Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Technology: Vocabulary and reading in L2

This week we will be discussing in class how the use of technology could help Spanish students learn vocabulary and develop their reading skills in a L2. Vocabulary flashcards and apps are specially popular nowadays. My daughter is using two apps in our iPad: Gus Spanish and Mindsnacks Spanish to learn basic vocabulary in Spanish. She specially enjoyed the games targeting the words she is learning.

 Gus Spanish

 Mindsnacks Spanish

 Other tools such as flashcards and tools in the web such a Memrise can help learners store new words in their memories.

StudyBlue flashcard



 Reading and how we read in the net have also experienced important changes that can help L2 learners get more exposure to the texts, textual enhancements, tools such as dictionaries and glossaries, and share her reading experiences with others through apps such as Kindle and iBook.

 Children Library app


 For this topic, I prepared a special live binder to introduce the topic and share some tools that can be used in the Spanish classroom.

Friday, September 13, 2013

MQlicker - Previewing a lesson

This week, in my technology class for Spanish teachers, we were talking about Standards for students and teachers in relation to the use of technology in the classroom. The chapter we read in the book: DuBravac (2013), Technology in the L2 Curriculum, discussed the ACTFL standards and the ISTE NETS for students and teachers. We also talk about the ACTFL 21st century skills map. Students read the chapter at home and I prepared a presentation using Empressr to discuss the topic. Before the lecture, I previewed the lesson by eliciting from students words related to the standards for students and teachers. For this preview of the topic, I use the tool: MQlicker. I found out about this tool via Nick Peachy. He wrote a wonderful post talking about the features MQlicker offers to teachers in order to assess/poll students using their mobile devices or laptops. I prepared a quiz with ten questions. Some of the questions were open text, students had to provide words associated with the standards. Other questions were multiple selection in which students had to report about their findings in a survey they administered to their students about the use of technology in the classroom. I also included an open text question about a surprising fact they found out about their students' use of technology. At the end of the survey I included a short video about what 21st century students need in their classrooms (Engage me!) and asked students to provide names of tools to address what students in the video needed - open text question.
When students finished completing the quiz, I showed the results to the class. For the open text questions, I selected the option Word Cloud to show the results. A word cloud presented the words they provided related to the standards so we could discuss the more frequent ones and what they meant.
For the open question related to the surprising data in their surveys, I showed the results as a sticky board to read the different comments and elaborate on this information.
For the multiple selection questions, I showed the results as charts that showed the most frequent option selected by the students. We discussed about some trends like the fact that students did no want to use Facebook in their Spanish class.
I believe that showing real data from the participants in the class and their students for a quick analysis and discussion was a refreshing way to preview and discuss the topic of our class. Participation was greatly encouraged by the data collected and presented through MQlicker.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Presenting with Haiku Deck

I am teaching a technology class in our Master's program in Teaching Spanish. This semester I want to experiment with new ways of presenting content using other apps and tools besides powerpoint. I learned about Haiku Deck a few weeks ago and decided to give it a try. Haiku Deck is an iPad app that allows you to create amazing presentations using free pictures from the internet. The app is very intuitive. You type a word in the search function of the app and it looks for pictures related to the word or phrase you used in your search. The picture is used as a background for your slide. If the app can not find a picture, you can upload your own pictures from your roll camera in the iPad or from Dropbox. Once you have your picture selected, you are presented with different templates to add text to the slide. The text is kept to the minimum, so you are forced to really summarize the information you want to present. Goodbye to the wordy slides that makes content boring for the audience. Once you are finished with your presentation, you can share it with a link or published it in your blog or website with an embed code. I showed my presentation about the History of Computer Assisted Language Learning from the webpage in the link and it worked well.