Today I attended a Language Centre show-and-tell organised by Hervé Didiot-Cook and attended by teachers from the LSE as well as our good friends from Columbia University Language Resource Center – Bill & Stéphane.

Challenges/Risks of Second Life

Tamy Zupan, the LSE’s SL evangelist (!) talked us thru’ some of the challenges we are going to face as we look at introducing Second Life.  These include an interface with a steep learning curve, negative attitudes from staff and students, a lack of narrative (as it’s a virtual world not a game), unclear moral & ethical boundaries and some cultural challenges and of course the pedagogy: how to take advantage of the potential that it offers for for language teaching and how to assess this.  CLT will be supporting the Spanish teachers in a pilot which, for now, will very much be an opt-in for students who are keen to explore the use of SL in their Spanish studies.

Drupal  Learning Materials Repository

An update from Hervé, Bill & myself on this project.  The LSE French teachers are using Drupal as a repository for their teaching materials.  It’s an idea we stole from Columbia, thanks Bill! As the project grows the aim will be to involve non-LSE contributors and with this in mind on I was keen to highlight  the success of the community of practice that the Modern Languages arm of the Irish National Digital Learning Repository have built up, which I blogged on earlier.

EXPLICS – Case Studies & Global Simulations

Alison Standring, Mercedes Coca & Lourdes Hernandez-Martin introduced the EXPLICS project.  They have been involved in developing an Italian case study and aSpanish and an English “global simulation”.  The spanish one focuses on NGOs and was used on an UG course last year accounting for 1/4 of the contact hours.  Take a look at the NGO site to get a better idea of what’s involved but essentially the project is made up of a series of tasks that students work thru’ individually or in groups.  they have to produce various reports, presentations and recording as part of the project.  The feedback from students has been very poistive.  In addition to helping with their language learning the students particularly liked the positive effective the project had on the class dynamics & real employment-related skills they developed (collaborative working etc).

Wikis @ Columbia

Bill also showed us a Wiki used for German teaching.  I’ve mentioned the Columbia wikis here before.  One thing he flagged up was just how easy it is to insert a YouTube video into modern wikis such as wikispaces and wetpaint.  He also introduced us to the new YouTube annotation tool which is one for me to try out later!

And finally just because i can, a Youtube “Show & Tell” video.  Take it away Al: