Computer programs are increasingly used for language teaching. Many of these programs are written using special-purpose software by companies that keep their technology secret and charge a lot of money for it. A community that works with such a company may have to pay a lot of money and may find it difficult or impossible to make changes later.
An alternative is to use the technology that is used for web pages, namely the HTML markup language. Web pages can be created easily using software that is widely available at little or no cost. Once written, a web page can be viewed using any of a number of browser programs, most of which are available free. Web pages are platform-independent; any computer system that has a web browser can display web pages. If you create a web page on a Windows system, someone using a MacIntosh can use it. Because the technology is easy to use and essentially free, it is easy to add to projects and to change them. There are some things that cannot be done with pure HTML, for which specialized computer programs may be necessary, but it is surprising how much can be done using only HTML.
An important point is that web page technology is useful whether or not you want to make your material publicly available. If you do, it is obviously useful. However, even if you want to restrict access, it is still useful. You can keep your files on a single computer, or just in your own classroom or office, without making them available over the network. The web page technology will still allow you to use your web pages on your own computer system.
This four-day workshop, taught by Bill Poser, introduces the use of web pages for teaching language and culture. It begins with examples of what can be done. We will then work through the various aspects of creating web pages. People with no computer experience will be able to participate, but basic familiarity with computers will naturally be an advantage.
The workshop is free. For members of the communities that we serve, YDLI will pay for accomodation, meals, and mileage up to the limits of our budget. Please contact Sheila Erickson in the YDLI office to let us know if you will be coming.
Yinka Déné Language Institute © 2006