Category Archives: Bilingual

3 Steps to Leverage Technology for Language Learners

Image Source: http://goo.gl/yE4tUD


Technology can change the way students communicate in the classroom. It can create new patterns of discourse. 

Looking for some ways to leverage technology to enhance dual language instruction? While the first impulse may be to buy content that has technology components, often materials aren’t readily available for purchase. District and campus staff can leverage technology to enhance dual language instruction by using it to create content, facilitate communication between classes, and, then, facilitate sharing.

Some ways to leverage technology include the following:
  1. Students and teachers can use digital devices as tools for authentic communication and for accomplishing intellectually challenging, nonremedial tasks in the context of culturally appropriate whole activities. 
  2. Students can use technology to produce theme-centered, multimedia slide shows, electronic hypermedia books, and publish their poetry and written pieces. 
  3. Students can use technology to graph real life data and explore–with audio recordings–the relationships between data and their graphical representations.
  4. Students begin to learn the words for the graphics they wish to incorporate in their slide show, as well as the processes of modifying, saving and retrieving their work. Students learn to interweave audio narration using the microphone on their digital device, with some experimenting in the target language by reading or translating their work


Here are 3 easy steps you can follow in any classroom, but especially, a language learning class:

Step 1 – Create Content:

The tools for creating content have never been easier to use. Consider the following:
  • Narrated Audio Slideshows  – (read more)
  • Create eBooks – Students can create ebooks that incorporate audio, video, and text. (read more)
    • On iPad/Android tablets, use Book Creator app ($4.99)
    • On Chromebook and/or laptops/desktop computers, create ebook with GoogleDocs and/or LibreOffice, respectively.
  • Digital Storytelling – Students can approach storytelling from two perspectives – oral composition or written composition. Remember digital storytelling approach can be used for any content area, not just text. And students reading peers’ context while listening to audio is powerful and supported in the research.
    • Oral Storytelling – Focus is on audio recording. Take pictures and then add audio narration. Or, simply record audio of a child’s story, then have them prepare text to match it.
    • Written Composition Approach – Students write a script, match pictures to main events in the script, then narrate it, combining all the components into a narrated slideshow.
    Step 2 – Publish Content
    If your district doesn’t have an its own online space where staff and students can publish video, audio and images, you can take advantage of GoogleApps for Education with its unlimited storage to house content and/or YouTube. There really isn’t any reason why you can’t share content with a global audience!

    Step 3 – Share, Share, Share
    Once content is shared online, consider creating a district clearinghouse for awesome content in a GoogleSite (web site). This can be organized by grade level, reading level, etc.

    Conclusion
    The main benefit of these 3 steps is that it removes the some of the pressure of finding dual language materials, and instead helps students and staff create content that is relevant, appropriate, and engaging, while building on students’ key learning experiences. 


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    Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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    Podcast 28 – 3rd Grade Bilingual Students Get their #Google On #TCEA13 @lackeym

    Martha Lackey sharing how her 2nd-3rd grade students
    “get their Google On”

    What a pleasant surprise to hear Ms. Lackey speak on how 3rd grade bilingual students are using GoogleDocs/Drive in their classwork! As a third grade bilingual teacher once upon a time, I was enthralled to see how Ms. Lackey was approaching the use of technology with bilingual students.

    One of the key points from Ms. Lackey’s presentation had less to do with the children, and more to do with the value of Twitter to expand her learning, to build her professional learning network (PLN). She remarks at the end of her presentation…

    What I’ve learned, i’ve learned from Twitter. I’ve really depended on my PLN. 

    Podcast 28 – Listen to Martha Lackey on “3rd Grade Bilingual Students Getting their Google On”

    My Notes

    • Ms. Martha Lackey, 2nd-3rd grade teacher. Looping teacher that travels with a class of students from 2nd grade to 3rd grader. Midlothian ISD, Midloathian Tx
    • Twitter: @lackeym
    • Google+ http://goo.gl/iGQ6V
    • martha_lackey@midlothian-isd.net
    • Read her blog at martha-lackey.blogspot.com
    • http://goo.gl/5wHv9
    • Started on Google journey back in August of 2012. About 11-12 folks decided to go through the training and crammed in 3 days of training and received training. District applied for GoogleTools (?) and the whole team is attending. That’s where the journey began…using Google for 5 months.
    • Started using GoogleTools with Macbooks these were used immediately.
    • About two weeks ago…applied for a one to one iPad initiative and are piloting it. Students are now using 1 to 1 iPads.
    • Heavy duty twitter user – 
    • GoogleDocs projects:
      • The Global Read Aloud Project – this was announced via Twitter and being done through Edmodo.com. It made the 2014 Newberry Award list (The One and Only Ivan Katherine Applegate).
        • The book is about a gorilla and an elephant.
        • Character analysis of the story. To introduce them to GoogleDocs, 
        • After reading the book, students developed projects
        • Did a search on silverback gorilla. After finding images, the kids summarized the book
        • She shared with students not to worry about spelling…looking at sentence structure,punctuation, etc. A lot of kids are tech savvy.
        • Other students downloaded a diff picture…using the search tool in Google and are able to pull in content from Google. [Miguel: What about citation?]
        • This is third grade transitional year…these kids exit out of bilingual program by MS. Late transitional type program.
        • I have to decide as an educator, and decide if they are ready to exit. In third grade, that’s where the shift begins to happen. [Too bad the program isn’t a maintenance bilingual program rather than transitional]
        • If kids can’t write in English, they can do so in Spanish. This lets me know where they are in writing as part of language proficiency, as well as writing process.
    • Google Created Templates
      • Can you come up with a template to use with the book? We used two web sites:
      • Ms. Lackey shares the template from her presentation.
      • Template elements:
        • Type of animal, my animal is a/an.
        • Habitat; My animal lives
        • Diet/eats; My animal eats
        • Physical characteristics; My animal’s size is
        • Predators; predators of my animal are
        • Endangered; my animal is/is not endangered
    • Research Templates were created…these were shared via GoogleDrive, went to “Shared with Me” area and started typing in the information. There’s no fear in these guys.
    • Spreadsheets to do character analysis of the book The One and Only Ivan
    • Analyzing characters…give me a describing word. I also created a group that I can share with all my students via GoogleApps.
    • This is a great tool to use to tap into reading objectives…give me one or two words to describe that character. [I wonder if she thought about using a GoogleForm?]
    • Powerpoint using Google
      • 12.12.12 Blogging Project on Twitter – Paula Naugle: put out a project on this date…there is a wiki out there.
      • Read the 12 Cats of Christmas to go with the project. Did some brainstorming and shared template in GoogleDocs.
      • Created a presentation, Our 12 Favorite Google Project Dec. 12, 2012
      • Kids said they wanted to do their own ppt.
      • We came up with 5 diff topics as categories. Students proved her wrong in regards to the amount of work students were able to do in a short period of time (2 hrs actual vs 1 week which was teacher’s anticipated time).
      • Students engagement level was phenomenal.
      • Created a blogging project GoogleDrive folder. Students placed their work in there.
      • Student project assessment was in the form of a rubric. [did student develop a rubric? Email Ms.Lackey for rubric.
    • GoogleDrive on iTouch
    • http://goo.gl/Ll6Wi – GoogleDrive on iTouch
    • What I’ve learned, i’ve learned from Twitter. I’ve really depended on my PLN. 
    Resources




    Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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    >Facilitating Language and Technology Acquisition: New Patterns of Discourse in the Bilingual/ESL Classroom

    >

    Note: Another OldyButGoody…I wrote this article when I started my work as an administrator after noticing a bilingual/ESL workshop offered at the regional education service center. Although I couldn’t attend, a colleague did and brought back the materials. I read those, and then decided to craft the following article. I had a lot of fun blending learning from materials in a workshop I hadn’t attended with experiences I’d had years before. This is one of the joys of writing, blending the unknown into the everyday to create a new experience.


    When I began my career as an educator, my first students were bilingual fifth graders. In the country around Cotulla, they caught snakes for fun and rode horses. Later, trailing memories of billowing, red dirt and hot Cotulla water, I moved to East Texas to work with other children of Mexican-descent. There, the children of San Luis Potosi sang songs of Mexico in my bilingual classroom and over the school intercom. Truth, like those children, is bilingual. The stories we read, the conocimientos, or learning, we gained bridged the gap between languages. And, it was their storytelling that filled the anthology of writing that they typed up on old Apple //e computers, and later, Mac LC IIs.


    Since paper and pencil activities aren’t enough, it’s important to foster cross-language transfer of comprehension skills. We now recognize the power of native language reading skills and how they transfer over to second language reading achievement. The role of the bilingual/ESL teacher is not only one of teaching children how to read in the target language, but fostering story-gathering and story-making in the first language. Technology tools can play a role in this learning.


    FACILITATING LANGUAGE ACQUISITION
    The best in second language research tells us that language acquisition is involuntary, that our brains learn if the “input” is comprehensible. Simply talking is not enough–students must have hands-on activities. Although students may experience a silent period, pre-speech production, when they are acquiring language, we must provide opportunities for nonverbal or verbal responses to indicate that students comprehended the new materials or skills. Integrating technology offers students this opportunity.


    Bilingual teachers may be missing one of the most critical tools they have at their disposal in today’s 21st Century schools–technology integration strategies. In past articles, I’ve written of how information problem-solving approaches such as the Big6, graphic organizers, and web-based instructional tools can make a difference for Texas students.


    TECHNOLOGY FACILITATES LANGUAGE ACQUISITION
    School districts are expected to modify instruction, pacing and materials to ensure “limited” English proficient (LEP) students have a full opportunity to master the essential knowledge and skills of the required curriculum. Using technology-enhanced activities, bilingual educators expand the opportunities for second language learners.


    For example, some key subject demands for L2 learners include:
    1) Reading textbooks: Students can easily map out the content or stories in the textbook using Inspiration software. The focus is more on chunking information than on playing with the computer, yet this provides a nonverbal way of exploring the text and expressing key concepts in their own language and words.


    2) Completing worksheets: Reading for directions is difficult but what if students had to create their own worksheets, write their own directions? Instead of focusing on a “lower order” task of filling out a worksheet, they could analyze directions and rewrite them to be more understandable.


    3) Writing reports and Doing Library Research: Students need a format to follow for defining an information problem, identifying sources of data for solving that problem, then planning the solution development, developing the solution, implementing and evaluating it. Students can learn these skills in the traditional manner, however, web-based information problem-solving activities can allow students access to “realia” that is in their native language. Once students develop the cognitive, problem-solving skills needed, they can apply them in their target language. A variety of approaches exist, ranging from the now passe webquest to problem-based learning plus multimedia approaches.


    5) Using rhetorical styles such as cause and effect, compare and contrast, argumentative or persuasive writing: Students can use these techniques. Like Kirby and Liner’s “Inside Out” activities, students can practice “soft,” and “mad” talking in their writing, but combine those activities with multimedia authoring.
    In each of these areas, students can use graphic organizers to construct their own meaning, gather important points during their research, as well as previewing the activity. They can also use approaches such as the Big6 to break down and solve information problems.

    THE ROLE OF THE BILINGUAL TECHNOLOGIST
    As a bilingual teacher, my students used technology to produce theme- centered, multimedia slide shows, electronic hypermedia books, and publish their poetry. Writing poetry allowed students to be successful. Short writing assignments also allowed long tasks to be broken down into shorter ones. They also used technology to graph real life data as well as explore the relationships between data and their graphical representations. A key component of my classroom was the use of graphic organizers to analyze complex texts. As students mastered the use of a particular graphic organizer, we moved to another, so that they would learn to use the text-appropriate graphic organizer.

    In fostering writing, their work came alive through either the use of a word processor or multimedia slide show program. While the focus was always on the writing, students skills developed as they saw the words on the screen, hung their work in the school halls. One of my students, Sergio B., amazed me when he noticed that the words he was typing on the screen all ran together. It was at this point that he realized that words were discrete units on a page, and part of a sentence. Other students are captivated by the words on the screen. Even though they type with two fingers, the experience of creation is exciting as they write their way through, learning to express key concepts in their own words.

    TOWARDS NEW PATTERNS OF DISCOURSE
    Technology can change the way students communicate in the classroom. It can create new patterns of discourse. Even more so than the regular classroom teacher, the bilingual technologist must work to ensure that the students’ experiences as they interact with and use computers be qualitatively equal or superior to those of mono-lingual students.

    The rewards are great. As I look back to my bilingual classroom, I see the faces of my students who weren’t afraid to use technology–even if it was only monolingual. They used technology because it allowed them to share their stories, and capture the songs of home.


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    >The Bilingual Technologist

    >

    Note: This is an “OldyButGoody” article I wrote…my FIRST article that I wrote consciously for publication, shared on the Texas Education Network (TENET) where Carol Mann Simpson (Mesquite ISD back then), who was editor for Linworth Publishing’s Technology Connections magazine (now out of print), picked it up for publication. I have the scanned image of the check somewhere…it appeared as “ESL, Kids, Technology…It’s Amor!” or something silly like that. Wow, I must have been twenty something teaching bilingual education in a portable building with kids from San Luis Potosi, Mexico.

    The Bilingual Technologist

    Copyright 1996 Miguel Guhlin


    This article was written while I worked in Mt. Pleasant ISD, Mt. Pleasant, Texas. At the time, I was a third grade bilingual teacher.
    As a bilingual educator and technology coordinator for a small Texas town elementary school, experience has taught me a simple lesson: Computers aren�t just for the middle-class. . .they are for my at-risk students, too. Too often one finds that the technology that ends up in bilingual classrooms, if it gets there at all, is obsolete. More importantly, the philosophy that guides the use of technology in the bilingual classroom is off target.


    Many reasons are given for the fundamental misuse of technology with bilingual students. Two reasons most often cited are: 1) Little software designed for bilingual instruction; 2) Existing software is in English and educators believe bilingual students cannot make use of it. The U.S. Congress Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) (1987) found that only 1% of commercially available software programs are designed for students learning English as a Second Language. Furthermore, even in exemplary programs, software was poor in quality and primarily focused on grammatical forms, many of which were not important (Johnson, 1992). It is critical, now more than ever, to integrate technology into the bilingual curriculum. Unfortunately, among regular classrooms teachers who teach second language learners, 22% use computers compared to the proportion of all regular classroom teachers (50%) who use computers. (OTA, 1987). Although increasing numbers of computers are being placed in schools, they continue to be used for drill-n-practice activities requiring only relativley low level cognitive skills of rote memory and application (Becker, 1982 as cited by Cummins).


    Review of the research (Mehan, Moll, and Riel, 1985 as cited in Cummins & Sayers, 1990) shows that not only are minority students excluded from using technology, but that female students and those from low income and ethnic minorities tend not to have the same access to computers as do their male, middle-income, non-minority counterparts; and when minority students do get access, they are more likely to be assigned to drill-n-practice rather than problem-solving activities The National Coalition of Advocates for Students (1988) cited in Cummins has estimated that by the year 2001, minority enrollment levels will range from 70 to 96% in the nation�s thirteen largest school systems. By the year 2020, whites in the U.S. will represent 70% of the total population and 30 years later, they will have dropped to just 60%. It is clear that technology cannot be limited to middle-income, non-minorities.


    Preparing our children–both non-minorities and minorities–must involve the use of technology. But, how do we do it? As a classroom teacher and advocate of the use of technology as a tool, I suggest there is a simple model that computer assisted instruction (CAI) can follow. Johnson (1992) says it this way: Employ computers as tools for authentic communication and for accomplishing intellectually challenging, nonremedial tasks in the context of culturally appropriate whole activities. Thus, when we talk about using technology in the bilingual classroom, we must ask ourselves how computer assisted language learning (CALL) engages and interacts with students in its social context.


    In my own third grade bilingual classroom, students are using technology to produce theme-centered, multimedia slide shows, electronic hypermedia books, and publish their poetry. They are also using technology to graph real life data and explore the relationships between data and their graphical representations. The tools they use include, but not limited to, Kid Pix 2 by Broderbund, The Graph Club by Tom Snyder, Storybook Weaver by MECC, The Bilingual TimeLiner by Tom Snyder and a shareware program called ScrapIt Pro. Hypermedia books are created using Roger Wagner�s HyperStudio. Employing technology as a tool, rather than as a drill-n-practice center, allows students to develop language skills in relation to the computer. 


    As students use Kid Pix 2 to create a multimedia slide show, they learn to incorporate graphics from the public domain graphics collections in the MacIntosh computer�s scrapbook (which is managed by a shareware program called �Scrap It Pro� which allows multiple scrapbooks where graphics can be easily organized according to themes). Even the Spanish-only students begin to learn the words for the graphics they wish to incorporate in their slide show, as well as the processes of modifying, saving and retrieving their work. Students also interweave audio narration using the microphone on the MacIntosh computer, with some experimenting in the target language by reading or translating their work. 


    For more advanced students, pasting their photograph (taken with a Quicktake camera) is a process that makes them into peer-tutors as their classmates learn to do the same. In my classroom, two girls demonstrate the process of copying and pasting their classmate�s faces into name poetry slides created with Kid Pix 2. But, this isn’t all. As the school year ends, my students build on their knowledge of Kid Pix 2 multimedia slide show (with its transitions, adding graphics and sound). The next step is HyperStudio. Students create bilingual Hyperstudio stacks on our most current theme–the Solar System–incorporating actual photos of the planets taken with the Hubble Space Telescope. They add buttons that allow the reader to switch the text from English to Spanish and back again. Other student created buttons allow the reader to hear the student authored versions of the poem �Astronaut, Astronaut, What do You See?� in English and Spanish. Each group takes turns teaching the next how to make their buttons, determine the actions those buttons will take, helping them select their transitions. The culminating activity involves pasting a picture of the class and make each face come alive with sound. The last two weeks of school, students select their own topics and create Kid Pix multimedia slide shows or hypermedia books. Most choose hypermedia.
    My one-computer classroom is not equipped with special software that makes my computer a Spanish-speaker. Rather, I am gifted with talented bilingual students that are excited to employ a new medium to share their ideas and what they have learned with their classmates, younger students in lower grade levels, and teachers. For them, computer-mediated communication has, as Murray, 1988 (cited in Johnson, 1992), created new patterns of discourse. Even more so than the regular classroom teacher, the bilingual technologist (the bilingual, technology-wielding teacher) must work to ensure that the students� experiences as they interact with and use computers be qualitatively equal or superior to those of mono-lingual students.
    The double barrier (Johnson, 1985 as cited in Johnson 1992) of low socio-economic background and limited English proficiency demands that computer assisted instruction be used in the 21st Century classroom. This is the classroom that is based on cooperation and mutual learning between students, irregardless of cultural and/or language background.

    References

    Cummins, J. & Sayers, D. (1990). Education 2001: Learning Networks and Educational Reform. Haworth Press: New York.
    DeVillar, R.A. & Faltis, C. J. (1990). Language Minority Students and Computers. Haworth Press: New York.
    Johnson, D. (1992). Approaches to Research in Second Language Learning, Longman: New York.


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    Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure