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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Sage Advice question: Technology and foreign language/culture study

Sage Advice question: Technology and foreign language/culture study

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Readers of Edutopia.org will recall that we have a regular feature called, "Sage Advice." This is where we pose a question to the greater Edutopia community and post some of the best ones on the site. The newest question is this: "How do you bring global cultures and foreign languages into your classroom?" Please feel free to share any and all ideas. These will reprinted on the Edutopia.org site. Thanks in advance! We look forward to hearing from you.

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Betty Ray's picture
Betty Ray
Director of Programming and Innovation

Thanks, Gladys! Do you know anyone who uses it?

This is for a story in Edutopia magazine....we're looking for more stories about LiveMocha or any other tools that you're using in your classrooms to teach foreign languages and/or introduce new cultures.

Keep us posted!

Patricia Morgan's picture

[quote]Does anyone have any leads of sources or organizations who could be helpful in the following topic: Foreign Languages and Cultures: New Technologies, New Curricula and Approaches/ Breaking Language/Cultural Barriers through Technology ? If so, please email me at community@edutopia.org. thanks![/quote]

Patricia Morgan's picture

My suggestion would be to look at the museums that illustrate what your class is studying: for example: the Institute of Texan Cultures focuses on the cultures of Texas, but many of them are found throughout the U.S. Examples would be: Native Americans, the Poles, Hispanics, etc... - they have multimedia texts, books, and lesson plans available for teachers. Other museums which focus on specific cultures are: National Museum of the American Indian, Arab American National Museum, the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. and Houston, Texas. Hope this helps!

Ina Pasley's picture

When my class can't visit a place in real life, we look at the websites of the places instead. Many German castles have virtual tours that you can take. I use my SMARTboard for that and it is almost as if you were there. I also use a lot of children's websites in my class for some first hand language experience. Finally the German embassy has websites that are designed for kids and teenagers that learn German or learn about German culture.

Gladys Fernandez's picture
Gladys Fernandez
Student Teacher from San Jose, California

I used Livemocha earlier this year but since I started student teaching I stopped. Some of my friends are also using it but not as much as I did. Mostly I just helped English learners by reviewing their submissions. I was amazed with how many English language learners there are. Sometimes I would get 10 submissions per day to comment on.

As for postcrossing, here is a nice blog about a teacher who used it in the classroom: http://www.postcrossing.com/blog/2009/05/21/postcrossing-as-a-school-pro...

A small school in Finland also used the site to collect postcards but instead they solicited it through the forum so that they can get as many variations of cards. I sent them a map of California and one of their 6th graders sent me a handmade postcard.

You can also contact the founder of Postcrossing, Paulo Magalhaes: http://mentalstring.net/about/ I am sure he can provide you with more information.

I hope this helps.

Janine Maletsky's picture

In my Digital Music class my 7th graders are studying world instruments. They are using the internet to research world instruments and then using Garage Band to create a podcast about their instrument - complete with the sounds of the instrument.

Janine Maletsky's picture

I teach Digital Music (that's music in a computer lab) to 6th, 7th and 8th graders. Our Practical Arts Team (Art, Music, Technology & Computers) are infusing world cultures into our lessons this year. Our 6th graders will be participating in our own World's Fair later in January. The Art classes will be making 3 dimensional displays of a country. Technology students will be making games with a theme relating to their country. Computer students will be making a video commercial for their country. Digital Music students will be selecting a folk song from their country to enter into the computer and create an accompaniment for their song before we record the class singing the song. This project will culminate with a 'World's Fair' type display in late January. You can email me for more info at jmaletsky@plps.org

Jonathan Schaller's picture

Hello, All

I am a college student on a year long internship abroad. As part of my internship I operate a blog under the theme of class room connecting cultures. I write about my experience in Paris, and then share it with a classroom via blog correspondence. The program is a open forum between me and the class room where we exchange messages, answer questions, share photos. It is a great way to incorporate technology into the classroom and to connect globally.

Kathryn Desmond's picture
Kathryn Desmond
teacher of gifted

At our International Baccalaureate (IB) Elementary school program, we introduce world cultures in our "Who We Are" unit of study. The students learn about the world in context to who they are and what an important part they play in the world as children. This helps all our students -Kindergarten through Fifth Grade- to begin to look at the world as a complex place that they have a part in maintaining and enhancing. By the time students reach my second grade classroom they are used to completing many service learning projects that have a worldwide impact such as Pennies for Peace - pennies making an impact on building schools in Afghanistan, Books of Hope - a book making project for students in Uganda and many other projects oftentimes begun by students themselves.

Many of our students have parents who are first generation or are bilingual (some trilingual) so this adds to the uniqueness of our "IB" elementary school. Our school teaches all our students Spanish several times a week, but we incorporate students' native languages as a part of sharing. Some of the students write their names in Chinese on their work. Our parents are often heard speaking many different languages within our school halls and classrooms so this in itself allows our students to feel that their bilingualism is a treasure - often that they are willing to share with others through thoughtful presentations or impromptu conversation.
I am interested to seek out the LiveMocha site to learn more about it. Thanks for the site.

Penelope Vos's picture
Penelope Vos
Primary teacher from Australia, author of "Talking to the Whole Wide World"

For the last 10 years I have been teaching my classes Esperanto as their first foreign language. This is the world's simplest living language and has speakers in over 100 culturally diverse countries.
Children and teens can communicate a little in the language after about 20 hours and master it by 100 hours. Networks exist to make suitable penpal connections in dozens of cultures.
Google "The World of Primary Esperanto" to see a youtube presentation about the design features of the language and to see some of the classes around the world who are using it as their bridge language and the first step to multilingualism.
I have just finished writing "Talking to the Whole Wide World" a manual and CD set which enables elementary school teachers to share the learning journey to bilingualism and global citizenship with their classes. This modeling is an incredibly powerful thing in itself, as well as offering the chance for frequent practice and application which boosts success even further.
Please contact me through the Mondeto (small world) website if you are interested in piloting the program in your state.

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