Uncategorized

Students practice Spanish over Skype

Senior Dan Schoch talks with a student in Colombia named Heraldo to practice their language skills. The two bonded over topics like video games and soccer. Cayla Nimmo // Photo Editor

Last Halloween, students in several Spanish classes exchanged candy for “caramelos,” the Spanish word for candy.

A partnership with a university in Colombia paired UM students up to practice their language skills during Skype conversations.

This interactive class was divided into 20 minutes of English and 20 minutes of Spanish.

“The experience allows the students to improve their listening skills and use the language in a real-time setting,” said Rachida Primov, the director of the Eleonore Graves Tripp Foreign Languages Laboratory.

The program is mainly designed for beginner students that do not come from Spanish-speaking backgrounds.

“They make connections to the textbook material,” said Irene Beibe, a Spanish lecturer in the Department of Modern Language and Literature. “In addition to the grammar and structure, students learn about the frustrating moments of communicating in a new language.”

The virtual immersion program is in its fifth semester.

Primov contacted and worked with universities abroad to see whether they had the capabilities to fulfill such a task. To attain successful contact, she looked for schools that can support good Internet connection and are familiar with programs like Skype.

The list of contacts includes Chile, Brazil, Mexico, Spain and Colombia. Next semester, UM students in French classes will chat with students from Algeria and a university in Paris. While this is still a pilot program, Primov hopes to expand it.

“Right now, we do not have the facilities to implement a widespread program,” Primov said. “However, I do hope that one day students will work on projects with students abroad instead of just communicating on certain days.”

The language labs currently have enough stations for 20 students to communicate with an equal number of students abroad. The preparation for the conference also takes a considerable amount of time with a process called a beta trial. Before each class, lab coordinator Matt Lubeck works with student techs and tests every computer to verify features such as Internet connection and bandwidth.

Beibe enjoys seeing her students interact with their Skype partners.

“Sometimes students forget about the language division and want to continue to speak in Spanish for the full time,” she said. “They love it.”

In the spirit of Halloween, she had her students sing the “Trick or Treat” chant to their friends abroad. The students were also able to mail each other bags of candy before the session.

July 11, 2012

Reporters

Alexander Gonzalez

Assistant Editor


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

Darrell Langham, the redshirt junior receiver who caused an uproar among Miami Hurricanes fans the p ...

This news release just in from the University of Miami, another impressive class about to be inducte ...

The University of Miami men’s basketball team got a welcome dose of good news on Monday night. Verno ...

After a disheartening week of practice injury-wise following the University of Miami’s victory at Fl ...

University of Miami’s highly-touted freshman Lonnie Walker, who had surgery for a torn right meniscu ...

From a game simulating how whales navigate to a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, the U showcased some of ...

A new mobile game called Blues and Reds, now available worldwide, aims to help researchers study int ...

A major Lancet Commission report, a three-year project headed by UM’s Professor Felicia Knaul and co ...

With a $6.8 million NIH grant, the UM School of Nursing and Health Studies and FIU Robert Stempel Co ...

A summer 2017 excursion unlike any other united a group of University of Miami students and faculty ...

Darrell Langham has been a hero twice this season, but his path to prominence has been a long one. ...

The University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame has announced the Class of 2018 inductees for the 50th A ...

Senior diver Wally Layland was recognized for her standout performance at the SMU Classic with ACC C ...

University of Miami freshman Lonnie Walker IV was among 20 players named to the watch list for the 2 ...

The Miami Hurricanes will begin preparation for the 2018 season when fall practice commences Wed., O ...

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.