October 24, 2017
By Catharyn Crane
I’ve talked with Spanish teachers far and wide to compile this BIG list of technology resources for secondary Spanish class. If I missed something, please comment below and I’ll update this post to include your resource and/or experience!
How to use this list?
As you read through the list below, click on the orange link to access the technology resource referenced. I’ve categorized the list in a way that makes sense to me, but you’ll surely note that many of the tech resources listed have multiple uses.
Tech for Authentic Spanish Resources & Comprehensible Input
Google Maps (website; free; any level Spanish): So many possibilities with Google Maps! I love Holly from Throw out your Textbook’s discussion of her Virtual Walking Tours for Spanish Class with Google Maps, to give you one idea of how it can be used. For an added twist, check out ideas for how to use Google Tour Builder in Spanish class from Secondary Spanish Space’s very own Jen.
Rockalingua (website; paid, but 1 week free trial available; any level Spanish): This site includes music, videos, games, comics, and more for Spanish learners. While there is a paid subscription, they also offer many free resources that you might like. To get an idea, check out this free set of learning materials on ¿Qué hora es? The resources are all pretty engaging.
Sr. Wooly Pro (website; paid; beginning and intermediate level Spanish): If you still haven’t seen the amazingness of Billy la Bufanda, you’re seriously missing out. Sr. Wooly is a former Spanish teacher who creates super fun and comprehensible videos and graphic novel stories that are appropriate and engaging for secondary students. Secondary Spanish Spaces very own Allison is one of his biggest fans and we can see why!
Univisión App (app; free; any level Spanish): This Spanish news app is an amazing authentic resource, with content that can engage all sorts of student interests (sports, entertainment, current events, etc.). See this post from Spanish Plans about how he uses the free app with his classes.
Virtual Reality with Google Expeditions (app; free; any level Spanish): Download the app and get your class a few VR viewers (consider DodoCase viewers, which are compatible with any cell phone brand or size) and let your students explore the Spanish speaking world and people through Google Expeditions. This article about Erika Libel’s experience using VR in her Idaho Spanish classroom helped me wrap my head around just how VR would work logistically in a secondary Spanish class. In the article, she explains, “As a Spanish educator, I use virtual reality and other tools and applications to provide second language learners with the opportunity to go beyond the classroom into a global setting to experience other cultures and ways of thinking” (Erika Liebel). For a few more concrete ideas, this article about 4 Ways to Use VR Apps in the Classroom is helpful. With Google’s VR app, Google Expeditions, students can “visit” the Spanish speaking places you are studying in class, through virtual field trips. With the NYT VR app, students can “meet” Spanish speakers from around the world, listen to their stories, see their worlds, and understand other cultures and people in a more complex way.
YouTube (website and app; free; any level Spanish): YouTube is an amazing source of sooooooo many authentic videos and videos for comprehensible input. Show your students a music video, a TV commercial, a movie or TV show clip, a cartoon, a silly song. Lately we love Bomba Estereo’s Soy Yo and Internacionales. The possibilities are endless with YouTube.
Tech for Supporting Students’ Spanish Pronunciation
Forvo.com (website; free; any level Spanish): is a pronunciation dictionary. Students can type in a Spanish word and heard it pronounced by a real person from the Spanish speaking world.
Tech for Students’ Collaborative Learning
Google Docs (website and app; free; any level Spanish): Google docs lets students collaborate on projects and writing together in one shared space. I especially love the “view version history” feature of Google Docs. It’s located right under the “file” menu and is a great way to see which students have contributed what content to a Google doc over the course of a project. Students do need to sign up for a Google account in order to access Google docs.
Padlet (website and app; free and paid version called”Padlet Jetpack”; any level): Students can visually display their notes, ideas, or projects on the Padlet interface, sharing images, written content, video, audio, etc. Padlet makes it very easy to collaborate with a team on a project or for your whole class to share ideas together simultaneously in a very visual way.
Slack (website and app; free; any level): This is a workspace where student teams can converse and store their ideas. It could also be used as a whole class space to communicate. Some students are reluctant to raise their hands or speak aloud in class, but may prefer to submit written comments during a class discussion in Slack’s workspace. Lots of possibilities here!
VoiceThread (website; free; any level): This site allows students to participate in a virtual discussion board via voice recording, video, or written response. Students share a post in the target language and can then respond to others posts via their medium of choice. I love that it gives students the option to chose the way in which they would like to respond. Virtual discussion boards like this are becoming more and more prevalent in university courses, so working with a platform like this at the secondary level is a great way to prepare students for what they’ll see at university. Flipgrid is another option that offers similar features.
Tech for Assessments
There are a number of electronic quiz platforms out there. Here are a few that Spanish teachers tell me they are loving. See this discussion for a comparison of the pros and cons of some of them.
Quizlet and Quizlet Live (website, app, free and paid version, any level): Quizlet is a fast paced quiz game that students can play on their cell phones or other electronic devices. Sign up for a free trial. Most teachers I know seem happy with the free version, but if you want more capabilities, you can always upgrade to the paid version.
See Jen’s post on how she uses Quizlet Live with her middle schoolers. Also, Mr. Peto has a discussion of how to use quizlet for reading activities, so it is more than just vocabulary testing. You may also like Allison’s post on how to do Quizlet Live Relay Races. Other resources with similar applications include Kahoot, Quizizz, Plickers, and Socrative. Socrative is a little different than the others because of part it’s data visualization, especially if you opt for the paid version.
Google voice (app, website, free, any level): Going beyond quiz softwares, let’s think about other formative assessments. Exit slips are always a favorite, right? Well, you can make your exit slips paperless with Google voice, which allows students to text in answers as their exit slips, using their own cell phones or other devices.
Seesaw (website, free and paid versions, any level): Students create digital portfolios using this site. This is such an excellent resource as many of us are going more towards proficiency approaches in our teaching. Creating a portfolio can be a great way for students to showcase their language abilities in a holistic fashion, rather than on a one-shot test type assessment.
Recording Student’s Voices
Audacity: This is a free digital audio editor and recorder. Provide students with a list of questions in the target language and have them record their responses then submit them as MP3 files via Dropbox. This makes grading speaking assessments so much quicker and easier. You could also use this software to have students record audio diaries or audio messages that they send to a classmate and then respond back and forth.
Vocaroo: Like Audacity, this is another free software to record and share audio recordings.
Students’ cell phones: Most cell phones have recording capabilities. This is option is perfect for BYOD environments and so easy.
StoryBoardThat.com (website; free; any level): Students can use this fun website to create digital visualizations of a story. Have students design their own comics complete with speech bubbles for their characters. Or have students design a story without any text and then exchange with a classmate who then narrates their partner’s story. A similar website is LittleBirdTales.com, where students can write and narrate stories.
Canva (website and app; free and paid versions; any level): Canva lets students digitally design posters or other social media images in a simple, intuitive way. There are tons of preset design templates and images that students can pick from. They then just add the words!
Poster My Wall: Like Canva, this is a website where students can design a very professional looking digital poster or infographic using present templates.
For even more, check out this very thorough List of Tech Creation Tools from Common Sense Education.
Tech for Student Practice
Conjuguemos.com (website; free): LOTS of different practice activities and games for a variety of verbs, vocabulary, etc. Listening and grammar activities and lessons are also included.
DuoLinguo (website and app; free and paid versions): Many, many practice activities for students as they level up. Many teachers love to offer DuoLinguo as an activity for fast finishers or as an individualized homework assignment. The great part is that students work at their own pace, so learning is truly personalized.
Spanish Proficiency Exercises (website; free; all levels): Just like it sounds. This site offers a number of proficiency based practice exercises for Spanish learners. Our very own blogger, Jen, loves these as a simple easy way to practice with her middle schoolers.
Textivate.com (website; free; all levels): The teacher inputs any text or story into the website and out pops a variety of different games and ways to recycle the story so students can be repeatedly exposed to the same language and structures. This is a great way to provide students with more repetitions of your critical language structures.
Classzone.com (website; free; all levels): If you use the Avancemos textbook (or even if you don’t), this free website put out by the textbook includes many, many resources including vocabulary and grammar instructional cartoons and practice exercises, review games, listening exercises, and video stories. The activities are aligned to the textbook curriculum, but could work for general practice as well.
Tech for Teachers and General Use
Google classroom (website and app; free; all levels): Many Spanish teachers are loving this learning management system for coordinating many aspects of their classrooms – submitting homework, providing learning content, grading, connecting teachers and students online, etc. This video is a little corny, but might give you a better idea of what it is all about if you haven’t tried it yet.
Remind (website and app; free; all levels): This teacher tool allows you to send mass text messages to your students without doing so from your personal cell phone. I love this resource. I talk about how I’ve used it in my own classroom on my blog.
Teacher-Produced Video with PlayPost (formerly Educanon) or Edpuzzle (website; free and paid): These sites allow you the teacher to modify videos, posing comprehension questions mid-video to assess and engage your students. Spanish teachers who are using storytelling as a key part of their teaching are loving resources like this as a way to assess students’ understanding. Look out for an upcoming post from Jen right here detailing her experience using Edpuzzle. Making the videos might take a little work on your end to set up, but once you have the videos made, they will surely work over several years and can be shared with other teachers. Video is so engaging for students. These resources allow you to add one more level of complexity to really hold your students’ attention (and also to assess what they’re getting from the video!).
What did I miss? Please comment below with other tech you’re using in Spanish class or other ways that you’re using the resources I list. I’ll happily update this post.
You also might enjoy following my Pinterest Classroom Technology board, where I regularly pin tech related resources.