Well! IMHO, now it’s more important than ever for American citizens to reach out to each other and to the rest of the people on our planet and communicate with them. We citizens need each other, the world needs us, and we need the world. After all, we’re all in this, on this globe, together.
Given the obvious fact of cultural and language diversity among our citizenry and around the world, one of the ways we can prepare our students for this essential communication task is to teach and learn languages and the cultures that go hand-in-glove with them. By this, I mean both foreign languages for us native English speakers and ESL for the non-native English speakers among us.
Time and technology march on, and in the area of language teaching and learning, technology (read “internet”) has had a huge impact. It’s easy now to have a globe-shrinking, culture-expanding, face-to-face experience daily, live, with a native speaker of another language that you’re studying. Per our request, Victor Rivero has delved into this in his “Tools for Learning” feature this month.
Victor notes: “Learning a language in an age of collaborative technologies, such as are now available with video-based and other interactive, adaptive, and personalized learning platforms, has made for a different experience! If you grew up sitting in a high school language class, try some of these out and you’ll see …” Check out Reaching Out to the World–Foreign Language (and ESL) Technologies (page 4).
And don’t miss the reviews of three language teaching/learning products, Passport, EnglishCentral, and Languagenut, starting on page 14.
Website Evaluation (Or, “No Alternative Facts, Please”)
We also have a second feature this month. University librarian Cara Berg addresses one of today’s equally essential tasks, the capability to effectively evaluate websites and the information (or misinformation) they contain. Teaching website evaluation has been and remains a challenge that she has found California State University’s CRAAP test (don’t laugh!) well-suited for. Read Teaching Website Evaluation—The CRAAP Test and the Evolution of an Approach (page 8) to learn from her experience.
David Hoffman, editor