An Inquiry in Language Learning

Brian Kim, a Liaison Officer at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center at Offutt Air Force Base, joined SCOLA for our 2013 Users Meeting. This week, Brian kindly answered some questions for us about language learning:

– What do you think is the biggest challenge for language learners today?

Trying to sort through myriad of available technologies to select the “best” one for one’s own target language training

– What is the best tip you can give to language learners?

Be persistent and proactive in increasing your exposure to the (high quality) target language!

– Why is being multilingual important?

Too many to list!

– What is the greatest benefit of using technology to learn a language?

It enables easy integration of authentic materials into the lesson.

What inspired you to pursue a career in the language field?

– My own bilingual/immigrant upbringing. Having had such a difficult time picking up English has encouraged me to help others who are having difficulty acquiring a new language.

SCOLA is happy to have contacts such as Brian to share with us his opinions on why language learning is important. Stay tuned for more posts from language experts.

Behind the Scenes- Meet Karima.

As the month of May comes to an end I would like to introduce you to Karima, one of SCOLA’s many providers. Karima was especially helpful this month with the information she provided because it allowed SCOLA to launch a Country of the Month on our social media websites.

Karima was born and raised in Agadir City, MorocSAMSUNGco. She received her bachelor’s degree in Experimental Sciences in 2005 and then went on to study at the Specialized Institute of Applied TSAMSUNGechnology (ISTA). In 2007, she received a diploma in Computer Development studies from ISTA. In the two years after she received her diploma  Karima trained at five different companies in the following areas: computer graphics, website creation, and computer hardware maintenance.  Shortly after, Karima became a SCOLA provider for her country of Morocco.

Karima enjoys learning languages such as French, Spanish and Turkish. She also likes theater, sports, music, and drama films. Out of her many hobbies cooking and presenting in front of the camera are her favorite. Karima has provided SCOLA with a lot of information to share with our subscribers and we appreciate the material she sends.

Check out the information Karima shared for the Country of the Month by visiting our Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+ accounts!

2013 SCOLA Users Meeting

As many of you know, May is a very busy time of year as we prepare for our 2013 Annual Users Meeting. This year, it will be held Thursday, May 16th, and Friday, May 17th in Omaha, Nebraska and McClelland, IA. The meeting offers a full schedule complete with presentations by language teaching experts and hands-on sessions covering SCOLA’s subscription services and language training resources. Attendees will have the opportunity to network with language professionals, learn what’s new at SCOLA, and, as always, enjoy Midwestern hospitality.

The meeting will kick off on Thursday morning at Omaha’s Downtown Double Tree Hotel. The meeting will kick off with registration and a lunch buffet. After lunch, guests will listen to presentations from the following speakers: Dr. William Rivers, Mr. Lee Martin, Dr. Antonia Schleicher, Mr. Jim Bellas, Mr. Masoud Hashime, Dr. Richard Brecht, Dr. Joyce Baker, Ms. Monique Roske, and SFC. Jason Shelton.

With the conclusion of the presentations we will head to social hour, dinner, and entertainment at the Renaissance Mansion in Omaha, Nebraska. You can learn more about the mansion on their website,

The meeting will continue Friday morning, with a shuttle to take guests to the SCOLA campus in McClelland, IA. Upon arriving at SCOLA, breakfast will be served to prepare attendees for another day of educational presentations. After breakfast the morning will be filled with hands-on sessions pertaining to SCOLA resources and presentations by Ricardo Varquez and John White. The meeting will conclude with lunch in downtown Omaha and presentations by the Honorable Steve King, and Roger P. Lempke.

SCOLA looks forward to hosting the meeting and providing an educational atmosphere for attendees. The Users Meeting is a time for SCOLA users to learn from and network with language professionals,  and understand SCOLA’s mission. We can’t wait to see you there!

Around the World with People and Places

Welcome back to The SCOLA Symposium! As we introduced our first country of the month, Morocco, on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ we received a request to share some photos from the Middle East, specifically Egypt, Syria, and Libya. Unfortunately, we do not currently have any photos from Libya or Syria. The photos stored in People and Places are taken by friends and providers of SCOLA, and we cannot host any other photos on our website because we do not have the rights to them.

Luckily for our subscribers though, we do have over 80 other countries featured in People and Places! Adding all the photos together, our People and Places resource boasts over 28,000 unique pictures! Although that number may sound daunting, the photos can be easily sorted by country and/or topical category. Users have the ability to download any picture they like at full resolution. Whether you subscribe to SCOLA for teaching, learning, or for your own personal interest, People and Places is sure to have something all SCOLA users can enjoy.

Although we do not have any posts from Libya or Syria, we would be happy to share a few of our photos from other Middle Eastern countries, including Egypt.


Tattooed camel in Egypt


Children playing in a reflection pool in Iran


Kerkuk Castle in Iraq


The Sea of Galilee in Israel

In the future, we hope to have some photos from Libya and Syria. Are there any other countries you would like to see featured on SCOLA People and Places?

To view more photos and learn about other SCOLA resources, visit!

The SCOLA Symposium: An Introduction

Welcome to The SCOLA Symposium! Since you have found our blog you probably already know what we do here at SCOLA, but to those of you that do not, I will use this first post to introduce ourselves.

In 1981, Lee Lubbers, S.J.,  established SCOLA as a foreign language cable television system on the campus of Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. The system delivered popular television stations of the time along with programs from Canada, Mexico, and the USSR. SCOLA was the first international cable system of its time in the United States, and one of the first cable systems. It became a model other academic institutions looked up to.

In 1990 SCOLA began Out-Write Service, which featured transcripts from the first five minutes of selected newscasts in its original language and English. The transcripts included key words, vocabulary lists, and quizzes for SCOLA affiliated teachers to use as classroom activities. The Out-Write Service is now known as Insta-Class.  The feature started with French, Japanese, Russian, and German and now holds over 50 languages!

With SCOLA’s growth came the need for a different location, so in 1993 SCOLA relocated to a 13-acre property in McClelland, Iowa. Twenty years later, SCOLA remains in McClelland, which is a twenty minute drive from downtown Omaha.

SCOLA continued to grow and gained an online presence  in  2006 when all SCOLA programming became available via the internet and the interactive and informative website,, was launched. Today, the website  has ten interactive resources and tools, utilized by language learners around the world.

World TV Online is SCOLA’s international television programming featuring eight geographically designated channels accessible 24/365. It streams news, talk, drama, children’s and music programming exactly as people see it in their own countries. All of the programs are available to SCOLA subscribers for downloading and live streaming.

People and Places is an ever-growing, original snapshot gallery of SCOLA friends from around the world and the places they live. There are currently over 27,000 vibrant pictures to browse, download and display for any educational purpose.

International Radio holds exotic radio broadcasts featuring SCOLA Exclusives: Afghan Women’s Radio and rare Mayan dialects. Subscribers can also listen to seldom heard news and talk shows, music and more in over 40 languages.

Learning Objects are SCOLA’s interactive, self-contained language lessons geared toward independent study. The lessons provide instructive assessment and feedback from a sociocultural perspective.

On the Street Videos contain compelling videos from around the world produced exclusively for SCOLA. The videos are designed to present the native language as it is spoken informally among friends and neighbors. Family and cultural celebrations, weddings and wedding toasts, sports, parades and interviews on intriguing topics are examples of what you can find in the videos.

Language Training Materials are unique travelogue-style videos from every corner of the globe produced exclusively for SCOLA and narrated by native speakers. Introductory level language lessons and other activities featuring text, videos, quizzes and vocabulary lists are also available.

Specialized Word Video Search holds a searchable collection of over 150,000 specialized native language words. Users are able to view a native language video clip containing the words, listen to an audible pronunciation and hear the words spoken in context.

Foreign Text is a global newsstand of newspapers, magazines and books. The resource includes unabridged publications that present news, sports, entertainment, political commentary and more. Foreign Text features OCR technology.

Video Editor allows users to easily create smaller clips of SCOLA videos for downloading and we understand that not all of the information in each video is applicable to your needs. Our videos, including full length news broadcasts, entertainment programming and talk shows, contain a lot of information! Video Editor can be accessed from each SCOLA service that contains videos.

All SCOLA services are now available through Mobile Apps.

These resources guide SCOLA in fulfilling our mission:

“To to help the people of the world learn about one another; their cultures, their languages and their ideologies. SCOLA emphasizes the importance and effectiveness of modern information technology as a tool in overcoming barriers to global understanding and will remain at the forefront of its application.”

In the coming weeks we are looking forward to unveiling our new website, hosting our annual Users Meeting, and launching new resources and programs for our subscribers to enjoy.

The SCOLA blog will be updated weekly to keep you informed about SCOLA resources and events and current news we think will be beneficial for language learners. If you would like more frequent SCOLA updates we are available on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, and LinkedIn. These websites will also have information about the SCOLA Country of the Month! Moroccan recipes, photos, and other fun facts will be shared in the month of May.

You can also subscribe to our monthly newsletter by e-mailing

SCOLA values your feedback, so please feel free to create discussions relevant to the posts in the comment section below.