Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Technology in the Spanish Classroom

A guest post talking about how to integrate some technology into the Spanish Classroom. This can even be done for any foreign language classroom. A huge thank you to Courtney Johnson for this post!

¡Hola! My name is Courtney Johnson and I am the Spanish teacher for East Butler Schools, located in Brainard. Being a world languages teacher offers a number of fun, useful, and exciting ways to use technology in my classroom to bring better language experiences to my students. Today, I will share 4 different ways that you can use technology in your world language classroom to create a more effective language learning environment.

If you have access to the internet and aren’t using Wordreference, you are making your life way harder than it needs to be. is an online dictionary, grammar forums, and a verb conjugator all in one site. It is a great resource for language learners of all sorts. My favorite part is the forums, which can help you find that odd idiomatic expression or figure the difference between two similar words.

2) Youtube
If you’re someone who is trying to use authentic resources, Youtube is a goldmine. You can find commercials, songs, and sometimes even full length videos of shows in the target language. With Youtube’s addition of subtitles, using videos meant for native speakers is even easier! If you are a Spanish teacher, there is a fantastic set of videos by Agustin Iruela, aka Video Ele, that were created for the purpose of teaching Spanish. These videos are from Spain and are organized by the European proficiency levels, but feature a wide variety of situations. The presenters speak slowly and there are subtitles available for many languages. You can find these videos at

3) Google Apps
What is a tech list without Google Apps? Google has really created something special. The best part of Google Apps, for a foreign language classroom, is the collaboration. Students can work on projects together, explore and describe different cultures in your target language, they can write “letters” to each other… pretty much anything you can think of! Besides using the obvious Docs application for creating standard written artifacts, students can also create presentations online. Another fantastic app to use is Forms. Forms can be used in a few different ways. I’ve used in my classroom to conduct a class survey (in this case, opinions about classes in Spanish 1) and then we can talk about the results - all in Spanish! An example of our survey results can be found here:

Another way to use Forms is to create mini-quizzes for students. I wouldn’t trust it for a summative assessment (too easy to flip screens to google an answer,) but they’re perfect for a quick comprehension check. One way I have used it is by telling a story in Spanish and then using Forms for a “pop quiz” the next day to see how much students remembered. The data was just for me, but it was very helpful.

4) Animoto
Animoto is a website I chose to research for my technology course while working on my master’s degree. I ended up being so interested, I chose to use it in my classroom! Animoto is a web app that offers free educational accounts. It takes a bit of setup, but the results are fantastic. With Animoto, the user provides images, video clips, and captions after picking a pre-set theme and music. After choosing their items, the Animoto animation engine creates a unique video based on the input. I had my Spanish 3 students create a project about a Spanish-speaking actor, musician, writer, or other type of artist during our art unit. Something that I liked about Animoto is that the captions have a short character limit, so it forces students to use short, concise sentences that keep their language readable for all students, not just high achievers. You can find a student sample of this project here:

No comments:

Post a Comment