Technology is an integral part of my classroom allows me provide authentic language experiences for my students. Through the use of technology I am able to enrich my students’ learning in new and exciting ways. As a language teacher I love being able to combine 21st century skills with the language skills my students need to be successful in our global world. Below are some of the ways I use technology with my students.
Glogs are a great way for my students to demonstrate their learning. For this particular assignment, my French 3 class was given the task of creating a glog around the theme of their daily routines and were required to include elements such as audio and video as well pictures and written text. The objective of this assignment was not only for students to demonstrate their mastery of the grammatical structures and vocabulary they had learned but to do so in a personal way. As part of the project I required students to make their own videos & audio tracks. I didn’t want them to download a clip off of Youtube that was made by someone else. Using Glogster allowed my students to showcase their language abilities in an interactive format that really put them front and center in a way that a traditional presentation in front of the class could not.
In terms of project management, I found a checklist to be an invaluable tool during this project. There were several required technical elements and a checklist kept me and my students on track. I was used the checklist to set intermediate deadlines for my students which prevented them from saving everything for the last minute. At the end of this project, each student’s work was graded using the IB Language B Criteria for Oral and Written Production.
Overall, I think this project was quite successful. Next time, however, I will make students aware of the size limitations for uploaded materials. Several students created fantastic video content that could not be added to their Glogster due to file size. On the other hand, using Glogster required my students to really think about how they were going to convey their message in French. Many of them had to stretch themselves a bit in terms of vocabulary and it gave all my students the opportunity to apply what they had learned in an authentic & creative way.
Click on the picture to view some of my students’ finished projects. *
I often create assignments for my students using Voicethread that allow my students to comment on pictures or video clips related to a topic we are studying in class. Students are able to comment not only on the picture but also listen and respond to each other’s comments as well. The objective of this assignment was to get my students talking. In a classroom setting, it is easy to get bogged down with the mechanics of the language and I wanted my students to use the language they were learning to discuss real world topics and issues. Voicethread’s ability to combine both audio and visual allowed me to engage my students in demonstrations going on in France. Students commented not only on the image itself but also on comments made by their classmates. The virtual nature of this assignment gave students the opportunity to comment at their leisure and made it more of a conversation rather than a dreaded assessment.
In preparation for this assignment I took my students to one of our computer labs and introduced them to Voicethread and let them practice using it before giving them the assignment. There was a three day participation window and student exchanges were graded using the IB Language B Criteria for Oral Production.
Overall, I think this project was successful. Next time I would like to do this assignment in a computer lab in order to encourage more conversation. I think it would be easier to respond to a comment in the moment, when it’s fresh and when all the participants in the conversation are present and focused on the topic at hand.
Click on the picture to view this Voicethread assignment.*
Each of my classes has a class blog. Questions are posted on a regular basis that relate to the theme or topic we are studying in class. I enjoy blogging with my students because it gives students, who may finding speaking in class a bit intimidating, another forum to practice and build their skills in French.
I also used my blog during a recent trip to France with students. I wanted to share the experience of being in France with all my students, not just those who were able to go with me this year. Every day I blogged about our adventures and posted pictures of the places we went and the things we did. Students at home enjoyed being able to live vicariously through their friends and parents especially loved being able to experience the trip in this way alongside their students.
Click on the picture to view my France trip blog.
* Work samples shown with student permission.