CROSSMEDIA: A REMARKABLE OPTION IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF MATERIALS FOR THE TEACHING OF LANGUAGES TODAY

J. Gómez, L. Gutiérrez, G. Jaramillo

Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana (COLOMBIA)
Spanish is rapidly gaining an important status in diverse commercial, technological, scientific, and cultural areas. The teaching of this Romance language has become an attractive goal of many institutions of higher education all over the world. Colombia has many strategic advantages to attract a growing population of foreign students whose goal is not only to master Spanish, but to explore and become immersed in the target Language society and culture. Among those advantages we could mention a steady economic growth in the last decade, a strong governmental support for the development of Spanish programs, a social conflict that is coming to an end. In this scenario, Colombian institutions, as it is the case of many other Latin American countries, are in search of effective and meaningful teaching materials that transcend a mere linguistic approach to the teaching of Spanish. A new focus and trend is the highlight of the social, historical, political, economic, and cultural dimensions of Hispanic societies. But teaching languages require strong teacher preparation programs as well as the development of sound instructional materials. The latter need emerges as a potential field of research for faculties of education and language programs. However, if we include the mediation of technology in the design and implementation of those materials, we would be certainly heading for a good experience.

In this presentation we will discuss the key impact that technology might have, especially when different actors join forces for the achievement of a common goal. We will present the advances of project or joint effort between some instructors of the ESPEX Program (Spanish for Foreigners) and second-year students of the School of Social Communication and Journalism of a local private Higher Education Institution in the city of Medellín, Colombia. The synergy created by the two groups aim at the creation of materials for the teaching of Spanish based on the principles of Crossmedia (e.g. text, pictures, video, television, mobile devices, etc). These materials bring challenges but also key opportunities for professional and institutional growth and in the presentation we will describe the multiple steps that the group has taken in the design, implementation, evaluation of the first product of contents for the teaching of Spanish (and perhaps other languages later on) based on the concept of Crossmedia in our local context.