2022 CEAS Online Language Pedagogy Workshop

Technology, Literacy, and Multimodality

Saturday, March 26, 2022
1:00-2:30 PM & 2:45-4:15 PM CST
Online Zoom meeting, with registration required.

The Center for East Asian Studies (a federally-funded Title VI National Resource Center), the Language Institute, and the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Wisconsin-Madison co-hosted this workshop for K-16 language instructors in Wisconsin and beyond.

Focusing on our theme of  “technology, literacy, and multimodality,” the event included the following presenters:

  • Dr. David Malinowski, San Jose State University, Spatial literacies and place-based learning during a pandemic: From limitations to new possibilities.
  • Dr. Amber Navarre, Boston University, “Multimodal Language Projects Using Technology.”

The speakers generously provided the following Powerpoint presentations, which they used during the workshop:



While there was no registration fee, participants were required to register in advance to attend the workshop. Registration closed on Friday, March 18.

If you have any questions regarding the workshop contents, please contact Naomi Geyer at nfgeyer@wisc.edu.  For logistical questions, please contact Laurie Dennis at ldennis@wisc.edu.

Program Schedule

NOTE: All times listed are in CST (Central Standard Time)

1:00-1:05       Opening remarks and introduction of the first speaker

1:05-2:25       Session 1 by David Malinowski, San Jose State University, “Spatial literacies and place-based learning during a pandemic: From limitations to new possibilities”

2:25-2:35       Closing of Session 1

2:30-2:45       Break

2:45-2:50       Introduction of the second speaker

2:50-4:10    Session 2 by Amber Navarre, Boston University, “Multimodal Language Projects Using Technology”

4:10-4:15       Closing of Session 2


Session Abstracts and Presenters

Session 1

Presenter: Dr. David Malinowski of San Jose State University

Spatial literacies and place-based learning during a pandemic: From limitations to new possibilities

The Covid-19 pandemic has imposed severe restrictions on language students’ mobility over the past two years, as it has forced instruction out of shared classrooms and onto private screens, while curtailing opportunities for study abroad, community-based learning, and other types of immersive study. In this sense, understanding the importance of languaging through space, place, movement, and mobility—aspects of the spatial mode of communication that have been largely overlooked in discussions of multimodality—is more important than ever. This workshop addresses the challenge of helping students to mobilize and enrich their language learning by cultivating spatial literacies (New London Group, 1996; Leander et al. 2010). More attuned to social and cultural meaning-making than the positivist notion of “spatial thinking” (what the U.S. National Research Council (2005, p.3) describes as “concepts of space, tools of representation, and processes of reasoning”), spatial literacies help students to contextualize, synthesize, and evaluate meanings and experiences in the L2. After an overview of key principles, I will introduce a general framework for designing and assessing language learning activities with respect to spatial literacies. Participants will then experiment with several technology-enabled and ‘pandemic-friendly’ activities, including multimedia discussions, informal virtual exchanges, games, and other forms of language observation and analysis that bridge traditional and non-traditional sites of learning—including, centrally, students’ own home and close-to-home environments. The workshop will conclude with a discussion of applications of the spatial literacies framework to the educational settings in which participants currently teach.

Speaker Bio:

David Malinowski is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Linguistics and Language Development at San José State University. With a background in language and literacy education, multimodal communication, and technology-enhanced learning, he teaches and conducts research on language teacher development, place-based language learning, and social media for language awareness. His recent publications include the edited volumes Language Teaching in the Linguistic Landscape: Mobilizing Pedagogy in Public Space (Springer, 2020) and Reterritorializing Linguistic Landscapes: Questioning Boundaries and Opening Spaces (Bloomsbury, 2020). Before receiving his Ph.D. in Education from the University of California at Berkeley, David received a master’s degree in TESOL from San Francisco State University, and has teaching experience in Korean and Japanese as well as English. He currently serves as Associate Editor for the journal Linguistic Landscape.



Session 2

Presenter: Dr. Amber Navarre of Boston University

Multimodal Language Projects Using Technology

Multimodal communication combines multiple sensory and communication modes (e.g. text, speech, visuals, audio, and kinesthetic input) in order for us to fully express, interpret, and negotiate meaning. Most of our day-to-day communication is by nature multimodal, ranging from more traditional media (e.g. storybooks with images; movies and TV shows that have both visuals and audio) to Internet/mobile content (e.g. web pages containing text, images, and video; mobile games integrating audio, visuals, and hands-on interaction) to communication in more personal domains (e.g. “texting” with not only text but also emojis, GIFs, and recorded voice; personal stories on social media with captioned photos). Developing multimodal literacy in our language classroom is thus crucial to help our learners successfully interact with such rich combination of semiotics and the messages they carry. This workshop aims to explore how to help learners establish multimodal literacy through project-based learning. By examining students’ project samples and working procedures, we will discuss the abundant learning opportunities in the process and some technological tools and methods (both face-to-face and online) that engage learners and prepare them to be more effective consumers and creators of multimodal communication. Since such projects often involves collaboration among students, we will also discuss how such collaboration can be achieved even in fully online contexts.

Speaker Bio:

Dr. Amber Navarre is a senior lecturer of Chinese at Boston University and author of Technology-enhanced Teaching and Learning of Chinese as a Foreign Language (2018). She holds a Ph.D. degree in Applied Linguistics and works as a language teacher (Chinese and ESL) and teacher trainer, specializing in second language acquisition, technology-enhanced language learning, and curriculum design. She has been the lead instructor of two national Startalk Programs to train K-12 Chinese and K-16 Korean teachers. She has taught Chinese at all levels and developed several content-based courses including News Chinese, Modern China through TV series, and Chinese through Theater and Performance. Dr. Navarre has won many awards for her curricular innovations, including the ACTFL/Cengage Award for Excellence in Foreign Language Instruction Using Technology with IALLT, the Gerald and Deanne Gitner Family Award for Innovation in Teaching with Technology, and the Blackboard Exemplary Award.