearning

iLearning means more intelligent

Blended Learning Templates for the e-Learning Center. Download

  1. Download the Blended Learning Templates for the e-Learning Center, as presented here:
    1.  MS-Word VBA-based quiz template for Students
    2. MS-PowerPoint Template for Teacher
    3. VBA-Lookup-Add-In for teacher computer’s MS-PowerPoint installation. (included with student quiz template).
  2. Find more instructions here.

Blended Learning Templates for the e-Learning Center. Presentation EUROCALL 2007

Integrating technology into face-to-face language learning classes

Integrating-technologies-into-Face2Face-teaching