Saturday, December 3, 2011

Incorporating Podcasts in Teaching

Through the evolution of media and broadcasting and how one can access it via the Internet, podcasting has become a very popular method of obtaining and listening to news through digital files.  Using podcasts in your classroom, is a great way to bring current events to your students.  Especially in a Spanish classroom, it's important to show how prominent of a role Spanish plays not only in Spanish-speaking countries throughout the world, but in the U.S. as well. In this regard, I was able to find a podcast off of NPR (National Public Radio) that relates to Latinos who live in the United States: The Price of Intolerance.

This podcast addresses the recent anti-immigration law that has been implemented in Alabama, known as HB-56, and how it has affected the Spanish immigrants that live there.  I feel that this is an important issue to address because this concept of "anti-immigration" and the creation of laws is catching on in states across the country.  Incorporating this podcast into a cultural lesson, which relates to Hispanic culture in the United States, will help my students broaden their cultural perspective.  Also, it will bring to light important current events that are shaping our country's future.  Specifically with the students and the age group I work with, expanding their sphere of understanding of the world and what is happening around them, is going to be beneficial.  What I think is really cool and attention-grabbing is the fact that this podcast uses personal narratives to add to the validity of what is being reported.  In this sense, I feel that my students will be able to make that personal connection and relate more to the issue at hand.          

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Exploring ePals

Checking out ePals, a global community online where students and teachers can collaborate with one another, I found a lot of useful features that I see myself using.  One such feature were the teacher forums.  Here, teachers can find and create a thread for discussion based on various topics the classroom-related activities.  What makes this feature of ePals appealing, is the fact that other teachers from all over the world can read whatever you have posted, and then comment on it.  This is where the whole idea of collaboration comes into play.  For example, I saw one post in the forum where a TESOL teacher was looking for ePals for her students, so that they would be able to become pen pals with one another... what an easy way of doing so.  Furthermore, this expands your availability of resources.  What's even more exciting is that there are also student forums that your learners could use, as well, to collaborate on projects, receive feedback, etc...

Another great feature that I found were the ePal Projects for Classroom Collaboration.  Here one can find a variety of projects, which include: a project description, topic, essential questions, opportunity to connect with other classrooms, objectives, and so much more.  What I found even more interesting was the fact that some of these projects are "en Español" (in Spanish), which would be a good fit for my own classroom.  One project I found in particular was entitled "The Way We Are", and it is designed for students to find an ePal from a Spanish-speaking country and learn about his/her own way of living.  Great way to teach culture and cultural awareness

One last feature that I found really useful for teachers were the number of resources that were available to teachers to use within this site.  Resources include: Smithsonian on ePals, Cyberbulling, Common Sense Media, Skillbuilders Library, Training, and many others.  The Smithsonian one was particularly interesting because you could check out various "explorations" that the museum provides.  For example, there was an exploration called "The Natural World" that provided an array of classroom activities, pictures, video, and samples of student work.    

Friday, November 11, 2011

My Trip to Spain as a Digital Story

Make your own photo slideshow at Animoto.

Check out the digital story I created: Señorita Louisos' Spain Trip.  (see above and check out the link for a description)

I would use this video in my classroom to enhance a cultural lesson on Spain, specifically relating to my own personal study abroad experience in Alicante.  This video will grab the students and peak their interest, and will be a great lead into a lesson that I planned.  I'll be able to talk about all sorts of experiences that I had when studying abroad: food I ate, where I stayed, the classes I took, the sites I saw, etc...  The possibilities are endless, which makes this digital story so much fun!  The students will be curious and will wonder what these pictures are about, which will lead to questions that I can answer.  The whole process will turn into a whole class discussion of Alicante, Spain and the culture of that area.  

Monday, November 7, 2011

My Bookr Story: Running with the Bulls

Check out my Bookr Story about Running of the Bulls.  I created this digital book for my Spanish students (grades 5 through 8).

Creating this storybook, I saw myself using this in my classroom for a cultural lesson on Running of the Bulls.  Rather than handout an article or lecture about what the event is about, I can see myself presenting this instead to my students.  It's much more engaging for many reasons: authentic photos (realia) are included, the students can read aloud from what is typed on the screen, the pages can even be "turned" by the students.  In this sense, the story is a great way to introduce the celebration and stimulate student interest.  As an additional add-on to the digital story, I can then show them a video clip of live footage from the Running of the Bulls from years past.

Digital Storytelling: A World of Possibilities

Digital storytelling is becoming the "buzzword" when it comes to incorporating technology and online resources with narratives.  According to "7 Things You Should Know About Digital Storytelling", digital storytelling is the practice of combing narrative with digital content, including images, sound, and video, to create a short movie, typically with a strong emotional component.  In general, these digital stories can be instructional, persuasive, historical, or reflective.  Therefore, this leads to a world of possibilities for teachers to implement this in our classrooms, especially since this allows the "storyteller" (our students) to work with technology and be creative.

by  digistorytellin  

Why use this type of approach to storytelling in our classroom?  Telling stories is a key part of our culture because we want to "teach beliefs and values to others" (7 Things...).  Having our students create digital stories, allows this once oral tradition to take on a dynamic media approach... adds a whole other level to what storytelling is.  This digital format makes the story more personal and more relate-able for those listening/looking at it.  For example, I (as a Spanish teacher) could use digital storytelling for my students as a way to introduce themselves at the beginning of the school year- in Spanish with photos.  This type of assignment through the digital means of presentation, allows to make the once written narrative more personal and focuses more on the individual.  The storyteller can make the story more authentic and his/her own through the use of pictures, as well.