The 2013 STARTALK Program, Building Competency in Hindi and Urdu through Global Project-Based Learning, offered by the School for Global Education & Innovation at Kean University, is a three-week standards-driven blended language learning program designed for high school/early college heritage language learners who wish to gain higher levels of language proficiency through the study of Hindi/Urdu in real world contexts and in contemporary learning environments. Onsite/online learning experiences focus on using Hindi/Urdu to gain knowledge/perspectives about and to address the issue of Environmental Sustainability, a UN Millennium Goal, as the context for developing increasing linguistic, cultural and global competencies. To that end, students engage in daily cross-cultural interactions with students from Mayoor School in Rajasthan, India and St. Anthony's High School in Lahore, Pakistan, using video conferencing/Web-based applications.

Together, they gather, analyze, synthesize and weigh information from a variety of sourcesincluding those of invited speakers, taking into account Indian, Pakistani and American perspectives.  The final task is to provide a current overview of the issue and to propose possible solutions in a panel presentation with students in India/Pakistan for a public audience. Students also create an Environmental Sustainability Advocacy Website for submission to Academic Impact, a UN initiative promoting social responsibility through student actions, to advocate for/contribute to global improvement.  Upon completing the program, students will be able to document gains in proficiency through the NYU Proficiency Test, earn high school/college credits and continue language study in courses offered in Hindi and Urdu at Kean University. Instructional and assessment methodologies used in the program reflect the five goal areas in the Standards for Foreign Language Learning in the 21st Century (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, 2006) and the STARTALK-endorsed Student Principles

The 2013 Teacher education Program, Preparing Teachers of Hindi and Urdu for Digital Age Learning in Global Environments, is designed to enhance the knowledge and skills needed for successful language teaching in standards-driven, face-to-fac
e and virtual learning environments through the use of the Global Project-Based Learning instructional model. Accordingly, professional learning experiences in the Teacher Program will focus on “new” teacher roles, “new” pedagogies and the leveraging of the power of advanced technologies to facilitate learning that consistently places language and culture skill development in a global context. And emphasis will be placed on the on the development of the 21st century literacies and practices that learning in networks and globally connected online communities’ demand of today’s practitioners, as well as on the development of students’ global competencies and the use of the  Global Competence Matrix for World Languages (Asia Society, 2011). In addition, since teaching in contemporary learning environments requires an understanding of how technology relates to the pedagogy and content, teachers will be engage in activities that develop heightened understanding of how to use a range of technologies to accomplish learning and work goals.

                                                                    2013 Kean Startalk Program Overview (Video)