Create, collaborate, and communicate in a second language

Digital literacies in a distance education Spanish course

Silvia Rodriguez Sabater & Laura Plotts, College of Charleston


Click the slide above to view the presentation on an external site. To ask the presenters a question about their presentation, please add a comment at the bottom of this page between October 6 and October 10. Presenters will check for and reply to questions at the end of each symposium day.


It has been established that L2 learners need to have effective skills to make, share and negotiate meaning in different digital modes (visual, audio, and textual) to be able to create, collaborate, and communicate in an L2. As college students and future graduates, they are expected to acquire these skills and be multilingual digital literates. Therefore, it is not uncommon nowadays to have digital learners in charge of their language learning process with the assistance of their instructors as guides and facilitators (Durán-Cerda, 2010). Particularly, students in this course had to use multimodal digital literacy tools for the development of creativity, collaboration and communication ( in Spanish as an L2.

The poster presentation will describe an upper-level, distance education Spanish course named “Service Learning: Hispanics in the United States”; intended student audience; course objectives including the further development of online digital literacies in Spanish as an L2; types of materials and delivery format as a distance education course; and examples of digital tools used to further develop interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational modes of communication proposed by ACTFL (2012). One of the tools used for this purpose was VoiceThread, a cloud application that allows one to create, share, comment, and discuss documents, presentations, images, audio files, and videos. For instance, students were able to create (individually or in group) both visual and auditory narratives using images, text, video and audio, and later share those with the instructor and their peers using interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational modes of communication.

Silvia Rodriguez Sabater

Associate Professor of Spanish
College of Charleston

Laura Plotts

Instructional Technologist
College of Charleston

8 thoughts on “Create, collaborate, and communicate in a second language”

  1. Thank you for your presentation. I am wondering in what ways and to what extent you think that the digitally-mediated nature of the communication qualitatively changed, in other words, what opportunities did the digital mode create?

  2. Hello Chantelle,
    Thanks for your question. Communication changed in several ways. There was more discussion than in a face to face class, part of it was because students had to participate a minimum of two times in the discussion board and respond to a minimum of two peers. In face to face class, shy students or less interested students do not participate as much plus there is limited class time. Another change was the type of encouragement they gave each other with expressions (in Spanish) such as “good job”, “i like your response”, “what you are doing at the service learning site is so important” and even if they disagreed, they gave a positive expression before mentioning how they disagreed. In my face to face class, students did not do that. They just went directly to what they thought.
    Thanks for your interest,

  3. Your presentation is greatly appreciated. The various means of using digital media in creating presentations is well put together and clearly demonstrates the benefits. One thought I have is with these tools, presentations can, as you mentioned, go beyond the classroom. An advantage to that is that native speakers of the target language can be brought into the discussion, if they can be made available. This could be so helpful for students to have exposure to the language as it is actually used in communication.

    1. Thank you for your comment, Michelle. I agree with you. As we move forward with the distance ed delivery format, I will try to make these student presentations available to the community if possible. Since this course is tied to a service learning experience, the video or images taken there cannot be shared outside of the class members because of human protection issues.

  4. Thank you for sharing your course with us in this presentation. I am excited by the possibilities of the applications you discuss, especially Voicethread, which I hadn’t heard of before. I’m curious as to why the students weren’t able to share their final projects with more than just the instructor, as you mention in one of the final slides.

    1. Thanks for your question, superwolf1977. Since the course was tied to their service learning experience and had video/photos with members of the Latino community (some of them children, some undocumented), students did not have permission to share their projects with each other. I am working on getting everything approved so we can do that next semester.

  5. I loved your presentation. Thank you for sharing! I have to admit that I was impressed by the variety that you used. Sometimes we limit ourselves to only certain programs without realizing that there are many others that may appeal better to our students. I really learned a lot!

Comments are closed.

a hybrid symposium on research and practice

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