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Kamran Asdar Ali, Director WCH 4.132, Mailcode G9300, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-3550

The Cultura Project

Mon, November 19, 2007 • 4:30 PM • Mezes basement (MEZ 0.306)

In her talk, Gilberte Furstenberg , Senior Lecturer at MIT, will present this telecollaborative, Web-based, intercultural project, the goal of which is to develop – within a language class – students' in-depth understanding of the values, beliefs and attitudes that underlie another culture.

She will detail the approach and content of Cultura and focus on the process by which students from two different countries collaboratively construct an understanding of each other's cultures.

Designed at MIT ten years ago thanks to a grant from NEH, and originally involving students in the U.S. and in France, Cultura has since been adopted by other institutions and adapted to other languages, such as German, Italian, Spanish, and Russian.

Gilberte Furstenberg was born and educated in France where she received her Agregation. She taught English at the University of Paris-Nanterre, then moved to the United States where she became a correspondent for the French news magazine L'Express. Her next career move brought her to M.I.T. where she has been teaching French for the last twenty years. In her courses, from the very beginning to the advanced levels, she makes use of authentic print, video and multimedia materials in order to integrate culture into the language curriculum. She also favors a cross-cultural approach to the study of materials, as a way of accessing the different underlying values in French and American cultures.

Her research interests lie in the development of interactive multimedia programs for learning French and developing an understanding of its culture. She is the principal author of A la Rencontre de Philippe, a pioneering interactive fiction and Dans un quartier de Paris, an interactive multimedia documentary. Both have won national and international awards and are published by Yale University Press. She is currently involved in the development of a Web-based cross-cultural project, entitled Cultura, which provides a unique comparative approach for understanding another culture.

Sponsored by: Texas Language Technology Center


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