Okay, I definitely typed 2021 and had to fix that. Seems like 2021 happened even faster than 2020. Here’s to a normal-speed 2022 in the classroom and some tips to help it go a little more smoothly.
5 tech tools I love using in my classroom:
1 – Plickers: Whether you teach a World Language or not, this is for you friend. I’d argue that any age group that can differentiate the letters A, B, C, D and understand which direction is“up” can use this tool. There are about a million reasons that I love Plickers (okay, maybe not quite that many), but here are some reasons it’s a must use tool for me.
– It’s a tech tool that doesn’t require student tech use. Yep. I first started using Plickers when I worked at a school that required “weekly technology integration” and yet only had 5 carts of ipads/computers that could be checked out for 120 teachers. Plickers is amazing because the teacher needs the tech piece of their phone/tablet but the students just need the printed cards.
– It’s free. Yep. Plickers has a free version that allows you to use nearly all of the features. I pay the $60 (maybe?) a year for the full version because I love the “share with a colleague” feature. This way when I pre-plan to use Plickers for a comprehension check, my colleague and I can split the workload of adding questions! So highly recommend the paid version, but the free version works great.
– It’s low prep. You type in your questions beforehand, hand out the student cards, open the website on your board/screen, open the app on your phone and go! You can also do “empty” questions with answers like True/False or Positive/Negative, Yes/No etc. if you want to verbally ask spontaneous questions but give students accountability for answering them.
2 – Flaticon / FreePik: Now why would I include a tech app/website that doesn’t have to do with teaching?
– #1 reason… this free website means my students no longer use random Google Images and therefore turn in much higher quality work that I can turn around and re-use as a class activity!
– If your school is a Google School, Flaticon even has a Chrome extension that means students can insert images without leaving Google Slides/Docs. When I have students create a comic, storyboard, story with images etc. This is 100% where I have them grab images and it’s 100% worth it.
3 – Garbanzo: It’s no secret that I love Garbanzo. Garbanzo is a daily part of my Spanish 1 classroom and a 2-3 times a week part of my Spanish 2 & 3 classroom. www.Garbanzo.io is a paid access program with two subscription options. Option #1 is $150 a year, and option #2 is $300 a year. I have option #2 and it’s 100% worth it. But if your school won’t pay for the subscription and you don’t want to shell out the cash, you may want to skip down to #4. There are so many wonderful reasons I love Garbanzo, but these are a few:
– Garbanzo can be zero prep. Zero. None. Nada. The stories are already done for you, you just assign the stories to your kids! Easy peasy.
– It’s auto-graded. Again, no more work for you. And the scores are easy to scroll through if you want to record them in the grade book for daily work or assessment grades. Personally, I only grade Garbanzo assignments when I use them as part of an assessment. I don’t want or need 900 grades in my gradebook and since I’m at a standards based grading school, my school doesn’t have a required amount of grades.
– The second level subscription option of Garbanzo includes what they call a “biblioteca.” This feature allows you to put in a bunch of readings with any time frame and students can read and re-read the stories they want, as many times as they want! This level also includes audio access. This is a huge bonus for me for meeting IEP accomodation requirements. The audio is included with nearly every reading and is read by one of several native speakers from across Latin America and Spain.
4 – Blooket: Another free to paid option for you. Again, I pay for the full access option. It’s maybe $30 a year and it means my students have access to all the cool new versions when they are released and it means I can duplicate and edit pre-made decks which is a gigantic timesaver.
– I use Blooket most often for comprehension checks like matamoscas, true/false/maybe, or answering questions.
– While Blooket may not be the most CI Friendly game out there, it’s a welcomed break for me and it’s a welcomed change for my kiddos to play 15 minutes of Blooket Matamoscas instead of me reading the clues out loud or them having to answer true/false questions on a piece of paper.
5 – EdPuzzle: Last but certainly not least… EdPuzzle. I love EdPuzzle. Love it. Could probably teach without it, but I would never want to. Thankfully my district has a paid subscription so it doesn’t cost me anything (but I still save up my +2 video spaces every time a friend signs up in case they stop!)
– Check with your district and see if they pay for an EdPuzzle subscription. I wasn’t even aware that mine did until I asked! Talk about burying the lead!
– If they don’t, you get 10 free video spaces and +2 for using a friend’s link to sign up and +2 for getting new friends to sign up. You can use mine to get you started if you haven’t made an account!
– You don’t have to create your own videos and use your space, you can assign and use videos that other teachers make and upload! There is a high chance that someone has already made something similar to what you want/need and you can save yourself more time!
– My personal favorite way to use EdPuzzle is to do a ClipChat / MovieTalk / Picture Talk with it. It’s lessens my anxiety, it’s prepared and reusable, kids can stop and replay audio as many times as they want/need, and… the kids think anything they get to do on their computer is a win.
There are a ton of great pieces of technology for the World Language classroom out there… I’d love to know your favorite piece of technology and why!
Looking for tips for the ESL classroom? Read them here!