Changing the Shape of Learning: A New Virtual Linguistics Lab Provides Students with Cybertools for the Collaborative Study of Language Acquisition

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Learning language reflects one of the most critical dimensions of learning in the human species. Yet the nature of this learning, either of a first language in the child or a second language in the adult, remains elusive and heatedly debated. Scientific advances in this field require interdisciplinary and highly collaborative infrastructure as well as technically astute methodologies involving multi-media forms of data. In this paper we introduce and demonstrate a new Virtual Linguistic Lab (VLL), the product of a burgeoning Virtual Center for the Study of Language Acquisition (www.clal.cornell.edu/vcla), which begins to address these challenges. Through a web portal, faculty from across eight national institutions and one international institution are culling various forms of learning materials to provide a structured web-available Virtual Learning Environment; e.g., a Manual of Best Practices, Audio-Visual Samples instantiating best practices and various tasks, an experiment bank, Virtual Workshops and various collected reading materials. Through shared assignments, supported by web site discussion, chat and conferencing, these materials are activated in an inherently collaborative environment. The components of this VLL provide the basis for an introductory course, either asynchronous or synchronous across various national and international universities, thus cultivating a new generation of scholars in new methodologies and new methods of collaborative research and learning.


Keywords: Language Acquisition, Virtual Linguistic Lab
Stream: Curriculum and Pedagogy; Student Learning, Learner Experiences, Learner Diversity
Presentation Type: 30 minute Paper Presentation in English
Paper: , Changing the Shape of Learning


Christine Gouveia

Lecturer, Doctoral Student, Department of Education
Department of Cognitive Sciences, Cornell University

Ithaca, New York, USA

I am a fourth year Ph.D. student in the Department of Education specializing in Educational Psychology. I am also a visiting lecturer at the Center for Teaching and Learning at Cornell. My primary research interests are in socio-moral and language development. I am particularly interested in examining the interconnections between moral intuitions and rational thinking processes in moral judgments.

Dr. Barbara Lust

Professor, Department of Human Development, Cornell University
Ithaca, NY, USA

Dr. Barbara Lust is the Director of the Language Acquisition Lab and a Professor in the Department of Human Development at Cornell University. Her teaching involves Developmental Psychology and Linguistics, within an interdisciplinary perspective of Cognitive Science. Dr. Lust's research concerns the child's acquisition of language, studied from a cross-linguistic perspective. Children acquiring more than 20 languages of the world are studied in the Cornell Language Acquisition Lab. Her research program, which is interdisciplinary, seeks both to identify the universals which characterize child language acquisition across all languages, and to explicate the nature of development of language during the time between birth and early childhood.

Dr. Maria Blume

Assistant Professor, Department of Languages and Linguistics, University of Texas at El Paso
El Paso, Texas, USA

Dr. Maria Blume is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Languages and Linguistics at the University of Texas at El Paso. She specializes in first language acquisition, and in particular the acquisition of Spanish verbal morphology. Dr. Blume conducts research on Spanish and English acquisition by bilingual and monolingual children, especially the development of grammar at the intersection of syntax and pragmatics, as well as on English L2 acquisition by Spanish-speaking children.

Ref: L09P1269