Table of Contents (click to jump to section)
Featured! (Back to Top)
The Language Center at George Washington University has done pioneering work in integrating technology with language development. It is part of an national network of 14 Centers which were created in part with a grant from the Department of Education.
The Ukrainian Traditional Folklore at the University of Alberta provides several exciting examples for how to use technology to teach culture. See particularly the "Material Culture" and "Verbal Culture" sections.
TeachRussian.org is a web-based resource providing instant access to high quality teaching materials such as lesson plans, reading and listening activities, exercises, and games, as well as assessment tools and reference materials.
TheLanguageMenu.com offers lots of electronic classroom materials including free powerpoint presentations and more.
PurposeGames.com allows members to easily develop interactive flash-based educational quizes and trivia games.
1. Online Testing Services for Russian (Back to Top)
Administrators are often impressed by standardized testing results. Bolstering your department with a website can be effective to maintain communication and advertise.
SRAS Free Testing offers educators a testing platform based on the written TORFL examination. Basic exams to level three are available online - just create an account and start!
Wimba's Oral Assessment Builder is a test authoring tool for creating tests of speaking skills and handles oral stimulus and response well. It operates off Java technology and should work on most platforms and browsers.
Test Pilot Online Assessments (from ClearLearning) provides language testing tools based on Java technology. It can provide verbal stimulus, but does not yet allow for oral response.
Language Testing International is the exclusive licensee of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), a leader in the development of proficiency evaluation methods. LTI arranges ACTFL language proficiency assessments in 48 languages for corporations, government agencies, academic institutions and individuals. Its tests are more personal and subjective, with traditional paper tests and speaking tests administered over the telephone.
Lots more info! This site, maintained by San Diego State University, provides extensive information about online testing services. Don't be turned off by the primitiveness of the page! It is apparently well maintained.
Language Link also offers a basic test that can be used to assess language level.
QuizStar can let you create online quizzes for your students, disseminate quizzes to students, automatically grade quizzes and view the quiz results online.
2. Syllabi for Inspiration (Back to Top)
Russia Today - taught by Michael Denner at Stetson University, Fl., provides an example of Russian course which considers modern issues. The syllabus (only the first part is presented here) is a fun and informative as well as a good description of the course.
Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21) and the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) released a skills map that addresses world languages. The purpose of the map is to provide educators, administrators and policymakers with examples that illustrate how 21st century skills can be integrated into a world language curriculum.
UCLA Language Materials Project provides a bibliography of many web and print resources.
Resource Center for Teachers of Russian offers a range of free lesson plans and materials.
Professor Andy Kaufman has posted full syllabi for several classes from language to literature on his site.
Elementry Russian at the University of Pittsburgh uses the Golosa textbook.
Kentucky Framework for World Language Learning has several creative ideas online that can be used for lessons.
3. For Language Learners
Click the Russian keyboard for recommended free texts, audio, video, and interactive resources for students!
4. Institutianal Materials (Back to Top)
Russian Advanced Interactive Listening System (RAILS) is run by the University of Wisconsin lots of interactive lessons on topical themes. Requires institutional licence.
SCOLA is a pay service that provides authentic material (mostly news broadcasts) with available structured lesson material.
5. CD ROM Material (Back to Top)
Twelve Chairs Interactive from Lexicon Bridge Publishers uses a digitized film of the classic comedy combined with dialog transcripts and linguistic, historical, and cultural glosses.
The Teaching Company, located near Washington, D.C. has issued recordings of thirty six half-hour lectures on "Classics of Russian Literature" by Professor Irwin Weil, from Northwestern University. In a popular format, they cover elements of language and culture from Kievan Rus', followed by selected masterpieces from the 19th and 20th centuries, starting with Pushkin and continuing up to Solzhenitsyn. There is also some material on the relation between literature and operatic music. These presentations have proved very popular with thousands of Northwestern University students and many adult education groups. Details are available at the Internet address <http://www.teach12.com> - lectures are available on DVD, videotape, audiotape, CD, and i-pod download.
6. Build Your Own Material (Back to Top)
Audacity Audio Editor is capable of recording streaming audio to local media and then slowing it down by up to forty percent without noticeable distortion, either in pitch or sample quality. Free.
Learner Language shows that second language acquisition is dependent on a built-in syllabus within the learner, which often differs from the syllabus the teacher uses and strives to bring the two sylabai into agreement.
Interlex is a free program for building vocabulary excersizes.
Multimedia Annotator and Lesson Builder allows you to add lesson material to multimedia files. Purchase from University of Wisconsin-Madison for 30-50 USD.
Krugosvet.ru is an online encyclopedia with lots of maps that you can put into PowerPoint, add more labels to, and use for handouts or print on transparencies.
SuperTeacherTools.com, BarkingCollege, and ContentGenerator.net all offer template games and resources that can be adapted for your classroom and material.
a. Vocabulary Flash Card Programs (Back to Top)
Thanks to David J. Birnbaum at the University of Pittsburgh for contributing these resources.
Hot Potatoes is the system I have selected for use in my first-year Russian course at the University of Pittsburgh. The licensing information reads "Hot Potatoes is free for use by individuals working for state-funded educational institutions which are non-profit making, on the condition that the material you produce using the program is freely available to anyone via the WWW." The cost for other users is $120. Hot Potatoes generates technologically robust standards-compliant stand-alone web-based materials that you can deliver from your own server, with good support for customization. Audio is supported. Accented Cyrillic using the Unicode x301 combining acute accent is displayed correctly except in drop-down lists, where the accent mark is rendered after, rather than over, the vowel. Registration (free) is required to unlock some features.
WordChamp is free for all users. The audio integration seems particularly good. All material is open access and the site draws on existing resources, so that, for example, if you enter a word for which someone else has uploaded audio, the system will find the audio and give you the opportunity to use it in your activities. Can create files to download to mp3 players, but, as far as I can tell, except for the mp3 audio export, the cards can be delivered only from the WordChamp server, which means that the longevity of your data is tied to the health and stability of the site. WordChamp has been around since 2004 (its parent company since 2003).
Quia is a very varied and capable site with a number of activity types not found elsewhere. Nonetheless, I personally am uneasy about it because it requires annual payments and because your material must be served from their site. This means that should you stop paying at some point, you could lose access to work you've already created, and it also means that the longevity of your data is tied to the health and stability of the site. The cost is fairly modest (educational subscriptions are currently $49 per year, with group pricing available) and Quia has been around since 1998.
Microsoft PowerPoint (or similar presentation software) can be pressed into service for flashcard drilling, but is not designed to support shuffling the deck or deleting individual items during a study session. Most users own a copy already, so although it is commercial and rather expensive, adapting it for flash card use usually will require no additional cost. PowerPoint can embed image and sound files.
MaxAuthor is also free for all users but is Windows-compatible-only. It supports annotated reading and activities based on annotated reading, but it is not designed for the decontextualized lexical drilling supported by traditional flashcards (although it does support a type of flashcard training on vocabulary in continuous texts for reading). Supports export as HTML for most features for delivery from your own server, although when I tried a sample file available on their server and clicked on the links to hear audio, the text window was replaced by a QuickTime window (that is, I could no longer see the text while listening to the audio).
Interlex is also free for all users. However, it is a stand-alone desktop application not designed for web serving. Related class files may be distributed over campus networks or via email.
BYKI offers two versions of its program. Byki-Lite is free; Byki Deluxe (required to create your own word lists) costs $39.95. Again, this is a stand-alone desktop application that is not designed for web serving. It supports audio, including mp3 download.
7. Articles, Journals, and More Materials (Back to Top)
Language Learning and Technology is an online journal of the latest research and theory in the field. Hosted by the Michigan State University. Free
Developing Autonomy in Language Learners is a free publication from the National Capital Language Resource Center.
CALICO Journal is another online academic journal devoted to online language learning. Free
Journal of Educational Technology Systems can be purchased by subscription or per-article.
"Materials for Teaching Russian" by Benjamin Rifkin, 2000, provides an overview of available resources. Last updated in 2005.
"Living in the Virtual Material World" by Peter W. Holloway and Natalie Kononenko, discusses the usefulness and creation processes for 3-D digital resources in teaching culture. The authors are at Ukrainian Folklore Centre at the University of Alberta. Article originally published in SEEFA, Fall, 2002.
"The Use and Abuse of Meaning Technologies" by Phil Hubbard, 2002, discuss and offers advice on using meaning technologies appropriately.
"Google as a Corpus Tool?" by Thomas Robb, 2003, investigates the usefulness of using popular search engines as language-building tools.
"Using Native Speakers in Chat" by Vincenza Tudini, 2003, gives ideas and thoughts on using electronic mediums for non-traditional lessons.
Considerations in Developing and Using Computer-Adaptive Tests to Assess Second Language Proficiency by Patricia A. Dunkel, 1999, is a little dated, but still relevant.
CCPCR offers a large list of links to other sites with Russian materials and resources.
CCPCR Database of Russian Texts is an extensive list of recommended books for use in Russian college programs.
Understanding Russian History through Literature - this PowerPoint presentation gives detailed perspectives for teaching history through literature, or teaching the historical background of Russian literature. Developed by Gina Pierce, Assistant Director of the Center for Russian and East European Studies at the University of Pittsburgh.