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.
- My students’ excitement when they met their California group mates was fun to experience.
- Some of Leigh’s students are very good writers, and a few of my students want to rise to the occasion and do a nice job on their end.
- My more proficient writers are using multiple tenses correctly to express themselves without any prompting, and doing some fabulous work.
- Collaborating with Leigh has energized me professionally.
- Some of the kids are not getting to meet their California partners via Skype because of the time difference.
- Most kids still feel awkward using Spanish, and want revert to English for the planning process. Maybe I just need to accept this at this level?
- I think the assignment would be easier to complete if the kids had more time to collaborate in real time, but due to schedules it is hard to do, so most of their work needs to get done using Google Docs, email and Ning.
- Most of my kids are only using class time to work on the project and not spending much time outside of class on it.