This is a brilliant site that I have only just found for myself and started using to test it out. What I have found so far is brilliant and I am throughly enjoying using it for my own Japanese language practice. The way in which the site gives you multiple ways to learn each word (a number of different memorising cues all submitted by other learners) is brilliant and fits well to many different learning styles. I would really recommend this site as it covers a number of different languages and varying levels within each. Give it a go if you have time.
11 Essential Tools For Better Project-Based Learning
Blake Turnbull's insight:
For students, the core aim of project-based learning is to put theory into practice and gain new skills throughout the process. From prioritizing tasks to managing sources and summarizing concepts, they will be developing skills for life. As well as using interactive tools in group project helps students to grasp a better understanding of a concept. This site provides 11 useful online tools to help improve PBL- a very valuable site in my opinion
Project-Based Learning is a 21st century approach to learning that acts both as a curriculum and instruction tool, as well as a new way for students to think about school. Rather than strictly academic lessons and units, real-world problems can be solved, and students gain experience with long-term management of the learning process, and the possibility of self-direction.
Project-Based Learning allows naturally embedding of “school” in authentic environments whether those are digital or physical. It is a way of learning that is as much about the process as the project, allowing for the seamless integration of technology, and the inclusion of digital and social media to solve relevant personal and social challenges.
A Simple Project-Based Learning Process
The following apps and digital tools are built around a vastly over-simplified-but-you’ll-still-get-the-picture 4-step process"
Although not specifically technology-based, I am a huge fan of Project-based learning in that students are actually using their language for specific, real-world problem solving purposes (PBL is an area I hope to research more in to in the future). This article outlines the four basic steps ((1) brainstorm, (2) plan, (3) collaborate, (4) publish.) in great detail- a useful article for a future classroom aid.
Over the last few years, interest in web-based tools has expanded rapidly, but how do we know which ones to use and which to avoid? In this workshop, we will look together at some web and mobile applications and establish criteria by which we can evaluate them to ensure we use tools that will lead to enhanced language learning.
Glosses have been widely used in L2 reading instruction to help ELLs better comprehend a text without continually consulting learner or electronic dictionaries. This online gloss maker allows a text to be entered and the glosses created for specific vocabulary words.
to identify which words are AWL words and perhaps at a higher level of difficulty. Both of these websites allow for texts to be copy and pasted for analysis of the lexical frequencies of words in texts.
The article, although very short, depicts a picture expressing 6 characteristics of modern online language learning, and does a great job of showing a) just how online language learning can be (even if you’re sitting at home alone) and b) how well language learning lends itself to online learning. The basic characteristics: live exercises, grammar instruction, open-ended assignments, social conversation practice (hangouts), flash cards, and test/quizzes are important for online language learning, but are also the same as personal/classroom language learning, perhaps suggesting that both online and classroom learning are just as good as each other.
In the hyperconnected Western world, our preoccupation with technology is evident in the glut of new expressions now in common parlance. Cringeworthy they may be, but expressions such as 'Let's take this offline, 'Do you have bandwidth?' and 'My brain needs a reboot' signify tech has become interwoven into our language. But is technology having a more lasting impact on our words? How are the digital communications tools we use shaping what we say and type?
The birth of new words, and new meanings for existing words, are the most obvious signs of what technology has wrought in linguistic terms.
The title of the article suggests that "learning a tonal language like mandarin can aid in musical development". Having said that, I wonder whether the reverse could also be true? Could success in learning a musical instrument correlate to success in a tonal language such as Mandarin?? Perhaps this is an area for future linguistic study, and a reason to incorporate music into the language classroom, even as mere background noise to aid in subconcious tonal development...
Tasks are wonderfully simple ways for getting students active and engaged in their learning ( and see my previous post of 50 regular tasks for the classroom.… (50 Tech Tasks For The English Language Classroom on @eflclassroom
Language barriers prevent us for completely connecting. But what if the language barrier didn't exist?
DB: Presently we are living in a rapidly changing world where the spread of ideas and items are occurring at a rate unprecedented in history. In this globalized and increasingly interconnected world, the variation of languages spoken is drastically decreasing. As some of the most genuine characteristics of a culture are intertwined within its langue, a reduction in spoken languages and increased interaction is threating the duration of some traditional ways of living. Likewise since economics is one of the thriving factors behind globalization, the ability to communicate with your market has become paramount. However technological innovation is currently in the process of making up for the shortage of qualified linguists around the globe. Although possessing a universal portable translation device is currently beyond our capacity, it is likely that such a device similar to what was once believed possible only in science fiction may be readily available within our lifetime. Whether it becomes a public utility or a commensal asset as well as who has access to it remains to be decided. Yet this also brings up an important question of how culture will be affected if the language barrier is overcome through technology? Can geographic cultural diffusion continue to function if everyone can easily understand each other? What happens when worlds lose their cultural significance for the sake of convenience?
A new technology based around the concept of translation that aims to overcome the language barrier. Although the author states that even if they sitting in the same room as a colleague and are both native English speakers, they may still only understand 98% of their intended meaning. So for that reason alone, translation technology will never be perfect, but they believe this is a step in the right direction.
10 useful apps for language translation on an iphone- an interesting look at the benefits of them including some vocabularly abilities (amount of words stored), offline services and sentences translators. The apps are continuously updated as more technology and information comes into call, and are becoming more and more effective and important in terms of improving both communication and language leraning as a whole.
This is a GREAT article!! It provides at least 10 apps under each of the categories of Spanish, French, German, English, Italian, Chinese, Sigh Language (!) and Miscellaneous. Definitely worth a look if you study/teach any of these languages!
Aaron G Myers says: "I would like to share ten free resources that I have used or newly discovered that will help you learn nearly any language that you wish to learn. I don’t see any of these as a silver bullet or as capable in and of themselves in taking you to fluency in your target language. I don’t really believe in silver bullets! They can all be a part of building an overall personal language learning program that will lead to success."
A nice selection of 10 free online resources that cover a vast range of languages in total. The programmes include the ability to chat with native speakers, submit your work to be checked by native speakers, online language games, flashcards, and more!
A very useful site for teachers looking to add pictures to their classes (perhaps even as part of a multimedia gloss etc.). This is a free gallery of images hosted by the University of Pittsburgh's Digital Research Library containing nearly 500 drawings of people conversing, scenes in houses and buildings, and objects commonly found in houses. Potentially very good for vocabulary acquisition...
A Las Vegas tech company that isn’t geared toward the usual suspects, gaming, tourism or hospitality, might struggle to find success or even investors.
Blake Turnbull's insight:
An online learning site for Japanese (Nihongo Master Inc.), designed as a game using points and badges as prizes to reward students as their fluency improves. Nihongo Master has optional social elements including the ability to synchronize with Facebook and Twitter, which is said to allow students to compete against their friends; master levels together and share their awards and accomplishments. The article suggests that this is a niche in online language learning, and perhaps the future of becoming fluent in a language via the internet, which the site's creator suggests most students can do within 2 years if they're constantly studying...
I actually fought the smart phone craze for a while…but I also saw the may benefits of having one. I fought it because I got sick of seeing people constantly checking their email and such while around other people. And I told myself I wouldn’t do that.
But admittedly, I do sometimes.
Being transparent with you all and honest…I do think (and always have) that technology can definitely hinder speech and language development. And here is why.
(PhysOrg.com) -- Technology which translates sign language into text is being developed by scientists in Aberdeen.
Blake Turnbull's insight:
The extent to which technology has reached in terms of aiding both language study and exression alike: a software application that translates sign language into text is being developed in the University of Aberdeen. The new technology aims to bridge the gap between sign language and more standard forms of communication with one of its main focuses to help young deaf people gain employment opportunities. Language technology has come a long way, and with products like this only seems to be growing stronger!
This is a nice application for iPhone/iPod that helps users sharpen their listening, pronunciation, reading and speaking skills. It lets you learn conversational Japanese wherever you are – at school, at home, while commuting to office or at the gym. It's easy to comprehend with native speaker influence and pronunciation making it a valuable tool for learning set Japanese phrases. It is only beginner level, but I would be very interested to see whether or not it actually works for new learners of the Japanese language, and if so, I wish it had been around when I started!!
An interesting look at the concept where many feel as though educational computer games (the classroom euphemism for video games) should be part of classroom lessons at increasingly early ages. The optimistic theory is that students wearied by the old pencil-and-paper routine will become newly enchanted with the idea and ability of what computers can provide them with, and thus learn more effectively.