Nuevos Destinos: A CD-ROM for Advanced Beginning



Nuevos Destinos: A CD-ROM for Advanced Beginning
Nuevos Destinos: A CD-ROM for
Advanced Beginning Spanish*
Robert J. Blake
University of California at Davis
This article provides a description of the Nuevos Destinos CD-ROM, a joint production of McGraw-Hill Publishing
Companies, the Annenberg/CPB Project, and WGBH Productions for students learning Spanish at the advancedbeginning, intermediate-low, or native-speaker’s level. The CD-ROM, along with four hours of video, is
accompanied by the choice of one book for each of these three audiences (advanced beginners, intermediates, native
speakers). Issues of good interface design will be discussed with particular attention paid to how the CD-ROM
medium can simulate social discourse despite the obvious absence of any true face-to-face contact. The Nuevos
Destinos CD-ROM asks students to listen to authentic dialogues, view QuickTime™ movie clips, read foreign
language texts, answer questions in several formats, record their voices, do activities, perform office tasks, and
actively practice writing short compositions in Spanish in the form of e-mail messages sent to other story characters.
The overall intent is to involve students in some meaningful way with the Nuevos Destinos plot by asking them to
solve the real-world problems encountered in the law offices of Raquel Rodríguez, the lawyer originally hired by
Don Fernando Castillo five years earlier (i.e., Destinos televideo Spanish course). The CD-ROM materials supply
clues to the final plot resolution not contained in either the textbook or the four hours of video.
Advanced Spanish CD-ROM, Simulation, Interactive, Real-World Activities, Negotiating
Meaning, Five-Year Destinos’ Update
*A brief and less theoretically based description of the Nuevos Destinos interface can be found in Blake (1998). I would like to acknowledge the
wonderful working relationship with the entire Nuevos Destinos team, but especially Thalia Dorwick and Bill Glass of McGraw-Hill and Ted
Sicker of WBGH.
CALICO Journal 17(1) p-p 9-24
© 1999 CALICO
Nuevos Destinos CD-ROM
Learning another language is a demanding enterprise that requires from 600 to 1,320
contact hours to reach a high level of proficiency, depending on the language (Bialystok &
Hakuta, 1994, p. 34). At the same time, most second language acquisition (SLA) theorists would
agree, in some basic formulation of the issues, that formal L2 teaching is often unsuccessful
because L2 learners receive impoverished or insufficient input in the target language (Cummins,
1998, p. 19). Technology, then, if used wisely, could play a major role in enhancing the L2
learners’ contact with the target language, especially in the absence of study abroad. But a word
of warning is in order from the outset: technology only provides a set of tools, which are
methodologically neutral. How these tools can best be used is determined by a particular
theoretical stance. This article looks at the CD-ROM platform, one tool in the technological
arsenal for teaching languages, and reports on both the theoretical and practical planning that
went into designing Nuevos Destinos, a CD-ROM program for advanced beginning Spanish
( index.html).
CD-ROM technology is, by now, a familiar resource for foreign language teachers. The
leading first-year textbooks are all accompanied by some type of CD-ROM package. Their
advertising “spin” usually describes these programs as “highly interactive,” but what exactly
does that term mean for today’s L2 learners? The question begs a more fundamental issue of
what type of language practice is most conducive to SLA.
Undoubtedly, the term “interactive” is closely associated with one of the most popular
theories of SLA, the interactionist approach, which subscribes to the idea that a second language
is best learned and taught through interaction (Long, 1981, 1991; Pica, 1994; Gass, 1997;
Doughty, 1998). Pica, Kanagy, and Falodun (1993, p. 11) state that “Language learning is
assisted through social interaction of learners and their interlocutors [italics added], particularly
when they negotiate toward mutual comprehension of each other’s message meaning.” This sets
up an inherent contradiction for any CD-ROM program that dubs itself as “interactive” because
no one is really “there” in a CD-ROM program to interact with.
In the classroom setting, the interactionist approach has focused much attention on
having students perform meaningful tasks that make them focus their attention on linguistic
forms. In their attempt to solve real-world problems, then, L2 learners also “notice the gap”
between where they were linguistically in terms of their interlanguage and where they must go in
order to solve the task at hand.
In this process of negotiating meaning, L2 learners bootstrap their way toward the target
language in a painfully slow, but sure, manner. Fortunately, the language profession has
embraced the importance of classroom
Robert J. Blake
activities that are task-based and collaborative in nature. This task-based approach has been
extended to the activities included in the better foreign language CD-ROMs as well. But, again,
there still is no human presence to collaborate with when running a CD-ROM application, which
is the sine qua non of the interactionist SLA stance. The basic theoretical question examined in
this article, then, is whether or not a CD-ROM program, such as Nuevos Destinos, can
successfully promote L2 learning through real-world activities which at least approximate some
sense of “interactivity” that is consonant with the interactionist approach, although no other
interactant is present.
Most CD-ROM programs minimally do something in response to users’ clicks, typing, or
other keyboard/mouse actions. This minimal reaction often constitutes the sole basis for labeling
the program as “interactive.” But the more social definition described above is what remains
critically important for SLA. L2 learners are motivated to learn by being incited by other
speakers to use the target language. Even in the absence of a human partner, Reeves and Nass
(1996, p. 5) have shown that computer users still tend to interact with machines in a
fundamentally social manner, just like interactions in real life. Programs that capitalize on this
fact usually solicit more favorable reactions from computer users. In part, this was the underlying
design philosophy for Nuevos Destinos.
The Nuevos Destinos project was conceived with an eye to simulating social
interactions, despite the obvious absence of any face-to-face contact. The program should be
judged on how well it approximates this goal, without any hope of fully obtaining this objective,
much like the theory of calculus is predicated on approaching, but never completely arriving at,
its mathematical limit.
The Nuevos Destinos project was a joint production of McGraw-Hill Publishing
Companies, the Annenberg/CPB Project, and WGBH Productions. These organizations were the
original producers of Destinos (WGBH Educational Foundation, 1992), the highly acclaimed 26hour televideo course for teaching beginning Spanish. I was hired as the chief academic
consultant for the Nuevos Destinos CD-ROM project with the responsibility of generating an
overarching story line for the video and the initial concept for the CD-ROM interface, including
specifications for all tasks, activities, and exercises. In reality, Nuevos Destinos (WGBH
Educational Foundation, 1997) quickly became a team effort, much like making a movie,
involving a multitude of talents, namely, the publishers, producers, project manager, production
staff, artists, dialogue writers, chief academic consultant, programmer, advisory board, and
student pilot testers. It is hard
Nuevos Destinos CD-ROM
to attribute the final product to any one source when this type of synergism is in play. Insightful
and creative ideas came from a range of participants during the numerous group discussions of
the planning phase.
The project was well financed by the Annenberg/CPB Project with approximately
$550,000 for filming the video and programming the CDROM. From start to finish, the video
and CD-ROM production took about a year and a half to complete. The planning stage involved
group discussions over the period of six months, beginning with an initial “brainstorming”
meeting in New York that brought together an advisory board made up of academic consultants
and college Spanish teachers who were already heavy users of Destinos (“Destino-heads,” as it
were). The board members were asked what they thought their students wanted to know about
the Castillo family five years later. They reported that their students wanted to have some of the
loose ends in the Destinos’ plot tied up: for instance, what happened with respect to Raquel, the
Castillo family lawyer, and Arturo, the half-brother of Don Castillo’s lost son, Angel? Did Don
Fernando die? What about Gloria’s gambling problem? A few board members also advised that
Destinos’ 26 hours of video (approximately one hour per week for two semesters) was
overwhelming for certain students; the new project needed to reduce the video to 4 hours, 15
minutes of use in the classroom per week. This board also made other recommendations
detailing what they thought an ideal computer program should provide students. Existing CDROMs for teaching language, both the good and the bad, were reviewed to get a feeling for the
market and the medium possibilities.
These suggestions were culled and then presented to the production team which spent the
next six months fleshing out both the video plot and the general interface concept for the CDROM. In addition to conference calls and e-mail discussions, this group meet two times during
this period at the WGBH facilities in Boston to smooth out particular features of the project and
develop the most believable plot that the video and programming budget would support.
Fortunately, the project could also count on using the excellent cultural footage available
from the original Destinos series, as well as the unsurpassed graphic design expertise provided
by the WGBH studios in Boston. The production team was responsible for creating a visually
believable, virtual law office. The budget also provided for a fully dedicated third-party
programmer, fully versed in the use of Director in order to reproduce the Nuevos Destinos CDROM in a format compatible for both the Macintosh and Windows markets.
Robert J. Blake
The Nuevos Destinos video project consisted of 3 hours of new video and 1 hour of clips
taken from Destinos which were used to summarize previous actions from the original 52episode series. These summary clips were included to allow both new and old Destinos viewers
to be able to follow the new Nuevos Destinos plot.
The CD-ROM complemented the video segments but also presented plot material and
information that was not included in the original video segments. The video and CD-ROM
together were conceived from the beginning as multipurpose materials that would be linked to
three separate textbooks: Nuevos Destinos for intensive beginners or low intermediates, Con
destino a la comunicación for students in a conversation course, and Nuevos Destinos: Español
para hispanohablantes for native speakers. But the project team also designed the video and CDROM as standalone materials that could be used without reference to any of these three
In addition to making Nuevos Destinos accessible to both new and old Destinos viewers,
there were other limitations placed on Nuevos Destinos plot by the main funding organization,
the Annenberg/CPB project. For budgetary reasons, only one of the original actors, “Raquel”
(Liliana Abud), could be recalled for taping new video footage and only one new actor could be
added to the existing (and very long) list of characters from the original series. This restriction
extended into the voice recordings as well. In other words, the ever-popular and dashing
character of Arturo could not be recalled in the flesh, although his character still serves an
important role in the Nuevos Destinos’ plot. The story line had to be written so that Arturo had a
presence via letters, faxes, and e-mails, without ever being physically present. The video taping
itself had to be done in only one location, again, for financial reasons, in stark contrast to
Destinos’ lavish multi-country taping that took place in Spain, Argentina, Puerto Rico and
Mexico. The new video was taped in San Diego in one week’s time.
A distinct advantage of the Nuevos Destinos project over the original series was the
targeted audience. Nuevos Destinos was designed for intensive or advanced beginners and,
consequently, the script writers could employ more sophisticated language than that of Destinos.
This circumstance was especially important for the CD-ROM, which inherently relies heavily on
text for reading and writing. In practical terms, it meant higher linguistic expectations, fewer
sanitized texts, more authentic-sounding dialogues and readings, and fewer glosses.
Nuevos Destinos CD-ROM
As the concept and interface design for Nuevos Destinos began to emerge, the students’
role with respect to the CD-ROM loomed first and foremost. How could the students fit in
Nuevos Destinos’ basic story line? The design team wanted students to listen to authentic
dialogues, view QuickTime movie clips, read foreign language texts, answer questions in
several formats, record their voices, do activities, perform tasks, and actively practice writing
short compositions in Spanish. The overall intent was to involve students in some meaningful
way with the Nuevos Destinos plot by asking them to solve real-world problems. The CD-ROM
materials were also intended to supply clues to the final plot resolution not contained in either the
textbook or the 4 hours of video.
It was finally decided that students would enter the virtual CD-ROM world as junior law
clerks for the law firm whose senior partner was Raquel Rodríguez, the lawyer originally hired
five years ago to investigate Don Fernando Castillo’s suspicions that he had other previously
unrecognized heirs by his first marriage. Five years later, Don Fernando, the Castillo family
patriarch, has long since died (both the character and the actor himself!) and Don Pedro, his
brother and lawyer for the wealthy Castillo estate, has been suffering serious health problems. As
the action of Nuevos Destinos begins, Don Pedro has just passed away and with him, the secrets
of the Castillo family fortune. Enter the villain, the Mexican government, that is interested in
expropriating the La Gavia estate in order to turn it into a historical monument, all for the glory
of the state (or at least the PRI).
A new young lawyer living in Mexico City, Lucía Hinojosa, has been engaged by the
Castillo family as the estate’s executor. She immediately seeks Raquel Rodríguez’ advice, with
the hope of getting a more complete picture of the inheritance structure and possible legal claims
on the estate, starting from all pertinent information from the first case (i.e., Destinos). Raquel
directs her employee (i.e., the user—our language student) to help Ms. Hinojosa in every way,
starting with the documents already laid out on the junior law clerk’s desk. Each lesson begins
with a personal communication from either Raquel or Lucía, detailing what tasks must be
accomplished that day.
When students open the Nuevos Destinos program, they are first invited to choose an old
or new version of that lesson. The program will retrieve previously saved work and allow further
changes. If “new” is chosen, students log in with their name and indicate their gender. The
program will try to reflect their gender in various forms of address used throughout the office
tasks (e.g., e-mails, faxes, etc.). The main menu screen offers students 15 lessons. Clicking on
any particular lesson brings up that episode’s title and two small graphics: one
Robert J. Blake
depicts the action found in the corresponding video lesson and the other shows a reduced photo
of the law clerk’s desk for that lesson (the papers and documents change from lesson to lesson)
(see Figure 1).
Figure 1
Nuevos Destinos Main Menu
Clicking on the story line graphic opens a new window with three to five still images
digitized from the video, in addition to a short textual passage summarizing the story’s action to
that point. Clicking the desktop takes students directly into the office environment and begins the
The Nuevos Destinos interface was designed to be visually sufficient and fully
compatible with the standard Macintosh and Windows environments; that is to say, no words
should be necessary in order for students to know what to do. An ever-present “Options” button
in the left corner of the screen provides an obvious means to quit the program, return to the main
menu, access legal vocabulary, review the “to-do list” for that lesson, or reset sound volume.
(Help is also available under this same “Options” button in the form of labels, if all else fails.)
All documents, telephones, audio tapes, computers, and archives can be accessed by a simple
click of the mouse in like fashion to these devices’ normal operation in real life.
Nuevos Destinos CD-ROM
Opened windows or documents can be closed by clicking the small, square close box in the
upper left hand corner, again, a standard feature of both the Macintosh and Windows
environments. Shifting from one window in the foreground to another in the background also
requires just a single click. Glossed words have small red dots located underneath the target;
glosses appear by mousing down on these red-underlined words. When Raquel or Lucía are
about to walk through the door (via QuickTime movie clip), a white arrow begins to flash at the
top of the screen, prompting the user to click at this location to pan up from the desk to the
doorway. Both the telephone and the computer signal new messages in traditional real- world
ways (i.e., by beeping and/or blinking). Students are not forced, however, to follow a prescribed
course of action, but the program does gently alert them from time to time to possible courses of
actions. Performing a particular series of actions can trigger the telephone to ring or the arrival of
new e-mail or Raquel’s “entrance” into the office.
At both the beginning and end of each lesson, either Raquel or Lucía “addresses”
students in order to instruct, summarize, and comment on the story’s progress (see Figure 2).
Figure 2
Addressing Students
Robert J. Blake
The visual effect itself is produced by using a standard QuickTime movie clip of Raquel
or Lucía, which was taped using a chromo-keyed technical to blend the figures into the virtual
graphic world of the office—a standard trompe l’oeil trick from the video world that translates
convincingly to the computer medium.
These QuickTime clips and, in some cases, the digital recordings not only serve as a
“hook” for the present and subsequent lessons but also provide students with a peer tutor who
can simulate a dialogue that invites users to develop a personal stake in the plot. Reeves and
Nass (1996) have demonstrated the importance of having a teacher/peer presence or “teaching
agent” (see Hubbard, 1999) in learning materials in order to make a connection with the learner.
Students have a desire to interact with people, not just information. These QuickTime movies
allow the Raquel or Lucía character to appear to adjust to, and even anticipate, changes in the
plot, making the work of the students feel that much more real, as if they were responding to a
human situation or relationship.
The computer screen’s point of view originates from behind the junior law clerk’s (i.e.,
the user’s) desk, complete with telephone, laptop computer, tape recorder, and various
documents strewn across the desk. In this way, the students’ point of view always coincides with
the law clerk’s perspective, with an eye to further highlighting the illusion that the students are
direct participants in the story line. As the user “looks up” from the desktop by clicking, the
program pans up to reveal a door to the right of a wall with a bookcase full of pertinent archival
materials (e.g., maps, old correspondence, photo albums, genealogy charts, etc.). It is through
this door that Raquel or Lucía can “enter” the office and “talk” to the junior law clerk. The
cursor changes to a small person icon when placed over the entrance door, allowing the
QuickTime movie clips to be stopped or replayed at any time by clicking the mouse.
After playing the QuickTime movie clip of Raquel or Lucía, a post-it or “to-do” list
appears to remind students of the day’s work agenda. This to-do list appears automatically in the
first lesson but is available in subsequent lessons by clicking on a desktop document. Students
read background articles and correspondence (e.g., a pamphlet on La Gavia, excerpts from a
book on the Spanish Civil War, a letter from Don Fernando’s first wife, etc.), study relevant
geographic maps (e.g., cities from Spain, Argentina, Puerto Rico and Mexico that figure in
Destinos’ plot), answer telephone messages, transcribe audio tapes, prepare summaries, send email messages to clients, and send faxes. In other words, students must perform tasks common to
real-world law offices around the world with an eye to collecting data pertinent to the solution of
the Castillo case (see Figure 3).
Nuevos Destinos CD-ROM
Figure 3
Desktop Documents
In pedagogical terms, these duties are divided into datos ‘evidence,’ actividades ‘activities,’ and
tareas ‘tasks.’ Each piece of evidence is associated with a comprehension check, ¿Cuánto
entiendes? ‘How much do you understand?’ in one of three formats: multiple choice, true/false,
or listen and record your voice. When students open a dato file, a green sphere labeled ¿Cuánto
entiendes? appears on the left of the screen. Feedback for wrong answers provides useful clues
that lead students to discover the correct solution. With the first wrong response, students receive
audio input. With the second incorrect try, a textual clue appears, usually a bit-mapped fragment
excerpted from the original reading assignment with the critical passage highlighted in bold (see
Figure 4).
Robert J. Blake
Figure 4
¿Cuánto entiendes?
A third wrong answer prompts the program to supply the correct answers. Again, this
type of feedback was designed to invite users to discover the correct answer by refocusing on the
pertinent sections of the dato in either aural or textual form. The ¿Cuánto entiendes? section can
be attempted or re-attempted at any time during which the corresponding dato window is open.
The actividades ask students to accomplish something for Raquel or Lucía: for instance,
complete a family tree (see Figure 5), drag photos and match them with the appropriate captions,
organize Raquel’s notes, or fill in the portions of a fuzzy fax. When completed, all actividades
become a permanent part of the office’s archives and can be accessed from the archival bookcase
of future lessons.
Nuevos Destinos CD-ROM
Figure 5
Finally, the tareas or writing assignments are all realized within the medium of the
office’s laptop computer. While working on this computer- within-a-computer medium, users
have access to a personalized notebook where their comments and annotations can be saved from
lesson to lesson, a complete list of the Destinos characters and their respective biographies and
photos, a Spanish-to-English dictionary, and a mailbox with all previously read and sent e-mails.
Users routinely receive writing assignments from Raquel and Lucía in a similar fashion to the
normal asynchronous communication conducted in e-mail exchanges. For example, students
receive a message which directs them to “send a fax to the Castillo family lamenting the death of
Don Pedro” (see Figure 6), “summarize Raquel’s Argentine notes for me,” “ or “e-mail Lucía to
tell her that her travel plans to Los Angeles are fine.”
Robert J. Blake
Figure 6
The interface allows students to print these assignments or to save them electronically to
turn in to their instructor. Because of the assignments’ open-ended nature, no automatic feedback
algorithm or linguistic parsing tool can be applied to what the students write. Given the
enormous technical problems of instantiating a parsing routine for open-ended paragraphs,
foreign language teachers (real people!) continue to provide the best feedback for this type of
writing. Besides, handing in the tareas is the best way for teachers to verify that the CD-ROM
lessons are being properly utilized. The writing assignments have been phrased so that it would
be nearly impossible to finish them without already having worked through the entire lesson for
that week. The written assignments provide the instructor with the means of integrating the
Nuevos Destinos materials into the classroom curriculum.
The students’ e-mail replies are also filed in the archives for future reference and made
available for subsequent lessons from within the laptop computer environment. Not only do
students receive e-mails from Raquel and Lucía but also from co-workers, friends, and strangers
in order to
Nuevos Destinos CD-ROM
expose students to different voices and different discourse styles. The varied types of discourse
found in these e-mails allow students to practice writing both formal and informal Spanish. For
instance, a paparazzi-type Argentine reporter contacts the junior law clerk through e-mail in one
of the later episodes and tries to dig up some personal “dirt” on Raquel’s relationship with Arturo
Iglesias, the half-brother of Don Fernando’s long lost son, Angel Castillo. He offers the law clerk
money to reveal personal information about Raquel and Arturo, but Raquel finds out about the
offer and warns the junior law clerk (i.e., the student) to be careful not to commit a breach of
ethics or loyalty to Raquel and the firm. Students have complete freedom to decide how they will
respond to this reporter and what course of action they will take. In another instance, J. R., an old
schoolmate from law school, makes contact to check up on how the Castillo case is going and
also to share personal love-life stories, respectively. Again, every attempt has been made to make
the office tasks seem as authentic as possible and resemble real-world situations and everyday
asynchronous e-mail exchanges. These e-mail messages from other characters further enhance
the presence of teaching agents.
Working together with others strikes me as the ideal way to produce a foreign language
CD-ROM. Each participant brings special talents to the project: namely, foreign-language
content, interface design, graphic design, or programming expertise. No one individual can be a
master of all of these trades. The Nuevos Destinos project succeeded precisely because it
capitalized on the value added by the individual members of the team. For a foreign language
professional like me, relinquishing the project’s control to the group allowed me to learn from
the best (the production staff at WGBH) about how to maintain a visually stimulating and
professional CD-ROM interface. The goal was to create a language CD-ROM that would push
the profession further and squeeze out the maximum amount of useful input for L2 learners in
the most engaging environment possible with present technology.
Although the Nuevos Destinos interface can never truly generate communication in the
purely interactionist sense, it still constitutes a cleverly designed vehicle for simulating
interpersonal discourse. More important, its interface was designed to motivate L2 learners to
perform activities and tasks as if there already existed a basis for cooperation within the context
of a real-world law office. If this ruse succeeds, it is due, in grand part, to WGBH’s meticulous
creation of a believable virtual office environment, complete with graphics and chromo-keyed
QuickTime movies. In other words, students encounter a standardized fiction much like in the
Robert J. Blake
movies, which displays qualities of verisimilitude without actually being real. If the interface and
plot are believable and entertaining, L2 learners will play along with the game and imagine that
they are Raquel’s junior law clerk. The production team pushed this fiction to the limit and,
judging from the initial marketplace reaction (see Lafford, 1999), the results have achieved
considerable success. I suspect that Nuevos Destinos’ real-world, task-based approach will put
pressure on the profession to provide similar uses of the target language in the production of
other CD-ROMs, at least until HAL, the talking computer, goes on line in 2001 or, alternatively,
is rebooted in the year 2010 when the “kinks” have been worked out.
Blake, R. (1998). Constructing a CD-ROM interface for teaching Spanish. In K. Cameron (Ed.), Multimedia CALL: Theory and
practice (pp. 303-307). Exeter, UK: Elm Bank Publications.
Bialystok, E., & Hakuta, K. (1994). In other words. New York: BasicBooks. Cummins, J. (1998). E-lective language learning:
Design of a computer-assisted text-based ESL/EFL learning system. TESOL Journal, 33, 18-21.
Destinos. (1992). Boston, MA: WGBH Educational Foundation and Washington, DC: Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
Doughty, C. (1998). Acquiring competence in a second language: Form and function. In H. Byrnes (Ed.), Learning
foreign and second languages (pp. 128-156). New York: The Modern Language Association.
Gass, S. (1997). Input, interaction, and the second language learner. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Hubbard, P. (1999, June). Teaching agents in tutorial CALL. Paper presented at the Annual Symposium of the Computer
Assisted Language Instruction Consortium, Oxford, OH.
Lafford, P. (1999). Review of Nuevos Destinos CD-ROM. CALICO Journal, 17 (1), 144-154.
Long, M. (1981). Input, interaction and second language acquisition. In H. Winitz (Ed.), Native language and foreign language
acquisition (pp. 259-278). New York: Annals of the New York Academy of Science.
Long, M. (1991). Focus on form: A design feature in language teaching methodology. In C. Kramsch & R. Ginsberg (Eds.),
Foreign language research in a cross-cultural perspective (pp. 39-52). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Nuevos Destinos CD-ROM. (1998). Boston, MA: WGBH Educational Foundation and Washington, DC: Corporation for Public
Nuevos Destinos CD-ROM
Pica, T., Kanagy, R., & Falodun, J. (1993). Choosing and using communication tasks for second language instruction. In G.
Crookes & S. Gass (Eds.), Tasks and language learning: Integrating theory and practice (pp. 9-34). Clevedon, UK: Multilingual
Pica, T. (1994). Research on negotiation: What does it reveal about second-language learning conditions, processes, and
outcomes? Language Learning, 44, 493-527.
Reeves, B., & Nass, C. (1996). The media equation: How people treat computers, television, and new media like real people and
places. Stanford, CA: CSLI Publications and New York: Cambridge University Press.
Robert J. Blake (Ph.D. University of Texas, Austin) is professor of Spanish linguistics at UC
Davis and Director of the Davis Second Language Acquisition Institute. He has published widely
in the areas of Spanish syntax, history of the Spanish language, and applied linguistics. Professor
Blake is co-author of Al corriente (3rd ed.), a second-year Spanish textbook based on authentic
reading materials and Internet activities. He was the chief academic consultant for Nuevos
Destinos CD-ROM (McGraw- Hill, Annenberg/CPB Project, and WGBH). Currently, he is
helping to develop a chat tool for distance learning, Remote Technical Assistance (RTA,
Robert J. Blake
Department of Spanish and Classics
University of California at Davis
Davis, CA 95616
Phone: 530/758-0751
Fax: 530/752-4339
E-mail: [email protected]

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