My former Spanish professor posted a comical Youtube video on her Facebook the other day. Naturally, I shared it with many Spanish-speakers that I know. I just ran across this blog article discussing it. It’s a wonderful song, especially for someone who understands it. Hopefully, my more advanced students will appreciate this video chistoso when I have my own classroom.
The other day on Twitter one of the Spanish teachers added a comment about Free Rice. If you’ve ever played it, you know how addicting it can become. I sat on Free Rice and played for a half hour or so the other… in SPANISH!
I didn’t know they introduced this portion of it. I hadn’t been on it since coming to college. The words were fairly simple for Spanish since it’s a basic level language learner portion (also available in German, Italian, and French for those of you wanting to expand your linguistic knowledge). When I looked up the other subjects, I was astonished how much it had grown! After playing in Spanish for 30ish minutes, I switched to Flags of the World. So much fun! I should have been reading for my 3 history classes, but everyone needs to escape for a short while, right? Anyway, if you’re interested, join Free Rice to improve your knowledge while helping others out.
Also, for my GS 401 class with Prof. Jurchen, we are encouraged to discuss various current events to remind us that we will soon be out there and have the opportunity to witness. I’m not the best at bringing current events in, but decided to look up some for class this week. I found something on FARC in Colombia. This rebel group has recently announced its renouncement of kidnappings and has plans to release current hostages. After taking several courses on Latin American history, this is a monumental announcement. True, they haven’t renounce their violent ways, but hopefully this is a start to better future for the citizens of a politically distressed country.
This is an article on foreign language learning that I found in a tweet from someone tonight. It just mentioned using cartoons for FLL. Of course, I was intrigued thinking back to my host mom and her love for Mafalda, an Argentine cartoon character who hung in my room.
This is such a great article that contradicts and remedies the misconstrued idea that adults can’t learn a FL. If you fall in that category, please humor me and look over this article. It’s not too long of a read and shows you how you too can learn a FL. It reminds me of TPRS for outside the classroom. Immerse yourself in the target language and you’ll be surprised at how much you start to pick up accidentally.
Yes, this is an extra-post that is part of my attempt to become more technologically savve. (Ok, more like it just happened into my lap via Facebook and WordPress, but still, I’m trying to understand this.) So here’s to something new:
Anyway, when searching for different blogs to follow the yesterday, I came across what I believed was an ad for something called SOPA and just went back to the previous page to try with something else. But it came up for 4 or 5 of the blogs I wanted to look at. So I finally took the time to read through the ad. It was imploring us to write to our Congressmen(women) to counteract this new bill, SOPA. I investigated a little more to discover that they plan to shut down companies that provide free downloading. Still not really comprehending what this means for me, I continue working on various assignments. Later that evening, my roommate mentions something about SOPA and explains it in such a way that I more or less get the gist of the bill. Basically, I won’t be able to find the latest episodes of Doctor Who or several other of my favorite TV shows online. I’m not exactly sure what else will be excluded, but believe this will cause a ruckus in many other online things as well.
Flash forward to the present. I log into Facebook to see what my friends are up to (aka refusing to work on the homework mountain I’m attempting to conquer). Scrolling down I see something from a good friend who I met in Spain. He’s writing things such as, “Why must they take our videos away?!?” Baffled, I continue to scroll down and see an earlier post by him and another Spaniard complaining about Megaupload. Turns out that they watch many videos through Megavideo, a subcategory of Megaupload. This is the company that I watch my favorite shows on as well. Anyway, what I’m getting at is that this American law is having a large influence across the ocean as well. It’s befuddling to imagine that something that I thought was only American is stretching worldwide because of the interconnectedness we share via the internet. Anywho, silly little ramblings, but I thought it was pertinent to this class.
In a recent New York Times article, readers learn about the latest legislation involving the education system and technology. Idaho is forcing technology to be included in the classroom by teachers in addition to requiring high school students to take online classes. Lawmakers are declaring which programs should be used in the classroom and how. Teachers “receive a grade” for whether they use technology in their classroom, placing added pressures to a potentially already high stress job.
Teachers are divided on the topic. Majority are opposed. Fears include lack of training, being unable to incorporate specific technology into their teaching methodology, eventually being replaced by a computer, and budget cuts for salaries to compensate for the new equipment. Yes, they see the benefit to incorporating technology. However, the limitations and regulation of the usage is disheartening.
Personally, I lean toward the side of the hesitant teachers. My personal technological experiences are limited and often frustrating. In addition to the demands of teaching my subject area, will I be required to teach programs that I barely understand? What will happen to the students that don’t have a computer at home to work on classwork after the school day?
Now, don’t get me wrong. I will incorporate technology into my classroom as much as possible in a manner that fits with my subject and my students’ abilities. I feel that this technological push by Idaho will soon be followed in other states. I’m afraid of the social implications that will come from this. Will plagiarism increase? How do students develop interpersonal skills when they are encouraged to automatically turn to a computer for help? What happens to spelling and writing skills when you only type? I’m hoping Idaho uses technology in addition to direct teaching instead of making technology the foundational skill of what a good teacher needs to reach their students.