3 Steps to Leverage Technology for Language Learners

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Technology can change the way students communicate in the classroom. It can create new patterns of discourse. 

Looking for some ways to leverage technology to enhance dual language instruction? While the first impulse may be to buy content that has technology components, often materials aren't readily available for purchase. District and campus staff can leverage technology to enhance dual language instruction by using it to create content, facilitate communication between classes, and, then, facilitate sharing.

Some ways to leverage technology include the following:
  1. Students and teachers can use digital devices as tools for authentic communication and for accomplishing intellectually challenging, nonremedial tasks in the context of culturally appropriate whole activities. 
  2. Students can use technology to produce theme-centered, multimedia slide shows, electronic hypermedia books, and publish their poetry and written pieces. 
  3. Students can use technology to graph real life data and explore--with audio recordings--the relationships between data and their graphical representations.
  4. Students begin to learn the words for the graphics they wish to incorporate in their slide show, as well as the processes of modifying, saving and retrieving their work. Students learn to interweave audio narration using the microphone on their digital device, with some experimenting in the target language by reading or translating their work

Here are 3 easy steps you can follow in any classroom, but especially, a language learning class:

Step 1 - Create Content:
The tools for creating content have never been easier to use. Consider the following:
  • Narrated Audio Slideshows  - (read more)
  • Create eBooks - Students can create ebooks that incorporate audio, video, and text. (read more)
    • On iPad/Android tablets, use Book Creator app ($4.99)
    • On Chromebook and/or laptops/desktop computers, create ebook with GoogleDocs and/or LibreOffice, respectively.
  • Digital Storytelling - Students can approach storytelling from two perspectives - oral composition or written composition. Remember digital storytelling approach can be used for any content area, not just text. And students reading peers' context while listening to audio is powerful and supported in the research.
    • Oral Storytelling - Focus is on audio recording. Take pictures and then add audio narration. Or, simply record audio of a child's story, then have them prepare text to match it.
    • Written Composition Approach - Students write a script, match pictures to main events in the script, then narrate it, combining all the components into a narrated slideshow.
Step 2 - Publish Content
If your district doesn't have an its own online space where staff and students can publish video, audio and images, you can take advantage of GoogleApps for Education with its unlimited storage to house content and/or YouTube. There really isn't any reason why you can't share content with a global audience!

Step 3 - Share, Share, Share
Once content is shared online, consider creating a district clearinghouse for awesome content in a GoogleSite (web site). This can be organized by grade level, reading level, etc.

The main benefit of these 3 steps is that it removes the some of the pressure of finding dual language materials, and instead helps students and staff create content that is relevant, appropriate, and engaging, while building on students' key learning experiences. 

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure


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