Fall 1995 Conference

The Southwest Association for Language and Technology (SALT) held their Fall '95 conference on November 17 and 18 at California State University, San Bernardino. The conference was hosted by Walter Oliver, Professor of Foreign Languages and Literatures at CSUSB and co-hosted by Patricia Lamb, Learning Labs Manager at the University of California, Santa Barbara and the regional group leader of SALT. Approximately 25 learning and language lab directors and faculty members from 16 different universities and colleges were in attendance.

Our first presentation on Friday afternoon was given by Renate Albrecht, Language Lab Manager at Stanford University. MovieWatcher, a computer program for studying short digital video clips as a part of language instruction, was developed in the Stanford University Curriculum Development Lab by Judy Atterholt and Renate Albrecht with the assistance of CDL staff. Written in HyperCard and using QuickTime movies, the MovieWatcher template allows instructors to segment up to five minutes of video and can accommodate different types of assignments, such as answering questions, writing summaries, completing dialogs or writing transcriptions. The purpose of the finished lessons is to expose students to culturally rich authentic language material while simultaneously helping them develop strategies for global comprehension.

The second Friday presentation was a hands-on workshop led by three staff members from the Humanities Instructional Resource Center at the University of California, Irvine. LeeAnn Stone, HIRC director, Judi Franz, manager, and Daniel Acevedo, a UC Irvine freshman and HIRC student employee, provided historical background information on the network and practical information on navigating the net using Netscape. Each participant was able to access a variety materials on the World Wide Web. The workshop provided an excellent practice opportunity for the team from Irvine to develop their training package to be offered to UC Irvine faculty members.

The Saturday sessions began with a breakfast business meeting during which the new regional group leader was elected. Renate Albrecht, Stanford University, will take over the responsibilities from Patricia Lamb beginning on January 1, 1996. Patty was congratulated for two successful and productive years. The business meeting was immediately followed by a round table discussion and brain storming session about various challenges being faced by our attending lab directors and faculty members. The main focus of discussion centered on the use of the computer as a tool in language instruction and ways in which lab directors can help faculty members comfortably and confidently incorporate this tool.

Following the breakfast meeting and session, a hands-on HyperGASP workshop was led by Walter Oliver. HyperGASP is a multimedia development tool for the Macintosh, aimed especially at educational applications and lab environments. It features an intuitive interface which guides developers, teachers and students through the construction of programs and presentations, helping them place media elements where they want them quickly and simply. Participants were shown how HyperGasp makes the HyperCard program accessible to those of us who are not familiar with the HyperCard scripting language.

Two afternoon sessions, both describing the use of networked computers in language instruction, were led by faculty members. The first was a presentation by Michele Magnin and Richard Stroik, colleagues from the University of San Diego. Richard described a creative writing activity for foreign language classes as taught before e-mail and Michele described the way the same activity is being taught now, using e-mail. The Building, a communicative game for electronic communication, is used in second year French to build advanced composition skills. Many advantages to using e-mail were shared including the students' comfort level with this familiar and commonly used mode of communication.

The second Saturday afternoon session was led by Josef Hellebrandt, Santa Clara University. The goal of TUCAN (Teaching about Universal Problems through Cultures of Andean Nations) is to teach intermediate learners of Spanish about the lesser-taught cultures of Ecuador. Based on the assumption that learning about cultures includes learning about how a group deals with universal challenges, Josef expressed his conviction that cultural learning should be an active involvement, including a negotiated learner outcome, with immediate feedback and learning taking place both on the side of the student and the provider. This is where use of the internet as a tool for accessing resources fits in so well. By using authentic technological links to tap into the less commonly taught cultures of Ecuador, students may form partnerships across hemispheres to support common goals.

updated * December 14, 1995