The Freedman Center for Digital Scholarship

Language Learning Technologies And Activities

Not sure how to incorporate more technology in your language classrooms? Here are a few examples of technology that can used at different instructional levels.

First year (and beyond!)

Electronic learning portfolios: Students can begin creating an electronic learning portfolio in the first semester. E-portfolios can contain samples of students' best work, including audio files, videos of skits, interviews and other types of interaction, as well as compositions. Instructors can use e-portfolios to access student progress both over the course of a semester and as they advance into higher level courses. The Freedman Center offers many resources to assist you and your students in creating e-portfolios.

WebQuests and other web-based activities: An ideal way of incorporating technology in the first year (and beyond!) is to ask students to use the web to find information to complete tasks they might encounter in daily life in a WebQuest or a simple web-based activity. Real world web tasks offer beginners realistic activities using the target language. Some popular and easily managed topics for the first year are shopping, reading a weather map, and planning a trip using a train schedule.

Teachers wishing to use web activities in the first year should provide clear cut tasks that allow students to use their emerging language skills without overwhelming them, as demonstrated in this sample activity for the first year. More advanced students can successfully complete more open-ended tasks that require a greater command of the target language.

Real-life audio and video recordings: First year students can be asked to record themselves completing every day tasks such as giving directions, introducing themselves on the telephone, inviting a friend to a party, etc. Students can save recordings and give them to their instructor via Blackboard or send by email.

Second year (and beyond!)

Social networking / Web 2.0: Depending on the goals of the teacher and students, third and fourth semester students can use social networking formats such as blogs and wikis in the second language to introduce themselves, provide research results, and react to texts.

Teleconferencing: Many fourth semester students are ready to begin talking to native speakers using teleconferencing equipment. At this level, the instructor will likely need to ensure that familar, concrete topics such as family and school are chosen to ensure student success.

Third year (and beyond!)

Advanced learners can communicate using all of the tasks and technologies mentioned at the first and second year, but at a much higher level.

Podcasting: Podcasts are simply audio files found on the web that can be downloaded to mp3 players such as iPods. Podcasts recorded by native speakers can be found on major news sites, personal pages, and language learning sites. Advanced students can record interviews and group discussions with native speakers and other advanced learners. These can be saved to a course website and made accessible to other learners.

Teleconferencing: By participating in teleconferences, the advanced learner has the opportunity to use his/her language skills in an emersive environment without leaving the university. Teleconferences can be scheduled between individual students and native speakers and conducted in the Freedman Center using our dedicated language computers.

Classes can conduct teleconferences with classes abroad using Case's Level 3 classrooms. Please contact the Language Learning Services Manager if you are interested in either of these possibilities.

The virtual world of SecondLife and the ability of role playing games such as World of Warcraft to aid in instruction are also currently being used in some language programs. If you would like to learn more about any of these possibilities, please ask us!

Additional Activities and Resources

To locate additional activities and resources, visit:

  • Freedman Fellows 2011 Announced
  • Freedman Fellows Program 2011
  • Freedman Center Fellow Program 2010
  • Freedman Fellows 2009 Announced

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