Technology not textbooks!
For teachers who were born in the pre-technology era, the textbook is a staple of learning. Today’s students are much more comfortable with a laptop or an Iphone, (Tapscott, 2010) and in order to enhance their learning, teachers need to make the leap into the world of technology. The creation of this website ¡Nos encanta español! is a way to connect with my students and to expand their knowledge of the language and culture of Spanish speaking countries. I want all of us to love Spanish – !Nos encanta español!
How can a website help students to learn? The 2011 Horizons Reports states that electronic books will be one of this year’s emerging trends that education should be using (Johnson, Smith, Willis, Levine, Haywood, 2011). Through my website, electronic copies can be made available to students of the textbooks or novels that we’re reading in class and I can have them blog about what they have read and problems they may have encountered. See the following link for an example: http://www.elmundo.es/quijote/ Spanish IV will be reading a new book in the Spring and I will try to find on-line versions to post for them to read at home or even on their smart phones.
Websites give students the opportunity to collaborate outside of school. Over the next few months, I want to present situations to the students where they have to use their Spanish and work together to come up with solutions or interpretations through blogging. Podcasts are an excellent way for students to collaborate while practice their listening skills and writing about their understanding.
Each level of Spanish class has its own page and I plan to incorporate game based learning that is appropriate for each level to help them learn by gaming. Here’s an animated grammar lesson that the kids can watch to help them understand the boring subject of verb conjugation. http://www.classzone.com/cz/books/avancemos_1/resources/applications/animations/L1U2Ls1_GR2.html Midterms will be at the end of January and it will give me the opportunity to let students review online as well as in class.
Another goal for this website is to expand the horizons of the students by exposing them to other cultures and experiences through traveling abroad. Every other year we plan a trip to a Spanish speaking country and I believe that creating links to the tour company will excite and encourage them to travel with us. This is also a great way for parents to get the information they need to feel comfortable letting their children travel. http://www.eftours.com/ We will start planning our 2013 trip in January 2012, so over the next 2 months I will have all the information available for students and parents on this website so that they can see the specifics of the trip and enroll themselves.
By the beginning of the next school year, I will have established a routine for the students of checking into the website on a weekly basis to participate in a designated learning activity. There are activities I can set up now, but much of this will require some work in the Summer when school isn’t in session. (Who says teachers get the summers off?) I also want to create some new images for my site but due to my lack of proficiency, it will be a long range goal until I can really spend the time to learn.
So what is the horizon for Nos encanta español? It will be Technology not textbooks! This website gives me the ability to create exciting activities for the students to enhance their learning and broaden their cultural horizons. I want my students to be able to make connections between what they learn in the classroom and their own world and to create relevance. Once they can see how Spanish can be useful to them, I hope they will embrace the language and culture and love Spanish as I do. ¡Nos encanta español!
Johnson, L., Smith, R., Willis, H., Levine, A., and Haywood, K., (2011). The 2011 Horizon Report. (p. 5) Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium. Retrieved from http://www.nmc.org/pdf/2011-Horizon-Report.pdf
Tapscott, D. (2009). Grown up digital-How the net generation is changing your world. (p. 122). New York: McGraw-Hill.