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.

Listserv Post 2

fromYadira Camacho
toForeign Language Teaching Forum <>
dateTue, Jul 12, 2011 at 11:03 PM
subjectRe: [FLTEACH] use of vosotros
hide details Jul 12 (5 days ago)

In my district we do not teach or test the vosotros form either.  I only teach it if the students seem
interested in that form.  I've had many students ask about it and I take advantage of that opportunity. 
It seems like is a dying form (rarely used) but we teachers could keep it alive if we make an effort. 


Listserv Post 1

I've been reading this thread with great interest.
I teach at the post-secondary level and over the past few years I've made a
conscious attempt to integrate alternative assessments into my course, as much
as is allowed by the curriculum and by the department.
This year, I did some research the topic to find out more about it. Here's an
easy-to-read report that may help you find more resources:
Portfolios to Assess Literacy and Second Languages: An Annotated Bibliography
Last month, I was asked to present on this topic for the Ontario Literacy
Coalition. The focus was on literacy and not L2 specifically, but if you're
interested, they archived the webinar here:
From my research in this area, I would say that you're right on track with major
trends that are happening in terms of incorporating alternative, strength-based
assessments into the foreign language classroom. It will take some time to
convince major school boards, state offices and ministries of education that
there is value in this type of assessment and that if it is implemented
properly, that academic rigor can most definitely be maintained.
I'd be interested to hear from others on this topic, too.
Sarah Elaine Eaton, Ph.D.
Research Associate, Language Research Centre
Faculty member
University of Calgary
Office: Cragie Hall, D-432
Tel: 403. 210. 8544
Skype user name: SarahElaineEaton
Twitter: DrSarahEaton
For all FLTEACH information see:
 Reply Forward
 Reply |Yadira Camacho to Foreign
show details Jul 9 (9 days ago)

I recently joined this forum and I was wondering when is the  best time to start the Portfolios?  In my case would it be Spanish I?  What are some of the online Portfolios that can be used and if there is a cost?  This coming school year would be my second year teaching and I am very interested using alternative assessments. 
Thank you,


Chapter Four

Mediated Communication (CMC) is one of the most popular tools used in recent years.  There are two different modes:  Synchronous, SCMC, which is basically tools that are used in the moment, real time, like text-based chat programs, such as, MSN Messenger, and AOL’s Instant Messenger, and voice chatting programs such as Breeze, Skype, and YackPack and Asynchronous, ACMC, is the second tool and this one is in delayed time, like e-mail, electronic mailing lists (listservs), discussion forums, blogs, and wikis. 

Blake also included a case study that occurred between a student and a teacher using bimodal CMC to demonstrate input and error correction.  Furthermore, while discussing the import of developing students’ intercultural communicative competence, Blake presents the MIT’s Cultural project as an ideal model. This project engaged students from France and the United States.  They had to exchange opinions about their own cultural values through different modes of telecollaboration (online surveys and videoconferences).

The more I thought about the case study presented between the student and instructor, the more I wondered how many students were in his class.  Honestly, it is almost impossible to spend so much time with an individual student when you have a full classroom (30-35 students).   Also, the county requirements for teachers are so much that it becomes frustrating.   I wish we could really focus on what we need to and use the tools (technology) that we have and teach our students the target language without interruptions. 

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

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Power to Learn Review

 Power to Lear, Cablevision's education initiative
This site is a great tool not only for teachers but for parents and students as well.  Very interactive and eye catching.  As a parent and teacher, I would say that the Internet smarts section is great.  They have a collection of interactive PPT’s that come along with parent guides and lesson plans for teachers.  Students can even take and pass two online quizzes and receive a certificate that says they are “Internet Smart.”
Another section that caught my attention was the “En Español” section.   This section could be a very useful tool in my Spanish classroom and even for the ESOL program as well.    While browsing the website, I found it easy to navigate.  Pages load very quickly even with the amount of content. 
Lastly, the technology blog is a valuable section in this website.  There are tips and ideas on how to incorporate and put into action technology in the classroom.  I will definitely use this website’s technology blog to learn new and fresh ideas.  Also, the interactive PPT’s will make it to my classroom this upcoming school year.  Overall, I would recommend it to others and definitely add to My Favorites! 

Chapter Three

Internet has definitely impacted our world.  It's been more than fifty years now that the application of computer technology in the FL field was implemented.  Language programs where created and initiated and these where similar to workbooks.  This is called CALI (computer-assisted language instruction).  Basically, I can compare this approach to teaching "old school" drill-and-kill exercises.  This really grabbed my attention.  I can still say that this still happens now but without the computer.  Many teachers still feel like drill-and-kill exercises are the only way to teach and to learn.  Just read the vocabulary, memorize it or learn it, and take a quiz.  Wow, and there is so much more to that especially for this new generation.  They need to be stimulated and this is when CALL (computer-assisted language learning) comes into play.  These programs are design to engage the student to solve or construct problems. 

Blake, R.J. (2008). Brave new digital classroom: Technology and foreign language learning. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Langwitches Review

Langwitches: The magic of language learning through technology.

Langwitches includes many helpful links, ideas, tutorials, reviews and much more.  This site is friendly to everyone even the most inexperienced with technology.  Is easy to navigate since is not overloaded with distractions.  I would change the color used for the tabs and headings for a darker color because they seem to blend in with the background color.

This site's content is very detailed.  When you click on a tab for example the Tutorials tab it gives you a list of helpful tutorials.  Once you click on the one you would like to see it takes you to the tutorial.  There are insert of pictures so you can see what are the steps that the teacher needs to follow along with a written explanation.  To the right of the tutorial you can still find a column with the list of tutorials previously seen that the site offers.  Having that column there makes it even more easy to just click for the next tutorial instead of having to go back to the previous page. 

As a fairly new teacher this web site is  very useful for me.  I already looked into how to create a classroom blog.  I am also interested on the Windows Movie Maker software.  Just like the example that the site gives with verbs I can use this in my classroom to create different short videos with my students with information learned in the target language for example feelings or foods.  I am honestly excited about this website even to say that I already added it to my favorites tab.  I will definitely recommend this site to my co-workers because I know that we could all benefit from all is awesome and extremely helpful information, links, tutorials, projects and ideas. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Chapter Two

I did not realize how much time my students spent using technology.  It was not until graduation day.  I had promised my senior students that I would add them as friends on my Facebook page.  Even before graduation I had requests waiting.  I added them promptly after graduation, but it did not stop there.  I had many students that requested to be friends...even lots that I did not know.  OMG...I had to add them, there were so many.  Now, I see them when I login, and they seem to be connected 24/7. 

Fortunately in this chapter, I learned the internet basics and its intent.  Its creation was to help us human beings to function better no matter our location in time.  Reading this chapter was interesting but confusing as well.  Creating a web site takes time and knowledge.  Browsing the pages is rather easy but the making is technical.  There are many steps that need to be taken to create a web page, from the HTTP to filenames to codes and much more.  Gladly, there are many programs that have been created to make this process easier with programs such as Macromedia's Dreamweaver and AOLPress. 

Moreover, a question comes about.  As a FL teacher, what am I trying to achieve?  Teach them knowledge by seeking my students' attention through what they know and enjoy.  Technology seems to be the answer.  Rather than going against them I will join them along with the tools traditionally used.     

Blake, R.J. (2008). Brave new digital classroom: Technology and foreign language learning. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Group Members

I will be working with the following students:

Elizabeth Gomez
Nicole De La Rosa
Michael Lewis
Yadira Camacho (Me) 

Friday, July 1, 2011

Website Review

Website review for Internet Activities for Foreign Language Classes

This site is very simple and easy to navigate.  The page is clean, but I would say it needs some more color and more graphics that are appealing to the eye.  The headings are to the point and helpful to find what you need.  The fonts are big enough to read with ease.  

The content of the website is exacly what it stated on its title: internet activities for foreign language classes.  It's divided by foreign language to make it easy for educators to find what they need in a fraction of the time. 
The author even included his e-mail for questions or comments.

Overall, this is a great website and as an educator I would recommend it.  My favorite part is the helpful link section under the heading:  Getting Started...the Web in the Classroom,  especially if you are inexperienced with technlogy. 

Chapter One

Wow...finally I got my book today, and I was able to read the first chapter!  Very interesting opening I must say.  I actually found my self adding and multiplying in my head to see how many days, perhaps years, it has taken me to learn a second language.  I guess I will have to admit that I was not able to come up with a total, but I can say that I am still in that process. 

Now lets get to the point of this chapter.  Basically I can say that technology has changed everything.  I went to a school where computers were not in the picture.  It wasn't until 2004 when I started to use technology.  Last year, I began my career as a Spanish teacher in a fairly new school.  They have a lot of technology.  I must sadly say that I did not use it to the fullest because of my inexperience.  But I cannot wait to fully understand how foreign language and technology go hand in hand and how this will open new doors to best 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.