Publishing an Interactive Language Resource for Diné Language Learners
By Kialo Winters
June 6, 2016 – Language learning programs from around the world are taking advantage of the shift towards web-based platforms. More and more people have access to the internet from stand-alone desktops and mobile devices today. The ubiquity of mobile devices now offers the opportunity to share language learning content from any place around the world.
I want to share a project we have been designing in collaboration with Bloomfield School District in the Four Corners area in northwest New Mexico. Our goal is to flip the Diné language curriculum to an interactive web-based learning platform.
We used Bloomfield School District’s Diné language curriculum as the primary source for publishing these web-based courses. We flipped each lesson and published each lesson to a learning platform. We also setup the platform management system successfully.
Over the years, I have been feeding the perspective of conceptualizing the World Wide Web as a learning repository to preserve & promote the Diné language. – Kialo Winters
Bloomfield School District implemented a Google for Education initiative. So, we chose a learning platform called Versal. This platform was a new startup company that integrated Google apps into it’s platform and proved to be the ideal vehicle for publishing web-based courses.
Students were assigned Google Chromebooks and Gmail accounts. During initial meetings with teachers and administrators at Bloomfield School District, Versal’s design team created a Chrome app allowing students to sign-in to their browser and begin courses when students turned on their Chromebooks.
Article: Versal Joins Google for Education Partner Program. Versal joins Google for Education to help teachers everywhere bring engaging and interactive online lessons, courses and assignments into their Google ecosystem.
ALLOWING LEARNERS TO BUILD A FOUNDATION FOR DIRECTION
We want to establish clear objectives that allow our learners to build a foundation for direction. We also advocate teachers use digital tools to create culturally-relevant lessons and for learners to produce, publish and present content using those same digital tools.
DIGGING DEEPER AND THINKING CRITICALLY
We want teachers and learners publish content that encourages, promotes and inspires lifelong learning. Let’s make it common practice for our learners to analyze, synthesize and dig deeper everyday. Building higher order thinking skills allows our learners to make connections to concepts.
This chart shows the platform structure for integrating Versal and Google for Education. We successfully flipped a semester’s worth of lessons into Versal using Bloomfield School District’s Diné Language curriculum. As we progress into Year-2, it is still key for teachers and department heads to continue collaborating in the same way as they did when they revisit their curriculum.
We subscribed to Versal Pro because this expands on features by adding the ability to make courses private, invite specific learners to courses and track those learners’ progress. Versal states this subscription was designed with teachers in mind.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. How can a school integrate a web-based learning lab? By implementing a school wide technology plan
2. How can you get teacher buy-in? By school teams advocating instructional processes for student learning
3. How do we get technical support? Through your IT department and third-party support
4. Why do we want to use this web-based learning lab? It provides a consistent structure for students to learn, work and practice independently in a digital environment
5. Do I need to use this web-based learning lab? No, you can use it on a case-by-case basis as a supplement to curriculum, enrichment or intervention
6. When do we allow students to complete these web-based courses? By committing to a block in your daily schedule or having students access courses from home
7. How do students, staff and parents know course results? By printing learner reports
8. Can I edit the courses? Yes, the Versal platform allows editing and republishing courses
9. How do students begin courses? Teachers invite/assign students to courses via student email notification
10. Are students required to have emails? Yes, students are emailed links to begin course(s)
11. Do students need a Versal profile account? Yes, students are tracked via Versal accounts
12. Can students use Versal in creative ways too? Yes, you can move from the lower levels of Bloom’s and have students create presentations
13. Explain all of Versal’s gadgets? Here they are! Click here.
14. What audio platform are you using? Soundcloud Pro Unlimited. View prices here.
15. What Versal subscription are you using? Versal Pro’s $50/year 200 tracked learners subscription. Today, there is a new subscription plan. View prices here.