Update 2 from CoLang

In the second week of CoLang, I took courses on Archives/Databases, Strategies to Reintroduce Languages, Pedagogical Grammars, and Internet/Multimedia.

Archives/Databases: In this course, we learned how to use SQL and OpenOffice Base to make databases, which are basically like inter-connected spreadsheets where the information can be presented in a variety of different ways. If anyone is interested in learning how to do any of this, there are very detailed slides available for the first and second weeks of this course.

Strategies: This was a class about using archived and written material for language teaching, particularly for languages without many fluent speakers anymore. We talked about a variety of sources for language learning materials and things you can do with them. Some things that other language communities have done include an iphone app for learning YatiWunderkammer, a project for making spelling dictionaries on mobile phones (so you can text in a language more easily), a list of lesson plans for language-learning in general, and some audio/video lessons that have been made in Mohegan. Other ideas are playing games like I Spy and Simon Says, and the “Where are my keys?” game that I posted about earlier.

Pedagogical Grammars: This class looked at lots of different types of grammars and discussed what makes a grammar effective for teaching (syllabus here). SpokenCree.org is a website with audio Cree lessons that goes with a series of textbooks on the Cree language. A great quote from Jacob Manitowa-Bailey, who has done a lot of work with the Sauk Master-Apprentice program:

“Concrete, contextualized, varied, modern, and repeated sentence length examples are better than charts, explanations, or isolated examples in longer narratives.” -Jacob Manatowa-Bailey

Internet/Multimedia: In this class, we discussed a variety of ways to use Internet resources to promote and use language. A few examples of interesting things we were shown: Indigenous Tweets, which lists people who tweet in indigenous languages. Navajo Word of the Day, a website (also on Facebook and Twitter) that gives a new Navajo word each day. We also learned how to put QR codes on posters to send people to a website on their smartphone. I have a demo of this that I can show if anyone’s interested but I don’t think I want to put it up online at the moment.

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