Monday, December 7, 2009

Technology Peripherals in the Language Classroom

Using technological tools in the language class requires a positive attitude to learn and try something new. A project using technology could work smoothly and enhance language learning; or fail and be frustrating. Anyhow, using technology in my Spanish class has been a constant learning process. I have learned some useful tips by failing and by listening to other teachers share their failures as well.The tools I use frequently are laptops, cameras, smartboard and videocameras. I will explain how I used laptops recently and some ideas which helped to organize a project better.

About a week ago my Spanish students used Photostory3 to complete a project as a unit assessment. To help my students with the project, I broke it down to small parts trying to avoid chaos. For the first step I asked students to bring a project sketch. Using paper and pencil, they had to organize their ideas, scripts and images.The paper I created for them was a simple table which included key words for them to keep in mind what I expected. Then, I presented a short lesson to use "creative commons" and asked my students to bring all their images ready on a flashdrive for the next class. After, our MS tech expert came in to help my students with the tool; she prepared a digital tutorial which helped them to know how the tool works. I helped with the tool myself; but using only Spanish. My students then worked during two full periods and had very good projects; with their voices, images, music...they used only Spanish and highlighted the theme, the characters, setting and other elements of a short modified novel we read.

As I learn how to use more technology and decide where it fits best to help students learn Spanish; I continue to speak to my students on different ways they can show me and others what they know. I believe one important learning I have had is the value of allowing my students to show how they can use Spanish in ways that make sense to them. As long as the class outcomes and expectations are clear, the variety of ways they can show language learning is fascinating.

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