California Dreaming Pt 3
Our students finished working on their collaborative Voicethread a couple weeks ago, and all classes have taken a survey on the project so we have some very specific feedback for future collaborative efforts.
I really enjoyed working with another teacher, and Leigh was the icing on the cake. She is very organized, creative and willing to explore all possibilities. I appreciated hearing and seeing student work from California mirror what I see in my classes in Ohio. Most projects tuned out very well, but some were exceptional. You can tell so much about a student’s interest and motivation from something like this, even if they are not in your class. Although the project was time consuming, our students used language in context with a purpose, and picked up some information about the culture on the way. I believe that was well worth the time and energy spent.
Next time we do something like this, I would liked to monitor the collaborative efforts better. Some groups did a very nice job working together throughout the project, however other students interacted with each other, but they really didn’t work cohesively as a group. These are skills that need to be practiced, and don’t come naturally even when the kids are sitting next to each other. Next year, we will set up smaller exchanges between the kids leading up to a collaborative project. I also want to encourage more peer editing between the students, so we will put an activity in place that will require the students to look at each other’s work and give/get feedback before a final copy is produced.
Most students used Google Docs to communicate despite having a Ning forum. This surprised me because this is the “Facebook generation”. I thought that type of communication would come naturally to them. Many wanted to text with each other, but based on the survey it doesn’t seem like any did. Only one kid used email.
Although most students rated their work as excellent or good, and most thought they should get an A, 64 % of the students spent “just enough time/effort” to get the assignment done as was necessary. 37% did not go back and listen the group Voicethread when the project was finished. I find discordance in these results. Why would a student think they deserve a ‘A” if all they did was the minimum work possible?
My students’ favorite part of the assignment was working and talking to the California students. Several enjoyed learning about new music. Rachel said “I thought it was really cool that we were working on a project with kids on the other side of the country that we've never met, especially on the Googledoc when we were all 3 editing it. I also really enjoyed reading about Spanish music.”
The most challenging part according to my students was communicating with the California students. Ian said “Dealing with expectations of homework, especially at night with the time change, because a good time for them to start their homework is time for me to go to bed.” I think the best work came from the students who got a chance to work together in real time. I assumed my students would use the Ning when they couldn’t work in real time. Next time, we will provide an activity that allows the students to feel comfortable using the forum to communicate with each other.
Here are some of my favorite Voicethreads:
Thanks again to Leigh & her Spanish 3 classes!
I will be sharing a few examples of how to assess and record oral work in a foreign language class this week with my department. These are a few examples of my favorite tools and applications.
Google Voice-- Use with cell phones. Free. Teacher needs to request a number from Google.
Lingt -- Teacher can have up to 6 exercises on Lingt free of cost. Need computers with mics. You can add oral or graphic prompts. Audio can't be downloaded or linked.
(I can't post an example without sharing the account information.)
Voicethread --Teachers can have up to 3 VT accounts at a time with no cost. Need computer with mic. Very good to use in group projects. Multiple students can record at the same time on different computers.
Audio Dropbox from CLEAR Free. Dropbox can be embedded into a web page. Need computer with mic.
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 were very excited to meet their group-mates on Skype Monday morning. This is the first time I have used Skype with these classes, so the novelty created much excitement and nervousness. Typically my students revert to the most basic Spanish when they are nervous, and this was no exception. Each group of 2-4 students introduced themselves and made Spanish 1 chitchat for 2-4 minutes, and then they went to the Google Docs Leigh had set up for the written portion of the collaboration.
You can read the directions for the second part of this assignment here.
The students have been working on this portion of the assignment off and on all week. By the end of this weekend they should have a draft of the written section complete. My hope is that the groups will peer edit and proofread their work, and by the middle of next week, will start work on the Voicethread.