Conferences are a great place to talk to teachers and hear what’s on their minds. The Spanish and Portuguese teachers at the AATSP conference in San Antonio gave us lots of terrific ideas. Here are a few:
Ann Mar, a high school AP Spanish teacher from San Antonio, told us that she had recently become aware of COERLL’s SpinTX Video Archive. She was excited to discover that it closely aligns with the new AP Spanish curriculum scheduled to begin this fall. The AP Spanish Language and Culture Course is a national curriculum set by the College Board. Ann told us that there are 6 themes within the new curriculum that match up well with the themes in the SpinTX videos ( e.g. “Personal and Public Identities”, “Families and Communities”, “Contemporary Life”).
Ann has already posted a link to SpinTX in the AP teacher community forum. She will also be running a summer institute for AP Spanish teachers at UT Austin later in July. Finally, she is interested in having her high school students in San Antonio collect videos using our protocols, with the idea that we could use them as part of the corpus if they turn out well. So, it looks like COERLL will definitely be exploring how to connect our video archive to the AP Spanish curriculum with Ann’s help. Thanks, Ann!
Another terrific idea came from Dr. Margo Milleret from the Portuguese program at the University of New Mexico. Margo suggested that COERLL consider developing badges aimed at middle or high school students based on our introductory LCTL resources. Badges are a way to recognize and verify online learning. The goal would be to expose students to languages that aren’t normally offered in high schools (such as Portuguese), so that when the students go to college, they would be more likely to study a LCTL. She noted that while she doesn’t have the resources to do something like this herself, she would really like to collaborate with a center like COERLL and other K-12 teachers to make it happen. Margo’s great idea combines various elements of COERLL’s mission: K-12, LCTLs, and Open Education.
And finally, another good idea came from ACTFL president Toni Theisen. Toni was chatting with us at the COERLL booth about the tremendous potential of badges for teacher development. She wondered whether COERLL could help ACTFL award attendees of this year’s convention in Orlando with a participation badge. Great idea, Toni! That would certainly help bring badges to the attention of the foreign language teaching community. Let’s work on this … together.
Open Education is fundamentally about sharing. So a big “Thank You” to all the teachers who shared their ideas with us at AATSP.
Carl Blyth is Director of COERLL and Associate Professor of French, UT Austin. His research includes CMC, cross-cultural and intercultural pragmatics, interactional sociolinguistics, and pedagogical grammar. He is project director of eComma, an open-source annotation application to facilitate more “social” forms of reading.