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Monday, September 30, 2013

Review of Online Magazine on Language Teaching and Technology

The Foreign Language Teacher Magazine is a quarterly online magazine hosted by the University of Colorado's Anderson Language & Technology Center (ALTEC). In the words of one of the editors, Edwige Simon, FLT Mag is "a more practice-oriented publication that would offer information about what language technologists and language centers at the K-20 level are up to these days." It launched at the end of June, but already the site has a substantial amount of information which includes CALL and SLA related articles and book reviews, international and domestic conference reviews, and technology updates related to the FL classroom (have you heard of Vocaroo?). With more resources turning to the online format and community, FLT Magazine can become the place to go to network, find updates on educational technology, and be informed about activities in the global FL teaching field.

Testing Staff Changes

The Testing Program is pleased to welcome Mary Norman back full time as the Coordinator for French & Italian, German, Scandinavian & Dutch, and Russian. She has been on partial leave for the past two years.

Sherry Scarborough, who has most recently been filling 75% of Mary's position, is leaving the Testing Program to move to Chile with her husband, Dennis. Sherry will teach English online and work as an English-language consultant while continuing her research in Chilean phonology. As Dennis is from Chile, the couple looks forward to being reunited with family and friends, as well as enjoying summer twice this year!

Sherry started at the Language Center as an undergraduate in the TandemPlus Program. She eventually moved to the Testing Program, and continued as a Testing Coordinator after her graduation. We wish her and her family the best as they embark on this new phase of their lives!

On and Near Campus Conversation Groups Fall 2013

Practice your speaking skills on campus or at a nearby business this semester. Below is a list of language-specific opportunities for students.

  • Finnish: keskustelutunti - Fridays 12-1 p.m. at Bordertown Coffee
  • French: French Café - Thursdays 6 p.m. at Bordertown Coffee
  • German: Kaffeestunde - Fridays, 1:15-2:15 p.m. in Folwell 317
  • Italian: Ciao! - Tuesdays 4-5 p.m. at at Bordertown Coffee
  • Japanese: J Café - Fridays 2-4 p.m. at Nolte Dining Room
  • Korean: Korean Café - Wednesdays 12:15-1:00 p.m. in Folwell 113
  • Norwegian: Norwegian Coffee Hour - Fridays 12-1 p.m. at Nolte Center Dining Room
  • Spanish: SPACO - Thursdays 4-6 p.m. at Bordertown Coffee
  • Swedish: "fika" with Den Svenska Klubben - Wednesdays, 4:30-5:30 p.m. at Bordertown Coffee
  • Swedish: Swedish Coffee Hour - Fridays 11-12 p.m. at Nolte Dining Room
If you would like to use a variety of languages in a fun, informal setting try the Small World Coffee Hour every other Friday.

To become more deeply involved with a language at the University, join a language-related student group.

Any groups we missed? Email tandem@umn.edu so we can help spread the word!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Getting to Know the Multimedia Lab Attendants

Who are the students working in the Multimedia Lab in 135 Jones Hall this semester? Here's a short introduction and greeting from all the new and returning Multimedia Lab attendants.


Kayla Collier

Hi, my name is Kayla Collier. I was born and raised in Saint Louis, Missouri and am pursuing an Asian Languages and Literature major (and possibly a minor in Psychology!). I am proficient in French, and have about a year or so of Japanese and Mandarin Chinese under my belt. One interesting fact about me is that I initially taught myself the basics of Japanese language, including two of the three alphabets, simple sentences/phrases/idioms and tons of random words.


Dathan Cook

Hi, my name is Dathan Cook. I am from Eagan, Minnesota. I'm taking a beginning course in French this semester. An interesting fact about myself is that I love to snowboard and go every chance I can get during the winter.


Mackenzie Haws

My name is Mackenzie Haws and I am from Libertyville, Illinois (a northern suburb of Chicago). I completed my Spanish Studies minor in Sevilla, Spain last semester and still love to talk with my Spanish host family regularly! My majors are Supply Chain and Operations Management and International Business. I am the middle child of five, and two of my sisters are Gophers as well (a freshman and a recent graduate)!


Jennifer Xiong

Hello! My name is Jennifer Xiong. I was born and raised in Saint Paul, Minnesota. I am currently taking a Japanese language class and I plan to get my BA. I am Hmong (an Asian race) and I am the oldest among my siblings. I have a dog named Baby and I love eating sushi. I am also interested in video production and hope to work in the media later.


Salma Bile

My name is Salma Bile and I am from San Diego, California. I currently live in Apple Valley, Minnesota and I am a sophomore here at the University of Minnesota. I am in the College of Biological Sciences, majoring in Biology and minoring in Arabic as well as Public Health. I am fluent in both English and Somali. I have studied Arabic for a little over two years now after I studied abroad in Jordan in 2011.


Bri Lopez

My name is Brianna Lopez, but I go by Bri. I am originally from Long Beach, California, but have been living in Minnesota since I was 12. My family resides in Pine Island and Zumbrota, two tiny towns in southeast Minnesota near Rochester. I have been living in the Twin Cities for about four years now, and really love it here! I have a dog named Gracie, and I love to bake pastries and cook. I am fluent in English and proficient in Spanish by U of M standards (in other words, I can speak Spanish but it's not always pretty). I am a Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies major (GWSS for short) and will be graduating this December. I hope to go on to complete a paralegal certificate program at Hamline and later pursue law school.


Agnes Hong

My name is Agnes Hong and I'm from Anchorage, Alaska. I immigrated from South Korea when I was 2-3 years old and I grew up speaking Korean at home and English at school. I also lived in Los Angeles, California for about 8 years. I'm a Junior studying Archaeology at the University along with a minor in Asian Languages and Literature, focusing on Chinese. I love to cook, read, and spend time doing various crafts.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Lost and Found: Already Filled to the Brim!

The Jones Hall lost and found, located in room 110, was cleaned out shortly before Fall classes began. However, it is already overflowing with lost clothing, notebooks, and papers. If you or your students are missing any items, please check out our "found" items as soon as you can.

We are going to begin sending course-related papers back to the instructor or coordinator when possible. We will email the student and instructor or coordinator to let them know to expect these items.

Multilingual TV in the Multimedia Lab

The Multimedia Lab in Jones 135 streams multilingual international TV in many of the languages taught at the University, including: Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Swedish. Students can watch TV on the wall-mounted large-screen monitor and listen through wireless headphones while relaxing on the Lab's spacious and comfortable couch or lounge chairs. The viewing schedule is available online.

Please inform your students of this fun, authentic, and relaxing language learning opportunity.

TandemPlus: Orientation

TandemPlus will hold its Fall Orientation on Friday, September 27 from 3:30-5:00 p.m. in 28 Folwell. This event is open to everyone who has registered for Tandem or is thinking about registering. Refreshments and language games will be provided; come and meet other participants, use your second-language skills, and have fun! E-mail us at tandem@umn.edu for more information about orientation or registration.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

World Languages Day 2014

The World Languages Day planning committee is excited to announce that we have begun planning the Eleventh Annual World Languages Day. The event is scheduled for Tuesday, May 20, 2014 and will take place on the East Bank. Like last year, students will register for three language and culture classes. We will not offer large informational classes among the options for the three classes, but rather there will be an extended version of the schedule for schools that are interested in having their students attend a class on topics such as college readiness or study abroad.

We have decided that in addition to providing a light breakfast we will also offer a snack before the third class. We believe that this will help to keep students energy up and improve the dynamic in the third class. After all, language learning is hard work! As we move forward with the planning of the event we appreciate suggestions for the event and of course new ideas for language and culture classes are always welcome. We are looking forward to working with you and to making this the best World Languages Day yet! For the most up to date information on new developments or questions, don't hesitate to visit our website http://worldlang.cla.umn.edu/ or email us at wld@umn.edu.

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Language Testing Program Welcomes Anna Olivero-Agney

Please welcome Anna Olivero-Agney to the Testing development team. Anna has been an Italian instructor at the French and Italian Department for the past seven years teaching Italian at beginning, intermediate and upper levels. She holds a Laurea in Modern Foreign Languages from the University of Turin, Italy and a MA in Education, Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Minnesota. She is a native of Italy and prior to her move to the US, Anna lived in Germany for four years refining her skills in the German language.

In addition to teaching, Anna co-created the Italian LPE reading section and revised the listening section of the Italian Language Proficiency Exam (LPE) gaining familiarity with test item development. In her new position, she will be assisting Gabriela Sweet in the completion of the German LPE revisions, the piloting of Somali and Korean LPE, and the Self-Assessment project.

TandemPlus: Register Now, Have Fun at Orientation Later

TandemPlus registration is open for Fall semester. Everyone at the University is invited to join the program for a one-semester partnership of language and culture exchange. This semester, the software used for registration and pairing is brand-new, and participants will find many options for forming and maintaining their partnerships. Register today at http://tandem.umn.edu.

Also, TandemPlus will hold its Fall Orientation on Friday, September 27 from 3:30-5:00 p.m. (location TBA). This event is open to everyone who's registered for Tandem or is thinking about registering. Refreshments and language games will be provided; come and meet other participants, use your second-language skills, and have fun! E-mail us at tandem@umn.edu for more information about orientation or registration.

Monday, September 9, 2013

World Languages Day - Please Welcome Anna

Please welcome back Anna Kaminski to the Language Center. She will serve as the new World Languages Day Assistant. Anna says:

I am excited to start working on planning this important annual event at the U of M and work to make it the best WLD yet! After a year studying Arabic in Amman, Jordan, it is great to be back in Minneapolis and at the University of Minnesota. Prior to my year abroad studying at the Middlebury School in the Middle East, I worked both in the Main Office as well as in the TandemPlus program. I feel that these positions prepared for the large organizational task of planning WLD and hopefully this year will see lots of positive growth and changes. It's great to be back!

TandemPlus Registration Now Open!

TandemPlus registration is open for Fall semester. Those who have registered previously for a second-language partner with TandemPlus will notice that the registration form looks completely different this fall. However, the form is not the only thing that has changed -- the entire TandemPlus software system is new. The Language Center team has worked with CLA-OIT to create a powerful, dynamic TandemPlus software that allows users the ability to create and edit their own accounts, see other participants who are possible language partner matches (and extend partnership invitations to those participants), keep track of the hours they've spent on their partnership, leave feedback for TandemPlus staff, and much more. It's all part of our effort to make TandemPlus -- and second language studies overall -- fit into students' busy lives. To view the software, or to register for TandemPlus, go to http://tandem.umn.edu.