A meaningful integration of technology in the foreign language classroom…
– Engages and motivates students to learn.
– Helps student relate what has been taught to life outside the classroom.
– Gives students opportunities to use their language abilities for interactional and real purpose activities
– Helps teachers reach all students in different ways and effectively differentiate instruction and allows students to work at their own pace
In my experience, technology is a rich resource for authentic language, and can help students with their listening comprehension skills. It is a way toexpose students to the different accents of Spanish, the music of the language, as well as the culture. Students can be transported to where Spanish is spoken and see what these places are like from the wildlife and topography, to thecities and monuments, to everyday life.
Technology contributes to student motivation, higher order thinking, and mastery of basic skills. Students respond more to real communication as opposed to the more structured kind in a classroom, feeling more relaxed and engaged, and being more willing to take risks with their new language.
Audio and VideoPrograms: Whether we realize it or not, looking at a teacher’s face and body language can provide students with clues that help them with listening comprehension. We also tend to slow down our speech, which is natural when we speak to a roomful of learners. Video resources remove that crutch and students can really develop their listening skills. They also allow students to hearsomeone else speak Spanish with a different accent, both adults and children, which also will foster listening comprehension skills. For Spanish teachers who are not native speakers, it’s an excellent opportunity for your students to hear native speakers. These programs are a great way to introduce the topics and themes of the day or week, showing the language in use in different contexts. I recommend using them as a warm up or as a closing activity.
Online Activities: These are great activities to differentiate instruction. Students can be working at different activities within the same topic without feeling embarrassed. For struggling students, this is a great resource for reinforcement and remediation. Students who have a higher ability will be able to work with a variety of activities that will challenge them. This could be a review on a weekly basis or a something you have students do for a few minutes at the end of a class period.
eBooks: I’ll behonest: I loathed the idea of e-books because I love books so much. It’s the usual argument of bibliophiles about the act of holding the book, turning the pages, blah, blah, blah. While I still love my books, eBooks, I have to admit, can be pretty wonderful things: especially for the classroom. eBooks are interactive. Students have a glossary, or the definition or read aloud of a word at their finger tips. Most eBooks also integrate audios and videos, enriching the language learning experience. I wish I would have had something like that when I read Rayuela for the first time! I have found that a lot of students find working with eBooks more motivating because they are electronic and they are interactive. If it gets students to read, I’m for it!