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Thursday, August 13 • 3:45pm - 4:35pm
Using Media as a Catalyst for Communicative Interaction

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Foreign language students in Spanish and German at Samford University are required to participate in a one-hour conversation lab each week.

The challenge for the instructors in these labs is to design and implement activities that will motivate the students to use the target language.

We use various media and technology as a catalyst for conversation, such as online games, virtual worlds, board games, computer-based problem-solving and task-based challenges, as well as thought-provoking images and videos. Although technology and media are an integral part of the activities, we design the activities to facilitate interaction between humans, rather than between a human and a computer.

We prepare students with 'micro-vocabularies' needed to participate in the activities using only the target language. For example, in one activity, students play an online variation of the game, Jeopardy. In order to do so in the target language, they learn specialized phrases associated with the game ("Which category?, "How many points?", etc.) as well as how to express jubilation or disappointment, depending on whether or not their team answers correctly. Students internalize the phrases used in the activities because they repeat them in a task-based context (repetition without repetitiveness).

The presenters will demonstrate several of their activities with video clips, and they will provide guidelines and resources for designing and implementing lab activities that promote communicative interaction. Qualitative data will be presented based on the student survey.

The presenters will also describe the unique wireless/cordless set-up of Samford University's Language Technology Forum, which can be quickly reconfigured to accommodate activities not possible in a traditional language laboratory.

Although examples will be based on activities in Spanish and German, this session will benefit instructors of all languages.


Carolyn Crocker

Samford University
avatar for Thom Thibeault

Thom Thibeault

Director, Language Technology Forum, Samford University
Areas of interest include hypermedia, learner autonomy, Language for Specific Purposes, Less Commonly Taught Languages. I am the author of FLAn (Foreign Language Annotator), a free hypermedia editor available at http://redhotwords.com.

Thursday August 13, 2015 3:45pm - 4:35pm EDT
Jefferson 256 17 Oxford St, Cambridge, MA