Earlier this year our school district offered high school teachers an opportunity to submit a proposal to “Re-imagine the 21st Century Classroom” . I, along with two English teachers - Tricia Buck and David Lunn - were awarded 30 netbooks and an opportunity to introduce technology driven activities to our curriculum. We are being supported by our district’s Instructional Technology Specialist, Cary Harrod. I am thrilled to discover what my Spanish students can achieve when they augment their studies with technology on a daily basis.
My students and I had our first full week with the netbooks in Spanish class.
It has become apparent that my students are not familiar with or do not know how to use web 2.0 applications despite what many experts say. Other than word processing, email and uploading photos, many of my students are not comfortable and/or knowledgeable using technology for educational purposes.
One of the activities my students did in class this week required them to create a hyperlink for a GoogleDoc presentation on our class Ning. I explained the process as I projected the steps on screen. In my first period, class only 11 out of 24 students were able to do it without additional assistance. I was sharing this with my colleague Thea, and she pointed out the obvious. Students learn better by doing. Active learning trumps passive every time.
Next week I plan on using Voicethread. The application is fairly easy to use, but has its quirks. Rather than showing the kids how to produce a VT, I will first have them do a listening activity with a VT that last year’s students created. This way they can see what the application does, in context of the language learning. I will then give them a short assignment to complete in their cooperative groups on VT. My hope is that with each other as a resource and the opportunity to work hands on with VT, they will be able to figure out how to use the application. I will of course be available to facilitate and answer questions.
How do you teach web 2.0 applications so that you maximize your class time?