Footprints ... en espaƱol


This is my second year teaching a technology course to our grade 10 Dual Language (studying English and Spanish) students. We spend a large portion of the course learning how to create a digital footprint. Students are often hesitant to jump in. They have been exposed to the dangers and the what not to do discussion for years. The aim of the class is to help students cultivate a positive huella digital that will serve them today as well as in the future. Last week, students brainstormed reasons to create a positive healthy online presence.     

  • Help others (locally and around the world)
  • Employment (now and in the future)
  • Earn money (lots of examples of teens making šŸ’° online)
  • Improve communication in Spanish and English
  • Amor (a future girlfriend's parents will allow you (or not) to date their daughteršŸ’œ)
  • Connect with others about school, sports, hobbies, jobs, health, college, etc.
  • Universities will see a more creative and comprehensive side of you  
                     One of our first #amigoweb Twitter Chats last fall.

                     One of our first #amigoweb Twitter Chats last fall.

Last year we created our own weekly Twitter chat. We revitalized #amigoweb which I saw online a few years ago. The idea is that teachers bring their students to a computer lab or use their Chromebooks to participate in a Twitter chat en espaƱol during class. Teams of students worked on topics that would be interesting to World Language students such as sports, holidays, food, music, etc. and created six questions to discuss during the 45 minute chat. The rest of the class also participated in the chat and encouraged others (from around the country or just down the hall) with replies and digital resources. Certainly, some chats were more engaging than others. We are learning to produce valuable content rather than just consume it so these chats give us a chance to practice. We will be starting our new #amigoweb chats in January and   would love your class to join us. Dates and topics will be shared out in December. 

Reflecting upon last year, I realized students needed a bit more guidance to be successful with their online content. So, this year, students created a  rubric en espaƱol for our first tweets and online communication. We also worked on a profile for our twitter account.  It is an awesome start but will take constant modeling and tweaking from me all year. Feel free to make a copy or alter the document to better suite your students needs. We would also appreciate feedback and how to make our rubric more effective if you or your students have suggestions. As always,  please share your thoughts on students building their huellas. 


Crafting their Twitter profile was their first experience sharing with the world.

Tech Integration: "I know it when I see it."

cass teaching class.jpg

cass teaching class.jpg


What does technology integration look like in your classroom?

This is the question posed to us in Course 4. I'm attempting to answer it with an example from my class.

A few years ago I had a 5th grade student, Cass, who wanted to teach others Spanish. Her level of Spanish was amazing and I suggested she teach an online mini course, not having any idea what that could really look like. Cass decided to give it a go and created a Google form seeking potential students and/or classes. I sent out her form via Twitter to spread the word. When someone responded she instantly shared the news with me.

cas email
cas email

A Spanish teacher in Florida wanted her to teach her 6th graders.  Cass composed an email to the teacher in Florida. She cc'd me in on the conversation but the letter came from her. They chose a date. The Florida teacher then sent Cass the material she wanted her to "cover".  Feeling a bit overwhelmed, Cass shared with me the list of 40 plus words present in the traditional end-of-chapter pages.   I was sad, yet not surprised, this teacher was still using such a traditional textbook/approach, but that's another post.  Cass and I decided 40 words weren't practical for one lesson and chose six important verbs from the list.

Cass prepared her lesson. She asked for the names of a few students in the actual class and learned that the class would be visiting the Dali Museum in the near future. She created a lesson that integrated the students in Florida and the new vocabulary with an imaginary story of the theft of an important piece of art at the Dali Museum. She created flashcards with images to use in her lesson. She practiced in front of our class and received valuable feedback from her classmates.


She also came to my 1st grade class and practiced the lesson in front of a bunch of eager 6-year-olds. We then Skyped a friend of mine in Costa Rica who was learning Spanish so she could practice the lesson once more over Skype.

The big day arrived. Cass was ready and excited. I was a little nervous.

cass ready for teaching florida kids.jpg
cass ready for teaching florida kids.jpg

The lesson started fabulously but almost immediately the video feed in Florida went out and Cass couldn't see the class.  She could hear them but she couldn't see them. Fortunately, they could still see and hear her so the lesson continued.  She was slightly rattled but continued like a pro. I would not have remained so poised. Reminds me of last night's episode of The Voice where the contestant continued singing after her mic went out. Cassidy finished her lesson in about 25 minutes and we were both thrilled. The teacher thanked her and then wanted her students to thank her as well. We quickly created an Edmodo group for an easy location to continue the conversation. Each student in Florida wrote a post to Cass thanking her and sharing their new learning.

Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 10.36.22 AM
Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 10.36.22 AM

Although it was time for lunch and recess, Cassidy stayed in and personally answered each reply.

This lesson represents for me true integration of technology (or redefinition) according to the SAMR framework.

The funny thing...

My biggest take-away with her lesson had nothing to do with technology. It was when the Florida teacher commented to me that she thought it was quite interesting (I believe she meant interesting in good way) that Cassidy made the lesson personal and chose to teach the vocabulary in the context of a story.

This brings me to the TPACK model of technology integration which has always been a bit complicated for me in the past.  As transformative as the technology can and should be, pedagogy and often content trump the technology for me every time.  Even moving up the SAMR scale won't be truly transformative if content and pedagogy aren't addressed in the learning.

Hopefully Cassidy's lesson inspired another WL teacher to possibly look differently at her pedagogy and content.  Then again, the inspiration would never have happened without the amazing possibilities that the technology affords us today.

Could effective technology integration be like Justice Potter's definition of pornography, "you just know it when you see it" but cannot define it?