PRIMA (Pedagogical Repository of Italian Media Activities) is a language learning tool meant to supplement grammar books and other resources designed for Italian language learning. Our collection began as a series of worksheets used in Italian language classrooms at the University of Pennsylvania. It was a direct response to the lack of diversity (both in content and in representation) provided in conventional language learning materials. We wanted to expand our teaching materials and be able to share these resources with others so that they wouldn’t have to “reinvent the wheel” as we felt we kept having to do.

Our goal was to compile a series of videos and accompanying activities that promoted diverse voices, were multi-modal, inclusive, and accessible for all contemporary language learners, and that any Italian instructor could use to complement their curriculum.

In February 2020, thanks to a grant from the Penn Language Center we were able to get the project off the ground. Since then, because of the resources and invaluable minds of our team, PRIMA has grown to be an Open Education Resource for both instructors and language learners. As we continue to contribute new content to this repository we also invite other Italian instructors to join us by submitting their own content to be shared on the platform.

The activities on this site span all levels from beginner to advanced, and range in focus from grammatical topics, reading and listening comprehension, vocabulary, and culture. All the activities focus on language and cultural learning through engagement with a piece of authentic Italian media (from film clips and music videos to short stories). The media file and accompanying activities can be accessed from any device with an Internet connection, and worksheets may be downloaded and modified according to their intended use. There are answer keys, captions, and transcripts available which are designed to cater to the specific needs of each user.

By using activities from our repository, instructors are helping students to fill in the gaps where the curriculum often falls short in terms of popular culture and other contemporary subjects. It is crucial that students are exposed to Italians of color, queer Italians, and those belonging to non-traditional or minority communities, as textbooks do not often represent (or poorly represent) non-white or non-heteronormative Italians. PRIMA gives students a broader and more accurate perspective of contemporary Italy that reflects the country’s vibrancy and celebrates the achievements of ALL Italians.

Do you have a media-based activity that you would like to have featured on PRIMA? Please click “Contribute” for more information about how to submit your content.