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Technology in Adult ESL

by Bobbi Kandarian and Shirley Burns, FVCC

 

ESOL project:  Learn and Review Updated Rosetta Stone Program (Strand: Technology and Multiple Intelligences)

In the spring of 2009, we updated our Rosetta Stone software and obtained the newest version.  This version is accessible through the internet and permits our students to use the program at home.  The updated version is more contemporary and contains many new features/units not found in the older version.  Our students have always enjoyed and used Rosetta Stone more than any other ESOL software we have tried.

The newer version was well received by the students, but Bobbi and I soon discovered that the new updated software needed to be thoroughly reviewed and learned before we could help our students achieve the maximum benefit from the program units.  Too often with computer assisted software, instructors struggle with the students to navigate through the program.  This hinders the students from optimal utilization and learning.  Also, not being totally familiar with the multitude of units and lessons within the program, it was difficult for Bobbi and I to set the right program level for the student and integrate learning activities with classroom activities and lessons.  Additionally, the updated Rosetta Stone has a series of management reports available for the instructor to monitor student usage and performance.  Our work schedules plus classroom availability made the time for review during the spring semester a scheduling nightmare.

Although busy with summer teaching schedules, Bobbi and I established a goal to learn Rosetta stone from units 1 through 5 as well as the management reports, etc.  We also wanted to evaluate the program against the Multiple Intelligence Analysis provided at the ESOL conference.  Our director approved a funded day for our project.  Bobbi and I made significant progress in reviewing the student units and management reports.  We encountered quite a bit of difficulty in getting the speech recognition components to work properly and needed to dialogue with the Rosetta Stone help line.  This unexpected technical problem hindered us from completing a total review of units 4 and 5, but we feel much more confident in our ability to guide our students in the optimal use of Rosetta Stone to maximize their learning.

As Bobbi and I worked through the software, we reviewed it through a multiple intelligence perspective as per the Montana Adult ESOL Conference of 2009. We are happy to report that the Rosetta Stone curriculum engages diverse learners in several of the multiple intelligences.  Those intelligences not directly engaged (mathematical, musical, and naturalistic) are not ignored, but they are more often contained in classroom activities.