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Thursday, December 15, 2011

TandemPlus News

On Friday, December 2, TandemPlus hosted the second annual "Mocktail Happy Hour" at the Tea House Restaurant close to campus. Seventeen students attended the event and spoke languages like Japanese, Arabic, Chinese, and English. We discussed everything from linguistic similarities to culture to politics, all while enjoying a delicious variety of Chinese appetizers. This was the last TandemPlus event for the Fall semester. The Tandem team hopes that you will all join them again next semester.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Free Professional Development Opportunity

The TESOL Electronic Village Online is hosting 5-week professional development sessions on a variety of topics beginning the week of January 9. These sessions are free to ESOL and other language educators and are free. You do not need to be a TESOL member to participate in these sessions. One session that might be of particular interest as the University of Minnesota shifts from Moodle 1.9 to 2.0 is Moodle for Teachers.

For more information, and to register, go to the Electronic Village Online Call for Participation site.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Choosing a language podcast

Millions of podcasts are available through iTunes for language learners. With so many options, it can be difficult to find a good podcast, but by searching the right way you will easily find the podcast that suits your language-learning needs.

Beginner -- Go to iTunes Store/Podcasts. Click on Language Learning under Quick Links on the navigation bar on the right-hand side of the Podcasts page (Figure 1). Search for podcasts in the language of your choice. Most of these podcasts are instructional and suited for beginner to intermediate students.

Fig. 1
Figure 1.

Intermediate -- You can also find podcasts in your target language by doing a Power Search. Go to iTunes Store/Podcasts, and access Power Search either under Quick Links in the upper right-hand corner of the iTunes Store homepage or on the upper left of any store search results page (Figure 2). Then search for podcasts in the language of your choice. Your search will return only the podcasts in the target language. Some of these will be instructional, and some will not.

Fig. 2
Figure 2.

Advanced -- Go to iTunes Store/Home/Manage/Change country (on the bottom of the screen Figure 3); select the country of your choice. When this feature is enabled, iTunes will reflect the options for the country you've selected. Be ready! The language on the page will also automatically switch to the language of the country you've selected, too. Now when you click on Podcasts, you will find a huge array of content-based options, all in the language(s) of the country you've chosen.

Fig. 3
Figure 3.

Once you have found podcasts you enjoy, you can click on Subscribe to receive regular updates of these podcasts, which you can download onto your iPod or iPhone, and listen and learn on the go.