Posted in Technology

Tips for teaching with technology

Tips for teaching with technology

I am a huge advocate of using technology in any classroom but in particular in the foreign language classroom.  I frequently blog about my blended class, and I have presented twice about technology tools that facilitate my foreign language class.  However, using technology can be daunting, and I keep seeing a lot of questions pop up in various teaching groups about how to teach with technology!  I wanted to offer some tips that I have learned in the past few years.

First, don’t be afraid to tell students to put away their technology!  (I know, I just told you how great technology is- and I am telling you to put it away!)  Just because your school is 1:1 or your students have iPads does NOT mean that they have to always use their computer.  I believe that teachers think that once their students get a computer or iPad that everything MUST be done with technology.  That is not true.  There have been many studies done saying that if a student is just using a computer throughout class to take notes, he or she will likely get distracted easily.  I struggle like many teachers to encourage students to use an online dictionary and not to rely on Google Translate.  Typically, my students blog and do a lot of writing on Seesaw, but many times, I would have them write on paper.  I gave my students a topic, we brainstormed important words as a group on the whiteboard, then I let them look up 5-6 words that they personally wanted to use.  Then, the students put their computers away and wrote.  Also, I make sure that all students put away their technology in the beginning and end of class when I am introducing/reviewing topics.  You are the teacher, and you know when they are using their technology effectively by using the programs below or if they are watching YouTube videos.

In addition, think about the value of working on an assignment individually versus full class.  Will technology ALWAYS make things better or is it nice to just interact with one another in the class?  For example, I am a huge EdPuzzle fan.  It is great for listening to videos, and it allows students to replay sections as many times as they need to really differentiate for each learner.  However, I rarely have students listen to music or watch music videos on EdPuzzle- even though they easily could.  I like this to be a whole class activity- especially watching the music videos.  I enjoy seeing the reactions by students for videos such as Soy Yo or my C Block’s personal favorite .  Same thing goes for Flipgrid.  I am excited to continue to use Flipgrid next year to have students record themselves speaking in Spanish, but many times, my students need to talk to each other face to face.  Just because it can be done with technology doesn’t mean that it always should.

Be choosy about what you use with technology as many pre made materials for teachers are not necessarily made by teachers with the most recent pedagogy in mind.  I have been playing around with Duolingo to learn some Greek.  I have completed the first lesson, and I don’t think that I have learned much.  Luckily, I was in a sorority in college which helped me eke through the alphabet unit (barely)!  In the program, you can hover over each of the words that you have to translate, and it displays the English translation for you!  Then you just type that into the box.  Also, I HAD to do that when as I have been learning Greek because I barely remember any words from the previous units.  Is this really the most effective way to learn a language?

With that being said- let’s get into the great aspects of using technology!  If you are going to use pre-made materials via technology (and I totally suggest it and use it myself!), use pre-made materials from other teachers.  You can typically find these in many programs that I have included below.  To use teacher made materials, do a search on EdPuzzle for MANY teacher edited videos.  You can find videos on any topic that you want to teach!  And you can still edit their questions- so save the ones that you want and change the others.  It is easy and quick!  Or, use Quizizz to search for pre-made questions on a variety of topics or novels in Spanish.  I was able to create Quizizz practices for homework in about 5 minutes max.

Additionally, make sure that you try the program before you assign it to your students.  Although your students may be digital natives and can figure out how to add filters to their snaps that does not mean that they know how to edit a video in EdPuzzle that you assign them as a project.  (I particularly like this article on EdSurge that debunks some of the myths that we have about our students and technology.)  I practiced on Flipgrid before I assigned it to students.  That does not mean that I can troubleshoot everything that happens to them, but I have SOME idea of how it works.  Once you can give students the basics, they can normally trouble shoot on their own.  If not, I like tweeting to ask for help because so many tech companies respond quickly on Twitter.

Finally, find some basic programs that you like to reuse and can be used in multiple ways, so students are used to them.  While I will throw a wild card at them from time to time (like Triventy when we have played too much Kahoot or a fun Goosechase scavenger hunt!), stick with similar programs, so students do not have to worry about the technology side of things too much.  Also, I like these programs because they enhance my lessons.  Technology should make your life easier- don’t use it because it is fancy or flashy.  Below is a brief overview of my go to resources and why they enhance my classroom:

  • Seesaw is an online learning journal for writing/some speaking: students can upload their writing, and then others in the class can leave comments for some nice interpersonal writing.  This is one BIG reason why it is better than traditional paper writing.  Students have an audience (the class) and can practice both interpersonal and presentational writing.  Or students can upload a picture and talk about it.  They can also leave voice comments or listen to my voice comment.  Again, this is a more efficient way to provide feedback than traditional feedback.
  • Flipgrid is a quick and easy way for students to record speaking videos or interviews with their classmates.  It is really fast to record, and it does not require a log-in which I really like.  I am also hoping to connect with other classes this year to have students communicate in this way.  While face to face speaking is a big goal in our class, some students feel more confident speaking to a video instead of each other.  This can support students to feel more comfortable.
  • EdPuzzle allows teachers to embed questions within a video, and as I have mentioned before is great for differentiation of videos.  When we would watch videos as a class and students needed to listen one more time to a certain section, we had to rewatch the whole video, and many students were already done (and bored).  This way, everyone can listen as many times as he or she needs.  Also, it is easy to grade to give feedback.  If you choose a few multiple choice questions, students can get instant feedback.
  • PearDeck allows you to embed various questions/drawing etc into a presentation and is great to jazz up my presentations.  Students can see others responses if we go through a presentation as a class.  I am able to see where everyone is with the material, and it is anonymous for the students.  Again, PearDeck is a great tool for students who typically would not always speak out in class as it allows everyone to participate at the same time instead of having one student give an answer.
  • Finally, ActivelyLearn is great for interpretive reading.  Students submit their answers to questions or polls that I have embedded throughout the document, PDF or website then the class answers are displayed.  Students can resubmit their answers and learn from their errors (instead of waiting for me to go over it).  By inserting the questions throughout the reading, you can also support students who struggle with reading.

With these programs, I encourage you to choose ONE to start.  Think about what you use most in class: reading?  Choose ActivelyLearn!  Videos?  Try out EdPuzzle.  Again, remember while technology is a great support for the classroom, as the teacher, you know and understand what would help your students.

Posted in Favorites, Quick Tip, Technology

Quick tip: EdSurge weekly email

EdSurge

I love a good curated email list!  (I still enjoy getting the Intercom every Monday morning in my email box.)  Toward the end of the year, I started to subscribe to the EdSurge newsletter.  Luckily, I had a free block every Thursday morning.  Each week, I enjoyed sitting down and reading the various articles about educational technology.  Frequently, I would get so excited that I would email one of our edtech coordinators to discuss something that I had read.

I enjoy EdSurge not only because it highlights all of the recent news and developments, but it also tackles issues such as equality in technology and privacy implications with some of the programs.  At the end, they also highlight a tech tool based on teacher feedback.  In short- this has become one of my favorite weekly professional developments!  Add it to your summer to do list to check it out!

Posted in Technology

Goosechase: Try it TODAY!

Goosechase Scavenger Hunt App

Recently I came across the app called Goosechase.  It sets up a scavenger hunt via the website and an app.  It was really easy to create, and my students were able to easily figure out how to play as well.  The directions to set up the game are here.

I logged in and then I set up the game with a name and a password.  Then I started setting up the missions.  I stuck with the photo and video missions.  Students could choose for the most part, but sometimes I wanted actions, so I had them record a video.  You can also add in a text submission.  If you wanted to hide something somewhere with a message and have students write it back, this would be a possibility.  We were working on directions and city vocabulary, so I stuck with many of those words.  I would write a description of what they were supposed to do all in Spanish.  I wrote 14 missions, but students were finishing them faster than I thought.  I was able to add more missions in once the game started which was a nice feature.  I ended up with 24 missions and most of my students finished within 30 minutes.  You may want to aim higher if you want students to have extra questions.  It probably took me about 20 minutes to sign up to create the game and create all of the missions.  The app also provides suggestions which you could translate for students to your TL.

When students came into class, they split up into teams and used the directions under the team tab for how to join the game.  Again, this was pretty self explanatory.  My students only used one phone per group.  I did not see a way to add more phones per team, but this may be a possibility.  With the free version, you can have up to five teams playing the game at once.  Once the teams were in, I clicked on start/stop and set the game for 30 minutes.

Here is the BEST part: while the students are playing, I get an update any time they submit something!  Therefore, I can tell what is going on even though I am sitting back in my room.  Here are some of the videos that I saw coming across my screen:

activity feedactivity feed 2

I could also give bonus points or takeaway points while they were doing this.  If I wanted to add points, I could do that by entering the points.  Using the bonus point feature, I could also subtract points by adding the subtraction symbol with the points (-100 etc).  The students didn’t actually see this though while they were playing.

While they are playing, we can all see the leaderboard.  Then once the game is over, I can see all of the pictures in each section:

Screen Shot 2017-05-04 at 1.42.30 PM.png

This was a lot of fun for my students to do.  It gives them a lot of input with reading, and it allows them a way to visualize their learning.  Plus they completed about one task a minute- which is a good pace!  I hope you will check out Goosechase!

Posted in Listening, Technology

How to make audio QR codes

I have seen a lot of awesome scavenger hunt ideas for a foreign language class.  I wanted to try a QR audio code hunt for a particularly gorgeous Friday day.  It took me about 20 minutes to create and print 10 QR codes.  I found an old tutorial on how to create audio QR codes, and none of the websites worked, so I wanted to update this idea with what I used here.  You could also print double if you have a large class.  Here is how I did it:

  1. First I made my recordings in Vocaroo.  I love Vocaroo because it doesn’t require a log-in, is free and produces a link.  Once you record, you save the recording, and you can copy the link.
  2. Then, I went to this QR code generator.  I put the link from Vocaroo into the website and click “create QR code.”  I downloaded the QR code that they displayed.  When you click on download, an ad pops up.  It is free- you do not have to click, log-in or buy anything!  (Don’t click on the ad!)
  3. I put all of the downloaded QR codes on a Word doc.  I also numbered the codes, so I could keep track if I lost any between classes.
  4. The best part is that students can use Snapchat to read the QR codes.  They aim their screen at it, and take a “snap.”  A few seconds later the link pops up!  I would recommend using this platform for HS students.  I had students recreate the pictures as I described them in Spanish.  You could also have them draw pictures of each one which would be fun as well.  Here are some of my favorite pictures from Friday:  Also share how you use QR codes in your classroom!

QR Code

Posted in Technology

First VedChat tomorrow night!

VEDChat

Many people participate in Twitter chats.  It is the main reason that I joined Twitter in 2012!  (Whoa- I cannot believe it has been 5 years!)  However, they can be somewhat limiting as tweets are flying fast, and you cannot tell the tone or expression of people.  What would make that better?  A video (and Flipgrid!)

One of my fellow EdCampMetroDC friends Matt Frattali had the genius idea for VedChat.  Each question has a different board in Flipgrid.  You check out the video intro on each board then record your answer in a “flip.” (Stole Matt’s name!)  You can practice recording your flip by recording an intro here.  If you are new to Flipgrid, you hit the green plus button and record a quick video.  Then you have to take a picture and type in your name.  That’s it!  Done!  You don’t need an account or even have to put in an email.  (You don’t even need Twitter or worry about including a hashtag!)  Then, you can record responses to other people and interact with them.

You can sign in to record an intro NOW, but the fun will start Tuesday night (tomorrow!) at 9 pm.  The theme is storytelling- and as one of the question recorders, I can promise that there are some thought-provoking questions.  I cannot wait to go beyond Twitter to #vedchat!

Posted in Technology

Triventy: A collaborative online game

Triventy

As much as I love Kahoot and Quizizz, they are not collaborative.  Triventy is a multiple choice quiz, but students can add questions on their own.  It is very easy to do and add questions.  In order to create a quiz, you can create an account.  Then you click on the green “create a quiz” button:

Triventy

After this, you can invite others to participate.  You can type a name then click on the yellow button that says “invite others to add questions.”  This box pops up:Triventy 2

After you click on “invite” this box pops up:

Triventy 3

I used the link for my students.  You could also incorporate it into Google Classroom or on Facebook or email.  When students add questions this pops up:

Triventy 4

My students were able to figure out how to add questions without any explicit instruction from me.  They all seemed to figure it out easily.  I like that they can click on “survey question” to see what others would pick instead of awarding points.  Also, I can edit any question before they play it.  Then you can click on play game!  Just like the other games, it generates a code for students to join.  However, you cannot kick inappropriate nicknames out!  I will say that the game itself isn’t as “flashy” as Kahoot or Quizizz, but it was awesome to get each student’s question up there.  The students were also really invested in seeing their questions.  This could be great for an interpretive task or as a survey!  At the end, my results were emailed to me.  Have you tried Triventy in the FL class?

Posted in Technology

Adobe Spark Video Tutorial

Adobe Spark Video Tutorial

Obviously I love Adobe Spark.  Almost all of my graphics are made as posts in Adobe Spark (including the one that you see above).  Next year, I am excited to teach Spanish V.  Since we have a lot of different electives and choices, we were asked to make a video to explain our classes.  I reached out on Twitter, and a lot of people helped me formulate an idea.  Here is my finished video using Adobe Spark!  This video probably took me 30-45 minutes to put together including the edits and suggestions from others.

If you would like to make your own video, I put together this tutorial to explain how to put one together.  Also, even if you do not want to create a video, I discovered this website which has free music to use for videos!  I searched “Spanish” and came up with a ton of music to use and download.

If you are looking for ideas to use for videos, I published a list here.  Also, I came up with a new activity for my blended students that I am excited to use.  I started a story with two sentences in a Google Doc.  Each student has to add on two to three sentences to form a story.  Then after they create the story, they have to illustrate it using Adobe Spark video!

 

Posted in Technology

Quick Tip: Quizlet Learn!

Quick Tip: Quizlet Learn

Stacey (our tech specialist) shared the new development by Quizlet- Quizlet Learn.  This video introduces it.  Essentially, students can sign up for the date that they have a quiz in Quizlet Learn.  The program will tailor questions for them getting easier or more difficult as it progresses.  It will also send students reminders and encouragement at different checkpoints.  This feature will help students have a study plan leading up to the quiz.

Once students are signed into Quizlet, they find a study set and click on learn:Quizlet Learn.PNG

Then they click on the button which has the lines and circles in the upper right hand corner: Quizlet Learn 2

This pops up with settings, and they can scroll down to set their due date:Quizlet Learn 3

Then students can study and they will get messages about their progress:Quizlet Learn 4

I am pretty excited about this feature!  The only downside is that this is only available for iOS now.  Quizlet says that they will roll out a version for Android and desktop soon!  I know that I have many students who love Quizlet not just for Spanish but for all of their classes.  Hope you check it out and share this with your students!

 

Posted in Authentic resources, Technology

Webquest: Furniture shopping!

Webquest: Furniture Shopping

I love to shop!  When I studied abroad, I loved to wander around stores and supermarkets.  It was so interesting to see what each store had.  Since we don’t have time to pop over to Argentina and wander around stores, webquests are one of my favorite things.  When students navigate a website, they see that sometimes certain countries use different words then what we learn.  We always have a conversation about price.  In addition, websites have so many pictures that support comprehension.

I found this website for the store Falabella in Argentina.  I used this for furniture, but you could use it for clothes, sporting goods, beauty etc.  I created these questions about the website for my students.  We are going to discuss a few things about them tomorrow like what items they wanted to add to their house specifically.  However, with this website you could find so many ideas for other units!

  • You could also give each student a room to decorate and a budget then have them pick out designs for the room.
  • You could have students come up with outfits from the website.  You could even review clothes when you talk about sports because they have a huge list of athletic clothes.
  • They also have a link with job descriptions.  This would be perfect for upper levels.
  • Students could compare the technology that we have with the technology from this store.  What is similar and different?
  • If students look at their Facebook page, they can see some back to school promotions (and discuss why they are going “back to school” now).
  • Too much reading?  Check out their YouTube page for videos on gift ideas, fashion tips and commercials.