The ESL students will receive a CD which is part textbook, part video and part music based on the theme of Miami History. The CD will emphasize provocative events in Miami History. More than that, the CD will combine the learning of Miami History with the acquisition of the English language. In this way, the structure and grammar of English will not be presented in its traditionally isolated mode, but rather integrated with Miami History. The projects most compelling feature is that via the CD, the material is presented in a number of ways. These include a visual component (via actual news footage), an aural (via related popular music from the time), and written (via related news articles and conventional reinforcement exercises). This unique presentation will capture the students’ attention while allowing those with different learning styles the chance to succeed.
A CD-Rom was developed featuring 100 years of Miami history for both students and teachers on nearly 400 easy-to-use PowerPoint slides. Specifically implemented and piloted during the 2003-4 term at the Hialeah Center, it is currently being used in EAP 1520 (Reading, level 5). Interactive and easy to use, the CD-Rom includes still images and moving images, sound, and text; it also includes comprehension and vocabulary activities as well as a mini-dictionary. While this curriculum-enhancing project was designed specifically to compliment the EAP 1520 reading text, it is intuitive enough to be used by students at home and in the lab; parts can be and have been used to supplement a variety of courses.
While there are various options in terms of how to use the CD, for the purpose of maximizing control during its initial phase, the project was implemented by ESL teachers in classrooms via a multi-media cart as well as via photocopied prints of the PowerPoint slides. After a brief, 2-minute introduction to the curriculum in the form a montage of still images – imagine a trailer to a movie – interactive buttons return the browser to a “Home” page. Here, one can choose to launch Roman numeral one, “100+ Years of Miami History” (a lengthy slide presentation featuring still images) or click on the button below this option, Roman numeral two, “Self-Study Units with Movies” (featuring moving images). While the former chronologically guides one through key moments in Miami history, decade by decade, it is the latter, the self-study units, which are the central thrust of the curriculum project. The slide presentation is organized historically and is designed to give a quick overview of Miami history; the individual Units (with the moving images), however, are thematically based, with topics chosen by both their appeal and the availability of moving images to accompany the topics/ news events.
There are five Self-Study Units, or themes: Politics, Sports, Entertainment, Only in Miami, and Crime. Under each of the 5 units, there are 4 chapters. For the purposes of the completing the pilot and due to the cost in procuring the moving images ($250.00 per minute), each unit features one completed chapter. Each chapter is comprised of the following segments: Before You Watch, Watch Video, Before You Read, Read Article, Vocabulary Exercises, and Check-up Quiz.
The project was piloted in both EAP 1520 and 1620, levels 5 and 6 Reading classes during 2001-4 by Prof. Amy Castrillon. Using the multi-media cart, 4 to 6 class periods were spent watching, reading, and discussing the slide + text overview of Miami history. Next, students were given copies of the featured article from one of the completed chapters and asked to review the material at home. For example, students were asked to read Chapter 2 from the Politics unit, “The Kennedys in Miami.” The following class, using the multi-media cart, the teacher guided the class through the interactive chapter. In terms of direct assessment, each chapter features an interactive comprehension exercises and a check-up quiz. Additionally, at the end of the course, students were also given an eight-question survey to complete. These two tools, the quizzes and the survey, were used to assess and evaluate the project. Based on the feedback from the survey, quiz results, as well information gathered from informal conversation with the students, we concluded that the curriculum fits best with level 5 instead of level six.