Thailand grants US$10K to an American university to develop Thai language mobile phone lessons

Long noted is Thais lack of English language skill. Yet equally lacking is foreigners with Thai language skill. Many foreigners, who have settled in Thailand for years, have little skill in the Thai language. NIU reports; Thai Ambassador to the United States Chaiyong Satjipanon made his third visit to NIU in five months Thursday, June 20. This time, the ambassador presented a Royal Thai Embassy grant to develop a 40-lesson Thai language program that can be accessed on a hand-held mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet computer. Speaking at a luncheon at the Holmes Student Center, Satjipanon presented the $10,000 grant to College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Dean Christopher McCord for the innovative language program designed by Distinguished Teaching Professor John Hartmann and two NIU alumni. Accepting the gift, Hartmann addressed the ambassador in formal Thai. Hartmann has taught Thai at NIU for the past 37 years and proposed the e-language program after a national summit of college Thai language teachers, including Hartmann, hosted by the ambassador Feb. 8 at the Thai consulate in Chicago. At that meeting, it was noted that there is a need for more ways to teach basic Thai to college students or to Thai-American students who want to learn their heritage language.  Hartmann submitted a proposal to the embassy for a portable program that could function as a supplement to classroom learning or be a stand-alone program for self-instruction. Collaborating on the project will be UCLA Thai language instructor Supa Angkurawaranon, who has developed computer-assisted, web-based programs for reading Thai there, and NIU Outreach systems developer Rosarin Adulseranee, who has produced several programs for teaching Thai and online classes for NIU faculty. Both native Thai speakers received their doctorates in instructional technology at NIU and previously worked as graduate assistants for Hartmann. (Source)

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