March 2015
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MAKING CONNECTIONS
Suzan Stamper, Yew Chung Community College, Hong Kong

Can you believe "Making Connections" is starting its 10th year? As many have said over the years in this column, one of our best IS resources is our members! Let's celebrate in this issue by getting acquainted with three more members:

  • Abraham Reshad
  • Maria Tomeho-Palermino
  • Susan Gaer

For each newsletter, I invite members to answer a set of questions:

  • What is your favorite platform?
  • What is the one indispensable tool/webpage?
  • What is your most unexpected source of information about CALL?
  • What was your favorite CALL creation?
  • What are you working on now?
  • What area would you like to see developed/researched?
  • In a sentence, what advice would you give to a newbie starting out in CALL?

I hope you enjoy this space to compare experiences, share advice, nurture inspiration, and make connections within our community.

Please e-mail me at suzan.stamper@yccc.edu.hk if you have suggestions or contributions to "Making Connections."

Suzan is senior lecturer and English language team leader at Yew Chung Community College in Hong Kong. She has been a CALL-IS member since 1995.

Abraham Reshad

Affiliation: Ohio Program of Intensive English at Ohio University

Years in the CALL-IS: 3

Abraham Reshad serves as a lecturer and database/CALL coordinator in the Ohio Program of Intensive English at Ohio University. For 3 years, he has utilized mobile media to augment classroom instruction in terms of reading and vocabulary. Now, he focuses on augmented reality mobile applications and Ohio University's Holodeck.

Q: What is your favorite platform?
A: iOS: Despite the growing competition, it is still the industrial standard on mobile OSs. I particularly like the Airplay feature, which expands the utility of it in both the home and classroom.


Q: For you, what is the one indispensable tool/webpage?
A: Google's suite of apps: Free, stable, and perfect for collaborative work.


Q: What is your most unexpected source of information about CALL?
A: The news blog Lifehacker. It's not a teaching website, but it provides the latest news in technology and gives very practical advice on tweaking technology for one's purposes. Reflecting on use of technology in the classroom, I have noticed that much of it wasn't designed for education, but yet still provides an excellent environment for learning.


Q: What was your favorite CALL creation?
A: New Reader. This was a robust reading program designed by John McVicker, the CALL coordinator at the OHIO Program of Intensive English. It was definitely ahead of its time as it provided chunking activities for speed-reading in addition to various gap filling activities.


Q: What are you working on now?
A: I am currently collaborating with my colleagues at Ohio University's Language Resource Center on expanding the functionality of the "Holodeck." It allows an extended display to be broadcast across three surrounding walls, thus immersing individuals in a visual experience that extends to the edges of their peripheral vision. Relevant audio, including background noises, can also accompany displays to contribute to a more convincing experience. This room provides teachers and students a chance to practice language in relevant, simulated, and immersive contexts.


Q: What area would you like to see developed/researched?
A: I would like to see more work in locative-based mobile media. There have been projects that have shown what is possible in platforms like ARIS, but much more still needs to be done.


Q: In a sentence, what advice would you give to a newbie starting out in CALL?
A: Join TESOL's CALL-IS: We have an excellent community of practitioners ready to help you get your foot in the door of this field.

Maria Tomeho-Palermino

Affiliation: Center for English Language and Orientation Programs

Years in the CALL-IS: 4

Maria has been teaching at the Center for English Language and Orientation Programs at Boston University for more than 25 years. She is involved in teaching and coordinating a variety of ESP courses and teacher training. She is also actively involved in assisting in the Electronic Village and has recently become part of the webcast team for CALL presentations at TESOL.

Q: What is your favorite platform?
A: I use both Windows and Mac OS; however, I favor Mac OS since I find it much more stable.

Q: For you, what is the one indispensable tool/webpage?
A: I love PBworks, which not only helps me organize courses, but also serves to provide an infinite number of avenues for personalized learning and collaborative activities. I would like to applaud Christine Bauer-Ramazani and Sandy Wagner with whom I could explore wiki spaces in the online courses I took with them.

Q: What is your most unexpected source of information about CALL?
A: Educational Technology and Mobile Learning has new and improved ideas for the classroom, including techniques for using apps and collaborative tools.

Q: What was your favorite CALL creation?
A: A wiki for a cross-level, cross-concentration collaborative project for my English for International Business class and the English for Academic Purposes class of a colleague was one of my favorite sites created with her. Link: Collaborative Team Project. Moreover, collaborating in the Preconvention Institute in Dallas 2013, "Creating Collaborative Learning Spaces," spearheaded by Sandy Wagner, was one of the most invigorating experiences in collaborating online with CALL professionals I've had. I was fortunate to work with Sandy, Christine Bauer-Ramazani, Jack Watson, and Skip Gole.

Q: What are you working on now?
A: I'm working with colleagues to determine tools and sites to be used for other cross-level collaborative projects. In addition, I'm constantly reviewing and tweaking Blackboard courses for a summer legal English course for Pre-Masters of Law (LLM) students and for the Legal English Certificate Program with the law school, launched September 2014.

Q: What area would you like to see developed/researched?
A: More proven apps for pronunciation and speech modulation would be very helpful.

Q: In a sentence, what advice would you give to a newbie starting out in CALL?
A: First, determine when and how to use CALL to reach certain language outcomes, and then focus initially on a couple of sites and apps that may help you and your students achieve those goals.

Susan Gaer

Affiliation: Santa Ana College

Years in the CALL-IS: 20 or so

Susan is a professor of ESL at Santa Ana College School of Continuing Education and an active member of CALL since the 1990s. She was the chair of the CALL-IS in 2005, serving from 2004 to 2006.

Q: What is your favorite platform?
A: Mac.

Q: For you, what is the one indispensable tool/webpage?
A: There are so many. I love Socrative, Poll Everywhere, and creative tools, including mobile apps.

Q: What is your most unexpected source of information about CALL?
A: My colleagues.

Q: What was your favorite CALL creation?
A: Having my literacy students write powerful stories about their arrival in the USA in the late 1980s. They were refugees from tribal Lao communities and didn't have any literacy skills in their first language. Their stories were incredibly powerful. Those stories are still available to read on my website.

Q: What are you working on now?
A: I am researching mobile applications for the immigrant adult classroom.

Q: What area would you like to see developed/researched?
A: Augmented reality using such apps as Aurasma.

Q: In a sentence, what advice would you give to a newbie starting out in CALL?
A: Network, network, network: Use your friends to help you learn, and don't underestimate the power of social networking.

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