A friend of mine, who I hope joins C20 soon, asked me this question as we were preparing to present to other teachers at HATFL (Houston Area Teachers of Foreign Language) spring conference. We have decided that the resistance we see in other teachers to start integrating technology into their instruction is directly related to their inability to answer this question. Many teachers go to tech training or use technology because they are told they should or have to. Very few (at least in my district) know how and why they want to use it, much less what is availabe to them. So, I decided to start a discussion on this topic. Here is my personal response...

I use technology for:
1. Communication with my students and parents
2. To eliminate student excuses for not ever knowing what's going on in class
3. To provide interesting, current, and relevant methods for submitting or doing assignments
4. To expose my students to the Spanish-speaking world
5. To eliminate time-consuming elements on projects and etc. that take the focus off using the language and put it on artistic elements like posters and such.
6. Staying fresh and challenging myself by checking out what my peers are doing in their classrooms.

Can't wait to hear what you all have to say!

Tags: 2.0, 20th, century, instruction, integration, philosophy, technology, web

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The obstacle is that most educators do not "use technology" in their learning. This is, of course, is and overly simplistic generalization. The issue isn't use/non-use -- it's in technology selection.

The axiom is "teachers teach like they were taught."

The corollary is "I didn't learn with it, so it's not important."

This is why the majority of educators do not see the value in web, ubiquitous connection, cell phones, SMS, IM, blogging, wikis, or twitter. It's why they DO see value in textbooks, worksheets, and lectures.

It's a stage on the adoption curve. The majority are still in the 'trying to use new technologies to do old things.' In some cases it works pretty well ... Computers were *first* introduced as calculators, then word processors, and only after that did they begin to get interesting.

If more *people* spent more time figuring out how to learn with technology before trying to teach with it, we'd all be better off.

yup. that's the context wherein the question is asked.

in reality we use a HUGE amount of technology. Just lagging behind the technological threshhold.
I use technology because it either makes my job simpler (once I've mastered whatever piece of tech I'm trying) or it enhances the learning experience (in other words, I teach it better/they learn it better). The same reasons for doing new things in any classroom situation also apply to technology. Don't do it because it's cool, but because it makes your teaching and their learning better.
Hi Amy!

I'm from Killeen ISD, TX and teach Spanish I at one of the middle schools. I agree with your premise, and so here is my response...

I use technology to keep learning fresh for students. Elsewhere someone posted that at what point was it just another way to do a worksheet. and I'm ambivalent about that. I try to keep the language very real for the students, yet I follow the book so I don't go too far off on a tangent and spend 5 weeks on TO BE verbs! We have done podcasts, vokis, Comic Life ads, Scrapblogs, and pictures with text. We've also used our cell phone with the Voki, and we post it all on our wikis. It was cool, but they also had to use their language, so it contributed to their learning. the Vokis can measure writing by using the computer generated voice. It pronounces wrong if it is spelled wrong. Or it can measure their oral language skills using their cellphones to talk irectly through their Vokis.

The other reason I use technology is because it makes for a flat world experience. In other words, I think that foreign language without a context in which one would use it is meaningless and boring. But a worldwide reach is another matter. I have a live feed on my wikispace, and since I blog on La Coctelera.com in Spain as well as comment here on CR20 and other educatior sites, My wikispace and those of my students was also mentioned in a blog post in Spain, Aulablog21, So I have a lot of visitors from around the world.

I have links to some of my best students' wikis on my own wiki also, so they also get hits from people around the globe. The students know I will only link to their site if it is excellent so it makes them more focused on the quality of their content. So today with TAKS state testing for another grade, 8th grade had a quiet workday, and I had some in the lab learning how to do wikis. A few of my Spanish students were there, working on improving their site so I would consider putting a link to it on mine. Wow! What a thrill to se students in their spare time doing Foreign Language work on their own!

I didn't learn it all before I started, I started by just wanting to find a way to use the social networks to practice using adjectives to describe their friends. And it has grown form there. I do need to learn more about blogs and how to really get the kids interested in doing them, but I think I'm going to just have to dive into the deep end and do it. I think if they know that they will get hits from other countries, they'll go for it!!

Just like us, they follow after prestige and recognition!

Cheers for a great topic!




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