PassaParola: lingua e cultura italiana

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Francesca Italiano, University of Southern California
Irene Marchegiani, Stony Brook University

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Today’s students are globally oriented, culturally sensitive, and know that language is key to understanding the world around them. PassaParola: lingua e cultura italiana, a modern, digitally delivered Introductory Italian program, fosters the development of communicative and cultural competence. Building on the hallmarks of Percorsi, it promotes transparent and effective learning giving students the confidence to use Italian in their daily lives.


PassaParola does away with the “textbook + supplement” or “eBook + model” and instead creates a single unified space in which instructors and students work: every unit in the program offers individual (independent, asynchronous) and collaborative (synchronous) instruction, practice, and meaningful assessment opportunities in a cohesive sequence. Students can easily print on demand all vocabulary lists and grammar explanations and have myriad opportunities to practice and perfect their language skills.


Today’s college students differ from those of ten or twenty years ago. There are striking differences in their degree of engagement and in the level of preparedness, often seen within the same class. These challenges are multiplied further by the increasing shift toward blended or hybrid learning, in which students are expected to acquire new concepts by preparing and practicing outside of class. The flipped model ensures meaningful preparation at home followed by focused target-language interaction in class.

Today’s language instructors also face several practical challenges in preparing students for communicating in the world, whether in a brick-and-mortar or virtual learning environment. Contact hours are more limited at many schools than they were in the past, and students are expressing concerns about course materials and the prices associated with purchasing them. Time must be utilized effectively. PassaParola makes flipping the classroom easy by providing a clear learning path for out-of-class preparation and practice and in-class communicative pair and group work.


Students want to learn to use Italian. No longer content to conjugate verbs and fill in the blanks, students expect to use their adult brains as they learn a new language. PassaParola empowers students as learner-participants to use Italian to engage the world around them. Students will acquire the ability to express themselves effectively both orally and in writing and to interpret language use in a variety of contexts.


With culturally rich content integrated throughout the program, students develop their language skills while gaining cultural awareness and understanding of Italian communities and traditions throughout the world. In addition, each unit explicitly promotes cultural exploration through interactive presentations followed by activities facilitating comprehension and highlighting cultural comparisons. Students are encouraged to analyze and compare varied aspects of Italian culture while making connections to their own experiences.

Scope and Sequence Accessibility & Conformance Support and Training
Unit Walkthrough LMS Integration Pricing
Progetti & Social Learning


PassaParola addresses the opportunities for teaching and learning languages in the 21st Century. As a mobile product created with today’s teaching environment in mind, PassaParola offers instructors a program to maximize these key opportunities.

  • PassaParola is designed from the outset to be used in all course modalities by moving beyond the arbitrary divisions of in-class, homework, and assessment material. It is instead organized around learning modules that follow a present, practice, communicate, and assess framework delivered within one integrated digital learning environment.
  • PassaParola is optimized for mobile delivery with a responsive design, so no print materials are necessary, creating a better value for students and a better way to manage courses for instructors.
  • PassaParola offers a new approach to engagement via media-rich, interactive and personalized learning experiences. The digital space creates opportunities to engage students in a way that print cannot, especially the social networking features that allow students to connect in a medium they engage in already.
  • PassaParola gives students the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of unit concepts in two ways: through end-of-unit Progetti and summative online assessment.


PassaParola provides beginning learners with a variety of tools to develop their communicative competence in the four major language skills—listening, speaking, reading, and writing—as they engage with Italian culture. All features in PassaParola have been carefully designed to support the two key aspects of the language acquisition process: language comprehension and language production.


Studies show that students learn effectively with and from each other and that the quality of student work is enhanced when it is created for an audience beyond the instructor. The sense of community developed through social networking can also serve to enhance classroom community and to recreate the classroom experience in virtual environments of hybrid and fully online courses. PassaParola uses a social networking model, which enables students to post and comment on each other’s Progetto unit tasks (Parliamo and Scriviamo) via LingroFolio. By providing an authentic mechanism for interaction and collaboration, students use their developing Italian language skills to create and maintain a digital social network. They build community and explore the vital role of the Italian language and cultures in today’s world.


Each unit of PassaParola concludes with an In diretta! project. Students select and interact with personal, native speaking coaches from Italy in a real-time online learning environment. These expert language coaches facilitate meaningful conversations.