Introducing Dr. Adolfo Carrillo Cabello

Language Center Staff Spotlight Series
Dr. Adolfo Carillo Cabello sitting outside with Goldy.

Meet Dr. Adolfo Carrillo Cabello, who has worked at the Language Center since January 2016His current job title is Technology Enhanced Language Learning Specialist, but what does he really do?  In this interview, Adolfo highlights major aspects of his work and shares how he can help you tackle your next project. This is part of a series of Language Center Staff Spotlight articles.

Which parts of your current job description should ElsieTalk readers know about? Are there specific services or expertise you offer that readers could take advantage of more than they currently do?

The first thing readers should know about my current position is that this is a multifaceted position. It may be that most readers are well acquainted with my work with professional learning opportunities. In this capacity, in coordination with Directors of Language Instruction and course-section-coordinators I design, implement, and assess a robust professional learning program for all language instructors in CLA. In addition, I oversee daily operations of our four computer classrooms in Jones hall, and hire, train, manage, and supervise a diverse team of seven student employees to provide reliable technology integration services in our classrooms. What readers may be less familiar with is my work as consultant with language faculty on the integration of technology to enhance the language learning process and increase opportunities for student success. I welcome the opportunity to collaborate and work with you in any of these areas!

Can you briefly describe 2-3 projects you've worked on in the past year?

Throughout my tenure at UMN since 2016, I have been instrumental to the success of large, multidisciplinary projects that aim at producing and distributing high-quality digital educational products and experiences, including course and materials development. In 2017, for example, I served as the project manager for the Advanced Speaking Proficiency Initiative, which was part of the PACE Project funded by the US Department of Defense as part of the Language Flagship program. In this initiative I consulted with and guided four graduate students and four language faculty in the development of speaking tasks and assessment instruments that were incorporated in four upper-level content courses in four languages: Arabic, French, German, and Spanish. Results of this initiative were disseminated in a CARLA working paper that I co-edited: Developing Advanced Speaking Proficiency: Instructional and Curricular Models for Post-Secondary Language Programs. In preparation for pandemic-induced remote teaching, I spearheaded a partnership with technology and pedagogy experts from the Center for Educational Innovation, Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition, and LATIS to offer a week-long workshop series that aims at providing opportunities for task development and technology implementation. The series, Teaching Language at Distance as Guided Practice, provided instructors with exemplary activities that they could readily implement into their courses, or tailor to suit their specific curricular needs and teaching contexts. In 2019 I collaborated with Dr. Hai Liu in the development of short interactive video lessons for the learning of Chinese grammar. As the project manager, I oversaw the development and successful completion of over 120 short video lessons that incorporated imagery, text, and digital interactions. The complex production process entailed close collaboration with Chinese faculty at UMN and the National Foreign Language Resource Center at the University of Hawai’i,Mānoa, and overseeing six undergraduate students who assisted in the development of the lessons. The lessons are currently integrated in the lower and upper-level Chinese courses and available on a YouTube Channel.

What skills and competencies do you bring to your current job from your educational background, positions you have previously held in the Language Center, or from work and relationships with other units at this/other institutions?

I have over 15 years of teaching experience that entails successfully teaching language at all levels of proficiency and content courses in a variety of formats including in-person, hybrid, hyflex, and online. I have worked at private and public institutions with students and faculty from diverse backgrounds in the Midwest and the South in the USA. At UMN, every summer since 2016 I have co-taught the CARLA Summer Institute on the integration of technology in the second language classroom, a graduate seminar taught in-person and online. My extensive knowledge of and expertise in technology-mediated language and culture learning has been primarily informed by advanced studies and research in these areas, and enriched by my wide teaching experiences as well as my experience with course and curriculum development. I hold a Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics and Technology from Iowa State University (ISU). This doctoral program is one of only two programs in the USA that focus on the intersection of language pedagogy, technology use, and assessment.

Is there anything else you would like readers to know about you?

I am not only very passionate about integrating technology for language teaching and learning, but also eager to help disseminate effective uses and successful integrations with local, national, and international audiences. Currently, I serve as the co-coordinator of the webinar series organized by the International Association for Language Learning and Technology, which is a professional organization that provides leadership in the integration of instructional technology into the foreign language classroom. Within the Big 10 consortium, I have been involved in the multi-institutional group The Language Collaboratory, which provides professional development and learning opportunities for language faculty across the Big 10 universities. I would love to have the opportunity to support dissemination of your work with our community and beyond. Reach out to me if you are interested!

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