February 13, 2013
Foreign Language on the iPad
I think that sharing classroom practices helps us to reflect on our own practices as teachers and offers a bit of inspiration as well. A high-school Spanish teacher from my previous school district uses iPads for her students' linguistic practice in a shared environment of between 20 to 34 students per class period.
This teacher believes strongly that a student is more likely to learn a language if he/she is immersed in a way that is authentic. So she changes the SETTINGS on the iPad to Spanish.
As many language teachers do, she assesses student progress in multiple ways: by evaluating skills such as proper noun use, correct verb conjugation, fluency, etc. Some of these ways include quizzes, essay-writing, read-alouds, and presentations. I've included below some of the ways she uses the iPad that I've compared to the SAMR model.
The teacher uses the iPad for skills review, such as flash card apps, dictionary apps and word translation games. Some of the apps she uses can be found here: 80 Apps to Learn a New Language
The teacher uses the video and audio recording tools to get a "Before and After" comparison of the students' progress over the year. Every month, the students choose either to video or to audio record themselves reading a passage from a piece of Spanish literature and vocally responding to it in Spanish. The videos are between 2 to 5 minutes long. The student then emails the audio file to the teacher or uploads the video to YouTube and shares the link with the teacher. She then assesses the the students' responses.
What makes the iPad transformative in the latter case is that she saves these videos and audios for the students to reflect on at the end of the year. Each May, the students watch or listen to themselves and rate their own fluency, pronunciation and overall growth. They then write a reflection in an online journal (in this case, Blogger) in Spanish detailing how they have improved and what they can continue to work on.