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Author: Michael Rolland

ACTFL Integrating Skills and Modes for Curriculum Design

October 6, 2017
10:00 AM–5:30 PM
Room 9204

The Graduate Center, CUNY
365 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10016

This workshop focuses on how to build a curriculum that is designed to keep students making steady progress in terms of overall proficiency. ACTFL will customize the workshop to focus on achieving Intermediate level of proficiency in various skills (Speaking, Writing, Reading and Listening) and modes (Interpersonal, Presentational, Interpretive) depending on the needs and aims of your program, faculty and students. The integration of Study Abroad experiences into the program of study will also be considered.

Facilitator: Cynthia L. Martin, University of Maryland
Biography/more information.

Registration for this workshop is now closed. Watch the ILETC website for the next workshop opportunity!

Fall 2017 ILETC Events

Here’s what we have on the ILETC calendar for Fall 2017:


ACTFL Integrating Skills and Modes for Curriculum Design
(Click for complete details and registration form)
October 6, 2017
Room TBA
The Graduate Center, CUNY
365 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10016

This workshop focuses on how to build a curriculum that is designed to keep students making steady progress in terms of overall proficiency.

For more information on any ILETC event, email ILETC@gc.cuny.edu or call 212-817-2083.

Back from ACTFL 2016!

The weekend of November 18-20, CILC was honored and excited to present several of our projects at the Annual Convention and World Languages Exposition of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) in Boston, Massachusetts.

We received very warm responses to our presentations and made many exciting connections with language educators and administrators from around the country. We extend a special thank-you to the ACTFL attendees who came to our presentations or stopped by the CILC booth. It was a privilege to meet you, and we hope this leads to many fruitful collaborations in the future!

For those of you who could not attend, we are sharing the presentations at the end of this blog post. Please let us know if you have any comments or questions.


We would especially like to highlightTelePlaza, the platform we are launching to connect educators in the heritage Spanish field who are interested in conducting telecollaborations with other instructors and classes in the United States. As has been the case at other conferences, we saw a great deal of interest in TelePlaza from ACTFL attendees, and we anticipate quick development of the project over the coming months.

We are developing the platform now, beginning with the creation of a network of instructors. Over the course of the Spring semester, we will be putting together technical resources and pedagogical materials that you can use to implement telecollaborations in your classes.

Visit the Teleplaza site. Stay tuned for more details as the project develops!

ACTFL Presentations and Handouts

Below you will find our five ACTFL presentations, organized by project, and the project handouts (links go to PDFs, where available).

Heritage Telecollaboration

HT: What, Why, How?

Suggestions for Telecollaborative Web Tools

Suggestions for Telecollaborative Mobile Tools

Heritage Telecollaboration and the Construction of Latinx identity
(Michael Rolland, Prof. Laura Villa, Prof. Arancha Borrachero)

Intercultural Discussions with Foreign Partners Using Smartphones
(Valeria Belmonti)

Language at the Community College Nexus

LCCN: What, Why, How?

CILC Survey of Students and Instructors of Language at Community College
(Dr. Alex Funk)

Writing Proficiency of Heritage Learners

WPHL: What, Why, How?

Writing Proficiency of Chinese, Korean and Spanish Heritage Learners
(Dr. Alberta Gatti, Dr. Cynthia Martin, Dr. Elvira Swender, Dr. Teresa O’Neill, Inés Vañó García)

Heritage Arabic eBook

HAeB: What, Why, How? (Handout)

HT News: Fall 2016

From the desk of Valeria Belmonti.

Greetings from the Heritage Telecollaboration team!

We hope that everyone had as enjoyable and productive a summer as we did. Below are some updates from our projects and activities.

Project Development

During the summer, we finalized the design of two telecollaborative modules which will be piloted this semester in Professor Cheng’s Heritage Chinese class at Hunter College, in partnership with Professor Guo’s English class at Inner Mongolia Normal University in Hohhot, China.

This semester we will also begin to analyze the data collected in the other pilots that were run by HT faculty last year. The findings of this research will eventually be disseminated through publications; we will release more information about our studies and publications towards the end of this semester.


As communicated in June, our HT projects will be presented at the upcoming ACTFL Convention in Boston. Below you will find the details of our presentations. We hope to see you there!

Telecollaborative Mobile Apps

Presented During:  ACTFL Roundtable Presentations III
Friday, November 18, 2:30 p.m.–3:30 p.m.
Room: Exhibit Hall A & B1

Roundtable Presenter: Valeria Belmonti

Participants will be introduced to freely available mobile applications that can assist in connecting students to other speakers or learners of the target language and engaging them in telecollaborative projects. Programs’ interface and setup will be demonstrated, followed by a discussion on sample learning activities and teaching ideas.

Heritage Telecollaboration and the Construction of US Latin@ Identity

Saturday November 19, 8:00 a.m.–9:00 a.m.
Room: Room 261

Session Presenters: Laura Villa, Aránzazu Borrachero, Michael Rolland

How can heritage language educators use telecollaboration (TC) to tackle questions of language variation and identity? Presenters will offer insights from two pilot courses connecting US Latin@ students from diverse areas and backgrounds, encouraging students to rethink Latin@ identity while working to expand their linguistic repertoires.

Intercultural Discussions with Foreign Partners Using Smartphones

Saturday, November 19, 8:00 a.m.–9:00 a.m.
Room: Room 204B

Session Presenter: Valeria Belmonti

The presentation shares a task-based model of telecollaboration in which students complete intercultural activities with foreign partners using the free mobile application WeChat. Sample tasks, assessments, excerpts from student chats and presentations, and the feedback of from students and instructors will be discussed.

PLEASE NOTE: Even though two of our sessions will take place simultaneously, you can also obtain more information about our projects by stopping by our booth during the convention!

Our Chinese HT projects will also be presented at the NECTFL 2017 Conference, which will take place in New York City, February 9–11, 2017. For more information please visit:http://www.nectfl.org/.


On October 1, we will conduct a professional development workshop for the language faculty at Bennington College, VT. The topic of the workshop will be Telecollaboration and Technology for Language Teaching and Learning. If you are an educator interested in organizing a technology professional development opportunity for your language teachers, please contact Valeria Belmonti at vbelmonti@gc.cuny.edu.


During the summer, we established a partnership with the UNI-Collaboration network, a European-based platform aimed at supporting the organization of online intercultural exchanges among universities. Our HT coordinator, Valeria Belmonti, has joined the Uni-Collaboration Liaisons Team and she will be, together with Sabine Levet at MIT, the US liaison to the UNI-Collaboration organization.

Inspired by the work of the Uni-Collaboration network and by the continuously growing interest for our Spanish HT projects, we are also in the process of creating a virtual network dedicated to US Spanish educators interested in designing domestic telecollaboration projects to explore topics and issues related to Latin@ Identity in the US. Stay tuned for more information.

Valeria Belmonti is the Associate Director of Technology at CILC and Coordinator of the Heritage Telecollaboration project.

PBL Workshop with Dr. Julio Rodriguez

ILETC is pleased to announce that it will host a Workshop on Project-Based Learning (PBL), led by Dr. Julio Rodriguez, Director of the Center for Language & Technology and National Foreign Language Resource Center at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa.

Dr. Rodriguez will give a presentation of approximately two hours, after which participants will develop their own ideas for lessons and activities using the PBL methodology in consultation with him. Participants are expected to bring a laptop (or other device to use in activities), as well as an idea for a lesson, project, or activity to be developed during the workshop.

We invite you to secure your registration using this form. Since space is limited, registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. Please email us if you have any questions about the workshop. 

We hope that you will take advantage of this valuable opportunity to learn more about PBL pedagogy!

Fall 2016 ILETC Events

Welcome to Fall 2016! ILETC is looking forward to a semester filled with stimulating and illuminating public events. Here’s what we have on the calendar so far:

Multilingualism and Language Empowerment: A Response to Inequality
This symposium highlights the value and relevance of language and literacy projects conducted at the Graduate Center to New York’s multilingual population.
When: Friday, September 23, 8:45 a.m.–5:05 p.m.
Where: Skylight Room, 9th Floor, The Graduate Center, CUNY — 365 5th Avenue

Project-Based Learning Workshop
This workshop will be led by Dr. Julio Rodriguez, Director of the Center for Language & Technology and National Foreign Language Resource Center at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa.
When: Friday, October 21, 3:00–7:30 p.m.
Where: Room 9207, The Graduate Center, CUNY — 365 5th Avenue
Note: Capacity is limited, prior registration required. See event page for details and registration form.

Materials for Teaching Arabic to Heritage Learners
Focus group to evaluate materials being developed for the teaching of Arabic to heritage learners
When: Friday, October 28
Where: The Graduate Center, CUNY — 365 5th Avenue
Note: Prior registration required. Email slove@gradcenter.cuny.edu for details

ACTFL 2016 Convention and Expo
ILETC’s sister organization, the Center for Integrated Language Communities (CILC) (one of 16 National Foreign Language Resource Centers) will be presenting at the 2016 Annual Convention of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages in Boston, Massachusetts.
The following presentations will update the public on CILC’s ongoing research:

     Telecollaborative Mobile Apps
     Friday, November 18, 2:30 pm–3:30 p.m.

     Heritage Telecollaboration and the Construction of US Latin@ Identity
     Saturday, November 19, 8:00–9:00 a.m.

     Intercultural Discussions with Foreign Partners Using Smartphones
     Saturday, November 19, 8:00–9:00 a.m.

     Writing Proficiency of Chinese, Korean and Spanish Heritage Learners
     Saturday, November 19, 8:30–9:00 a.m.

     CILC Survey of Students and Instructors of Language at Community College
     Saturday, November 19, 11:15–11:45 a.m.

HT News: June 2016

From the desk of Valeria Belmonti.

Greetings from the Heritage Telecollaboration team!

We have had a very productive end of the Spring semester and would like to share some information on our recent activities.

Project Development

We recently completed the first pilots of our HT Spanish projects, entitled, respectively, “Latinos in the US” and “Mapas Alternos.” We also began the process of reviewing the results of the first pilot of the modules that we ran in Fall 2015 for Professor Li’s Chinese Heritage course at Queens College. We are excited about the outcome of our first pilots, and we expect to have the modules published on our website by the end of the Fall 2016 semester.

We have also recently completed the design of the modules for the Chinese Heritage course to be taught in Fall 2016 by Professor Cheng at Hunter College/CUNY in collaboration with Professor Guo’s English course at Inner Mongolia Normal University in Hohhot, China.

Professor Guo will be returning to China at the end of June, after spending a year in the US as a Fulbright Visiting Scholar.

We look forward to piloting the modules in Fall. We thank Professor Guo for her contribution and collaboration and wish her safe travels back to China.


Several of our projects were presented at the 2016 COIL Conference in April and the CALICO conference in May. We thank the COIL and CALICO organizations for their support, those who attended our sessions for their interest and thorough questions, and the many other presenters at both conferences for giving inspiring sessions.

Laura Villa and María Jesús Barros García
COIL, April 25, 2016

Download presentation: PDF


Valeria Belmonti
COIL, April 25, 2016

Download presentation: PDF

Laura Villa (photo unavailable)
CALICO, May 12, 2016

Download presentation: PDF

We will present our HT projects at the 2016 ACTFL Convention in Boston in November. We will also share a booth at ACTFL with our sister LRCs and hold a Technology Roundtable Presentation on Telecollaborative Mobile Tools.

We will publish details on the location of the CILC booth and the dates and times of our presentations later on in the summer, so stay tuned!

Don’t forget that early bird registration for ACTFL will close on July 13.

Click here to register for ACTFL 2016!


On May 26, we conducted a professional development workshop for some of the language teachers at St. Peter’s Boys High School in Staten Island, NY, in cooperation with the College of Staten Island. We overviewed free Web 2.0 and mobile tools, and discussed applications of the tools in alignment with the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines and Can-Do statements.

If you are an educator interested in organizing a technology professional development opportunity for your language teachers, and you are located in the New York metropolitan area, please contact Valeria Belmonti at vbelmonti@gc.cuny.edu.

Until next time! Ciao, hasta luego, 再见 !

This post was updated on June 17, 2016 with the presentations that we shared at the conferences, adapted for web publishing. All rights reserved.

Valeria Belmonti is Associate Director of Technology at CILC and Coordinator of the Heritage Telecollaboration projects.

Updates from the HT Team!

Greetings from the Heritage Telecollaboration team at CILC!

We are thrilled to share that on Friday, February 26th our center hosted a talk on assessment by Dr. Lorena Llosa of New York University. Following a presentation on the principles of assessment and relevant theoretical framework, Dr. Llosa elaborated upon the implications and applications of assessment in foreign language curriculum and welcomed participants to reflect and share their own perspectives and considerations on the topic.

As part of the discussion, the Seven Keys of Effective Feedback proposed by Dr. Grant Wiggins were overviewed. Wiggins’ article is available here.

Our faculty working on the HT project had the privilege of participating after the talk in a private workshop with Dr. Llosa to evaluate and discuss assessment methods for the HT projects.

The HT projects are moving forward as planned.

We are currently piloting two telecollaboration projects for heritage Spanish courses.

Dr. Laura Villa of Queens College (CUNY) and Dr. María Jesús Barros of Saint Xavier University in Chicago are currently piloting the first module of their telecollaboration project entitled Latinos en EEUU. Students are debating such topics as the political history of the terms Latino, Hispano and Spanglish, as well as issues of Hybrid Identity, Digital Etiquette and Digital Footprints. Partners have been matched using a compatibility test, and are getting ready for their first conversations, which students will complete and share with the instructors using Google Hangouts on Air.

Dr. Aránzazu Borrachero of Queensborough Community College/CUNY is piloting, together with Dr. Pedro Lange-Churión of the University of San Francisco, a telecollaboration project they are calling Mapas Alternos: comunidades latinas de Nueva York y San Francisco, in which students will explore the differences and similarities between Latino New York City and Latino San Francisco. Currently, students are completing an analysis of Latino photographers, while at the same time sharing their own vision of Latino autorretratos and discussing the power of visual representation.

In Fall 2015, Dr. Xiao Li of Queens College (CUNY) completed the pilot of the mobile telecollaboration project between her beginner heritage Chinese students and students of English at the Beijing International Studies University (China). Project design and first execution are currently being reviewed, and a complete report of the project including activities, materials, and teaching resources will be available on our website in Fall 2016.

We have begun the design phase of two telecollaborative units for Professor Wei-Yi Cheng’s heritage Chinese course at Hunter College (CUNY), in partnership with Professor Yun Guo and her English course at the New Horizon College in China. The project aims to engage students in a cross-cultural analysis of topics such as global food trends, McDonald’s global adaptations, and a cross-comparison of student life in the two target institutions and cities. The telecollaboration modules will be piloted in Fall 2016.

As the background research and development of these courses progresses, we will publish references and materials on CILC’s website. Ultimately, complete, ready-to-implement telecollaboration units based on these pilot courses will be available on our website.

Upcoming HT conference presentations

  • Heritage Language Projects at CILC
    HT representative- María Jesús Barros
    Midwest Heritage Language Summit. East Lansing, MI, April 23.
  • Mobile Language Exchange using WeChat: Intercultural Discussions Using Smartphones.
    Valeria Belmonti
    COIL (Center for Online International Learning) Conference 2016. New York, NY, April 25-26.
  • Benefits of implementing the COIL model in heritage speakers instruction.
    Laura Villa
    COIL (Center for Online International Learning) Conference 2016. New York, NY, April 25-26.
  • Latinos in the US: Promoting interaction among Heritage Language Learners through Telecollaboration.
    Laura Villa
    CALICO Conference. East Lansing, MI, May 10-14.

Valeria Belmonti is Associate Director of Technology at CILC and Coordinator of the Heritage Telecollaboration projects.

Developing the Writing Skills of Spanish Heritage Learners

Who? Instructors of Spanish heritage learners who have completed the ACTFL Writing Guidelines Familiarization Workshop

When? Half-day: 6/2

What? This workshop delineates recommendations for the teaching of writing to Spanish heritage writers who fall within two ranges of proficiency: Intermediate and Advanced. It combines (i) discussion of the results of a study of the writing of 77 heritage writers of Spanish, conducted by the Center for Integrated Language Communities (CILC)* in collaboration with ACTFL, and (ii) guided, hands-on work by participants.

Space is limited. Registration is first-come, first-served!​

Click here to register:  https://goo.gl/forms/Lflz85TPKF497M3p2

*CILC is funded by a Title VI Grant from the US DOE.