Archive for December, 2013

International TV programs

Friday, December 20th, 2013

Not only SCOLA service described in the previous post, there are other services (with or without the fee) for international TV and films.

The viki website can search the movies and films by languages and/or countries.  The hulu website allows you to search the international movies and films by genre.

viki website

viki website

hulu website

hulu website


There are also the issues and barriers associated with broadcasting the international TV programing.

There was the live event called “Language Lab Unleashed (LLU) Live #9: Int’l Television Programming & Language Centers” at Language Lab Unleashed website [].

It is the event in which 3 language lab directors (also some are language instructors) sharing the ideas of viewing and using the international TV.

Fundamentally, the most significant aspect of having such service is for instructors to figure out what they would like to do with this sort of content.  Depending on the needs, there may be some alternative option that they can seek out.

They have also emphasized that the technology is already there for us to stream the international programs but we have the regulation of the geographical location for some services.

Through the live session, they have talked about pros and cons between International TV service and purchasing films as well as what kind of device and services are currently available on the market.  These are some of the device and services mentioned in the event.

Roku is the digital streaming player that will send the programing to TV monitor through WiFi.

ROKU device

ROKU device

There are the services such as dishworld which has the contract with Roku device to connect to the service.


Again, the bottom line is the question of ‘how the instructors and students would like to use the content’.  Depending on the purpose of its use, some may be better off with purchasing the series of films.  Other may decide to go with subscribing the services such as SCOLA [previous blog post].


Advocacy video, NCLRC newsletter, NCSSFL-ACTFL Can-Do Statement, ACTFL 2013 presentation handouts

Monday, December 16th, 2013

Foreign Language Advocacy Video: Lead with Languages



The November/December 2013 issue of the National Capital Language Resource Center’s Language Resource newsletter is available online at

NCSSFL-ACTFL Can-Do Statements
Progress Indicators for Language Learners – See more at:


Did you miss the 2013 ACTFL Convention? You can download 125+ presentation handouts here:

[Twitter: Center for Language Study at Yale]

Stanford Professor Elizabeth Bernhardt to receive Distinguished Service Award for foreign language teaching

Monday, December 16th, 2013

Professor Elizabeth Bernhardt, Congratulation on the 2014 Distinguished Service to the Profession Award from the Association of Departments of Foreign Languages (ADFL)!

“Stanford Professor Elizabeth Bernhardt to receive Distinguished Service Award for Foreign Language Teaching”




Online Voice Recognition and Translation: What kind of media literacy skillset can we or should we provide to the students?

Saturday, December 14th, 2013

With all the online tools and tablet apps available, what kind of activity or assignments can we or should we do to inform students the better and effective way of using these tools?

online010With the rise of web 2.0 and growing market of smartphone and tablet industries, there have been varies of online tools and mobile apps developed for the last 5 years or so.  Compared to the traditional applications for desktop or laptop computer, mobile apps and tools are cheaper and lighter with very specific functions.  In the field of foreign language instructions, there have been many online tools and apps published for translation and voice recognition.  Those tools have been quite multilingual nowadays and they keep adding the number of languages to be supported.

Some apps would provide users real-time word the translation using the camera on mobile device.  (WordlensCamDictionary)  Others would provide the combination of voice recognition and multilingual translation. (Voice Translator, Universal Translator)

online004When we have the tools like this, the students will take advantage of them whether instructors like them or not.  Also, simply saying “It doesn’t work” or “Do not use it!” would not prevent them from using these tools.  So the question is ‘what do we do?’.  Do we dismiss these tools and believe that they don’t exist?  I believe we have to provide them something.  For example, we need to provide a better alternative tool available if one product performs really poorly.  We should also mention which aspect of the tool specifically is not functioning well.  We need to let them know what kind of skills the users need to have to make the tools more valuable.  I feel this kind of media literacy is something that students in your class need to improve as they go through the series of language classes as a part of linguistic strategy and technology skills.

Google Translator’ allows you to translate between many languages and provide translation result  in audio as well as text.  I see students using this or similar product when they are doing assignments.   I wanted to explore a little bit more on how it works and investigate which aspect of translation will cause students troubles when they use, unless they have enough language proficiency and linguistic skills to detect the errors.  The example is to translate from English to Japanese.


After I explore the translation of phrases and sentences, I find that one word or simple sentences can be translated in decent way, yet with sometimes particle mistakes.  Proper nouns from English to Japanese may be fairly good, which can be used by students to see the writing (because most foreign proper nouns can be written with Katakana characters in Japanese).

However, even with the simple sentences, sometimes the translation becomes completely strange ‘word-by-word’ translation.  It was more problematic to translate more complicated sentences, especially using the transitive verb with direct and indirect objects.  You have to type exact phrases to get the best translation if it is the idiomatic expression.  Also using the causative, having the subjunctive, and using conditional sentences cause errors in the translation, specifically tense agreement or particle errors.

online002So what kind of activities or assignments may be good for students to understand these kinds of issues in translation apps?  Should we let them explore the tool just like I did with Google Translator?  Or should we have other activities to show how and when the online tools can be beneficial?  With these online tools, students sometimes know more about it than instructors or language lab manager.  It may be good idea to ask students show and tell about the online tools and how they use as well as when it worked and when it didn’t.

I still use the online dictionary tools when I write an article or paper.  I like this website because I can receive so many way of using one word in varieties of contexts. ( I can guess and figure out which word to use for similar context.  A Spanish instructor introduced me another website which she recommended to her students to use.  It also has the context.  (  When I need to embellish the paper, then I may use online Thesaurus in both languages – my native language and the target language.


PS:  As I was writing this article, I remembered an assignment when I was in a graduate school.  The assignment was to analyze the limit of voice recognition system, specifically the automated flight-ticket reservation system using the voice recognition.  I remember the system couldn’t recognize me saying ‘the ticket from Dulles Airport at Washington DC’ and kept booking the airplane ticket from Dallas airport at Texas.  I learned the limit of voice recognition for foreigners as well as what kind of information I need to prepare when I book the airplane ticket with automated machine or actual person on the other side.  It was good way to learn voice recognition as well as meta-cognitive knowledge of language learning. ;-)

Articles, journals…etc Dec 11, 2013

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

The list of articles and Journal

(Source: CASLS-InterCom)

(Source: Lifehacker)

(Source: TechCrunch)

(Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day)

Explore SCOLA

Monday, December 9th, 2013

SCOLA is a non-profit educational organization that provides streaming TV programing in the variety of languages.  Stanford University is currently subscribing the SCOLA program to access their foreign language resources.

SCOLA is a non-profit educational organization which provides foreign language resources.  Stanford University is currently subscribing the service.  Users can access to the service on campus via this website [URL:].


Major services that SCOLA offers in Stanford campus are following.

  • Watch TV Online: Searchable video stream televisions from more than 100 countries and languages.  Download the previous week’s videos.
  • International Radio : Searchable database of international radio program.  Save as mp3 file
  • Insta-Class: Multimedia instant lesson, ready made classroom instruction.  Video clip, transcript, English translation, quiz, and vocabulary list
  • People and Place: Picture of people, places, events, and culture around the world.  Search by category and country.
  • Foreign Text: Searchable database of newspaper, magazines, poetry, and children’s books.
  • On the Street Video:  everyday people speaking about every day things



Watch TV Online: There are 8 channels offered through SCOLA program for live TV online, each of which represents large language groups

  • Channel One – European Broadcasts
  • Channel Two – Spanish and Portuguese Broadcasts
  • Channel Three – Mandarin Chinese (The Confucius Institute) Broadcasts
  • Channel Four – Asian Broadcasts
  • Channel Five – African Broadcasts
  • Channel Six – Middle Eastern Broadcasts
  • Channel Seven – Far East Broadcasts
  • Channel Eight – Eurasian Broadcasts

You can check the programing schedule here.

Clicking one of the channels will display the page with video player embedded.

Left sidebar has the list of country and language as well as channel in order for you to search by languages or counties to find the recorded clip or the schedule of live TV.



By clicking the ‘Recorded’ tab, you will be able to view and save the videos recorded in previous week.



Insta Class: Insta-lesson will allow users to search the collection of video clip and ready made classroom instruction, transcript, English translation, quiz, and vocabulary list.  You can download PDF, quicktime / windows movie video file, and mp3 audio and zipped file.
Foreign Text: Searchable database of newspaper, magazines, poetry, and children’s books.

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International Radio: Searchable database of international radio program.  Save as mp3 file


Foreign Text: Searchable database of newspaper, magazines, poetry, and children’s books.


People and Places: Picture of people, places, events, and culture around the world.  Search by category and country.


“On The Street” Videos: everyday people speaking about every day things



Japanese Link Collection

Monday, December 9th, 2013

Japanese Link Collection was developed by Language Resource Center (LRC) staff, Kathy Rice ’13 at Gettysburg College.  This website is portal to access various websites, applications, and tools which are available on public.  The aim of this website is for learners of Japanese to take advantage of the materials available on the internet for self-study as well as the supplement of Japanese learning.  The website is categorized by stages which are correlated to the level of Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT).  This website is useful for studying JLPT.


Pin Yin Chart

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

This website ‘Pin Yin Chart‘ is created by Chinese faculty, Asian Studies Department and Language Resource Center at Gettysburg College and it is accessible for public .  The chart will display the pop-up window indicating tone (|1|2|3|4|) by mouseovering a sound text in the column.  By clicking the number will play the tone of the sound.  It has option of switching Female and Male Voice.



Explore TED talk –

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

TED talk is one of the nonprofit organization communities ‘TED’ which offers presentations in various topics.  Most of the presentation videos have an option of subtitles and transcripts in different languages.  Some of the presentations are conducted in the foreign languages.  They can be used for classroom under Creative Commons license

TED is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading, started out in 1984 and Ted Talk is one of the TED communities.

The website TedTalk is the portal to access to enormous amount of presentations in various languages, in different lengths, and on variety of topics.  It also has the search functions by topics, events, subtitles, length, and so forth.


TED talk has also been conducting the project called ‘TED Open Translation Project’ to spread the presentations beyond English-speaking world.  This project offers the subtitles and interactive transcript.  Through this project, the presentations have been translated and transcribed over 100 languages.


Graphic Representation of Open Translation Project

Example of subtitle and transcript

There is a branch called TEDx which is to provide communities, organizations and individuals the opportunity to stimulate dialogue through TED-like experiences at the local level.  The TEDx talk events have been conducted in various places in the world and the following website also has the search function by languages.


TED talks can be used for classroom under Creative Commons license ‘Attribution – Non-Commercial – Non-Derivative’.



Explore Twitter and

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

Twitter can allow instructors to provide the authentic materials on specific topics.  Furthermore, the combination of Twitter and will allow them to categorize and organize the Twitter’s information in newspaper style and to automatically release it in the daily-basis.

Twitter is displayed on the left sidebar and the example of  is located as ‘Digital Language Lab Daily’ on the right sidebar of the Digital Language Lab website

Twitter is an online application with which users can post and receive messages.  The message is relatively small and has the limitation on how many characters you can type on a particular message (140 characters).  Therefore it is considered to be one of the microblogging tools.  This application is useful for informal communication as well as exchanging information.



Twitter has been pretty popular since its launch on 2006 and it has been used in the field of language teaching.


You can create a Twitter account and start following the organization, personal, company’s twitter to obtain the information.

Twitter is also used among language instructors to create informal professional /social networking to ‘create a new channel of communication, (EDUCASE Learning Initiative ‘7 things you should know about twitter’

The instructors can exchange the ideas, useful website information, and links to articles to enrich the ideas of language teaching.

List of Twitter for language teachers

Using the application such as TwitterDeck allows you to customize the twitter timeline to view the information in separated columns.


This collection of twitter information can be customized and categorized by using ‘List’ in Twitter.   Making your twitter account and list public will allow people to subscribe the list.

You can also publish your ‘following twitter’ information to public people in newspaper style via

Right sidebar on Language Lab website has the link to ‘Digital Language Lab Daily’ which is created and released by the website called using one of Twitter lists of Digital Language Lab. The content is automatically generated by the information from Twitter and released in daily-basis.

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