This Week in ODL: Aug 21-25, 2017

Plurilingualism and the Digital: Blog Post by Sonja Burrows

Courage by Quinn Dombrowski CC BY 2.0

This week, the ODL’s Sonja Burrows published a blog post on plurilingualism in digital language-learning environments. The post, entitled Plurilingualism and the Digital, looks from a critical pedagogical perspective at what happens when designers working in WordPress try to put languages together on the same screen. As Sonja notes, from a language pedagogy standpoint, asking languages to coexist on the screen is a normal and necessary interaction, since teachers or designers of learning environments need to support students’ emerging bilingualism by providing them with a space in which they can use either of their languages. And yet, in some cases languages do not comingle successfully on the screen.

Sonja writes, “I have stumbled upon the reality that the unconscious bias toward the monolingual and against the plurilingual is very much present in the digital realm. It has been frustrating to me as a language pedagogue that, at least at this moment in the development of digital tools such as WordPress, the screen serves to limit rather than amplify human plurilingualism.”

We invite you to read Sonja’s post in its entirety here.

Internship at ODL: Blog Post by Nadani Dixon

One of the ODL’s three summer interns, Nadani Dixon, published a post to the ODL blog on Friday of last week in which she describes her work on the Domain of One’s Own initiative at Middlebury called MiddCreate. MiddCreate provides subdomain names and web space to members of the Middlebury community, encouraging individuals to explore and develop their digital identities using tools such as WordPress, Omeka, Media Wiki, Known, and more. MiddCreate, which is supported by the Office of Digital Learning as well as the Digital Learning Commons, supports an individual’s agency in creating their digital identity through processes of reflection, self-expression, and connection to other learners and experts.

In her post, Nadani shares some thoughts on how her work with ODL has encouraged her to more deeply investigate digital learning, and has also helped her to realize she had been interested in and investigating this process for quite some time. In describing her work with the Domain of One’s Own project as well as with the ODL in general, Nadani writes, “To have a free space on the web to create anything was exciting for me and still is. The opportunity to begin shaping a digital identity, whatever it may be, is like having blank canvas and some acrylic paint on the side.”

You can read Nadani’s post on the ODL blog here.

New Project: Pre-Immersion Learning for the School in Germany

Mainz, Germany

A new project is coming up on the horizon for the Office of Digital Learning, about which we are quite excited: Middlebury’s School in Germany is interested in creating a pre-immersion language learning site with our support on MiddCreate for students preparing to study in their program.

The details of this future project have not yet been developed, but previous immersion projects we have developed have included language-learning exercises, cultural trainings, resources such as recommended in-language books and films, local maps and information about navigating the surroundings of the study abroad environment, and more. We look forward to learning more about the School in Germany and how we can support pre-immersion learning for their students!

Office of Digital Learning

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