Educational Technology Essentials: 3 language teachers share their best tools

Classroom management tools keep teachers and students on track

Each teacher emphasized that the #1 teaching tool, especially in a hybrid environment, was pedagogy. Mario says teachers often create lessons around a tool, but it should be just the opposite: “You create your lessons — assignments, assessments, whatever needs to be included — and then, you go into your toolkit.”

For their favorite suite of tools, Herraezes relies on Microsoft Teams and Microsoft OneNote. They say it helps their students get everything in one place instead of trying to remember a bunch of passwords. It is also their preferred position because a lot of professional organizations use Microsoft in the workplace. “We help them prepare for their future jobs by teaching them how to collaborate and communicate online,” Alberto says.

Boyd similarly enjoys having all of her students’ assignments and data in one place, although she prefers Google Classroom. I’ve found that Google Forms helps organize the polling data you collect at the beginning of the class, when you use emoticons for a socio-emotional educational examination. In the hybrid model, Google Forms was “very powerful,” she says, “because I can collect responses. And for me, paper just didn’t work, so how do I send that home? Google Forms is just like electronic worksheets.”

Herraezes have been able to avoid using paper during the pandemic, too, thanks to their students’ computers and touch screens.

Related: Minimize your educational technology choices with our structured choice approach.

Interactive programs help students immerse themselves in the language

Both Boyd and Herraezes found Flipgrid to be a powerful language learning tool in their classrooms. Boyd particularly enjoys the video components of the program, which her students can watch while interacting with objects like Play-Doh. It tracks how students interact with videos and other assets with the help of GoGuardian.

Herraezes have combined their own interactive classroom experiences with virtual reality field trips. This helps their students learn Spanish by experiencing the culture of Spanish speaking regions around the world. Educators can use VR classroom experiences on a VR headset or laptop, such as a Chromebook.

As for the other devices Herraezes rely on, they, like many teachers in the past year, have found themselves switching desks at home. Far from sharing a kitchen table while teaching students, the couple now have a home office setup with two monitors each, a Canon webcam and a Blue Yeti microphone.

Read the review: Level up with the Lenovo 2nd Gen 100e Chromebook.

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