Princeton University


Technology and the Foreign Language Curriculum:

A Constantly Developing Relationship

March 19-21, 2004



Conference Program


Friday, March 19

1 - 4 pm

Limited Enrollment




Pre-conference Workshop

Making Windows 2000/XP and Office 2000/XP/2003 Multilingual
Martin Heijdra, Princeton University

This is an in-depth workshop on working with languages other than English. The tasks you will learn do not require specific language or script knowledge, but should enable the user to help people with specific language or script questions. It will teach how to decide what to install in the first place (localized program versus an English program versus add-ons, etc.), but also teaches the features for languages other than English you may never had thought you needed but you do!


4:00 - 5:00


5:00 - 7:00


Saturday, March 20

8:00 - 9:00

Registration & Coffee

9:00 - 9:15


9:15 - 9:45

Technology as a Bridge of Many Gaps
Nina Garrett, Yale University

In-depth contemplation of "the language curriculum" requires some mental agility, like imagining a more-than-three-dimensional object. We talk about "gaps" in its internal structure as a program, but equally important are the gaps between it and the rest of the postsecondary curriculum and beyond. We also need to analyze its adequacy from the perspective of the individual learner, who crawls through it, as well as from the perspective of the individual faculty members, who juggle its parts and toss the prickly whole back and forth. Technology can bridge the gaps, even fill the gaps, form dynamic connections, make a whole out of awkward parts, expand the whole.

9:50 - 10:20

Integrating Digital Video into the Foreign Language Curriculum
Claire Bradin Siskin, University of Pittsburgh

Digital video has become an integral component of the curriculum in several foreign language courses at the University of Pittsburgh. We have been able to incorporate digital video inexpensively by installing web cams at each station in a computer lab. Use of the web cams began with the American Sign Language classes and has now been adopted in Bulgarian, French, Italian, Spanish, English as a Second Language, and Global Studies classes.

The presenter will describe some of the benefits of using digital video, which fits very well into the framework of constructivist learning when students create their own movies. She will go through the simple process of creating a digital movie with a web cam and will show examples of movies created by students. She will offer suggestions for classroom activities and projects for language students. She will also describe some of the problems encountered along the way and how these have been addressed.

10:20 - 10:30


10:30 - 11:00

All This—But How to Make them Use It?
Erika Gilson, Princeton University

Everyone attending this conference on Technology and the Foreign Language Curriculum can readily attest to the fact that as far as the technology is concerned, our wildest dreams are being fulfilled. Any language resource center is full of fine multimedia programs, and software programs abound so that anyone so inclined can develop additional resources for language learning. Yet, in the experience of many language instructors, students do not take advantage of the opportunities offered by these learning aids, and many pedagogically sound and well designed programs are simply not being used.

This is to propose a group discussion on how to make students in fact use the wealth of existing language resources. What do instructors need to keep in mind? What are learners' perceptions and expectations? Samples of some resources available for Turkish will be shown. Attempts, both successful and unsuccessful, to make students use some of these resources will be shown.


11:05 - 11:35

Business with Pleasure: The Use of Video Clips in the Teaching of "French for Business". Le Diner de cons, Le Placard, et L'Auberge espagnole
Martine Benjamin, Princeton University

I would like to show that "Business" does not have to be dry and at times teadious, that it does not exclude "pleasure". It can also be very revealing about the cultural differences in the world of business. It makes French come alive and real: be it t he attitudes of the Fench towards the R.I.S in " Le diner de cons", the problem of unemployment and discrimination in "The closet", and the clichés about nationalities and the construction of Europe in " L'Auberge espagnole". I would show one scene or a fragment of a scene that illustrates the best a particular aspect of French business.

11:40 - 12:10

Natural Selection: Using Evolving Technology to Enhance Foreign Language Pedagogy
Michelle Cheyne, Princeton University

Language instructors have long recognized the essential role that cultural competence plays in the development of proficiency in foreign language acquisition. To this end textbook publishers, audio-visual material designers, and teachers have all worked to integrate ‘realia’ in the classroom. The dizzying rate of advances in technology offers a staggering range of cultural resources. From search engines to chat rooms, to interactive cd-rom programs, to multi-standard dvd’s, our student’s today can experience foreign language and culture in the comfort of their own universities. My paper today considers the impact of this technology on our students and on our teaching. It specifically asks how we can use technology, both low and high, to enhance language acquisition and cultural awareness. Furthermore, it specifically focuses on how the strategic use of technology can foster our students’ active participation in real-life international exchanges that move beyond simulated events in the language laboratory.

This 20-minute presentation uses the example of the use of technology and culture in Princeton’s French language courses as starting point. It seeks, however, to open up a series of questions for broader discussion.


noon - 1:30

Lunch (included in registration fee)


1:30 - 2:00

Room 1 - Interactive Jeopardy
Engracia Angrill Schuster, Onondaga Community College

There is no lack of tools to aid instructors these days, so much so that the problem has become sorting through all of the available materials. The ideal tool helps teachers conduct a class that is not only engaging and at the appropriate level but, above all, is challenging. One of my favorite games is Jeopardy because it is easy to prepare, quick to play, challenging, and elicits participation. This game also allows me to customize any lesson or particular parts of a lesson in order to reinforce course material. I recently worked with the school’s instructional designer to create an interactive, web-enhanced jeopardy board that adds effectiveness to an old standard. The result has been impressive. The presenter will explain the benefits of this particular game and show how to adapt it to a classroom setting.


Room 2 - Communicating in Cyberspace: The US-Siber Dialogue
Christine Foster Meloni & Susan Willens, George Washington University; Larissa Zolotareva, Yakutsk State University

The Internet offers teachers the exciting possibility of bringing together for authentic communication students in different locations. Teachers in the fields of foreign languages (ESL and FL), international affairs, and communication in particular can benefit from international and intercultural projects.

The presenters will first give a brief overview of the benefits of collaborative Internet projects for enhancing students' language skills and cultural knowledge. They will then describe the US-SiberDialogue, a collaborative Internet project in which 20 English-speaking students at a university in Washington, DC communicated with 38 English-language learners at a university in Siberia, Russia. Communication was carried out through e-mail, a chat room, and a web board within the Prometheus course management software system for six weeks in Fall 2003. The linguistic goals were to improve the English language skills of the Russians and to make the American students aware of the importance of writing to non-native speakers in clear and comprehensible English. The cultural goals were to introduce an unfamiliar culture to each group and to help all students develop a satisfactory level of intercultural communicative competence.

The students began by completing three semantic cross-cultural exercises and analyzing the results which served as a springboard for future discussions. They became familiar with each other's lives and thoughts through e-mail exchanges, web board postings, and chatroom discussions. As a final product all students wrote an essay in English about their own communities, exchanged them for feedback, and shared the revised essays with all of the project participants.


2:05 - 2:35

Room 1 - Technology to Enhance Foreign Language Curriculum Outside the Classroom
Jing Wang, Allegheny College

Language learning is a long and difficult process. It is crucial to keep students’ interests in a foreign language so that language teachers can successfully implement foreign language curriculum.

One good way is to provide a stage for students to perform by using the language they are learning. Students are encouraged when they can use the language to sing songs, to say tongue twisters, and to perform other culturally related performances. What’s more, students get more incentives to learn the language when they can share their online performances with their friends.

During this past Chinese New Year, I organized a Chinese party. I recorded the students’ performances at the party, and put their performances online. I noticed enhanced interests in the learning of the Chinese language as a result. Technology can be used to increase students’ interests in language learning. Students’ performances can be viewed by clicking on the following URL




Room 2 - Student Produced Videos and Foreign Language Acquisition: A Process
Mary Toulouse, Lafayette College

As a result of new software and hardware acquired during this year’s renovation of the resource center, a number of foreign language instructors at Lafayette College have reintroduced student-produced videos into the curriculum—a practice that had been discontinued. At the intermediate level, videos were made of the storyline of a novel studied in class; in an advanced translation class, students subtitled foreign film clips as opposed to only translating written texts. Moreover, in both cases, technology (video and other media) played an integral role in the acquisition of language throughout the entire production process, not just in the delivery of the final product: Teachers found that they were able to scaffold learning in positive ways by interfacing new software and hardware (I-Movie, Tandberg’s Divace Solo, I-Pod’s) with more conventional teaching supports (written and oral compositions, readings, listening drills and exercises).

Our presentation will focus on the teacher-constructed objectives, rubrics and materials that made these projects successful as well as include a demonstration and analysis of sample media files. Student exit interviews were conducted at the end of the assignments and will be discussed in respect to the motivational and pedagogical value of the video production process.

2:35 - 2:50

3:00 - 3:25

Let Thy Voice Be heard: Technology and Montclair State University's Italian Language Program
Michael Heller, Andrea Dini, Marisa Trubiano, Montclair State University

The Italian program at Montclair State University is making use of technology in its language courses in an effort to increase student contact with the language while standardizing the curriculum. Using Wimba, a java-based voice messaging system, Montclair has moved routine oral assessment and practice online for beginning and intermediate level courses. Technology is interwoven in the language curriculum including the use of BlackBoard for on-line vocabulary and grammar quizzes, class announcements, syllabi, class handouts, homework assignments, out-of-class discussions about textbook's related topics. Blackboard is also successfully used for language coordination: materials to be distributed across the curriculum can be placed on-line for instructor's use and can be shared among levels and sections, improving standardization and fostering cooperation among instructors.

The presenters will demonstrate Montclair’s use of technology in language instruction at the beginning and intermediate levels, and the team building and training needed so that technology is used uniformly across all beginning and intermediate sections. The presenters will also discuss the rationale for increased use of technology in lower level courses including the necessary course adaptation and redesign for successful technology infusion. Attendees will receive practical tips for their own use of technology in language courses. Presenters will share their own online oral materials and discuss deployment and implementation issues for all levels of instruction.

3:25 - 3:55

Room 1 - Developing Oral Profiency though Computer-Mediated Testing
John Mark Esposito, College of Staten Island, CUNY

The presenter will describe and demonstrate the oral testing system created specifically for the Department of Modern Languages at the College of Staten Island. In an attempt to eliminate class time used to test students, we developed a system where students come to the media center and are tested via a computer.
The oral testing system uses a Postgres database to store information like student ids, sections info, and layout of the different tests, and a file system to store sound files. There are three interfaces: one for administrators, one for students and one for instructors. The student interface is implemented as a Java application that randomly generates questions and plays them for the students. Student answers are recorded and then uploaded to and stored on the server. The tests are then graded by instructors in a PHP as a secure Web interface. The Administrator interface is also implemented in PHP as secure web interface. Using this interface we can create assignments, sections, assign assignments to sections, assign dates to and activate/deactivate assignments. This system is currently being used in all level one, two and three language courses. Last semester, 800 students in 27 sections used this system.


Room 2- Computer-Assisted Classroom Discussion: Forms of Instructional Discourse
Natasha Anthony, SUNY Albany

Where the role of instructor discourse has been the focus of much recent research on asynchronous online instruction, the instructional discourse of foreign language educators has yet to be examined. Indeed, the majority of work in the area of foreign language and telecommunications has concentrated on student-student, student-peer interaction and the power through autonomy these dyads encourage. Little attention has yet been given to specific language strategies for instructors in online conversations that are instructional in nature. Our study examines the online teaching strategies employed by the instructor of three Russian classes that integrated asynchronous computer-assisted classroom discussion for extended language practice and, in this case instruction, through the instructor’s careful interventions. Such techniques as providing linguistic tools, saturating the discourse with target grammatical forms, prompting attention, providing meaning/form focused feedback, prompting discoveries, using “linguistic traps”, prompting assembly, and incidental modeling were successfully incorporated into online discourse. These interventions mimic those of the ideal communicative classroom that incorporate focus on form. The added advantages of CMC include the opportunity for both teacher and students to stop the clock, examine the language being used in the online conversation, determine teachable and learnable moments, and respond accordingly. Pedagogical outcomes of such online instruction include tactful, non-intrusive, and non-disruptive teaching presented in the form of another voice in the body of authentic conversation.

4:00 - 4:30

Princeton University Online Language Placement Test
Fergus Bremner, CEO, Extrafin

Over the summer of 2003 Extrafin LLC was asked by a number of Princeton University language departments to make an automated online placement test that would alleviate the manual drudge of accepting large numbers of students into their courses. Rather than make a simple one-off test as requested, Extrafin decided to develop a suite of applications that would serve as the basis for expanded language services and applications. Simply, the idea was to make an open framework that would act as the "gold-standard" for language testing as well as coursework exams and quizzes. During his talk, Fergus Bremner will outline the key goals that were set at the outset of the project, comment upon their implementation, and specify future directions in educational software. He will also speak about the technology available on the market today--both proprietary and open source--and identify their relative strengths and weaknesses. A demonstration of the Princeton University placement testing application will be included and questions welcome throughout.






Sunday, March 21

9:00 - 9:30


9:30 - 10:00

Room 1 - Technology and the Hebrew Language Curriculum
Rivka Halperin and Hadassah Nemovicher, JTS.

The presenters will discuss some of their methods and techniques in using technology in teaching the Hebrew language. Topics to be addressed include the use of the NewSlate authoring tool for composing language drills and quizzes; online newspaper reading activities; and activities based on the use of email in Hebrew.

Room 2 - Now That We Have It, How Do We Use It? Lab Renovation and Departmental Direction
Jeff Ruth, East Stroudsburg University.

This presentation describes a few of the ways that a 2001 language lab renovation created new opportunities and also unforeseen questions. Issues to be addressed – and later discussed openly with participants and their own experiences – include the lab as a catalyst for curricular reflection and change (e.g. toward more oral proficiency and greater cultural content); course schedule constraints as disincentives to greater classtime use of lab, with pedagogical implications; open lab time versus scheduled lab time; the lab as mixed blessing for our colleagues in Academic Computing; and student reception of the new lab.


10:05 - 10:35

Panel: Designing and Implementing New Labs
Marianne Crusius, Princeton University; Bradley Gano, Yale University; Stephanie Kufner, Bard College

The new Language Resource Center at Princeton opened in November 2003. Marianne will talk about the long planning process for a custom lab, the need to be involved during construction and some surprises when moving into the finished place.

Stephanie will talk about the new "Center for Foreign Languages and Cultures" at Bard College and how they use 'integrated technologies' (that includes Sony Virtuoso and Soloist, Videoserver, Satellite TV, and the future of desktop videoconferencing) to support the FL
as well as the C parts of the "CFLC".

Brad will give a description of the Center for Language Study at Yale. Followed by a question and answer session.

10:40 - 11:10

Satellite Programming and Distribution ... Opening up a World of Possibilities - ppt
Michael Jones, Swarthmore College

The Language Resource Center at Swarthmore has been receiving various programs off a steerable Satellite dish for several years. The dish gave us the capability of receiving, recording, or distributing into the LRC any one program to which the receiver was tuned. We relied on programming from the International Channel or SCOLA to maximise audience interest, but the solution was less than ideal.

When some money came available to replace the current system I wanted something different. to do instead was to add some number of receivers and other equipment we would need, in order to distribute 10, or possibly 15 channels of foreign programming into the LRC. We'd subscribe to let's say TV 5, TV Polonia, German TV, RAI, etc.and distribute all the programming into the lab, creating a custom cable system. That's now in place and the presentation will talk about how we got there and how the system is being used.

11:15 - 11:45

Panel: When to Say 'No': Defining our Roles as Center Directors
Mike Ledgerwood, Stony Brook University, SUNY, John Mark Esposito, College of Staten Island, CUNY , Cindy Evans, Skidmore College

"Can you please make my home printer print?" " Can you make my accent marks work on my new PDA before I leave for France tonight?" " Can you connect me to the Internet at home wirelessly, and while you're there, could you convert all my tapes to DVDs?" Center directors and other language experts who support the use of technology in language teaching are constantly asked to provide assistance that is only tangentially related to language learning in Centers or to their jobs as professionals. Even though there may be technical staff in a Director's institution, they are not always trained to deal with the issues of audio, video, and fonts Center Directors are. There seem to be many gray areas in our jobs as Directors, and it is often hard for language technology professionals to know where to draw the line between appropriate and inappropriate assistance. Panel members, who represent various institutional settings and sizes, will share their policies, approaches, and strategies to set boundaries between what is reasonable support and what is not.


11:45 - Noon

Your Turn (Open Mic)

Opportunity To Ask Questions, Seek Advice, Present Issues


Business Meeting & Lunch