In this fourth part of the series on “5 Steps to Incorporating Technology in your Foreign Language Classroom“, we’ll be implementing the tech lesson plan created in the previous post. This means, we’ll be presenting the lesson to students. We will go through different options for presenting these lessons in a way that is comprehensible to students in terms of achieving objectives and goals.
Taking technology from idea to practice in foreign language classrooms
The implementation has two parts 1. the final teacher lesson plan and 2. presenting the lesson to students.
Let’s begin with 1. the final version of the teacher lesson plan we were working on. After we have defined objectives, skills, incorporated authentic resources and selected tech tools, this is the final version of the Imperatives Lesson Plan with Tech:
Here you can download the Tech Integration Lesson Plan Template.
*Note: The screencast videos that students create at the end of the lesson, have great potential to be used as a resource in other situations. For example, I have taken videos/posters/materials created by my students and used them with the parents I teach conversational Spanish to. The possibilities for using these projects in the real world are endless! Think about using these student creations outside of the classroom. Maybe in a ‘culture day’ at school or send them to a partner school to view and follow… This is when Global Education and Global Connections come in handy… but that is topic for a future post!
Now, as for implementing and sharing the lesson with students
I will show you what I do and what works for me. I will also share other teachers’ approaches.
When it comes to implementing, remember that you want to be organized, both for your sake and that of your students. You don’t want to have to do the same work every year.
You should build up on previous work and reflect on it. So make sure your new tech lessons are easily editable, adaptable and accessible. You might be doing a bit of extra work the first year, but if you are organized, it will be an enjoyable piece of cake from then on. And guess what? – Yes! A tech tool is always handy in the implementation part as well!
Think back to the tech integration lesson plan we were working on. We have used authentic resources (videos, texts, etc.), we have selected the tech tools that students will use to enhance their learning and we also have the instructions, objectives. Those are quite a few materials that you and your students need to keep track of. Therefore, what could be the best way to present all these materials to students in such a way that they find a flow that makes sense and are also able to track their progress and their completion of objectives? How can you present this lesson so that students know exactly what they did, how they did it and what they learned?
Well, the easiest way I have found is linking all materials into one single place. Call it a blog, wiki, google doc, playlist, or LMS. I personally like using My Google Drive for this. Not just because I can present the lessons in an organized manner, but because I can also create student groups, folders, exit tickets, etc.
OK, so what do I do? Not too difficult really! I present all of the materials in an organized Google document like this one: Spanish Imperatives Student Packet.
Students can access this material not just in class but anywhere they are. They will always know what they need to do. They can work at their own pace. You can keep track of what they are doing through your own Drive. And if you are at a school that uses Google Classroom, this will be so much better!
The best part is that students have access to these organized lessons and units with your feedback and comments all year! Students create and have their own ‘portfolios’ that they can study from and reflect on.
I have lessons organized by class and by unit, inside my “IB SPANISH” folder. Like this:
These are my ‘master’ folders. To share with students, I make a copy of these folders and place them in students’ personal Google Drive folders…We can talk more about this set up in a future post :) What I love is that every student has a folder with the lessons for the entire year. I can see their progress and work in one place! So can they!!!
Other approaches and tools
Teachers who use technology and authentic materials have designed different ways in which they present lessons to students. They have probably trialed a few different options until they found one that suited their needs. One thing we all have in common is that we all find a ‘hub’ to place our lessons and link all materials and tools to. This is what is important here, finding your hub! Some ideas:
- A Blog: services like Blogger or WordPress.com offer free options. Below are some examples of how teachers organize their lessons in blogs.
The first one is Spanish teacher Kara Jacobs’ Culture and Civilization blog. Notice she uses it to organize lessons, link videos/materials and set instructions. However, all student work is done privately withing Google Drive documents that she links in her blog.
Crystal Kirch, math teacher who flips her classroom, has a blog for every class. The idea is the same, to have a place where students can access lessons effectively. Again, she uses private Google Drive documents for student work.
Here is how English teachers Cheryl Morris and Andrew Thomasson organize their lessons.
- A Wiki: wikis also allow page/section creation. Some wiki services let you keep your wiki private and only share it with students. One popular wiki service is Wikispaces. Below you can see how French teacher Toni Theisen organizes her lessons by class.
- An LMS: LMS stands for Learning Management Systems. Generally, these are used by teachers because their schools have acquired them. Some popular LMSs are Moodle, Haiku Learning and Canvas. These are simply systems that allow a bit more than a blog or wiki. They may offer student tracking and reporting for example. But these are all options you can create with Google Drive.
I hope I am not sounding like an old recorder here with the “Google Drive” term. It is such a versatile tool, that I recommend you incorporate it in your life and teaching. You will see that it is amazing and you won’t understand how you ever lived without it. We will have a Google Drive blog series later on.
A final thought about technology in foreign languages
You will also start creating a more student centered class. More autonomous, independent and creative students!
Happy teaching with tech and #authres everyone!!!