Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Interactive Whiteboard and Interactive Projectors

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

The smart classroom in Language Lab is equipped with SmartBoard Interactive Whiteboard.  We also have the Interactive Projector in Multimedia Studio area.  Both of them can be used for variety of activities such as annotation and collaboration incorporating the special interactive features of the products.

280E_1                                                      Photo Feb 06, 1 13 43 PM

I have explored both SmartBoard interactive whiteboard and Epson interactive projector (Epson BrightLink series).  Software needs to be installed for both products to use the handwriting feature.

Both products have the feature of hand-writing, which provides us the great deal of annotation.  The handwriting is possible within the application such as Microsoft word or on the browser windows.

IMAG0135                    Photo Feb 07, 9 20 45 AM


They can be saved as an image (Smartboard) or PDF (BrightLink projector).  They also have the ability to take the photo of the build-in camera to be incorporated into the notebook application.

Photo Feb 07, 9 24 56 AM

The difference between the two products, in terms of software functions and so forth, is pretty subtle in current setting in my opinion.  The hardware setting is a little bit different between the two.  The Smartboard has bigger size and probably more expensive and it is mounted on the wall as you can see.  The interactive projector is mounted on the table and the projection size is a little bit smaller, compared to the Smartboard, although the screen resolution can be modified by the set-up.  Considering the set-up, the Smartboard is used for classroom setting and the interactive projector can be used for small group collaboration or one-on-one tutoring.



Explore iPad series #2 accessing the content in foreign countries – Getting Started

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

As far as accessing the reading materials such as books, comics, magazines and so forth, the apps native to iPad mini are, App Store, iTune Store, iBooks, and NewsStand.  We can purchase the apps through App Store in the tablet or iTune Store  in the computer.  We can also purchase books or rent movies through iTune.  Books will be stored in the bookshelves of iBooks.  The movie is in Movie app and the magazines are in NewsStand.  You can purchase the books from multieple iTune Stores and they will be stored at the same location.

Photo Feb 05, 12 28 13 PM


Photo Feb 05, 12 28 36 PM



NewsStand has the list of magazine which we are able to subscribe 3/6/1 yr subscription as app-in purchsae.

Photo Feb 05, 12 25 23 PM

To rent a movie through iTune Store, it was not ‘to copy the movie file’ from iTune to the tablet device, but it was to ‘move the movie file’.

 itunestore_movie1     Photo Feb 05, 12 29 13 PM     Photo Feb 05, 12 29 09 PM

Switching the multiple accounts are tedious and annoying but it was feasible to purchase or rent the reading materials or movies.  The payment will come from the iTune Store account.  Billing address needs to be in the countries with which iTune store is associated.  Otherwise it is necessary to have iTune Gift card credit in the account.

Moreover, dealing with multiple Apple IDs to have multiple accounts is sometimes troublesome.  Depending on the apps, iTune specify in which store the app is available and it may necessary switching the accounts for update.  If you are in ‘wrong’ store (meaning different store from the one in which you download/purchase the material/app), it will display the message.

Photo Jan 28, 12 54 10 PM

There seem to be many apps for reading e-books.  I will be exploring such apps as well as video-related apps and websites.

Conference Announcement: CLTA (California Language Teachers’ Association)

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

CLTA (California Language Teachers’ Association) in San Diego! March 13 – 16, 2014

California Language Teachers Association Conference: This year’s focus is Common Core and Technology. There will be a workshop on implementing Common Core including emphases on ELL students. There will be a wide array of presentations that deal with not only Common Core but also new technologies, flipped classroom, QR Codes, iPads and Apps as well as many other topics that will help language teachers improve their craft….



To see the conference detail, please visit


[From: LARC_SDSU Twitter @LARC_SDSU]

News: Google Learning Center released by Google for Education

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

Google for Education has released Google Learning Center  It seems to be online self-instructional training website for Google applications and systems.  You can also receive certifications as well.


I am particularly interested in the design of the online training as well as how the progress and assessment of each user are designed and layout.  I will go through this training to see how far I can go.



News: MOOCs courses in foreign languages.

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

It’d be interesting to see what kind of courses will be offered in foreign languages.

QuickWire: Coursera Joins Foundation to Offer MOOCs in Spanish

Coursera, a company that helps clients build massive open online courses, will soon expand its reach internationally by offering Spanish-language MOOCs. On Wednesday the company unveiled its latest partnership, with a Mexican philanthropic organization called the Carlos Slim Foundation, and announced plans to translate 50 Coursera courses into Spanish by the end of the year…


Articles Jan 27, 2014- Newspaper AR, Most mispronounced word in English…etc

Monday, January 27th, 2014

Japan Using #AR To Teach Kids to Enjoy the Newspaper!


‘Phenomenon’ is the most mispronounced word
With nine letter and four syllables, the tongue-twisting ‘phenomenon’ has been named as the most mispronounced word in the English language.


Explore iPad series #1 accessing the content in foreign countries

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

The NMC (New Media Consortium) Horizon Report 2013 lists tablet computing as one of the technology trend.  (2013 NMC Horizon Report Higher Education).  I have been exploring my tablet device (in my case, iPad mini) and what kind of beneficial features the tablet computing and device can have, compared to the ‘traditional/standard’ computers.


Image from Apple:

Certainly the regulation of the tablet device which only allows users to use one ‘window’), the first impression that I had was the number of software (it’s called ‘apps’) available for tablet devices.  Through these apps, I also felt that that accessing to the content in foreign countries and making the use of the content seems to be much easier, compared to standard laptops.

Taking advantage of these apps may be beneficial to enhance the foreign language instruction and classroom activities.

Certainly, the Copyright and Fair use protocol needs to be implemented for the classroom use of these materials.  Also, the concept of ‘digital copies’ and ‘licenses’ in the cloud environment need to be further discussed among educators.   Nonetheless, the feasibility analysis needs to be conducted as a first step to seek the possibility of technology-enhanced foreign language instruction using the tablet computing.  Therefore, this article describes the feasibility of accessing the material at personal level at this point.

So how can I access to the content in the foreign countries?  iPad mini can be synced with iTune in the laptop.  iTune has the iTune store in which I can access to music, movies, books, apps, in foreign countries.  To access to the content in the iTune store, Apple ID is required.  I have multiple Apple IDs and each ID associates with different countries.  I have my home address in Japan.

When you open iTune and create an Apple ID, there is the setting which allows users to associate the country.


You can also switch the countries by scrolling down to the bottom of the page in iTune store and clicking ‘Change Countries’ or the icon of national flags.

Slide3            Slide4

And I have purchased the iTune gift card while I was in Japan so I have some money stored in my account (displayed next to my Apple ID).


Image from Apple:

There are usually 5 computers users can authorize to transfer files between the device and computer.


In addition to iTune store, there are many apps which allow us to access to these contents as well as to take advantage of them.  Further investigation will be conducted.

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]

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. ;-)

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.

image006               image008