Midwest Association for Language Learning & Technology  
      Illinois - Indiana - Iowa - Kansas - Michigan - Minnesota - Missouri      
            Nebraska - North Dakota - Ohio - South Dakota - Wisconsin 

Illinois - Indiana - Iowa - Kansas - Michigan - Minnesota - Missouri
    Nebraska - North Dakota - Ohio - South Dakota - Wisconsin
MidWest Association for Language Learning Technology

MWALLT 2018 Abstracts

The abstracts below are listed in order of presentation by session number and stream. A graphical presentation of this schedule with information on room numbers and on how to connect online can be found on the Program Schedule page.

1A. The Telenovela Experience: Lowering Affective Filters and Team-based Learning

Rachel Spaulding, Emporia State University
Gregory Robinson, Emporia State University

Our presentation focuses on how we have implemented a Telenovela project across our Modern Languages Curriculum with the explicit goal of fostering learning communities for our beginning- and intermediate-level Spanish language classes. Through the implementation of semester-long, team-based learning project of creating their own Telenovelas, our students form their own learning communities and subsequently this appears to lower their affective filters both in our face-to-face sessions and when they work in their teams. Beginning in the fall of 2016, we bifurcated our target language instruction and integrated a semester long team-based learning Telenovela project. At the beginning of the course, the students are organized using a self-assessment questionnaire into teams of four or five students. These students work collaboratively in Canvas and Google Docs throughout the semester to outline, draft, and record their own Telenovela. Over the course of the semester, they create five seven to nine-minute installments of their own Telenovela. At the end of each installment, they each reflect upon their process and their own development in the language. For the majority of our students, they have remarked about how comfortable they become with their team members and that this level of comfort helps them in their oral output in the target language. This informal presentation will provide an overview of what we are currently doing in our classrooms, examples of student work, our hybrid design that bifurcates the instruction on Canvas and our own observations and impressions about this implementation of the Telenovela project across our classes in Modern Languages.

1B. Flipping the Classroom: Considerations for Choosing Appropriate Technology Tools to Enhance Feedback Options

Hai Liu, University of Minnesota Twin Cities
WeiHsuan Lo, University of Minnesota Twin Cities

In this session we discuss the process we went through to flip our grammar-based lessons in a first-year Chinese course. We will share lessons learned over a three-year period, and will discuss the process for selecting an appropriate technology tool to increase student engagement with the lessons and to include feedback options. Furthermore, we will provide examples of integration of PowerPoints embedded into multimedia tools to allow for delivery of multimedia presentations. In addition, we will demonstrate options for feedback and comprehension checks. Finally, we will provide guidelines for determining the most appropriate tools for delivering content in a flipped classroom.

2A. Gamifying the Language Curriculum: From Theory to Practice

Felix Kronenberg, Michigan State University

In this presentation, attendees will learn about gamification in language learning contexts. I will discuss and present a theoretical framework that includes learner identity/identities, motivation, immersion, and agency, and discuss ways in which we can move beyond simplistic approaches to gamification based merely on PBL (Points, Badges, Leaderboards). I will illustrate this through a multi-year project, which involves beginning, intermediate and advanced students of German at a liberal arts college. During the project, students have created a virtual city, which plays out in hybrid learning spaces that involve a shifting array of face-to-face teaching and communicative technologies, such as gamification engines, virtual and physical makerspaces, creative production technologies, digital storytelling, games, and social media tools. Some of the innovative work comes from the flexible framework that allows educators to implement such simulations through high-tech, low-tech and no-tech approaches and use it with different textbooks or a textbook-free approach. The gamification approach is particularly exciting because it allows students to choose different paths and guide her/him through the imagined virtual or hybrid world.

2B. The Password to a Digital Learning Environment that First-year Spanish Students Deserve

Amy Rossomondo, University of Kansas

Language educators have been eager to transform their teaching by embracing new technologies, be they digital tools, Web-based resources, or ancillaries that accompany textbook packages. While there is no doubt that digital materials facilitate opportunities for exposing learners to authentic language and structuring interaction at a distance, many wonder when and how these technologies will cease to be add-ons begin to serve a more integrative function in transforming language teaching and learning. This session proposes that the paper-based textbook has outlived its usefulness in today's world, logistically and pedagogically and introduces a newly developed, digital platform for introductory Spanish called Contraseña (Lord and Rossomondo, 2019, LingroLearning). It focuses on three aspects of a fully functioning paperless classroom: what students do on their own time and how; how interaction is maximized during class time and why; and how assessment of student learning is transformed into a meaningful social and reflective experience for students and instructors alike. Presentation of a complete learning unit demonstrates the theoretical underpinnings of the platform, the instructor and student experience as the unit is implemented and the resulting evidence of successful student learning.

3A. Reflections on Creating Voc/zes: El podcast de la Universidad de Minnesota

Elizabeth Lake, University of Minnesota
Stephanie Anderson, University of Minnesota

Voc/zes, an educational podcast, began in the fall of 2016. To date, the Voc/zes team has produced 45 episodes that range from approximately 30 to 50+ minutes. The podcast has featured U of M faculty, staff, and students from the Departments of Spanish & Portuguese, Music, Economics, Neuroscience, Art, and Ophthalmology and Visual Neurosciences. From the community, Voc/zes has featured heritage high school speakers in the College in the Schools program from Eagan High School; Marta Fendrich, a College in the Schools instructor originally from Paraguay; Robert Everest, a local musician specializing in Brazilian music; and Malpaso, a Cuban dance troupe that performed at Northrop in October 2017, among other distinguished guests. In this talk, the presenters will discuss the pedagogical impetus for starting Voc/zes, the ins and outs of creating a budget and applying for funding, the time commitment of producing an educational podcast, how Voc/zes episodes have been used as teaching tools, possible research directions, and advice for aspiring educational podcasters.

3B. Open Corpora for Data-Driven Learning: A Case Study of a German Course

Nina Vyatkina, University of Kansas

Empirical research on Data-Driven Learning (DDL), or teaching and learning languages with the help of corpora, has shown that this method is effective and sometimes more efficient than traditional teaching methods. Nevertheless, DDL is still not widely used in language teaching for several reasons. First, many corpora are closed to the Internet public. Second, open corpora are typically designed for researchers, not learners or teachers. As a result, their interfaces prove difficult for the uninitiated. Third, there are few tutorials that explain to teachers how corpus linguistics can form the basis of a workable pedagogical framework. This presentation discusses how open corpora can become an integral part of Open Educational Resources and Open Educational Practices available for language teaching. As Colpaert (2006) argues, for technology-based language teaching to be successful, it needs to be grounded in sound language pedagogy principles. In my presentation, I map the description of my German course with a substantial DDL component that I implemented in a university German Studies program onto Colpaert's ADDIE model (a cycle of Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation). I conclude with a proposal for how the "Open" and "Educational" in DDL can be brought together.

4A.1. Web 3.0: A New Revolution in Updating the Education System

Noor Rizvi, University of Kansas
Alaa Alwindi, University of Kansas

The evolution of the Internet continues to open unimaginable opportunities and challenges in web-based education. Whereas Web 1.0 started as a Read-only medium, Web 2.0 ushered in a more interactive Read/Write medium.  More recent evolutions toward Web 3.0 promises a smart web that allows users to Read/Write/Execute with artificial intelligence and virtual reality transforming the user experience. This presentation will discuss a definition of the Web 3.0, its evolution and characteristics, and how it might facilitate new types of web-based language learning.

4A.2. Shuffle Me That: Enhancing Student Interest, Study Skills, and Digital Literacy with DH Tools

Molly Godwin-Jones, University of Kansas

A common concern among foreign language instructors is how to increase student motivation outside of class. This presentation suggests a new activity for increasing student interest and involvement, while also implicitly teaching study strategies and developing digital literacy. The field of digital humanities (DH) has seen a boom in recent years, with many innovative tools now available online for free. One such tool is Voyant, which, according to the site itself, is "a web-based reading and analysis environment for digital texts." After pasting a digital text into its system, Voyant automatically generates a multitude of analyses, including a word cloud, word frequency count, and key word in context (KWIC), to name just a few. Tools such as this have become wide-spread in the study of literature, but remain underused in foreign language classrooms. This project offers students the chance to select among several carefully scaffolded activities using Voyant's analyses. Students are instructed to find a song in the L2, which will be the text for analysis on Voyant. After watching the music video, students find the lyrics online, then select two sections of the Voyant analyses for written discussion (i.e. word cloud and KWIC). By engaging in an independent analysis of an unknown text, students can practice the digital skills necessary for dealing with unknown vocabulary, grammatical structures, and cultural allusions, all while encountering the L2 in a very real-world, accessible, and, hopefully, fun medium.

4B.1. Using Technology in a Multilingual Writing Classroom

Rashad Ahmed, Miami University (Ohio)

Technology has created a plethora of opportunities for multilingual writers to improve their writing proficiency. Some of the online platforms that have been reported to be useful include wikis, blogs, online social media sites, etc. Wikis are considered to be of the simplest, most practical and widespread technological tools for collaborative writing practices in SLA (Miyazoe & Anderson, 2010). Moreover, wikis provide the perfect environment to establish communication between individuals and groups in specific contexts such as training and learning (Eastment, 1999; Klobas 2006), and they are mostly free. Wiki environments offer an extensive, interactive, flexible environment, which can be extremely useful in multilingual contexts. Content can be easily accessed online, pages can be collaboratively edited, external resources can be linked, a history of changes can be saved automatically, and overall the whole structure is less sophisticated when compared with webpages (Klobas, 2006). The simple process of editing on a wiki page is much easier than that involved on a traditional webpage. This session is grounded in exciting theoretical developments concerning the applicability of wikis for writing, but it is focused on a practical demonstration on how these platforms can be used in multilingual writing classrooms. After a brief overview of the basic mechanics of the wiki platforms, and concepts around collaborative writing, the presenter will demonstrate a writing activity. Participants will be led through the setting up of a writing prompt, which can be replicated and modified to each of their classes.

4B.2. Performance Quality through Flipgrid

Ann Adams, Fort Hays State University
Chris Mohn, Fort Hays State University

Flipgrid offers students a platform for asynchronous conversations that is free, easy to use with smartphone or laptop, adaptable for a variety of purposes, and provides for assessment and feedback. In this session, we will explore some of the ways in which Flipgrid can help build student competence in oral production using technology they know and love. This session will include a hands-on demonstration of FlipGrid. Those participants using mobile devices will need to download the Flipgrid app from GooglePlay or the iTunes App Store prior to the session. You will need to create a free Flipgrid account or to use an existing Google or Microsoft account in order to use Flipgrid. Those of you who might want a sneak peak can access the session’s WLTech grid by entering the flipcode ‘Hammurabi’ and the password ‘Babeltower’. If the spirit moves you, feel free to respond to the prompt provided.

5A. 17th-century French Literature through Interactive Digital Tools

Gillian Weatherley, University of Kansas
Clarisse Barbier, University of Kansas

In a class on 17th-century French literature, a topic that may seem hard to relate to modern day Americans, digital assignments were designed to engage students more actively with particular French texts and their more universal and cultural implications. For the assignment, the instructor gave students the choice between two texts that describe appropriate and inappropriate social behaviors using symbolical maps that show readers the right or wrong path to take. The students were then shown how to use two digital applications, Twine 2, a tool to create non-linear texts, and Story Maps, a tool to create maps with annotations and pictures in a linear way.  Working in groups, students then had to choose one of the digital tools to enhance the interactive dimension of one of the texts for a class presentation. Student feedback on the assignment suggested that the digital applications helped them to understand the authors’ intentions and criticisms of society as well as the cultural and lexical elements of the 17th-century texts. In this presentation, we will present the texts and digital applications, our rubric for assessing the assignment, the students' feedback, and suggestions for future work with digital applications.

5B. Computer-based Multimodal Composing & L2 Acquisition: Students' Perspectives on Learning English Through Academic Writing

Richmond Dzekoe, Marietta College
Leanne Price Marietta College

Recent scholarship in L2 research has called attention to the need for a deeper understanding of how writing facilitates language acquisition. This study investigated how 22 advanced-low ESL students used computer-based multimodal composing activities (CBMCA) to facilitate self-revision and learn English through academic writing in the USA. CBMCA involved combination of writing, listening, visual analysis, and speaking activities. The research was framed within an integrated theoretical framework of multimodality, noticing hypothesis, and multidimensional model of revision. Data include surveys, students' revision- history, online multimodal posters, reflections, screen recordings of listening activities, stimulated recall interviews, final written drafts, and scores on those drafts. Data collection and analysis followed a descriptive case study design with embedded quantitative data. Findings indicate that CBMCA helped students discover specific rhetorical and linguistic elements that they used to revise their written drafts for effective communication in English. In addition, students reported that the activities helped them develop language and voice to convey ideas that they were struggling to express using written mode alone. Contrary to findings in most previous research, the students did more content-level than surface level revisions. Also, there was a significant correlation between total frequency of revision and text quality. The practical and theoretical implications of these findings for L2 writing pedagogy and research are discussed.

6A. Student-centered Materials Curation and OER Creation

Robert Godwin-Jones, Virginia Commonwealth University

The presenter will discuss a department-wide project featuring participatory action research and joint faculty-student creation of "bridging activities" to enhance instruction and student motivation in intermediate language instruction. The project seeks to address a perennial problem across languages in our department, namely the steep drop-off in enrollment in language courses after students complete the four-semester sequence that fulfills the foreign language requirement. Because students typically do not reach beyond a novice/low intermediate level, most do not have sufficient proficiency to use the language in practical or professional ways. Moreover, the standard textbooks used in intermediate language courses do not supply the variety of content needed to address different disciplinary interests of students enrolled in general education language courses. The project seeks to address these issues through creation and adaptation of digital learning materials customized to student interest and proficiency levels. Materials are both instructor-created and student-curated. The former are a set of modules created around authentic content (readings and multimedia) in a variety of content areas, corresponding to disciplinary majors typically represented in intermediate level classes. The latter involves online material selected and curated by students based on personal or professional interests, as well as on comprehensibility. Students collaborate on the selection of materials and comment and rate submissions. The highest rated posts are targeted for development as language modules, created jointly by students and teachers (using H5P). Having students participate in the selection/creation of learning materials provides personal investment and potentially more language uptake.

6B. Applying Best Practices to Oral VoiceThread Feedback

Carla Buchheit, University of Kansas
Emily Clark, University of Kansas

Teaching is action research where trial and error abound. Through teaching and curriculum development, the presenters discovered two problems both in their teaching and in curriculum across courses at a low-intermediate level in an Intensive English Program. The problems can best be summed up by lack of awareness of best practices for providing oral feedback on content and lack of student engagement with that feedback. Through research, collaboration, and strategic planning, the presenters have and continue to address these problems using VoiceThread. This experience has culminated in the creation of a method named 5R+ to address engagement with VoiceThread feedback. The presenters will share a brief explanation of the problems, the process for finding a solution, the current solution, the continual process for fine-tuning oral feedback, the materials to support that process, and the actual feedback process itself. Using authentic VoiceThread examples, participants will 1) gain insight about best feedback practices (these practices apply to all feedback), 2) listen and analyze feedback using the 5R+ method and 3) use their own experiences to share and discuss their current feedback problems, and the possible value of 5R+ to their current feedback practice.

7A. Transforming Foundational Spanish Language Study through Openness: The Acceso Project

Amy Rossomondo, University of Kansas
Nick Feroce, University of Kansas

This presentation focuses on innovative foundational foreign language instruction that integrates content and language study to promote second language development, critical cultural literacy and opportunities for students to relate to and reflect on differing cultural meanings and perspectives. It offers a detailed description of how the Web-based Acceso project instantiates intermediate-level Spanish study, consonant with call for integrated language and content instruction across all of levels of instruction (cf. MLA, 2007) by means of a broad range of computer-assisted language learning applications in an open educational resource (OER). First, the presentation explains the genesis and development of this collaboratively created OER and details how it serves to enhance the contribution of FL study to a general liberal education by encouraging students to develop an understanding of why and how target cultural and intercultural awareness is critical for effective engagement with target language speakers and a more complete understanding of the complex world around them. The second part of the presentation demonstrates how students interact in the classroom with a wide range of texts, their instructor and each other to complete highly structured, reflective tasks that are designed to promote language development and cultural/intercultural learning using a variety of Web 2.0 tools. Finally, participants will be invited to explore Acceso on their own devices and how explore how it could be adapted to their educational contexts.

7B.1. Global & Personal: How a Digital Dialect Archive Created Community

Carmela Romano Gillette, University of Michigan
Deric McNish, Michigan State University

The International Dialects of English Archive (IDEA) was created as a resource for actors and linguists. As part of an interdisciplinary collaboration between an English language teacher and a theatre teacher, acting students collected dialect samples from international students and published them to IDEA's online repository. These interviews created opportunities to foster greater integration of international students among university communities. In a mutually beneficial project, international students interacted with native speakers while acting students were exposed to diverse accents and cultures.

7B.2. Promoting Confidence in Speaking through Video Discussions

Nadia Jaramillo, Iowa State University

This talk will be about the use of a video platform to encourage students develop their overall oral speaking skills in a more authentic and spontaneous manner. It has been observed that some students take advantage of the opportunities to use the L2 for communicative purposes, while others opt to avoid it (Macintyre, 2007). Communication in the L2 is highly situated-specific and context-dependent (Macintyre, 2007; Yashima et al., 2004). An approach that can help students use the L2 for more authentic communication, language learning, and progressive development in using the L2 more confidently (what students can do with the language) is technology-mediated TBLT. I will share about the instructional strategy I implemented in an intermediate Spanish class to help students with their speaking practice. A set of speaking prompts were designed based on the class topics and aligned to the ACTFL communication area goals. Students participated in the speaking tasks throughout the semester. Preliminary results of the study conducted indicate that students' confidence seemed to increase.

8A. Student Engagement with Pear Deck

Shannon Spasova, Michigan State University
In this session, participants will get the opportunity to try Pear Deck, an app that allows students to engage in class in a variety of ways using a mobile device. Examples will be given, and the presenter will talk about how she used it both in a language class and in a literature in translation class. This will lead to a discussion amongst all participants about the pros and cons of engagement using a mobile device and suggestions for best ways to use mobile devices in class.

8B. Benefits of Less Commonly Taught Languages Coordination

Esra Predolac, University of Kansas
Brenda Wawire, University of Kansas

Although many Less Commonly Taught Languages (LCTLs) have long been deemed “critical” by the US Department of State, LCTL instructors continue to face a range of challenges unfamiliar to instructors of more widely taught languages. While the most obvious of these is a very limited selection of instructional materials, many LCTL instructors are also required to begin teaching before they are trained in core aspects of effective foreign language pedagogy. Moreover, most LCTL teachers do not fit neatly into established departmental structures, leaving them without true colleagues and thus without real opportunities for professional development. To address some of these issues, KU has established a consortium of LCTL instructors overseen by a two coordinators with strong backgrounds in foreign language pedagogy. Through this consortium LCTL instructors receive guidance on logistical issues like preparing a proper syllabus and navigating through various campus policies. They also receive training in instructional technologies, which are crucial not only for improving their pedagogical approach, but also for empowering them to develop their own materials for the classroom. In this presentation, we will explore the most common challenges that LCTL instructors face and speak about core instructional technology tools and training that are shaping how our LCTLs are being taught.


MWALLT is a regional affiliate of IALLT (International Association for Language Learning Technology), established in 1965, a professional organization dedicated to promoting effective uses of media centers for language teaching, learning, and research.

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