Learn to Talk, Talk to Learn Conversational Chinese Online Wuping Lu 05/31/06
Target Audience • College students at Stanford University enrolled in a two-credit class to learn basic conversational Mandarin • Class twice a week, each 50 minutes, in winter quarter
Learners’ Characteristics • Motivated – many are learning Chinese as an elective fun course • Busy – learners can’t fit more class time in their intensive course schedules • Diverse – they come from a variety of backgrounds and majors • Have prior knowledge – all have taken at least the autumn quarter basic Chinese course or equivalent
Learning Problems at Stanford • Grammar rules and verb conjugations occupy most of class time (50 minute class) • Learning lacks context (real-life situations, for example, buying food at the market or asking someone for directions ) • Lacks supportive learning resource outside classroom (e.g., native speakers to practice) • Therefore, at the end of the class, most of students are still not communicative competent
Design of Solution • Try to address a local learning problem, but scalable and generalizable to large similar population. • Focuses on basic conversational Chinese but can be modified for intermediate and advanced Chinese • Not intend to replace classroom rather complement classroom learning • Use how people learn in general and communicative language teaching/learning approach in particular to inform the design of the learning environment • Use Internet and Web 2.0 as platform
Communicative Language Teaching • Makes use of communication to teach languages. • Emphasizes real-life situations and communication in context (Galloway, 1993) • CLT also stresses social and situational contexts of communication. • Multimedia is an ideal way to teach language using CLT as the theory. It allows for realistic simulations of communicative situations.
How People Learn • Learner Centered • Knowledge Centered • Assessment Centered • Community Centered
Online Learning Community/Tool • Students will access an innovative online resource center/community called CrossChina. CrossChina organizes Chinese language resources under one interface such as videos, glossaries, chat tools, games and reading. Graph designed by Angel
Bilingual Wiki Scenario – Having meals at restaurant Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Learning Objectives Content Learning Activities Assessment English Pinyin Chinese Character Video/Audio Cultural Related Issues In USA In China Grammar Summary Audio Dictionary Chatting Room Scenario Talk to Learn, Learn to Talk Chat with people who are reading this page
Technology should be simple • Technology is a tool to support learning. The students and teachers should not have to invest in learning new tools or IT support. It should incorporate every day tools available on the internet that student’s may already be using.
Anticipated Design Challenges • How to provide rich simulated language application context • Native speakers are not necessarily good language tutors. Therefore, one challenge is how to ensure the real learning can happen even if the native speakers are not pedagogically trained. • The time difference between China and USA, assuming most native speakers are from China. • How native speakers can benefit from the process too.