Among all the different distance education media -- including Web-based instruction, one-way TV, and others -- ITV is the medium that comes closest to recreating the traditional classroom setting. Nevertheless, there are great differences between the ITV classroom and the traditional classroom. With multiple classroom sites virtually present at one time, the attention of both teachers and students in the ITV classroom is distributed differently, and communication is limited in important ways.
Some traditional instructional techniques, particularly teacher-fronted ones such as lecturing or teacher-directed question-and-answer, do not require any adaptation for ITV beyond the use of a camera to show whoever is talking "on program" and the use of microphones to capture sound. Other activities, especially those involving small group work, require careful attention to student grouping and special use of the single communicative channel and the images placed "on program."
Instructors vary instructional strategies to suit the material they are teaching and the different learning styles of their students. Teachers new to ITV will find that teacher-fronted activities are much easier to manage than activities in which many groups are working at once. But we can't drill all the time, or even most of the time. Current language teaching practice emphasizes communicative use of language in naturalistic situations, and that means the use of communicative tasks. This site is aimed at helping you develop communicative tasks for your ITV foreign language classroom.
The first few menu items at left will help explain to you some general features of ITV and will introduce you to a real ITV system -- the Hawai`i Interactive Television System (HITS). Following these, the menu items labeled "Strategies" give some general tips about facilitating communicative practice in the spoken and written channels. Under each skill area you will see examples of specific activities adapted for ITV. These can serve as a jumping-off point for you in developing your own activities.
The classroom activities shown here tend to focus on meaning rather than form. Form-focused activities are also necessary to heighten student attention and awareness and improve accuracy in production. Communicative activities, however, often seem more difficult to conceptualize, and that is why they were chosen as the focus for this site.