2019 Fall IWL Symposium

Event Date: 
10/25/2019 - 9:30am to 3:00pm
101 Nau Hall

Registration Link:  https://forms.gle/5QvQmbMz2nN36KTo7     

Registration Deadline: 12 PM, Oct. 18, 2019

Cyberspace, the Final Frontier: Reshaping Language Education through Online and Hybrid Learning

9:20-9:50 AM Breakfast open to public

9:50-10 AM Opening Remarks by Associate Dean Alison Levine

10-10:50 AM Morning Keynote Speech: Desire lines and rewilding as catalysts for language learning, Steven Thorne, Professor of Second Language Acquisition, Department of World Languages and Literatures, Portland State University  (Introduced by the Associate Dean Alison Levine)


There has been a great deal of research and pedagogical experimentation relating to technology use within second and foreign language (L2) education. This presentation broadens the scope of inquiry to include opportunities for learning ‘in the wild.’ I beg in by briefly describing useful findings from research on learning and framing new media technologies from demographic, historical, and sociocultural vantage points. A number of case exemplar studies are then explored: (1) language learning in instructed contexts, with a focus on project - based learning, (2) interaction in organized Internet-mediated intercultural foreign language partnerships, (3) mobile augmented reality place-based learning, and (4) participation ‘in the wild’ in plurilingual and intercultural online communities and spaces. The final section describes a pedagogical framework designed to increase the relevance of instructed foreign language education through the structured juxtaposition of digital vernaculars with more formal ‘classroom’ genres of language use. This approach, called “bridging activities” (e.g., Thorne & Reinhardt, 2008; Thorne, 2016: http://caslsintercom.uoregon.edu/content/21297), supports bringing living language into instructed L2 pedagogy, processes, and curricula.

Keynote Speaker's Bio:

Steven Thorne (Ph.D., UC Berkeley) is Professor of Second Language Acquisition in the Department of World Languages and Literatures at Portland State University (USA), with a secondary appointment in the Department of Applied Linguistics at the University of Groningen (The Netherlands). His interests include formative interventions in world languages education contexts, intercultural communication, communication across new media and mobile technologies, indigenous language revitalization, and research that draws upon contextual traditions of language analysis and usage-based and distributed approaches to language development. In 2014, he was selected to receive the Faculty Research Excellence Award for assistant and associate professors at Portland State University. His research has appeared in numerous journals, edited collections, and books, the latter including Sociocultural Theory and the Genesis of Second Language Development (with James Lantolf, Oxford, 2006), Internet-mediated Intercultural Foreign Language Education (with Julie Belz, Thomson/Heinle, 2006), Language, Education, and Technology, Volume 9 of the Encyclopedia of Language and Education (3rd Edition) (with Stephen May, Springer, 2017), and Engaging the World: Social Pedagogies and Language Learning (with Sébastien Dubreil, Cengage, 2017).

11-11:50 AM Faculty Panel: The Voyages of the 21st-Century Language Educators: Three Online Learning Models for World Languages at UVA

Moderator: Esther Poveda (Spanish)


  • Francesca Calamita (Italian)
  • Ziyi Geng (Chinese)
  • Anna Borovskay-Ellis (Slavic)


The rise of new technologies such as Skype, WhatsApp, or even Social Media has dramatically changed the ways in which human beings interact and communicate. It has also vastly altered the landscape of second language acquisition and foreign language learning. Advances in digital technologies not only allow students to expand their world language education beyond the four walls of the classroom every single day, but also make it easier for instructors to accommodate different learning styles. In this panel, participants will explore this changing reality by discussing projects that they are currently developing involving internet mediated intercultural exchanges, H5P Interactive Video, and the STARTALK online learning program. Panelists will explain the design and implementation of their projects, as well as discuss student feedback and outcomes with the overall goal of demonstrating how these technologies are helping them to construct a new kind of virtual classroom for the language learner.  

12-1 PM  Lunch Nau 342 (invite-only among the IWL community)

1-1:50 PM  Afternoon Keynote Speech: Constructing a porous classroom: Models for integrating informal and online resources into instructed language learning, Robert Godwin-Jones, Ph.D., Professor, School of World Studies, Virginia Commonwealth University (Introduced by David Korfhagen (Spanish))

The "porous classroom" (Breen, 1999) is a call to open instruction (face-to-face, online or hybrid) to multiple environments and people, giving learners the opportunity to integrate school, home, private, and future worlds. That openness to extramural resources can encourage and validate students' informal learning experiences, contributing to learning ownership by enabling differentiated language development trajectories. Models will be presented and discussed using different teaching modalities and allowing for the incorporation of students’ personal/professional lives and interests into language learning. That will include examples of hybrid or blended formats, which combine fewer instructor-led face-to-face class sessions with online learning activities done outside of class. Those activities supplement and extend in-class work through having students work with authentic language content online or communicating with peers or native speakers.

Keynote Speaker's Bio:

Robert Godwin-Jones, Ph.D., is Professor in the School of World Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University, where he has served as Director of the English Language Program and Chair of the Department of Foreign Languages.  His research is principally in applied linguistics, in the areas of language learning and technology and intercultural communication. He writes a column for the journal Language Learning & Technology on emerging technologies.

2-2:50 PM  Student Panel: Establishing Global Partnerships: UVA Students’ Reflections on The Language Forward Initiative

Moderator: Hope Fitzgerald (Language Commons) 


  • Lisette Dobow, Chinese (Full Immersion)
  • James Katz, Slavic (Full Immersion)
  • Sophie Ericsson, Italian (Tandem)
  • Nicolas Ruiz, Arabic (Full Immersion)


Research shows students’ increasing interest in using their target language beyond the classroom settings to participate in Communities. To facilitate this interest, the IWL created a real-time near-immersive online language learning experience called The Language Forward Initiative. Participating faculty established partnerships with programs, institutions and private individuals abroad to connect UVA students with native speakers for synchronous online communication. Each language program developed its unique curriculum and tasks to best suit its particular needs. In 2018-2019, students from seven language programs conversed with their international language partners for eight to ten weeks using such platforms as Skype, Zoom, JoinNet, Blackboard Collaborate. In this panel, students will discuss how this authentic cross-cultural communication influenced their linguistic proficiency development and contributed to their cultural fluency.