Instructional Technology: Using Online Resources and Programs.
The web offers wonderful resources for language teachers. Here are some ideas for using online resources and programs in your language teaching.
Finding online teaching materials for foreign languages
Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching)
MERLOT offers free and open resource designed primarily for faculty and students of higher education.
To look for materials for foreign languages, go to MERLOT > humanities > World Languages > Then select the language.
Reading Websites with Web Reader
Websites offer plenty of authentic reading materials. With the help of the web reader, Word Champ, students can read webpages easily. WordChamp can provide instant translations for individual words. Some words have audio too. Word Champ works with websites and regular texts. You can just copy and past texts, and get instant translations for each word! For Japanese, you can try another reading tool, Reading Tutor.
Online International Newspapers
Ask your students to read online international newspapers using the web reader, WordChamp.
There are a lot of online newspapers. Look for one here to
There are a lot of good online dictionaries your students can use.
Try these online dictionaries to start.
Spanish, French, Italian, German: WordReference
Japanese: Jim Breen's WWWJDIC
Images can be authentic teaching materials. However, you need to pay attention to copyright issues. These are two good sites to check when you are looking for images.
The REALIA Project publishes faculty-reviewed media for the teaching and studying of modern languages and cultures. The images are royalty-free for use by the educational community.
http://search.creativecommons.org will help you find photos, music, text, books, educational materials, and more that are free to share or build upon utilizing Creative Commons enabled search services at Google, Yahoo!, and Flickr.
Firefox and CC Search
A plugin for the Creative Commons search tool is built into the Firefox web browser. The search box defaults to using Google. You can change your search engine by clicking on the small black arrow in the search bar. See the screenshot below.
An article about Creative Commons "7 things You Should Know about Creative Commons" by Educause Connect http://connect.educause.edu/Library/ELI/7ThingsYouShouldKnowAbout/39400
A podcast is a series of audio or video files that you can subscribe to for free.
Find podcasts from all around the world via iTunes.
To switch your country in the iTunes Store (Mac and PC):
1) Open iTunes.
2) Select the iTunes Store icon in the Source pane.
3) Scroll down to the bottom of the main iTunes Store window. From the My Store pop-up menu, choose a country.
There are a lot of websites that provide podcasts in foreign languages. Try these sites.
You can find video through creative commons as well.
As you probably know, YouTube offers movie clips from all over the world.
Besides just watching movies, you can create playlists and share them with your students or upload your own video.
You can embed clips in your website or blackboard too. (Pay attention to copyright issues.)
Besides YouTube, there are other sites where you can look for videos.
Downloading movies for off-line use (Pay attention to copyright issues.)
Watching FLV (Flash video) downloaded from YouTube or Google video on desktop.
Use VLC Media player
Converting a movie file to a different format
You can convert a FLV video to a different video format, such as . mov., or to an audio file. If you have a PDF, you can convert it to a Microsoft Word document.
Live television offer language learners wonderful resources. Students can learn about the target languages' culture and practice listening comprehension.
Try these sites for multiple languages.
Audio- and Video- conferencing
Blogs are great for language learners. You can ask your students to write a journal, or essay.
Moodle has a blog
tool available. So try it first.
If you want to make the blog accessible for the people outside the class, you can try a free service such as Blogger.com. It is a great idea to ask a student studying abroad to write a blog!
Twitter is a social networking and
micro-blogging service that allows its users to send and read other users'
updates (known as tweets), which are text-based posts of up to 140 characters
You can use Twitter to bring the authentic culture to your classroom.
You can ask your students to "follow" people in the target language or their classmates who are studying abroad.
Here is the article "7 Things You Should Know About Microblogging" by EDUCAUSE.
Your students probably use social network sites like Facebook.
You can create a network site for your class with a program such as Ning.
Here is the article "7 Things You Should Know About Ning" by EDUCAUSE.
Wiki can be used for collaborative writing or projects.
Are your students working on group storytelling projects? If so, ask
your students to create a story collaboratively using a wiki.
You can ask your students to read a novel and add new vocabulary words and their meanings to the wiki and create a vocabulary wiki.
Google Docs (Document, Spreadsheet, Presentation, Survey)
Google Docs includes documents, spreadsheets, and presentations and
you can share them with other people. You can create a document, spreadsheet,
or presentation collaboratively. All you need is a gmail account. If
you do not have a Google account, you can get it for free at http://mail.google.com/
With your Gmail account, you can text-chat or video-chat as well.
With a new form feature, you can create your own online survey using Google Docs.
Second Life is a great way to bring authentic language learning experiences
to your students. You can ask your students to explore various places
in the target language. If your school has an island in Second Life,
you can have a class there and invite a guest speaker. You can download
Second Life from www.secondlife.com/.
Here is the article "7 Things You Should Know About Second Life" by EDUCAUSE.
Creating Digital Storytelling
You can ask your students to create a story with free online programs
such as VoiceThread and Jaycut.
These programs allow you to share stories with other people very easily
on the web.
Here is the article "7 Things You Should Know About VoiceThread" by EDUCAUSE.
You can also use a desktop program such as iMovie (Mac) and
Movie Maker (PC).
Here is a good site for "The Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling" by University of Houston.
You can create your own podcast or you can ask your students to create
You can use free programs such as G-cast to create your own podcast.
"Google Earth lets you fly anywhere on Earth to view satellite imagery, maps, terrain, 3D buildings, from galaxies in outer space to the canyons of the ocean. You can explore rich geographical content, save your toured places, and share with others." (http://earth.google.com/)
You can ask your students to annotate Google Earth with texts, photos, and videos based on a book or video for their assignments.
Here are the tutorials for annotating Google Earth
Check Google Lit Trips project, Teaching literature with Google Earth