The University of Texas at Austin

As an enthusiast of computer-assisted language instruction, I became an early adopter of the internet in the mid-1990s. I have since created and posted a large volume of open educational resources for Hebrew language instruction, relying heavily on nontextual media in the development process and in the pedagogy underlying our Hebrew curriculum, where I follow the inverted-classroom model. In this model, preparation work outside the classroom creates a firm basis for skill-activation work in the classroom itself, minimizing my involvement in activities that allow for student independent learning and maximizing the efficacy of class-time activities where student-student and student-instructor interactions take place.

In the contemporary language classroom, books have gradually moved to the background, and internet-based materials are used more and more frequently. Such materials allow instructors to respond to students’ expectations for a dynamic environment in which images, sounds, animation, and interactivity are integrated into the learning process. With unlimited server capacity and robust support from our information technology services, I work with sound files in designing listening comprehension activities, flashcards with sound, and drag-and-drop and matching exercises. I ask students to articulate stories and problems based on images, and direct them to internet searches for authentic materials, including, among others, jewelry, Judaica artifacts, short movies and music clips, commercials, and photos from historical archives. All these lead into class activities in the form of conversations, debates, presentations, opinion surveys, arts-and-crafts work, role-play, and calligraphy exercises.

While I do not yet work with specific competency standards for visual literacy, my extensive use of images in both preparatory and class activities, and the established expectation that students learn how to interpret and produce visual materials, make me well positioned to adopt such standards and incorporate them into our program’s learning objectives for the upcoming years.