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I’m really enjoying this Instructional Technology class. It’s overlapping nicely with my methods class for foreign language. In my methods class we are learning about a relatively new style of teaching called TPRS (Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling). It’s a completely new concept for me, but I think it’ll be a wonderful way to engage students in learning a new language. So naturally I thought it would be best to find a teacher who is passionate about TPRS and technology; kill two birds with one stone, right?

I love how easy Twitter makes it to connect with others. I simply typed in TPRS and found a wealth of resources and people to connect with. I contacted Cynthia Hitz (@sonrisadelcampo) to see if she was willing to Skype with me to answer several questions regarding technology in the classroom in association with TPRS. She teaches high school Spanish in Pennsylvania. I must admit, I was using this project more so as a means of discovering more about TPRS in the classroom than for technology, but found they work well together.

Our class had two questions we must ask: Why do you integrate technology? and Who would you recommend? My additional questions included: Did you receive technology training from your school? What technology do you have access to? What technology has been the most valuable? What has been more trouble than it’s worth? What are several of your favorite projects? What social networks are best for your professional development? How often do you use technology in the classroom? Do you follow any specific technology standards? Do you connect with people across the globe? How have parents reacted to your use of technology in the classroom?

Our interview wandered around the topics of technology and TPRS instruction. {Revision from original post due to poor reporting on my part. Sorry, Cynthia!} After visiting numerous technology workshops and helping lead them for her school district, Cynthia has enjoyed learning more about various technologies for the classroom. She also has taken several grad classes about technology in the classroom as well. She uses a variety of programs such as podcasts, voicethreads, screecast, storybird, and is looking forward to the new smart board she’s getting in her classroom. Of course, the standard computer and LCD projector used in class. While some rave about Glogster, Cynthia doesn’t find it as beneficial for her teaching style. Her tech savvy students pick up on new programs rather quickly. To cut down on training them on a new program, she has the students set up passwords and such before the class period they will need it. She’s active on Twitter and enjoys others’ blogs to keep in touch for personal development. Without having any specific standards to follow, she makes use of technology in a variety of ways. Her class created a voicethread recently to show off their school using their Spanish-speaking skills. The students see the real world connection of a language by sharing the finished product with students in northern Spain, Chile, and in a Spanish classroom in Taiwan. The parents are supportive of the technology integration and students seem to expect it in the classroom anymore.

Looking back, I wish I had asked about assessment of technology-based projects. I’m curious how much of the grade is figured on the usage of the technology at hand, if any. Also, I’m intrigued about Cynthia’s opinion of a keeping a blog with her older/more advanced students. As a preservice teacher, I’m simply curious to see exactly how TPRS works in her classroom since I didn’t initially learn Spanish using that style. I’m hoping I can become a good teacher using TPRS even though I’ve never seen it specifically modeled for me. Overall, I thought it was a wonderful interview and I’m thankful to Cynthia for agreeing to chat with me for a short while.