The Desktop Publishing project is a concrete example of the use of desktop publishing tools in the context of language teaching and learning.It aims at bridging the gap between Mandarin Chinese learning and performance.
To accomplish the Desktop Publishing project, teachers will have students in groups to design a flyer for a Chinese restaurant with the open software packages: a paint program (Gimp) and a draw program (Inkscape) to edit visual images and produce special effects. Desktop publishing software (Scribus) is used to design the layout of the flyer. Only Chinese is allowed in class. Terms for technology in Chinese will also be provided. After the final product is complete, students will listen to audio clips or video clips on computers about successful restaurant marketing advertising ideas, strategies and plans in Chinese. Students can take notes and then compare the flyers they have produced with the criteria described in the audio or video. At last, they are required to use Desktop publishing software to write a 500-word report in Chinese to narrate the process of making the flyer and their reflections on the strengths and weaknesses of the project. An oral presentation will also be included. Teachers will evaluate the final product based on the overall effectiveness of communication, especially the use of Mandarin Chinese and technology.
This project mirrors my teaching philosophy in that it keeps a balance between the four language skills. Students have more autonomy to exploit their own creativity and initiatives. Teachers can use pedagogical interventions only when they see necessary. Technology can thus facilitate rather than distract second language acquisition.
Desktop Publishing project:
The Mashup project consists of a fully operational sample product that illustrates the use of media and mashups in connection with language learning. It mainly targets at the intermediate and advanced level learners of Mandarin Chinese. In particular, this project is designed for college students and graduate students who have learned Chinese for more than one year, and have been familiar with the basic Mandarin Chinese vocabulary, grammar patterns, and sentence structures.
I chose the design task of a travel plan from one of the WebQuest design patterns and set the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games as the background of the mashup project. Students will role play as the volunteers of Olympics and work collaboratively on a Power Point presentation with regard to a seven-day trip to Beijing city for the target English-speaking spectators. First students will search the information of transportation, sports, accommodation, and budget on Google map, then they will work as a team and decide the optimal options for the trip. Finally they will deliver a Power Point presentation on the detailed itinerary, itemized budget, and justifications for their trip options.
In making the Power Point presentation, both Mandarin Chinese and English will be used for communication.Students will have the opportunity of exploring various websites, images, audio and video clips, Google map and incorporating useful on-line information into the final product with technology. Teachers will provide a range of resources mainly via Goolge sites, such as documents, form, spread sheet, and templates to facilitate students' involvement in the project. Evaluation will be based on the quality of the Power Point presentation and delivery.
Mashup project address: