A Bit of Technology, a Lot of Language

I appreciate the benefits of using technology in the language classroom. However, I don’t use technology for its own sake. Rather, there must be a strong linguistic purpose to support its use.

An opportunity to use music and technology to teach and reinforce language with my Twosies presented itself last week. The song I used is an authentic song, performed in Spanish by a group from Puerto Rico. Additionally, the song contains various reflexive verbs, which is the current grammar topic.

The students, donning headsets plugged into desktop computers, listened to the song. As they listened, they filled in the forms of the reflexive verbs they heard. The activity can be found here.

This activity worked for several reasons. First, the students were listening to a Spanish accent other than mine, which is a Puerto Rican accent. No matter how native-sounding I am, and I have been mistaken for a native Spanish speaker on numerous occasions, the students benefit from hearing Spanish being spoken by those for whom Spanish is their first language. Second, the students were exposed to cultural aspects of Puerto Rico via words and other artifacts in the song. Third, they had to recognize and supply the correct forms of the verbs they heard. Last, there was no fear of failure. If the students needed to hit the “replay” button, they could, and as many times as was necessary.

I will be using music and technology in similar ways in the weeks ahead.

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