Friday, December 7, 2012

Department of Languages Wins Learning Environments Grant for Language Lab Renovation

This fall semester, the Languages Department at William Jewell College won a grant for "Leveraging Learning Environments." Our grant proposal centered on a renovation project for the Language Lab in Jewell Hall, room 203.

The Language Lab was not effective in  fulfilling its function as a language learning center as part of the mission of the Languages Department at Jewell. We began the redesign of this learning space by reconceptualizing the role of the language lab in our language curriculum, repurposing the space to meet language learning goals, researching the computer hardware and software, as well as reorienting the physical space and considering furnishings such as chairs, tables, desks, in addition to pedagogical aids: viewing monitor, media access and marker boards, for example.

The language lab as it once was.

When the language lab was updated in the late 1990s, the lab was essentially a computer lab that focused on individual work. At this point, most students have access to the computer-assisted language learning sites through their own devices and the lab because underutilized. Additionally, the lab has become outdated, using a projector and drop down screen, older computers, and a chalkboard.

With the grant, work is underway to renovate the lab. Here's where we are now:

The language lab prepared for renovation.

 Everything is gone! The walls have been repaired and repainted, the floor will be vacuumed and shampooed. The next step is to add electrical lines for the new technology stations.

While we don't want to give the surprise of the new design away in this post, we will let you know two things. First, the purpose of the lab is to encourage collaborative learning and interpersonal communication. We've decided to make the language lab a more student-centered place with pleasing furnishings. Our primary colors are Jewell colors, black and red! Second, the language lab will now host the lab sessions led by our language assistants from Spain and France, rather than in other classrooms. The space will have computers for language learning, but there will also be a community area for conversation, so that the language lab will now have the facilities necessary for the varied activities done in these lab sessions. In order to accommodate both approaches to language learning, we've designed the lab to hold 12 students in each of the areas, the cap of the lab sessions.

We will keep you posted on our progress! We're planning to open the lab for spring semester 2013.

No comments:

Post a Comment