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Technology-Enhanced Language Learning
Apprentissage des langues assisté par ordinateur

Alumna uses multi media to teach languages

For many, reading Roch Carrier's classic The Hockey Sweater or watching the National Film Board's animated adaptation was part of growing up in Canada. Now, a U of C alumna has helped bring the story to life again for learners of all ages.

Donna Mydlarski, MA'68 and a U of C professor emerita, produces multi-media CD-ROMs that make learning French or English as a second language a fun experience. "They are a creative outlet for me," she says. "I find working with programmers, graphic artists and media producers to be a great experience because I learn so much from them."

With support from colleagues across Canada, Mydlarski spearheaded the production of two interactive CD-ROMs, one each in English and French, based on Carrier's story. Released in January, the English version helps new Canadians enhance their knowledge of the English language and of Canada, while the second teaches French and Quebec culture to those learning French.

This latest venture followed Mydlarski's 2001 project, La Chaise Berçante, that also used interactive technology and the Oscar-winning Société Radio Canada's legendary animated film CRAC!, to promote the French language and French-Canadian culture to English speakers.

Mydlarski has worked in technology-mediated learning for most of her career, developing long-standing partnerships with the University of Guelph's Dana Paramskas and André Bougaïeff of the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières.

Mydlarski became a professor in the Faculty of Continuing Education in 1979 and was associate dean (academic) from 1986 to 1991. During that period, she was also director of the French Centre in Craigie Hall. "My greatest joy was to hear French-speaking voices in the centre," she says.

Although retired with a grandchild to keep her occupied, Mydlarski still finds time to make learning both fun and exciting for others. "My co-authors and I have been privileged to work with outstanding Canadian films and our passion is to make these treasures accessible to learners through the power of multimedia."

By Sheila Dennis and Wendy Stephens

Published in On Campus, Feb. 2007, vol. 3, issue 6