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Friday, August 14 • 3:00pm - 3:25pm
Can the Language Center Still Innovate?

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After the arrival of HyperCard in the late 80’s many language centers and teachers began creating their own innovative, interactive multimedia projects for their students to use. Toolbook, Flash, Director, and Revolution/LiveCode provided opportunities to expand beyond one platform and gave greater access to authentic multimedia materials. Online tools such as Quia and Hot Potatoes provided opportunities to customize and create original tutorial materials. Now, however, with the explosion of online tools, apps, applets, publisher content, and mobile technology, how much innovation is still possible? With access to independent internet tools, major learning management systems, and mobile smartphone and tablet technology, the creation of independent content seems no longer useful.

Technology in language teaching has become guided by learning management systems, YouTube videos, and online tools such as VoiceThread, Flipgrid, Educannon and others. What kinds of technology support does the Language Center now offer? Do we train instructors in systems that our institutions have purchased, asking them to conform to something externally determined? Do we now search for the coolest online inexpensive tools and show instructors how to use them? Do we train instructors in the use of pre-packaged tools and ensure that the pedagogy conforms to the tools that are available? How can we still provide opportunities for the pedagogy to drive the technology and encourage creativity so that technology serves the goal of teaching and learning language?

The session aims to provoke a discussion to collectively explore how language centers can maintain a leading role in language teaching and learning through technology. If we no longer provide the content, but rather search for and make available tools to support language learning, what principles could/should guide us, and how will we maintain a role as innovators pushing the envelope?

avatar for Dan Soneson

Dan Soneson

University of Minnesota

Friday August 14, 2015 3:00pm - 3:25pm EDT
CGIS South S010 (Tsai Auditorium) 1730 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA