Whar ya been?

Barbara Ganley and others have been chiding me/us about the perceived –lack– of activity on this site. Funny, I don’t feel like I am out of the blogging loop…I just have not been blogging in English.

Oh my. Welcome to the free fall. That’s how BG’s students described it, and I am sure mine would as well. In one fell swoop I declared that in my course, Spanish for Oral Communication, there would be no textbook, that their primary mode of communicating and practicing the language would be through their class-specific blogs, that they would get a loaner iPod and iTalk microphones to record themselves and others and then be asked to post those sound files to their blogs, and when possible we would use Skype to talk with native speakers and share ideas, conduct interviews, etc etc etc…

A few highlights…

-We have talked on Skype with people who have had loved ones kidnapped or disappeared in Venezuela and who feel that Hugo Chavez is ruining their country.

-We will soon also be talking (via Skype again) to someone who feels that Chavez is leading the country wisely and correctly.

-We have had podcast exchanges with ESL superstar Graham Stanley’s class in Barcelona

— We have managed syrnchronous (through Skype) and asynchronous (through our blogs) conversations with ESL classes at the University of Navarra (Spain) and a private ESL class in Rosario, Argentina.

–And just this week…. I made contact with two professors from a new technological university in Havana, Cuba. (Yes, there is Skype in Havana) They too will speak with my students…

And some of these amazing connections can also happen here in Ohio…Yesterday there were protests around the country about the issue of im/migrant workers in the United States, and a protest was formed even out here in the cornfields. Some of my students, with their iPods and their iTalks, participated in the protests and interviewed Spanish speakers that were there as well. And then they wrote about it in their blogs. And posted the audiofiles. Amazing.

The world outside and the world within our campus are slowly melding into one…What an incredible ride this has been. The semester is coming to an end and I am pulling together some thoughts to describe where we have been as a class, and where I now find myself as a teacher.

More later.

–B

Barbara has been working for a small liberal arts college in the cornfields of Ohio for about 15 years. In addition to teaching Spanish she runs a somewhat unconventional language center. Prior to this adventure in higher ed she taught high school Spanish and loved it. She wishes she had more time in her life to play with her dogs, write, read, swim, do yoga things and watch the Red Sox. Preferably not all at once, although that could be interesting. To see her online portfolio please click here!

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