Sunday, July 31, 2011

Chapter Six

This chapter was basically a review for the most important themes addressed in the book.  Blake stresses that the success in the digital classroom begins with having a student centered classroom, planning lessons carefully, and being technically knowledgeable.   It all starts with us teachers developing not only functional computer literacy, but critical literacy as well.  

Overall, Brave New Digital Classroom: Technology and Foreign Language Learning is to the point, and well written book that help me a language teacher to learn more about CALL research and best practices in the FL classroom.  I honestly know feel like I can start adding some technology components to my Spanish class and hopefully and I can attain my goal for me as a teacher and for my students which is to teach and learn a second language. 

Blake, Robert J. (2008). Brave New Digital Classroom: Technology and Foreign Language Learning. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Banlang's Web Site Review

This site feels like it has been created with much love and excitement to share teaching strategies to all.  Banlang has many posts that include ideas, information and helpful links specifically for ELL teachers.  Within the blog she has a side bar that includes the blogger’s profile, best practice in teaching profession, ESL links to improve listening, speaking, reading and writing skills and much more. 

The site is easy to browse.  I found many web sites that I could use in my Spanish classroom even though this blog is guided toward ELL teachers.  The best link that I was able to find and made into my favorites is because it also has many ideas in how to use technology in the classroom.  There are many other links that Banlang has posted in her blog and I recommend to all teachers or teachers to be to use this blog.  It is a great tool!    

Internet Reciprocal Teaching

I think internet reciprocal teaching is a great alteration to reciprocal teaching.  Reciprocal teaching uses four comprehension strategies: predicting, questioning, clarifying, and summarizing.  Internet reciprocal teaching uses the online reading comprehension strategies of questioning, locating, evaluating, synthesizing, and communicating. 

To be honest, I am still not sure if I fully understand this internet reciprocal strategy, but I find that it is similar to the gradual release strategy: I do it, we do it, you do independently, and you do it together.  How can I use this strategy in my classroom?  Maybe I can teach the students how to use basic search engines online and find information about a famous person from a particular Spanish speaking country.  Students (small groups) then would find reliable sources and put it together in a form of a blog or wiki.  Finally, they can share their information with the rest of the class. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Más Listserv Post 1 and 2

Your message has been sent. Reply |Yadira Camacho to Foreign
show details 11:00 PM (0 minutes ago)

I agree.  Students love music and it does stick in their mind.  Last year I played a lot of music and they always wanted more especially if it was something that they knew in their L1.  I've tried reading classic books in the target language as well, for example, Cat in the hat, Green eggs and ham, Where the wild things are, among others and even though I teach at a high school they loved when I read to them and trying to read, finding adjectives, infinitive verbs, cognates, familiar words, etc.  You should give it a try.


Yadira Camacho to Foreign
show details 1:23 PM (0 minutes ago)

I am not sure that high school students would be able to handle this kind of test. Like some of you mentioned some student might rely on others insted of trying to study to help each other.  This could be an alternative for Honor or AP classes.  Those students are there for a reason and they are more likely to study and work together for their own advantage.


Chapter Five

Different formats of Distance Learning (DL) language courses are introduced in this chapter.   DL is an instructional system that uses different types of technology to teach language courses online. Teleconferencing entails the use of two-way interactive TV that allows teachers to contact students at a far-off location. Hybrid or blended courses combine both classroom and individual work through the use of technology.  Virtual language courses are completely online.

After some studies researchers have found that DL can be effective.  I found it interesting that in one of the studies they mentioned that the DL students (who did better than the classroom students) were older, more mature and more self-motivated.   This makes sense of course when these DL students are responsible for paying the class ahead of time and they do not want to waste their money. 

In my opinion, I think we should do the same for K-12 Education.  Some people might disagree with me and that’s okay but I feel that ultimately our students have taken their education for granted and they do not realize what a great opportunity they have with free education.  Now, I am not saying let’s charge a ridiculous amount of money, but I would suggest charging something so parents and students feel “I am paying for this, so I better do the work.”  Grants can also be given to those with a lower income.

Blake, Robert J. (2008). Brave New Digital Classroom: Technology and Foreign Language Learning. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Carnegie Mellon Review

This site offers a good selection of tools to help instructors teach with technology.  It gives instructors steps in how to create and teach an effective class.   Carnegie Mellon’s teaching with technology site is very simple.  There are no interactive features, but it is very simplistic to browse.

 Most of the resources are guided to instructors at the university level.  As a high school teacher, I do not think I would make use of this website.  I felt like the information was great, but it was not for me.  The only things I would say that were useful in my opinion were the articles that discussed technology use in the classroom. 

Would I recommend this web site?  I would if I was talking to a student whose goal is to be a professor at the university level, but for an elementary or secondary teacher, I would say this site was not much help. 

Second Life in Foreign Language Teaching

FL in the virtual world would definitely allow students to practice the target language verbally and written.  Role-play is another use that students may use with their Avatar when they visit cafes or shops.   It’s interesting how Second Life is set up.  You can visit different islands and places with a couple of clicks.  This can even give an opportunity for students to virtually travel and see places that they might never be able to visit.  I can actually see the potential Second Life would have for FL. 

However, I can also think of lots of obstacles.  I teach at a very low income high school and money is an issue.  In the article, they mentioned that buying textbooks could potentially be more expensive in the long run than hardware for computers, and I agree, but that is not my only concern.  Students will have to have the internet connection in order to accomplish the work, and to be honest, most of my students last year did not have a computer to say the least.  

Would I use Second Life in my Spanish classroom?  Right now, I would say no only because I need to learn how to use it successfully, but as soon as I feel more comfortable with it, I will give a try.  I am sure the students will enjoy it and learn at the same time.