authentic conversations: using technology to connect foreign language learners to peers abroad

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Authentic conversations: Using technology to connect foreign language learners to peers abroad Laura Cantor, Nadia Mule, Christopher Thoren, Mike Curtin Edgemont Junior-Senior High School

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Presentation given by four Edgemont Jr/Sr High teachers/administrators at the 2013 LHRIC Tech Expo


  • 1. Authentic conversations: Usingtechnology to connect foreignlanguage learners to peers abroadLaura Cantor, Nadia Mule, ChristopherThoren, Mike Curtin Edgemont Junior-Senior High School

2. IntroductionAn assessment is authentic when it requires thatstudents engage with real-life problems, issues, ortasks for an audience who cares about or has astake in what students learn. Authentic tasks enablestudents to make sense of and apply what theyhave learned and to establish clear connectionsbetween what they have learned in schools and theworld in which they live.-Giselle Martin-Kniep, Becoming a Better Teacher 3. IntroductionIn traditional foreign language instruction, astudent would most likely spend the vastmajority of his/her six years of study talking totwo people:The teacherThe student in the desk next to him/her 4. Introduction1993: Is it possible to support foreign languageinstruction by giving students the opportunity tohave authentic conversations with nativespeakers in the target language?2013: How is it possible to teach a foreignlanguage without giving the students theopportunity to have authentic conversationswith native speakers in the target language? 5. Introduction January 2012: Nadia visits Mike to inquire aboutparent/safety concerns surrounding use of ePals February 2012: Edgemont School Foundationgrant submitted July 2012: Attendance at Digital Age LearningSummer Institute and summer PD in Edgemont 2012-2013: Ongoing development andassessment 6. ePals Searchable database of classroom profiles anda safe mechanism for contacting otherteachers Teacher-monitored email accounts forstudents Web 2.0 collaboration tools 7. Laura Cantor: FrenchLaura CantorSchool: Edgemont High SchoolRegion: New York, USA, North AmericaProject Language: French# of Students: 41+Age Range: 13-16Collaboration: Email Exchange, Skype / Video ChatAbout my classroom:Bonjour! My name is Laura. I am High School French teacher in a NewYork public school. I would love to start a correspondence with aFrench-speaking school. My students are ages 13-16 and they areexcited about having conversations in English and French with theirpeers around the world. Please contact me if you are interested instarting an exchange by e-mail, skype, video-conferencing or otherform of collaborative learning. 8. Laura Cantor: French Edgemont High School, Scarsdale, NY: French 2 (9th grade) Collge Martin Luther King, Buc, France: 8th grade English 9. Laura Cantor: Frenchformal communication / informal communication 10. Laura Cantor: Frenchassignments1. introductory letter2. describe your school3. describe three important people in your life4. holiday celebrations5. vacation plans6. holiday cards (sent via snail mail)7. video: my winter break8. Valentines Day9. Spring10. final exams11. Summer 11. Laura Cantor: French travail de classeWrite a letter to your correspondant (e). Tell him/herabout three important people in your life. You shouldinclude most of the following information for each 15 pointsperson:quality of information (5)namegrammar (5)relation to you vocabulary (5)AgeNationalityWhere he/she lives (city and country)What languages he/ she speaksJob/ occupationUse adjectives to describe this person 12. Laura Cantor: Frenchfrom JaredMon grandpre qui est le pre de mon pre esttrs important moi parce quil est trs intelligentet il me dit de comment il est fier de moi. . Jelaime rendre visite Cape Cod tous les ts.from LouiseI have loads of important persons in my life. I really likeis my grand father, his name is Pierre but I call himBibi... He is my last grand parent left and I try to spendas much time as possible with him . Sometimestogether we go to a dance show and at the restaurant ,I like these moments ! 13. Laura Cantor: FrenchFrom NoahJadore le Thanksgiving! En novembre, jai celebre leThanksgiving avec ma famille. Nous sommes alles chez matante et mon oncle. Jai vu mes cousins, ma grand-mere, mestantes et mes oncles. Nous avons mange la dinde, la sauce, lesepinards avec le fromage, et la farce. Cest un tres bon diner.From Damienwe have the "piphanie". Its celebrated the firstsunday after the new years day and we eat "galette". After wecelebrate the carnival in my school. We disguise and have a lotof fun. 14. Laura Cantor: French 2VideosVideos and photos have been removedto protect student privacy. 15. Laura Cantor: French Reactions to videosFrom ClaraMy english teacher gave me the video you made for me !I was really happy to hear you ! I want to say you thankyou ! I hope a will can make a video for you in the year !From ClaireIve just seen your video, i really like it, and your french is goodand your accent is good too .I think youre pretty and im happyto know how you look like because it was kind of weird to writeto someone i didnt know how she looked like! Thanks for thevideo! 16. Laura Cantor: FrenchInformalFrom EricComment vas-tu? Jai la Xbox 360 et jadorejouer aux jeux video.Quel jeux-video as-tu?From RaphaelYou play CoD? Maybe you can play with me, I have justMW3. My favorite movie is ALIEN. I like this film becauseIm not scared by the Alien, and the film is "funny", I like itvery much. have not a favorite singer, but I like the songsby Smosh. The parols are very funny 17. Laura Cantor: FrenchInformalFrom Antoine How are you after the strong storm Sandy? I hope you dont have to much damage in your home.From Zachary Lorage a t trs grand. Ma famille et moi ont eu de la chance parce que nous nont pas perdu llectricit. Beaucoup de mes amis ont perdu llectricit t aujourdhui, nous sommes alles lcole (lcole na pas eu llectricit pour 8 jours). 18. Laura Cantor: French Teacher to teacherFrom Laura My next unit is about food. My students are fascinated by "French food." It would be great if your students could write a little bit in French about their eating habits and about what they consider to be typical "French food."From Alexandra Thank you for your students mails about the US school system. I made them print their correspondents mails, so that we could work on the texts and the specific vocabulary such as "grade", sophomore" ... My students feel as if they were in a "boring" school compared to the campus where you work :-) ! 19. Chris Thoren: Spanish 20. Chris Thoren: SpanishOur partners in Chile:Videos and photos have been removedto protect student privacy. 21. Chris Thoren: SpanishSpanish 5H: Videos and photos have been removed to protect student privacy. 22. Chris Thoren: SpanishFrom: Camilo To: AlexandraWOW! This is great, your english is pretty good Alex, and thanks for checkingmy english by the way! It is great to know more about you and I hopeeverything is ok with you and your family after the hurricane... I watched thenews and I was kind of shocked by the images and videos. We began toworry about you and your classmates, hopefully everything is doing well.Thanks for telling me everything about the university and education, thatsgonna help me a lot, you know what?, my wife and I are trying to apply to anuniversity in Utah, but we have to take an english test in january, so it wouldbe awesome if we can go there and meet each other someday, so thats whyyour information will help us :). Im sure that youre gonna fulfill your goalsand dreams about going to college and travelling around the world!, thatwould an awesome thing to do. Ill wait for your next email Alex, and takecare yourself.PS: Ill do the same thing with your spanish! ;) 23. Chris Thoren: Spanish From: AlexandraTo: CamiloHola Camilo!Me llamo es Alejandra, pero mis amigos me llaman Alex. Tengo diecisiete aos y es(la)primer(a) vez que estoy hablando con alguien en Chile, tambien. Tengo un hermanomenor y un hermano mayor. Vivo en un apartamento, tambien, con mis padres y mihermano menor. Tu ingles es casi perfecto! Incluyo correciones pequeos(as) en losparntesis para ayudarte. Para contestar tu pregunto(a) de nuestro(a)educacin: tenemosdoce aos de escuela y despues, la mayora de (los)estudiantes(van) a una universidad.Tenemos examenes en los estados unidos que se llaman el SAT y el ACT y estosexamenes son obligatorios para matricularse en una universidad. La educacin es difcil enmi escuela. Pero, es (buena)preparacin para la universidad. Estoy celoso de que t(visitaste) California! Vivo en los estados unidos todo de mi vida y nunca (visit) California.Cuando termin(e) (la)escuela, es mi sueo a viajar por el mundo y despues de ver pasescomo francia, italia, y muchos otros, quiero viajar por los estados unidos tambien.>>Adios!>>Por favor, corrija mi espaol tambin! 24. Chris Thoren: SpanishA video from New York to Chile Videos and photos have been removed to protect student privacy. 25. Chris Thoren: SpanishA video from Chile to New York Videos and photos have been removed to protect student privacy. 26. Nadia Mule: ItalianCorrespondence with Italian Schools 27. Nadia Mule: ItalianTwo schools in Italy:Vigevano in the northern region of LombardyPatern in the southern region of Sicily Students range in age from 14-18 years old Correspondence is supported during email writing in thelab (Teacher assistance and student collaboration) Responses are spontaneous and vary from email to email. Students emails are not corrected, but rather studentsare encouraged to correct their epals writing. 28. Nadia Mule: ItalianCorrespondence with Italian Schools (continued) Correspondence began with introductory letters including questions to their epals Students were encouraged to foster conversation by responding to questions fully and by posing exploratory questions to their epals about their culture and society No specific topics were assigned, communication progressed organically Virtual visits to our partners towns using Google Earth 29. Nadia Mule: Italian Preparation for Epals Mystery class letters Students wrote letters to classmates to review structuringa letter with a proper opening, salutation, and closing Students were assigned a mystery recipient Letters were typed into each students titled document onGoogle Drive Classmates peer edited the letters Letters were printed and exchanged in class to eachmystery recipient 30. Nadia Mule: ItalianSample correspondence-introductory lettersCaro Paolo,Ciao! Come stai? Mi chiamo Katie. Vivo in New York. Sono di Westchester. Didove sei tu? Io 16 anni. Quanti anni hai? La mia famiglia di Montenegro. molto vicino a Italia. Sono nato in America. In America gioco molti sport. Doposcuola vado a pratica per 3 ore. Tu gioci gli sport?A presto!-KatieHi Katie Im Paolo and Im from Milan; Im 14 years old, my dad is from Milanand my mother is from Bari, in Puglia,I was born in Italy.In the week I do a lot of sports, almost at school but on saturday I go climbing inAostas valley, in winter I really like going skiing.write me soon, Paolop.s. sorry, I know that I reply you late but I forgot to write you :) 31. Nadia Mule: ItalianSample response and correctionCaro Andrea,Io amo lItalia. so anche molte lingue. Parlo inglese, spagnolo, un po ditaliano, e un po di francese.Sono andata in Italia tre volte, ma mai a Sicilia. Durante la vacanza, sono andata a Berlin e alInghilterra. Era bellissimo. Io amo New York. C sempre molto da fare. Vivo a trenti minuti dellacitt. In quale citt abiti in Sicilia? Mi piace la pizza anche. E molto rico. Quale altri cibo ti piace?Ci sentiamo!MayaHo corretto il tuo inglese:Dear Maya,Im sorry for the delay !!! My name is Andrea Messina and Im 15, I live in Sicily-Italy,I speak italianand I study 3 languageS : German,English, AND French. I have 1 brother and 1 sister. My parents AREitalian. I DONT HAVE a dog. I have 2 parrots...They are small :) I love pizza, do you like PIZZA? I do notlike Italy ! I love New York ! My hair IS brown and my eyes are brown. I love music (Hip Hop) do youlike MUSIC ?TALK TO YOU SOONAndrea. 32. Nadia Mule: Italian Small group correspondence Independent study group of three studentsconnected with a personal friend in Italy Students used Google Drive to collaborate andorganize a detailed letter Friend replied about his career (ItalianEnvironmental Agency), hometown and region(Pesaro - Marche region) and history of theregion 33. Conclusion What challenges did you encounter in thecourse of implementing this project? How didyou overcome them? What is the next step? How will you grow inyour use of these conversations to supportinstruction next year?