The Return of the Telematics and New Technologies Commission
By Lara Lomicka Anderson, Chair
The Commission on Telematics and New Technologies is back! We are currently in the process of outlining new goals and recruiting members. One of the goals of our commission is to promote new trends and innovative ideas. This Commission also aims to act as a support for all levels of AATF technology users from beginners to the more advanced.
Some New Technologies: A Brief Overview
Some technologies that we will be highlighting in the next year, either on our website, in the AATF National Bulletin or during conference presentations include wikis, blogs, and podcasting. Below I have included a short introduction to these technologies. Here are a few questions you may wish to consider. Have you spent much time browsing Wikipedia? Are you interested in learning about new French words? Or do you prefer listening to the French news? Hopefully in the next year you will learn more about these new technologies.
A wiki is a website that allows many authors to collaborate in building its content. One can modify (add, delete, change) already existing content that another user has entered. Wikipedia is an example of one of the largest and most popular wikis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page). This free encyclopedia can answer almost any question you may have and is available in about 10 different languages, including French (http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accueil). LeLoup & Ponterio (2006) refer to it as “a multilingual treasure trove” (p. 4). What might be some possible uses for wikis in a French class?
Blogs are electronic journals; they are maintained by a blogger, who makes regular entries. Blogs typically “function either as a personal diary or a news journal.” (Ducate & Lomicka, 2005, p. 410). They differ from wikis in that they are usually maintained by a single author; users interact through comments rather than by modifying preexisting content. Another difference is that while wikis are organized by content, blogs are organized chronologically, with the most recent entry visible on the site (Godwin-Jones, 2003). While many blogs exist (over 50 million worldwide as of February 2006), it is more difficult to find blogs that have appropriate pedagogical value or that are simply maintained regularly (Riley, 2006). To gain a better understanding of these websites, you may wish to visit a blog that features French Words (http://french-word-a-day.typepad.com/) or a blog detailing the life of an American living in France called Dispatches from France (http://dispatchesfromfrance.blogspot.com/). How might you incorporate either reading or writing a blog into your French class?
Wikipedia defines podcasting as a way of distributing files (electronic or video) on the Internet. These files can then be played on mobile devices (such as cellular phones, iPods, MP3 players) and personal computers; you can even subscribe to the podcasts you wish to listen to regularly so that they download automatically when you connect to the Internet. iPods and other digital music players are among the latest trends of students across the country as well as world wide. Like blogs, the number of podcasts is growing rapidly. Some resources that may be worth visiting for French include: Podcasts for French (http://www.podcast.net/tag/french/newest), a directory of independent Francophone podcasting (http://www.podblaster.net/) and for those interested in French you might want to listen to the French Podclass (http://www.frenchpodclass.com/). How could Podcasts be used to help your students learn French?
During the coming year we hope to encourage you to think about how you might use wikis, blogs, or podcasting in your French classes and provide you with some examples of successful projects.
Some preliminary ideas that the Commission is working toward include: promoting and supporting the use of technology in AATF; making presentations and presenting workshops at conferences, featuring innovative projects in the AATF National Bulletin or on the website; providing more information to AATF members on the use and implementation of technology in the classroom; highlighting new technological resources; creating materials and web resources for members; and collaborating with other commissions on projects.
The commission will be presenting a session at ACTFL (sponsored by AATF) this November in Nashville, TN entitled Video iPods, Blogs, Podcasts, and Telecollaboration in Intermediate French Classes. Please join us if you are interested in learning more! Also, look for a regular column on technology in subsequent issues of the AATF National Bulletin.
We Need You!
We need you!!!! Do you have interest, knowledge and/or experience in technology? The Telematics and New Technologies Commission is currently recruiting members. Being part of this Commission has many benefits: such as learning more about technology, sharing your expertise with others, and networking with other AATF members. If you are interested, please contact Lara Lomicka Anderson: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ducate, L., & Lomicka, L. (2005). Exploring the blogosphere: Use of web logs in the foreign language classroom. Foreign Language Annals, 38 (2), 410-420.
Godwin-Jones, R. (2003). Emerging technologies: Blogs and Wikis: Environments for On-line Collaboration. Language Learning & Technology, 7 (2), 12-16. Retrieved July 20, 2006, from http://llt.msu.edu/vol7num2/pdf/emerging.pdf
LeLoup, J., & Ponterio, R. (2006). Wikipedia: A Multilingual treasure trove. Language Learning & Technology, 10 (2), 4 -7. Retrieved July 18, 2006, from http://llt.msu.edu/vol10num2/net/default.html
Lomicka, L. (2006). Understanding the other: Intercultural exchange and CMC. In Arnold, N. and Ducate, L. (Eds): Calling on CALL: From theory and research to new directions in foreign language teaching, pp. 211-236.
Riley, D. (2006). The Blog Herald Blog Count February 2006: 200 million blogs in existence. The Blog Herald. Retrieved July 22, 2006 from http://www.blogherald.com/2006/02/02/the-blog-herald-blog-count-february-2006-200-million-blogs-in-existence/