I love technology in my classroom. In my first few years as a teacher, I was lucky to work in a school that was 1:1, wasn’t in the crazy roll-out stage, and had an instructional technology coordinator who quickly became one of my favorite co-workers. It wasn’t uncommon for her to come to me with, “Hey! I found this new thing! Wanna do it?” and me to go, “Sure!”
-background- At that time, I taught 6th & 7th grades “World Languages” which was a ‘sample platter’ of all the languages offered in the high schools. It was meant to give the students a quick intro and help them get interested in learning about languages and cultures. Lots of fun, but super brief – I’m talking no more than 12 classes on any language brief.
I thought technology was a super fun way to get the kids into the content. Any project that could be ‘techified’ was, just because I enjoyed it, they enjoyed it, and hey, we were covering what we needed to cover.
Fast-forward into teaching Spanish I & II at the high school level. A lot has changed- now the focus is on acquisition, not so much brief introduction and exposure. Something that hasn’t changed is my love of tech, but I’ve had to do a lot of changing about HOW that tech is incorporated in my classes.
At some point during the past year I read an article about the SAMR model, technology in foreign language acquisition that totally changed my mindset. I can’t for the life of me find that exact article, but this brief post from the World Language Classroom summarizes quite nicely.
tl;dr: Technology should be used in a way that aids, not distracts, from foreign language acquisition. If tech gets in the way of language use, it probably doesn’t belong in that lesson. So, one of my goals this year has been not to stifle my love of tech in the classroom, but to be more purposeful in my inclusion. I’ve had a few wins, and a few, well..nots. But, I’m certainly being more reflective of how tech is a tool to facilitate communication and learning in my classroom, instead of a distractor.
I’m excited to share some of my wins with you! Keep an eye out for future posts.
In what way do you use technology to facilitate language in your classroom?