The iPad has fundamentally changed how and what I teach in my Spanish classes. First of all, I no longer use textbooks. Ever. Why would I when everything I need and more is available online or through an app? As educators, we are often told to teach students “21st century skills”, but let’s be honest, more often than not; it is the teachers who need to become more proficient in how to reach young people through technology.
Six years ago, I did not know how to download photos from my digital camera to my computer and annoyingly had to ask my husband to do it for me. Finally, I decided that I had had enough, and I blindly dove into the technological revolution. Now, I teach a paperless high school course of my own invention called “Spanish through Technology and Social Media”. In this course, I constantly make an effort to reach my language students through the use of the latest apps, presentational platforms, and project based learning. As you can imagine, through the process, I have tried a lot of what is out there.
No matter what level of world language you teach, there are a lot of apps available. Here is a list of 15 I consider essential:
For Creating Comic Strips
For Writing Stories
14. Book Creator
For Organization, Document Sharing, and Collaborative Work
15. Google Drive
Teachers are often terrified to try new apps or websites because they do not fully understand how to use them, and they do not want to seem unknowledgeable in front of their students. But remember, what is especially wonderful about the iPad is that it is intuitive. As you start using apps, they will seem less and less complicated. If you can’t quite figure one out, I can assure you that someone has made a YouTube video on how to use it. Also, let your students help you. I love Twitter and Pinterest and was shamelessly taught to use them both by past students. Young people are always flattered and empowered by being asked, and you get to learn a new skill. Win. Win.
About The Author:
Sarah Wike Loyola has been teaching middle, high school and university courses in Spanish for nearly 14 years. She received a B.A. in International Studies from UNC-Chapel Hill and an M.A. in Romance Languages from UNC-Greensboro. She currently teaches and is Spanish Team Leader at Providence Day School in Charlotte, NC. In addition, she works as a technology mentor on her campus, which allows her to help and encourage colleagues to use technology to meet their individual teaching goals. She teaches a paperless course that is a hybrid of language learning and exploring new technologies titled “Spanish through Technology and Social Media”. Each student in the class has been given an iPad which they use to further their knowledge of Spanish through project-based learning. This class was named one of the “5 Classes Most Likely to Pique Student Interest” by South Park Magazine in Charlotte. Her goal is to marry learning Spanish with the use of authentic materials easily found online in an attempt to better relate to students. She refuses to use a textbook to meet her pedagogical goals and enjoys showing her colleagues at Providence Day and beyond how this is possible. In 2013, she presented “Marrying Technology and World Language” at the iPad Summit in Boston. Also, her lesson plan titled “Connecting with our Immigrant Nation” was published in the fall 2013 edition of EdTech magazine, and she has had two recent blog posts on Edutopia titled, “10 Social Media Tips for Reaching World Language Learners” and “In the World Language Classroom du Jour, Communication Rules”. However, her most important job by far is mother to her three young children. In her spare time, Sarah enjoys making jewelry, Crossfit, and blogging.
Follow Sarah on Twitter @SWLoyola