Photo by Jason Miller
“It’s funny how if a classmate tells another student in a video how to correct a mistake and I’ve told them the same thing, they’ll
listen to their classmate,” Steiner says. “One of the benefits that I’ve found is that we’re getting away from the teacher doing all the
talking and letting the kids have some autonomy with their own learning. They all already know how to use the technology and
they’re teaching each other how to problem-solve.”
For Ponce de Leon at the High School, technology has played a leading role in changing the way foreign languages are taught.
“We’re not just teaching translation and grammar like we used to. In fact, we don’t even call it ‘foreign language’ anymore. We call it
‘language acquisition’ because that’s what our students are doing,” she says.
“In all of our languages and at all levels, technology enables students to see more, to hear more, and to connect more with the
language and the culture.”
In the classroom, that means watching YouTube videos of native Spanish speakers from around the world so that students can
hear authentic accents. Other language classes Skype with peers halfway around the world and form lasting relationships because
they continue their chats beyond the classroom on social media or texting apps. Still others utilize apps like Quizlet to sharpen skills
with digital flashcards and games. “Technology truly prepares our students for an immersion experience,” Ponce de Leon says.
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