Hitting the High C's

LangLab PASSPORT and Pedagogy

Using LangLab PASSPORT, a school or business can better approximate actual immersion in a language. It can create lessons that

  • provide realistic exposure to native speakers of the language
  • keep students involved by eliciting frequent oral and written responses to questions and cues, and by enabling them to interact with one another
  • combine aural and visual experiences to familiarize students with important aspects of the culture.

LangLab PASSPORT helps students learn a language within its web of cultural connections. It helps students approach a language not as an abstract subject, but rather as a medium of social interaction and communication.

Although many teachers remain wary of introducing technology into the classroom, technology can actually reproduce many kinds of social interaction with greater authenticity than standard classroom exercises. Furthermore, the convenience and flexibility of language-learning technology can maximize the student's contact with the language and ensure that both the teacher's time and the student's time are used optimally.

Active, Not Passive Learning

Some systems are designed primarily for teachers to broadcast large blocks of pre-existing materials in a synchronized way to all students, regardless of their skill levels and individual needs--a kind of instruction that fosters passivity rather than engagement and true learning. LangLab PASSPORT, in contrast, lets teachers organize lessons that break down learning into manageable, incremental steps, so that students can progress systematically—in all four skills—from lesser to greater difficulty, and from completely structured drills to freer, integrative responses--repeating what they need to until they achieve mastery. The supreme flexibility of LangLab PASSPORT—the almost unlimited ways in which teachers can select and combine instructional resources in lesson activities of various types and lengths--supports the diversity of learning styles teachers actually encounter in their students, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach.

The Advantage of Planning and Assembling Lessons

Systems that require teachers to find and send files to groups of students suffer from a fundamental pedagogical flaw. By making the teacher into a human file-server, they present the teacher with a dilemma: to keep students responding often enough to stay engaged, the teacher can send them relatively short files, but to keep doing so the teacher is generally too busy acting as a file dispatcher to listen to and help the students. On the other hand, if the teacher sends them longer files, to keep from having to find and send out files as often, the students wind up having a largely passive exposure to the material.

With LangLab PASSPORT, teachers do not have to find and send out files on the fly. LangLab PASSPORT's Admin module is a lesson-planning tool that lets teachers find and link files to lessons in advance, within an organized structure of items that offers far more flexibility than the "bookmarks" of competitors' solutions. It may take a bit more time to plan and structure a lesson beforehand, but it's far more effective use of the teacher's time than finding and dispatching files in class, the lessons are usable for individual learning as well as for teacher-centric learning, and the results speak for themselves.

But what if you don't have time?

Despite these advantages of pre-assembled lessons, in the real world teachers do not always have time to prepare lessons in advance. For this reason LangLab PASSPORT also accommodates easy lesson creation on the fly, and teacher-controlled listening and recording. By using "just in case" lessons with items that have no audio clips or other resources, teachers can ask questions live (perhaps following use of whatever audiovisual resources they have on hand and play for a class as a stimulus or example) and record students' responses for later assessment and feedback.

You can use LangLab PASSPORT within the framework of classroom-control software to make doubly sure that students stay on task. Running the two together (with two screens, say, each displayed on one screen) creates additional possibilities for improvising lessons there was no time to prepare beforehand with LangLab, but which become LangLab lessons.

White paper on LangLab PASSPORT vs. Classroom-Management Solutions

To read a white paper comparing LangLab PASSPORT to classroom-management systems, in regard to functions and pedagogical strengths, click here. It has a tabular summary at the end.

Join the LangLab PASSPORT User Group

There is now a LangLab PASSPORT user group. We hope it will lead to worldwide exchanges of materials and lessons as well as new ideas for using LangLab to teach aspects of various languages. If you are interested in joining, e-mail us and we'll forward your message to the teacher who set up the group.

  • Click here to read more about the reasons why software like LangLab PASSPORT helps students learn faster.
  • To read a list of suggestions for what you can do in lesson items, click here. (Please send us your suggestions for possible LangLab PASSPORT activities!)
  • If you need assistance with preparation of LangLab PASSPORT lessons, e-mail us and we can put you in touch with a firm dedicated to resource preparation.
  • Click here to see what you can do using LangLab PASSPORT and classroom-management software in combination. Ideas for using LangLab PASSPORT and such products together are also illustrated in a Powerpoint presentation used during a talk on "Combining Best-of-Breed Technologies in Actual and Virtual Language Labs" given at the November 10, 2007 conference of the Foreign Language Association of Northern California.

Useful pedagogical and related links

Language Communities on the Web

Language Academy is a language-learning community that connects students and language teachers from all over the world. It is one of the best place to learn or to share language lessons and e-books to develop your skills, whether you are a teacher or a student.

English Talk is a free learning and teaching community for English, with free daily English lessons, ready worksheets, classroom activities, online English classes, and teaching resources.

Language Learning and Technology International Information Forum is a listserv (hosted at Dartmouth University in the U.S.A.) that lets subscribers submit questions and exchange views. They can also search the archives for discussions of topics. For additional information, click here.