Back in November, some of us WIC staff members found ourselves listening intently to a room full of Japanese speakers in Goldstein Electronic Classroom for an entire day. No, we weren’t there to learn beginning Japanese. Rather, we were teaching students in JPAN 011 how to use voice-over PowerPoint to present themselves and their interests in a new final video project for the class. Although we’ve assisted many other classes with video projects, this was the first large-scale language class we’ve supported working solely with voice-over in PowerPoint. It was a great success for all involved!
Each year, Penn Libraries holds a Pecha Kucha event as the culmination of the year’s Public Services Forum meetings. The event provides librarians a chance to share research, past projects, or new ideas for the upcoming year. This year, I decided to do my 20×20 presentation on my experiences with video tools for flipping the classroom over the past year at WIC. In particular, I focused on our work with educators at the Penn Language Center (PLC) in conjunction with their Certificate in Instructional Technologies and Online Learning. After working with PLC language educators over the past year, we also enjoyed viewing the outcomes of their projects in May at the PLC Annual Teaching and Showcase Award Program.
Such projects have inspired us to host new events, like Scholarship, De-Printed, and offer new workshops on flipped classroom and other audio/video tools for showcasing online teaching and research. It’s also tempted us to look back on the various video projects we have participated in with language classes and document these in a publication that we’re working on for the CALICO Book Series.
Please take a look at my presentation above to see our adventures this past year in flipped classroom tools at WIC (spoiler alert – my Prezi recording goes over the strict 5 minutes for Pecha Kucha!).
On May 2, a couple of us from WIC attended the Penn Language Center’s 8th Annual Showcase and Teaching Award Program. Each year, language educators in SAS apply to the PLC for SAS Language Teaching Innovation Grants to enhance course content and, therefore, students’ language-learning experiences in the classroom. The results of these grants were showcased at Friday’s event, and a panel of judges chose two projects as this year’s winners.
Penn GSE graduate student Liming Zhong teaches Cantonese at the Penn Language Center. She shares her reflections after using WIC iPads with her students:
As a language teacher, I believe that practice is very important for language learning. However, the language that I am teaching, which is Cantonese, is not a written language but a spoken one. It’s very hard for learners to practice speaking skills on their own because they might not know whether they are saying it right. I find using iPads (and other mobile devices) can solve this problem and eventually increase learning efficiency. There are some good apps that provide users with daily new words, sample sentences, and some other useful expressions such as “How much is this?” and “Where is the restroom?” Learners can download these apps on their iPads or smart phones, listen to the recordings of the words and sentences, and even record themselves. This enables learners to get language input and produce output wherever and whenever.
With a strong belief in practice and technology, I reserved 16 iPads from the Weigle Information Commons and used them on the first day my class. It was fantastic! First of all, the iPads “wake my students up” and draw their attention quickly. At the beginning of the class, we were reviewing the syllabus and I could tell some students felt a little bit bored. However, when I took out the iPads, the students were really surprised and I heard them saying: “Wow!” Apparently, they felt really cool, having the iPads in a language classroom. Second, students had a hands-on experience with using the apps. After they tried all the fancy and interesting functions in the app, they then could decide whether to download it on their own mobile devices.
Overall, it was a great experience. The staff of the Weigle Information Commons are very supportive and helpful. I really appreciate their help and I plan to use this service again.