Technology has changed the way we conduct business, communicate, and learn. Learning a foreign language can indeed be difficult. However, innovative teachers are using technology to enhance the learning experience. One Spanish teacher, Jessica Garner of Union City’s Porter Ridge High School, used to be a skeptic of new technology and its educational value. Today she is a technology enthusiast and has embraced new ways of teaching her Spanish classes.
Porter Ridge administrators selected a few teachers for a bold new experiment; they filled their classrooms with the newest gadgets and teaching technology, without any training. They told Jessica and the other teachers to play with the new gadgets, and see what you get. The training came later, and while at first she balked at the lack of preparation, she soon found this was absolutely the correct approach.
One tool Jessica’s classroom was fitted with was an interactive white board, called the Smartboard. This tool allows her to display an open power point slide displayed on the board, before her class has even entered the classroom. She lists the day’s goals along with a short recap of the last lesson they studied, before moving on to the next Spanish lesson.
Another technical tool Jessica embraces is called Wallwisher. This no cost virtual space allows students to post notes, similar to sticky notes right on a computer screen. Furthermore, the notes can contain links to other websites, screen shots, and even personal comments. Ms. Garner created her own virtual wall, and then invited students to post their homework to it. As a result, her Spanish students are more engaged and less bored.
While the Smartboard proved to be a useful tool students were required to leave their seats to interact with the device. She found a robust solution to this problem by implementing a technological wonder called the AirLiner Wireless Slate. This wireless device allows anybody to interact with Smartboard for distances of up to 50 feet. Now, the teacher can teach from anywhere within the classroom and allows multiple students to interact with the Smartboard at the same time, right from their seats.
Video is another great technology that can make learning foreign languages easier. Ms. Garner loaned one of her students a micro sized video camera that connects to the USB port of any commuter. The idea was to have several students come up with a music video, entirely in Spanish, and then put it on You Tube so everyone has access to it. She also makes use of no cost software called Photo Story, which allows students to edit digital images, create slide shows, and the software allows music or narration to be easily added.
While Ms. Garner is enthusiastic regarding technology, she believes it must be used selectively to be truly effective. In other words, teachers should not simply use technology for the sake of using it. Technology must enhance the learning experience and offer real value as a teaching tool.
In conclusion, foreign language teachers should consider adding technology to their classrooms to enhance student learning. Today’s young people are well versed with technology and use it as a matter of routine. Adding technology to the classroom will keep students engaged and in the end they will learn more.
Richard McMunn is the director and founder of How2become; the UK’s leading career and recruitment specialist. For the last 7 years How2become has helped applicants prepare for and pass recruitment processes and assessment centres in order to secure their dream job. You can also find How2become on Google Plus