Language Profs from Around the Country Gather at Wabash

by Jim Amidon

September 28, 2006

More than 50 representatives from 29 liberal arts colleges will gather on the Wabash campus this weekend to explore the use of technology in the teaching of modern languages. The conference, sponsored by NITLE, is called "Pedagogy and Digital Technology: Language Labs in the 21st Century."

Those attending include language faculty, language learning center staff, and instructional technologists working in liberal arts colleges who are considering the present and future impact of digital technologies on the teaching and learning of languages.

"We’re simply serving as hosts for this conference," said Greg Redding, chair of the Department of Modern Languages at Wabash College. "We’re excited about this opportunity to learn from others about how to use technology effectively in teaching modern languages. We’ll be imagining where we’re going in the future."

The conference is focused on several important issues. Among the questions participants will discuss are: How might those who teach and support the teaching of languages make the most of new digital technologies? Which uses of these technologies retain or expand pedagogical possibilities? How do teachers and supporters prevent technology from defining effectiveness? How can colleges balance issues of time and financial resources in deciding when to use specific types of digital resources? Click here for a full description of the conference.

The conference begins with a dinner and keynote address Friday night and continues through noon on Sunday. Many faculty attending represent colleges within the Great Lakes Colleges Association, but others come from as far away as Reed College, Whitman College, Occidental College, and Pomona College, just to name a few. Click here for a complete list of attendees.

The keynote address will be given by Carl Blyth, who is an associate professor of French linguistics in the department of French and Italian at the University of Texas, Austin. Professor Blyth is also the newly appointed director of the Texas Language Technology Center.

His research interests include cross-cultural communication, narrative analysis, discourse grammar, socio-cultural theories of language learning, pedagogical grammar, and instructional technology. He is the author of Untangling the Web: Nonce’s Guide to Language and Culture on the Internet.

Andrew Ross, director of the Language Resource Center at Brown University, will give a general session presentation on Saturday. Dr. Ross was previously with the University of Richmond, where he was director of the Multimedia Language Laboratory and a member of the department of Modern Languages and Literatures. He is active in the language technology profession as the Editor-in-Chief of the IALLT Journal of Language Learning Technologies and one of the managing editors of the International Association for Language Learning Technology monograph series.

NITLE is a non-profit initiative dedicated to promoting liberal education. It provides opportunities for teachers in liberal arts contexts to create transformative learning experiences for and with their students by deploying emerging technologies in innovative, effective, and sustainable ways.


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