Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Multimedia Learning Center Immerses Students in Foreign Language

Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Multimedia Learning Center Immerses Students in Foreign Language

Article excerpt

As every teacher knows, most children have a dream about what they want to be when they grow up. It is the responsibility of schools to teach children the skills they need to realize their dreams.

In 1987, Henrico County, Virginia, launched Commission 2000 -- the purpose of which was to identify and develop educational initiatives to prepare schools and students for the 21st century.

As a result of the commission's studies, leaders decided to develop nine technology-driven educational specialty centers and to provide county students with academic choice.

"The forerunner of the specialty centers," says project leader Edgar Wallin, "was the Foreign Language Immersion (FLI) Center at J.R. Tucker High School." The architects of the center collaborated with other teachers, business and marketing professionals, and members of the foreign language community.

* Promoting Proficiency

"From the start, the objectives of the FLI Center were to promote foreign language proficiency and cultural awareness," says chairperson Linda Wallinger, a French teacher.

Wallinger and a colleague traveled to schools and universities nationwide to examine established immersion programs. In the fall of 1993, J.R. Tucker began researching equipment and suppliers.

After much homework, in April 1995 the FLI Center installed a highly sophisticated Sony LLC-9000 Computer Controlled Language Learning System with the TECH Electronics TECH Commander Interface.

Doug Rice of Chester Technical Services, the system supplier, describes Tucker's system as "perhaps the first true multimedia lab installed in the U.S." A central instructor console distributes, monitors and controls audio cassette, videotape, videodisc, still video images, multi-standard video, computer programs (including CD-ROM) and educational satellite programming.

A fiber-optic cable and network card connect the system's file server to the school's central file server, and an external cable provides full telecommunications capabilities.

"We were looking for a lab that really had multimedia capabilities and would accommodate various levels of teacher competency and comfort with technology," notes Wallin.

The computer-controlled system adds a whole new dimension to teaching and learning. …

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