Guest Blog by Jonathan Tamayo
Change makes most people uncomfortable, and when MISD announced their grand idea of scouting out the digital frontier of education, teachers were more than skeptical. We had conversations in the workroom bemoaning all of the students potential off-task behavior, distracting apps, games, and messaging systems. New and innovative ideas are sometimes difficult to grasp at first, especially when it requires you to venture outside of your comfort zone. I remember feeling excited, exhausted, failure, and eventually successful. Luckily, our district had many pioneering teachers/faculty who embraced this idea and used their modern success to spread inspiration.
As a Spanish Teacher (levels 2-4AP) for nine years at Mansfield High School, I truly believe that it has improved my classroom.
Using technology in the classroom can be ‘foreign’ for some LOTE teachers. Since most of us (teachers) are really busy, I will include some forms of technology that I utilize often as well as a brief explanation. Chances are some of you already use these. Please share in the comment section any great uses of technology that you use.
This is the application I use to get the information and activities out to the students. Everything listed below is administered through iTunesU. It is great! I can also put upload any document/picture that I own.
This is a great website where you can create multiple-choice question game. I typically create my own, but there are hundreds of thousands of them created. Each student will need an electronic device that has a Wi-Fi connection. They are easy to create and the students love playing.
Spanish Language and culture:
This website is great for extra practice.
- Voice Recorder Pro: I utilize this app for listening or speaking activities. I can record myself and have the students access it for a listening grade or just practice. You can also have the student record himself and send the recordings to you… Be careful not to create too much work for yourself. For example, last year in my Spanish 4 AP class I would get excited and have the kids send me 2 recordings giving me 3-4 hours of work per class….ouch! I then became selective of what I graded and used it mainly for practice. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/voice-record-pro/id546983235?mt=8
- Quizlet: You can actually set up classes (if you pay the annual fee) and see how long your students studied as well as what they have studied. Creepy…but beneficial. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/quizlet-flashcards-study-tools/id546473125?mt=8
- Flashcard: Many teachers love this App although I have never used it. You can upload lists of vocabulary/conjugations from quizlet. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/flashcards/id478986342?mt=8
- Word Reference: The best online Spanish to English Dictionary. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/wordreference-dictionary/id515127233?mt=8
- Podcast: Notes in Spanish: This is a great podcast that I have my student listen to. You can purchase the questions for it or create your own. The podcasts are free though. https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/notes-in-spanish-intermediate/id189219027?mt=2
I still have my students write quite a bit in the classroom since the majority of their test will be on paper, especially the Spanish and Language AP Exam. I feel that incorporating more technology has helped my class become more efficient.
Thank you to Jonathan Tamayo for his valuable insights into the LOTE classroom.