May 8, 2019 | #EarlyLang

Limited Technology Access in the Early Language Classroom:
What do you do when you have limited access to devices for student use?

On May 8, language teachers from grades K-8, and beyond, met for the biweekly EarlyLang chat. Participants discussed the types of technology they use, benefits to using technology as a tool for language learning, and challenges when there are limited devices. They also shared favorite websites and apps.

Q1: What technology/devices do your #earlylang learners access in the classroom?

Not everyone has 1:1 access to devices, but nearly everyone has a SmartBoard and computer while most students have smart phones. Some schools do have 1:1 access with iPads, tablets, or Chromebooks, but not everyone uses them with the youngest learners. A few participants mentioned the difficulty in ensuring safe and appropriate usage as a reason to limit access.

Q2: What are the benefits of using devices in the #earlylang classroom?

Technolgoy use in the language classroom is a great way to bring authentic resources into the learning environment; it helps provide access to people, materials, and information that would not be possible without technology. It is possible to engage with materials digitally and then connect with people outside the classroom to further explore their learning. For language learners, technology can bring in different accents and allow them to record themselves to monitor their progress. FInally, technology is engaging and exciting for students, particularly when using game style platforms.

Q3: What activities support one or more modes of communication when you have a limited number of devices available?

Interpretive activities are easiest–check the weather forecast, watch a video as a class, read an article, etc. Some participants allow cell phones for recording video or audio about a topic under study. Speaking can be done in groups with a shared device, encouraging collaboration as well as individual participation. Students can also use the camera feature to snap pictures of work completed or in progress. Photos, video, and audio files can then be uploaded to an online platform like Seesaw or Schoology as part of their class portfolio.

Q4:What challenges does limited technology bring to the #earlylang and how do you overcome them?

As with many things in education, it challenges vary from class to class and activity to activity. Both classroom management and planning may take a little more effort if devices are limited.However, viewing challenges as learning opportunities makes for less work. WIth limited devices, students can share a single device or rotate as with stations. For quiz games, they can form teams.

Q5:What are your favorite apps/ sites when using devices in #earlylang classes?

@LfMcclintock, “I like to use any authentic website, especially when it comes to reading. YouTube is great too when it comes to interpretive listening.”

@SECottrell, “Authentic websites, definitely. More than apps even. Compare & contrast McDonald’s Argentina, e.g.”

@MaCristinaRV, “A few favorites: @Flipgrid @gimkit @quizlet @GetKahoot @PicCollage @BookCreatorApp @DoInkTweets @GusOnTheGo @Duolingo.”

@srtafenton, “We use @gimkit @GetKahoot and @quizlet for games and @edpuzzle for videos/listening comprehension, for heritage learners I use @Newsela in Spanish.”

@srtacoulehan, “I think I should earn stock in @Seesaw at this point lol.”

Reflaction (reflection + action) How might you implement technology in your #earlylang class after tonight’s chat?

Technology is simply another tool to enhance learning, but it is one that students are eager to use, so teachers can build on student excitement as they encourage students to demonstrate their knowledge. Even limited technology can be used, one device can become a shared station, allowing students further interaction as they use technology.

Thank you to all who participated in this #EarlyLang chat! Thank you to our lead moderator, Mundo de Pepita (@MundodePepita), and our co-moderator,Sara-E. Cottrell(@SECottrell), for helping to guide the conversation. Thanks also to M Cristina Rdz-Villa (@MaCristinaRV) for creating tonight’s images and to EMC School (@EMCSCHOOL) for sponsoring the chat.

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