Sunday, April 13, 2008 and Spanish Community Service Learning?

Going to conferences is great for networking, picking up teaching ideas, spotting trends and viewing the latest commercial products to come out on the market. At the 2008 CIBER Business Languages Conference that I just attended, I was able to do all of those things, and I wanted to share one commercial product in particular:

Orlando Kelm (University of Texas) was on the program to talk about using course wikis. However, he couldn't make it due to American Airlines' mass cancellations. Still, his colleague presented his talk, and the basic take-away was: using a wiki to post students' work means that each semester's cohort doesn't have to start from scratch; they can build on each other's work. I think we've all been frustrated by "losing" the great work that some students do for our course, so his wiki was a good demonstration of providing continuity as well as a service to others searching for cultural and language content on the web.

At the end of the session we were given vouchers for a free month subscription to, worth $30. I just now had a chance to look over the site and found it very interesting. You can listen to the podcasts for free, but you must subscribe to receive the accompanying teaching materials.

Although I wouldn't require my students to subscribe to the site, I will certainly bring it to their attention; many may actually decide to subscribe on their own.

I was particularly glad to see lessons at the advanced level. That is where my Spanish community service learning students are, for the most part. However, I was disappointed to see that most of the topics and functions for each lesson do not necessarily correspond to using Spanish in community contexts. Several of the "Upper Intermediate" Lessons would be more appropriate for the language functions that my students have to carry out in the community.

En fin, this is an on-line resource that I will investigate further and consider integrating in some way into my teaching.

I have two vouchers, and I will give them to two students and ask them to blog about their experiences with it.

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