Department of Modern Languages

Department of Modern Languages, Bronx Community College
Title V Learning by Design Instructional Technology Program
MLD Title V Team

Dr. Giulia Guarnieri, Group Leader

Dr. Alexander Lamazares

Dr. Carlos Rivera


Current Departmental Instructional Methodology


Foreign language instruction at the Department of Modern Languages fosters a strong student-centered and communicative approach to teaching. We recognize and cater our language instruction to the different language styles of our student body. Focusing on the communicative needs of our students, we emphasize the active use of authentic language and view grammatical knowledge not as an end in itself, but as a tool to convey and comprehend intended meaning in the target language. Working from the premise that students will successfully acquire new knowledge and language skills by engaging in the target language, we encourage them to speak from the very beginning of instruction and to actively form new language structures. Instruction is grounded in meaningful and context-based interactions and the verbal exchanges between students and teachers are designed to ensure that new structures are introduced and recycled.[1]

We are applying to the Title V grant to accomplish these goals: 1) Use technology to strengthen the standardization of The Natural Approach methodology across the department’s curriculum 2) Accurately place students into the most appropriate course level 3) Purchase of software Hello- Hello and pilot social media to be used with iPads to increase oral, aural, and cultural proficiencies 4) Increase the use of technology integration into MLD courses.


Course Impact

 The Modern Language Department courses which will benefit from this integration are the following: Elementary French 11, and 12, Elementary Italian 11, Italian 12, Italian 12 Honors, Italian 13, Elementary Spanish 11-12; Spanish 17 Advanced Spanish Composition; Spanish 22: Latin-American Culture and Language; and Hispanic Caribbean Literature and Culture Spanish 30-31; Elementary Portuguese 11 and Portuguese 12.


Pedagogical Rationale for Improving Instructional Technology at the MLD


This rationale for applying to Title V is driven by a number of pedagogical goals: First, on the side of language learning and instruction, it is assumed


  • that “authentic language” is more engaging and useful (although occasionally problematic) than created pedagogical language, and that, as a result, students will be interested in accessing multimedia tools that utilize authentic language  in their target language. It is our hope that students would be spending more time with the target language and culture;
  • that multimedia and software appropriate to a language lesson can occasionally be brought into class, therefore giving the students a common “lab” experience;
  • that proving a platform such as tablets and flip cameras to students will foster language acquisition skills by improving oral and aural proficiencies as reinforced by the principles of The Natural Approach.
  • that using multimedia, students will be able to enrich the knowledge of the linguistic, cultural, historical, artistic, and literary components found in their courses.
  • that the enhanced classroom would facilitate and support student learning through the uses of   multiple modes of visual and audio instruction.



Challenges, Solutions and Benefits: Rationale for Implementation


Objectives: 1) Use technology to strengthen the standardization of The Natural Approach methodology across the department’s curriculum. 4) Increase the use of technology integration into MLD courses.


Challenge  Solution & Benefits
Technology support in the rooms assigned to the MLD is insufficient. Most, if not, all of the rooms assigned do not have a TV, WI-FI, projector, smart board, TV, DVD/VCR, and this weakens the learning process of foreign languages: the lack of exposure to authentic materials, the lack of opportunity for extra listening, writing, and speaking, and the missed opportunity to create a student-centered classroom.  The lack of smart classrooms makes it harder for  MLD faculty to adopt the natural method approach which is based on language acquisition (“an unconscious process developed through using language meaningfully”) and not language learning (grammar based). 
  • Increase presence of multimedia hardware and software appropriate can give the students a common “lab” experience;
  • Title V will allow the MLD to create and design activities to integrate into the language curriculum.
  •  It will stimulate other colleagues to develop an interest in introducing the most current technologies in the classroom.
  • Support the standardization of the natural method across curricula.














Objective: 2) Accurately place students into the most appropriate course level.


Challenge  Solution and Benefits
At BCC, we have an overwhelming number of heritage speakers and semi-native speakers from around the globe, and many are misplaced in classes, because our traditional exam only concentrates on a very limited, simple grammar structure, but dismisses on the other vital components to language instruction, like aural comprehension.  
  • Purchase Language Placement Software Testing for French, Italian and Spanish. This will impact more than 1000 students who already possess some prior knowledge of a language.
  • These tests will allow students to enroll and study a language at the appropriate level, 2) allow students to complete the language requirements in an appropriate time frame, 3) enable students who have the same language proficiency level to group together allowing for a purposeful learning environment. Accurate initial placement is a key factor in successfully learning a foreign language.





Objective: 3) Purchase of software Hello- Hello and pilot social media to be used with iPads to increase oral, aural, and cultural proficiencies.


Challenge  Solution and Benefits
We don’t take enough advantage of the latest software and hardware to increase oral, aural and cultural proficiencies. With foreign languages classes capped at thirty, it is extremely difficult to create communication and interaction within between student-student, student-instructor, and for students to increase contact with course materials.
  • We plan to integrate collaborative activities (Google Mobile/ Google Docs, Crocodoc, Livemocha) by asking students to create collaborative writings and use multimedia applications amongst each other.
  • iPads inside the classroom will also allow students to use iTunes and the Hello-Hello application[2] both in and out of class to listen to podcasts more easily and frequently, improve aural, oral, and visual exercises, and at the same time motivate students to create their own media files.
  • The use of iPads will increase interest and focus, and we anticipate a higher turnout in the quantity and quality of assignments and exercises.






Placement tests

Princeton Italian Placement Test/ACTFL Language Placement Tests (Fiorenza Wineapple and Dennis Hood, $1500, Flat fee.

4 desktops computers for students and faculty – placement test support (Two iMacs, two PCs:

1 scanner/or printer scanner

Podium + laptops

21 iPads 2 Italian (Guarnieri)

26 iPads 2 Spanish/Portuguese (Lamazares)

Hello-Hello application (Ipad) $ 14.99 per language

(Apple Headphones with Remote and Mic)

Airprint selected Printer (

Apple Digital AV Adapter $39 (See

Apple Ipad 10W USP Power Adapter $29 (

2 Apple Wireless Keyboards $69 Each

2 Apple Ipad Docs $29 Each (


Training for faculty

16 adjunct faculty (1 hour), $60/hour =  approximately $960




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Brantmeier, C. (2004) “Technology and the individual:  Students in Control of Advanced Second Language Acquisition.” Emerging Technologies in Teaching Languages and Culture. 279-299,

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[1] The MLD uses a “hybrid” of the most current methodologies, mainly the Natural Approach, CLL (Cooperative Language Learning), Content-Based Teaching and Task Based Teaching – just to name a few.


[2] Hello-Hello Ipad Apps: Hello-Hello is a language learning company that offers online and mobile language courses. Hello-Hello’s website couples social networking with language learning, which allows students to interact with native speakers around the globe. Its courses were developed in collaboration with the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). All the content is stored in the app so that users will have rapid responses when ready to learn a language. Users do not need to be connected to Wi-Fi or 3G networks to run the app. Currently, has training modules in all the languages offered at the MLD. Furthermore, the app offers a choice of localized languages, so users can learn their preferred languages in their local/regional accent/culture of choice.

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