Write-Up on the Heartland AEA’s K-12 Foreign Language: Quality Instruction Using Technology

Today’s blog post is dedicated to Rebecca and Lainey, two very sweet Iowan teachers who read my blog and came up to talk with me after this workshop.  I’m wishing both of you the best of luck with your school year, and hope you will share the resources you gather at your next tech workshop with everyone!

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As I work on social media with the Iowa World Language Association (IWLA), I find that I am more aware of events and opportunities around the Des Moines area.  If you’re a world language teacher in Iowa you definitely should be following the IWLA on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest to stay up to date on all of these opportunities.  I actually first heard about today’s workshop through our Facebook page – so I promise we share good information!

Today I was fortunate to attend the Heartland AEA’s Technology Integration and Collaboration (TIC) session for world language educators in Johnston, Iowa.  Man, oh man, does the Heartland AEA TIC group have it together!  Their agenda was complete and available way ahead of time, they made sure that #haeaTIC was in full force, and they even live streamed the workshop using zoom.us.  I was impressed!  I appreciated that our three presenters were also language teachers, because sometimes I go to a technology session by people who do not understand my classroom and I get easily frustrated.  Jason Noble (@SenorNoble), the Vice-President of IWLA, presented on various tools to expand your classroom walls.  You can check out his information here.  Joe Sallen presented an in-depth look at Nearpod, Showbie, and highlighted JamTok at the end of his session.  Emily Orna shared a wide variety of resources which can be found on her school blog here.  Here are some of the coolest resources that I need to investigate further:

  • Nearpod.  It was described as “Powerpoint on steroids” and it truly does appear to help make your classroom paperless.  You can force students to follow along at your pace, or generate a separate code to allow them to work on their home (called homework mode).  It allows you to do old school presentation, poll questions with instant data, 360* Field Trips, fill in the blanks, and SO much MORE!  It seems to fuse all of those niché websites into one.  I’m in love.
  • VoiceThread.com – I’ve already heard of VoiceThread, but it looks like they’ve made some updates since I played with it.  You are still able to write text or record on the image, but I also saw you can now have VoiceThread call your phone!  Great for shy students who may not want to talk near others.
  • Plickers – Kind of like a buzzer system. The teacher needs two devices: one to connect to the projector and show the results, and the other to utilize the camera to “scan” students answers.  Students get a card with squares and there are letters labeled around the squares.  Students hold up their card with the answer pointing to the top and the teacher points their camera around the room and answers are quickly collected.  When Emily showed us this, she was able to scan 30+ cards all around the room pretty quickly.  Great for teachers who have some tech but their students do not.
  • Planeta Digital 360 – Virtual tour that let’s you do 360 degrees.  You can go inside schools, restaurants, etc.
  • Google Expeditions – Another Virtual Field Trip tool.  It’s a Google product, so you know it’s good!
  • SpanishListening.org – tons of great clips for students to listen to, also comes with scripts, and I saw a quiz section
  • Yabla.com.  Has videos that come with subtitles for listening practice.
  • Newsela.  A website with nonfiction readings.  First site shows English, but there’s a Spanish search feature.  You know I love my culture and current events!
  • Spanish: Language and Culture – website with a bunch of cultural resources.  I’ve seen it before but need to explore it more!
  • JamTok. Described as Guitar Hero for foreign language music, it’s an iPad app.
  • ymuchomas.com. A foreigner’s insights on living in Spain.
  • Spanishsabores.com.  Another foreigner’s blog about her food adventures in Spain.

Make sure to check out Jason and Emily’s resources by clicking the links above, as I’ve only shared the resources that I want to look into.  I have left some out (like Educreations, Kahoot!, screen recording services, etc.) because I already knew of them.

As I sit here with 100 tabs open, thinking about how cool all of these resources are, I am stuck wondering which ones will work well for a TPRS/CI-based classroom.  I have some ideas, but I feel like I need to perfect them.  I feel a future conference presentation in the works!

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