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Project work

Page history last edited by CarmenDell13 9 years, 11 months ago

 Project Work in (Italian) Language Learning


A practical guide to running a successful 15-hours (5-lesson) short podcast project in Italian with beginner  students: planning, lessons, evaluation, deliverables, samples and experiences.




Project Overview (Short Podcast Project)


Purpose: Produce a short podcast in the target language.

Process: The script for the podcast is produced step-by-step. After the students read the topic and instructions they write the main idea, then the outline and finally go through a cycle of writing drafts of the script that have to be corrected until the final version of the script is ready.

To produce the podcast, the students record and edit a test introducing themselves (Io), their country (l’altro), the foreign country (Italy).

During the 2nd term the teams present the status of their work in class.

Each team makes a plan and discusses planning and progress with the teachers.

All documents are collected in the team's virtual portfolio.


Project Scope (Short Podcast Project)


Students: Students are adults and are at a beginner level of Italian. They work in teams of 3-4.

Teachers: The project can be run with one teacher, but I have the pleasure of working together with a teaching partner (Dr. Laura Incalcaterra McLoughlin). A second teacher is especially useful  when the foreign teacher is busy discussing the progress with individual teams and when lower level students have a problem understanding instructions or comments.

Topic: Teams produce a 5-10 minute short podcast on an agreed topic.

Language: All classes are taught in Italian and and all deliverables are in Italian. Teams may still use their first language in team discussions although they are encouraged to communicate through Italian.


Project Planning (Short Podcast Project)




Prepare the Project


Each team has access to their own computers. They usually study at home.

Arrange equipment: A voice recorder software (Praat) is required to record class presentations.

Prepare the handouts: Prepare and copy a course syllabus and  a set of progress reports for the students.


Stages of the project


Actual project work will pass through certain stages. These are:


  1. Introducing the idea and definition of the objectives of the project.
  2. Collecting and processing information.
  3. Group activities and discussions.
  4. Designing of written and audio-presentation (short podcasts) materials.
  5. Organization of materials and developing the end-product.
  6. Final presentation in the wiki page.


1. Introducing the idea and definition of the project’s objectives

  • Introduce project. Teachers introduce project, distribute syllabus.
  • Select team.
  • How to write progress report. Teacher instructs the students on when and how to fill in the team page. Once they have decided on their topic, teams write down the main idea of their short podcast on their team page.


2. Collecting and processing information


  • Select team name. The teams brainstorm and select their team name and short topic. Then they make a final decision on their name and write down the selected team name as team comments /decisions. 
  • Project work will be assessed at the end of each semester.


3. Group activities and discussions


4. Design of written and audio-presentation (short podcast) materials


  • Write down the central concept of your short podcast.  People in each team write the central concept of the agreed topic for their short podcast and send it to the teachers for approval. They have 1 week to make their decision and send the script to the teachers.
  • Record / Edit Podcast. During the SEM 1  I taught the students how to analyze, record and edit a short podcast using  Praat. Teams recorded their own audio files as practice. After practising the pronunciation and intonation in the language lab (Sem 1 & Sem 2), teams start recording the parts of the scripts that they wrote. The podcast should be ready for the next lesson.


5. Organization of materials and developing the end-product


  • Write progress report. Discuss progress and planning. Teams plan their work, fill in the team's and personal wiki page, and discuss the report with their teachers in Italian.


6. Final presentation in the wiki page


  • Collect documents in portfolio. Teams collect their products in a virtual portfolio.




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