Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Tweet Roundup: ACTFL 2013 Convention and World Languages Expo

See the Tweet summary in detail at Storify ACTFL 2013.

“This ACTFL Convention really was a "Twipping point" in the use of Twitter and other social media among attendees! “quipped Sandy Cutshall, editor of The Language Educator. And true it was!! With over 2000 tweets reaching close to 250,000 people, world language teachers were sharing what they learned, connections they made and possible future collaborations for the upcoming year.  So many Tweeters were excited to “meet up” with their Tweet peeps. “Selfies” and group pix filled the ACTFL “family photo” cyberspace. The “get your picture on The Language Educator cover” photo booth was non-stop with fun photos for all, as well as a very cool souvenir to use to impress family, friends, students and administrators!  Since this was the first year for the Convention Networker Digital Badge, the Twittersphere was a buzz with tweets from not only attendees, but from tweeters from afar grasping for the words of wisdom from a session or a great link that would propel their students to new heights of learning. Thanks to COERLL for baking the badge and collaborating with ACTFL to create the first badge of many in the future.

The convention started Thursday with the Assembly of Delegates. This distinguished group of state leaders spent time in discussion about strategies for state advocacy teams as well as participated in the design of a position statement on global competency.  But the tweets got fired up when both Ohio and North Carolina shared what was happening around documenting student growth and demonstrating teacher effectiveness.  As evidence around the number of social media sharing, these resources are really going to help with all these initiatives in so many states.  Next Jacque Van Houton and Elvira Swender revealed the new NCSSFL-ACTFL Can-do statements available as a free download at the ACTFL site.  Match these resources with the new Implementing Integrated Performance Assessment guide and the new Keys book with its own app, The Keys to Planning for Learning, and all can see how hard ACTFL has been working to move the vision of “Providing vision, leadership and support for quality teaching and learning of languages," forward.  One last highlight from the AOD was the “Mapping the Nation”; an interactive map loaded with data that responds to the question “Is the US ready for a global future?” This project was a joint project of the Asia Society, the Longview Foundation and SAS.  Click on your state map to see the data that responds to the question.

The convention got in full swing on Friday morning at the opening general sessions.  Our keynoter, Dr. Tony Wagner with his message of passion, play and purpose resonated with the crowd. "Innovation is a team sport. There is no innovation without collaboration", said Wagner. Tweets flying sent out his timely message. Check Dr. Wagner’s other presentations on Ted Talks.  He also joined in our tweets.  He is @DrTonyWagner on Twitter, so maybe send him a word or better yet follow him to learn more about innovation.

As at every opening general session ACTFL announces the new Teacher of the Year. Everyone was excited to meet the new ACTFL Teacher of the Year, Linda Egnatz. The TOY program, now in its ninth year, has been a very successful program that promotes both effective teaching and advocacy for the profession. Linda, a Spanish language teacher from Lincoln-Way Community High School in Frankfort, IL and a member of the Central States Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, spearheaded the Certificate of Biliteracy in Illinois.  I know we will hear more as she speaks at each regional conference and then heads to Capitol Hill.  Congratulations to our other four fantastic finalists: Norma Arroyo, Margarita Dempsey, Taeko Tashibu and Robert Patrick, whose leadership and excellent teaching have help promote language learning in their states and regions. So are you the next ACTFL TOY? Check out the website to learn more.

Tweet trends fired up during the Friday–Sunday sessions.  It was obvious that participants were wild about tech sessions.  Topics such as “flipped classrooms”, MOOCS, iBooks, Dropboxes, new spaces for learning, videoconferencing, mobile learning and apps, apps and more apps lit up phones and tablets.  A new session, called “Powershare” where the format is 20 slides at 20 seconds each made for some lively, informative presentations.  Two examples got tweeted and retweeted.  Kara Parker and Megan Smith of the Creative Language Class Blog shared their presentation about using videos in the classroom. Also check out this example about Google Tools by Nicole Naditz and maybe next year you will join in or maybe try this technique in your own class. Google Cool Tools Pecha Kucha.

Innovation was a key word that drew attendees to many sessions. But as Cherice Montgomery @chericem said so well, “Innovation isn't just about new tools! It's seeing things differently, imagining new realities, thinking in new ways, then acting.” There were major threads about teaching and learning, engaging students, authentic resources and curriculum development. Tweeters were excited about proficiency indicators, IPA’s, gaming, new research priorities, project-based learning, dual immersion, special needs accommodations, Common Core alignment, literacy, careers, language learning, learning spaces and intercultural competence. “We should create learning spaces where students want to linger” said Felix Kronenberg, @FelixKronenberg,  Bonnie Flint @bonesflint shared Paul Sandrock’s thoughts, “Language learning is like a box of crayons. Box of 8 good for novices, Box of 32 for interm, Box of 84 for adv”.  And Carl Blythe added: "Seat time is a poor indicator of learning".  One of my favorite quotes came from Noah Geisel, ACTFL TOY 2013, “If students don't take the risk of being wrong, they dramatically reduce the frequency of how often they will be right.”  And Katherine Matheson @katchiringa tweeted out Kevin Gaugler’s show stopping quote: @gaugler: "Stop preparing great classes, start creating great assignments." Mind blown! #actfl13. 

Tweeters really appreciated that a panel of students was on the program this year.  The session entitled, “Authentic Student Voice-Let’s listen to our learners” was organized by Pam Benton @FLForLanguages and @seoulpam, the current President of Florida Foreign Language Association.  Students from three Florida schools shared their perspectives on learning.  They discussed schedules, learning spaces, workload and how they best learn. Martha Pero @MarthaPero tweeted one of the powerful student quotes, “Worksheets eventually get thrown away. Discussions and involvement foster true learning.”

An expert panel led by @StacieBerdan advocated the necessity of developing global mindset in children #globalkids #actfl13.  Learn more by reading Stacie’s new book, Raising Global Children.  Learn more about reaching global competency the #actfl14 theme at the convention in San Antonio.

ACTFL officially launched a new corporate social responsibility program called ACTFL Global Giving. For this conference ACTFL is working with the Bon Samaritain School in Port au Prince, Haiti via Tammi Runsler. Teachers brought supplies or purchased items from the exhibitors and many tweeted out pictures of the supplies their students collected.  You and your students can still participate. This school needs lots. Just contact Tammi Runsler @3910 Salmon Drive, Orlando, FL 32835 and check the link for more information. Or better yet, tweet out the link! ACTFL will choose a new school each year.

Important Tweet links
Assembly of Delegates handouts and information.
Mapping the Nation
World-Readiness Standards for Language Learning: The National Standards for Learning Languages have been revised and refreshed based on what language educators have learned from more than 15 years of implementing the Standards. The guiding principle was to clarify what language learners would do to demonstrate progress on each Standard. These revised Standards include language to reflect the current educational landscape.
NCSSFL-ACTFL Can-Do Statements: The NCSSFL-ACTFL Can-Do Statements represent the culmination of a collaborative effort between the National Council of State Supervisors (NCSSFL) and ACTFL, to connect NCSSFL's LinguaFolio® with ACTFL's Proficiency Guidelines. Thanks Jacque Van Houton and Elvira Swender.
Implementing Integrated Performance Assessment: A follow-up to the ACTFL Integrated Performance Assessment Manual published in 2003, the authors, Bonnie Adair-Hauck, Eileen W. Glisan, and Francis J. Troyan provide readers with expanded guidelines for how to design IPA tasks to inform the backward design of a unit.
The Keys to Planning for Learning: The authors, Laura Terrill and Donna Clementi, provide easy-to-follow templates to develop units of instruction and daily lessons that incorporate the Standards for Learning Languages, Common Core State Standards, 21st century skills, and technology integration.   There is also an app available in iTunes: ACTFL Unit and Lesson Planner, which is a step-by-step guide to create units and daily lesson plans, based on this book’s template.
Raising Global Children: This book by Stacie Berdan, is packed with practical information, hundreds of tips and dozens of real-life stories.  The authors make a strong case for the importance of both small and big ways that adults can influence and shape the development of a global mindset in children.
Ohio Foreign Language Association SLO: Ohio shared their work around documenting student growth and demonstrating teacher effectiveness.  Site includes SLO (student learning objectives) examples, assessments ideas, etc.  Thanks Ryan Wetz, Martha Pero and Teri Wiechart.
North Carolina Department of Education World Languages also shared their work with assessments and students growth. Check out this Wikispace resource. Thanks Ann Marie Gunter.
Tony Wagner: “Creating Innovators with Passion, Play and Purpose”.

Access Presentation Slides from The ACTFL 2013 Convention
Convention may be over, but the learning continues! Check back often as presenters are adding presentation slides/notes every day!

ACTFL also wants to thank the attendees who shared ACTFL updates on Facebook, Instragram websites, etc. Communication is at the heart of language learning and these many new tools spreads the wealth of knowledge and the exciting of learning.  Thanks again for a great convention experience.  See you in San Antonio for #actfl14.

—Post by: Toni Theisen, ACTFL President

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Digital badges: Show what you know!

Guest post by: Carl Blyth

In line with this year’s theme, “New Spaces, New Realities: Learning Anytime, Anyplace,” the Center for Open Educational Resources and Language Learning (COERLL) is bringing digital badges to ACTFL 2013! Digital badges are online representations of earned knowledge and achievements. ACTFL will give an award to convention attendees who participate in the ACTFL Convention Network. By visiting, attendees can sign up to become part of the Convention Network and discover other Network members based on shared interests, geographic area, and languages taught.

As more educational institutions and employers emphasize the importance of marketable skills, ACTFL members are increasingly asked to “show what they know.” Digital badges are an innovative way to foster collaboration and display the diverse skills and accomplishments of language educators. It is COERLL’s hope that ACTFL digital badges will become an accepted means of professional credentialing and transform how learning is assessed.

I encourage all ACTFL 2013 Convention attendees to visit to sign up to become part of the Convention Network, learn more about digital badges, and to begin making meaningful professional connections! Also, while in Orlando, be sure to stop by the ACTFL Badges Convention Network booth at ACTFL Central to meet other participants and to claim your physical Convention Networker badge. Wear it proudly and see how being part of the ACTFL Convention Network amplifies your convention experience.

To learn more about badges, view this short video produced by the MacArthur Foundation.

See you in Orlando!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Technology is all about transforming learning

As we slowly creep through summer and the thoughts of starting a new school year start to pop up in our dreams it is again time to reflect on how we are integrating technology into the learning landscape our our students.

I discovered this blog entry entitled: "8 things kids should be able to do with technology".  It is a powerful reminder about using the power of technology as a way to encourage learners to communicate, collaborate and create in our ever expanding global community.  Technology has so much potential for transforming learning in ways that are meaningful for our students.   Technology can also activate the authentic voices of each and every one of our students.

What I really liked about this entry was the image.  It is a clear and simple way to look at what we may have been doing with technology tools in the past to what we need to be doing in the future as we all continue to have more access to more tools.

So as we start to think about our classes, our students and their learning this year keep this image as a reminder of our continued growth and change in our learning landscapes.


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Travel photos? Really? Resume booster?

Certainly for those of us who have done a study abroad, traveled and volunteered internationally understand how to use those experiences as a highlight in a resume.  Why? Well, because we all know how those experiences can expand our global perspectives, increase our language proficiency, demonstrate leadership and indicate our willingness to be self-motivated.  These are certainly all valuable skills for the 21st century workforce.

But did you ever think about how the photos you took can visually show your personal network of international peers, your flexibility and adaptability in new situations or your respect and appreciation for new places?

In the article, 5 Resume Boosters Hidden in your Study Abroad Photos, the writer discusses how these photos can add leverage to your resume because they can help frame a professional international persona.  In this article there are several photos with examples showing how to change the caption of a photo from just describing a pretty sunset or glorifying the attributes of a well-know monument to
explaining how the photo could demonstrate your international collaboration or how the picture indicates your open-minded to new ideas, just to name a few.

We as both language teachers and life-long language learners have always cherished our memories from our travel and study abroad experiences. We have also encouraged so many of our students to take the same paths of getting out and participating in the world.  Now let's help ourselves and our students to take even more advantage of these experiences by sharing our photos and new explanations to show our global competence.

Here is the article source:
5 Resume Boosters Hidden in your Study Abroad Photos

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

It's summer! Sure, but keep on learning.

Dear World Language Colleagues,

As teachers we all love summer.  Many of us have at least some time to relax and rejuvenate.  But we all know that this break gives us some time to learn new things, get caught up on reading and create new lessons, units, activities or strategies for next year.  So I decided to write this blog to share things I am learning, exploring or creating.

First of all, we know that advocacy is an essential part of our job as a world language teachers.  There is hardly a day goes by that we are not explaining to others that the ability to be both linguistically and culturally competent are essential 21st century skills.  We know many of our students in the near future will have opportunities to work and collaborate in international teams and they need to be ready to meet those challenges.

So one of my goals this summer is to collect articles, videos, images and other artifacts that address the need for language learning in a more 21st century focus.  So far here are two of my articles.  I am going to collect them using an online tool called MentorMob.  This tool allows teachers and students to create learner playlists of relevant content such as articles, videos, images and podcasts which can be enhanced by quizzes and comprehension questions. These MentorMob playlists be shared on blogs, wikis, etc.   See a review of this tool in order to use it in your classroom.

Now in order to make this endeavor and goal of mine a resource also for you, I have made this MentorMob learner playlist public. That means when you find an article, video, podcast, image, etc. that would help us all better advocate for language learning in the 21st century, click on the link and add your artifact.  This way you will also learn how to use this tool and we will all have great advocacy resources.

So for now do take some time to relax and reflect.  Stay tuned for more sharing.

Best to all,

Toni Theisen
ACTFL President 2013